「真実／終わりと始まり」 (Shinjitsu / Owari to Hajimari)
“Truth / Ending and Beginning”
Well it only took nine episodes, but the obvious is finally confirmed: Lostorage is a sequel. Mayu was the progenitor, Ruuko broke the cycle of the first battles, Piruluk is actually Piruluk, and this round of battles is all due to the tormented thoughts of past Selectors. Hard to get worse than that in one episode don’t you think? Too bad it does. Oh boy does it ever.
I’m not terribly surprised by the revelations dropped this week, but I definitely wasn’t expecting the actual Piruluk to casually give them over to Chinatsu without a second thought. Always pinned Hanna being our fact finding guinea pig, but I guess she’s destined for “better” things (more on that in a bit). The big reveal of course rests with the actual setup of these new Selector battles. These fights are definitely a Danganronpa-esque form of despair creation, generated off the feelings of prior Selectors failing to achieve their wishes. Although the game is no longer one of “heads I win, tails you lose” given victorious Selectors are not body swapped, that is little consolation for the girls, guys, and LRIGs stuck in this seemingly endless spiral. After all, Piruluk originally won only to see her friend still die, LRIGs have “won” only to find out life isn’t everything they desired, and Hanna too discovered the truth is often harsher than you’d like it to be. Little need for extra gimmicks when the sheer weight of cold, nihilistic life provides enough despair—and then some.
Particularly intriguing for me though is with all of this now revealed, we still don’t know how things will end. The operator behind this second round of WIXOSS battles remains glaringly hidden (guaranteed there’s someone beyond Mayu involved), and we also have the fallout of a successful win to witness. It’s not clear what happened to Hanna’s LRIG for example, and there furthermore is the possibility that the LRIG even manipulated Hanna’s memories (or deliberately kept them hidden) just for the sh*ts and giggles. Wouldn’t it be funny too if Hanna actually hasn’t ceased being a Selector? There remains a surprising amount of unknown material left alongside our “disappeared” Selectors to discover, and Hanna offers the perfect opportunity to do so.
Beyond Hanna’s torment lies our festering Chinatsu-Suzuko feud which now increasingly feels close to fizzling out. Chinatsu unsurprisingly still cannot figure out what she actually wants, handing over Shouhei’s previously withheld contract one minute and standing in shock at Piruluk correctly calling her out the next. Our cute body-swapped LRIG’s suicide though is likely what will finally snap Chinatsu out of things and back towards some sense of stability (especially if Meru’s pep talk scene was anything to go by). Suzuko on the other hand is now firmly set up for the endgame given her
dueling battling equality with Hanna, while Shouhei, in his white knighted splendour (and Stockholm syndrome), has strangely settled on freeing Chinatsu from her self-made prison. We are clearly running straight towards one big clash of desires, mediated by the ever trusty Bookmaker and his sadistic fetish. I have no firm idea who will fight who (bets on Chinatsu-Shouhei or Suzuko-Shouhei though) or what new information will come from it, but I definitely know it’s going to be hard, painful, and exceptionally brutal for those Selectors involved. Keep the popcorn in reach people, we are nowhere close to hitting bottom yet.