And with that, Lostorage is over. As fully expected, the final fight turned into Bookmaker versus Suzuko buoyed by a Chinatsu now firmly back under the “Suzuko love” umbrella. I must admit it’s a fitting conclusion, effectively freeing Chinatsu from the chains of her poorly made decisions while showcasing Suzuko’s newfound strength. The fight too was interesting largely from its longevity. We got to see multiple coin bets and some interesting ability usage. Suzuko’s and Chinatsu’s combined coin bet ability in particular fascinates me because it points towards Selectors being able to physically connect their fates to one another. Normally this would be nothing (especially given its function as a deus ex machina here), but there’s also Bookmaker’s (through Carnival) new ability to use the coin bets of other Selectors. Combine these late revelations with Bookmaker’s apparent ability earlier to physically manipulate the Battle Space, and it’s clear something significant is missing from the picture. Almost explains that sequel announcement, doesn’t it?
Although unclear if Bookmaker (well, the newly Carnival body swapped Bookmaker) still has a secret or two remaining, I do know the sick bastard ended up growing on me. For all of Bookmaker’s unctuousness, he was pretty unique between the hilarious facial expressions, the ridiculous dirty talk (which was pretty well acted), and a fellow LRIG every bit as naughty as him. Watching Suzuko deflect his obvious manipulations and crush the blatant attempt at subverting Riru was glorious, mostly for how utterly crazed it made the guy. Drifters this season might have had some epic faces, but I’ll be damned if Bookmaker didn’t give them a run for their money. It’s disappointing Bookmaker’s end effectively boiled down to the
heart of the cards power of friendship, but it’s difficult imagining how else to wrap it all up in one final episode.
The one good thing about the battle, however, is that the schism between Suzuko and Chinatsu has finally been filled. I was slightly surprised seeing Suzuko use her wish to retain her memories of Riru, but it does make sense considering Suzuko successfully mended things with Chinatsu. Rather the big surprise lies with Chinatsu losing her memories of Suzuko. Game rules or not (the 90 day limit and random memory loss is well known), it’s an incredibly sad end for such a happy conclusion. Yeah technically both girls will just rebuild what they lost, but damn, all that fighting just to see you punted back to square one. Chinatsu, however, is definitely is to blame for that one when she could have fought her way back to five coins, all with Suzuko’s unwavering support.
While I couldn’t tell you where Lostorage goes from here story-wise, with Piruluk still in the picture, Aki now being teased, and a thoroughly unchanged Carnival-Bookmaker, a few possibilities do exist. Conflate after all is defined as combination, which likely means we can expect several more crossovers with the first season next time. Could one of those previous LRIGs/Selectors be the person behind this new wave of games? Just going to have to wait and see.
Heading into Lostorage this season I wasn’t sure what to expect. The previous WIXOSS was good as an entertaining, B-grade horror-type show, but had a decent conclusion and no clear way of expanding beyond it. Lostorage, however, managed to succeed against this preconception. For me the outstanding changes were pace and characters. Suzuko and Chinatsu had a clearly defined relationship they were fighting for since the start: Suzuko to save it, Chinatsu to destroy it. This conflict was successfully resolved in 12 episodes, resulting in a plot which never particularly dragged during its duration. The original never succeeded in producing a similar feel, largely because Ruuko didn’t really find her wish until the end of the first season. Bookmaker even improved on things by offering up with Carnival a livelier Iona/Ulith sadist combo.
Where Lostorage faltered for me, however, is in shock value. While I really enjoyed the twists and turns here, there was nothing as surprising as the original’s first reveal of body swapping, and then the true horror that body swapping only triggered upon winning. Yeah we had memory loss here along with body swapping, but the setup was largely conventional, with winners actually winning, and the true despair resulting from final defeat. Without some additional mechanism for inciting fear and suffering, we were basically reduced to watching the tormented antics of a victorious Hanna and the groveling of defeated Selectors. Combine that with minimal development for some characters (particularly Shouhei and Masaru), and many of the shock moments never left any serious impact.
This reason is why I probably think Lostorage was at its strongest around the middle, when we were largely in the dark and uncertain what was coming. The show was truly suspenseful then, which with the tight pacing created some fantastic moments, particularly Chinatsu’s mental dissonance and Suzuko’s run in with reality. It is likely Lostorage’s hesitancy to pull an Okada which held it back from really improving beyond the original WIXOSS at the end. If there was just something else to the plot, something more tragic, this show could have definitely bumped up a level or two given everything else. Of course the real twist could be coming in Lostorage’s sequel, but until we find out what occurs then, it’s hard fully singing Lostorage’s praises. Given how well Lostorage improved structurally compared to the original, it’s certainly no worse than Selector, but it’s a hard case claiming Lostorage is significantly better.
Although I’m criticizing harshly here, it doesn’t take away the fun of watching Lostorage. For a trading card game show, Lostorage still offers a novel, interesting plot with the tried and true theme of psychological suffering. It’s plenty good for a watch and sticking around for the twists, but one shouldn’t expect stupendous writing, fantastic characters, or a jaw-dropping story. Like with the original WIXOSS, enjoy it for what it is, but don’t expect something more. That path will only lead to disappointment.