Let’s play a little mind game kids!

Let’s play a little mind game kids!

The current trend among all the girls seem to be the new card game, WIXOSS. WIXOSS is more than just any simple card game however, there are players mysteriously named Selectors and they have special WIXOSS cards called LRIGs who can talk and possess their own unique personality. Every Selector can have one of their wishes fulfilled if they win “battles”, where they are transported to another dimension and fight with their LRIGs. After a Selector wins a number of battles, she automatically becomes the Eternal Girl and their wish gets granted, simple enough. But there is a dark secret hidden in the plectra of battles for glory and fame. Would you believe that your wish can come true? What’s the price to such a force that can make even the impossible happen?

Welcome to Selector Infected WIXOSS folks, that’s the actual title by the way. Yes, this anime is about a card game but that is not the main focus. The story is more psychological than action, dealing with the struggles of three girls as they adapt to being Selectors. Although they’re not shy to make some characters go mentally unstable and make us feel sorry for their losses. Everything is going well, the characters are smiling, having a good time and that’s when the story takes a turn and shit goes downhill…fast. I repeat, they are not afraid to make the characters (and by extension us) suffer the consequences of wanting their wishes to come true. This not your average slice of pie, this is some messed up stuff right here.

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Ruuko Kominato is currently living with her grandmother and brother after her mother left her while she was a child. One day, Ruuko Kominato discovers an LRIG in her deck of WIXOSS cards and becomes a Selector. She is challenged by another Selector, Yuzuki Kurebayashi to a battle, after that the two quickly become friends joined by Hitoe Uemura later on. The three desperately try to fulfill their dreams in a world where every Selector is mercilessly beating others to realize their own. Their aspirations become desperation as they learn that they are not playing just any regular game. Reality is more twisted and cruel than they had thought. Go figures.

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Nobody’s staring at you guys! Stop it!  (Ruko, Hitoe and Yuzuki)

Don’t you just love the smell of looming doom and despair? There are supple hints to the darker part of the show early on, from the opening and ending theme songs, Ruko’s nightmares, the mystery behind the LRIGs and the depressing soundtrack, they all make you anxious to see what is so wrong about this game. Okay, okay you might half-expect all of the plot twists if you’re used to seeing shows like this (wait, does that make me a horrible person?) but you won’t believe how far they took it, nope. As much as the three girls would want to avoid any trouble and act like normal friends, they are still Selectors and they can’t just run away. The other Selectors are all fighting for their own reasons, doesn’t that seem unfair? Should they just give up their wish? There may be people who are in dire need of it don’t you think?

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The use of gray and dull colors in the backgrounds and foregrounds gives the show a dark undertone that really makes us feel helpless whenever we see the characters grieving after a battle and goes to show how empty and bleak their situation really is. Their hopes get turned upside down and they don’t have any way to escape it either than to continue fighting. Putting up fake expressions to mask their anger and trying to run away from all the frustration and disbelief. By winning more battles, they are denying other people their wishes and when they lose for a number of times, a horrible fate awaits them. Do you sit down and enjoy life as usual only for another Selector to beat you or do you move up the ranks and ruin more wishes? Was your wish that important? Do you even have a wish in the first place?

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Ruko is the developed character out of their group. She had no social skills whatsoever and it was pretty obvious from the start of the show. She is always confused with what she is thinking and can’t decide on what her mind actually wants to do. Because of that, she is generally very susceptible to fear and can’t handle negative emotions so she does her best to bury everything inside keeping her feelings suppressed and contained, trying to be as neutral as possible to everyone and anyone. In a sense, she’s having a hard time accepting who she is and when disaster befalls them, she forces herself to hold back her feelings though she’s not very good at faking it. Ruko developed into a strong and confident person at the end and it was at least satisfying to see her come all the way from a worthless introverted neutralizer to this new Ruko.

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The battles serve mostly as the icing on the cake. They are not featured heavily but were essential to make the whole dynamic of the show work together. Even though I watched all the episodes, I still don’t know all the buttons. It’s not that I wasn’t paying attention, they simply don’t properly explain what sort of properties a card has, the card levels, card class special abilities or how everything relating to the cards stitch together. Then again, you won’t need to understand it, you just need to watch the action unfold.

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As cool as the battles may look, there are also downsides like the characters talking more than fighting even in the arena and the very limited number of moves that they show off. Seriously, all I see are attacks, defends, grow (powerup) and draw (a card). What?! Isn’t there more? Sadly no. Now that was disappointing, can’t say that I’m not surprised, No.

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Final Thoughts

Do you like dark stories? Need to relax without feeling too stressed? You could just watch Selector Infected WIXOSS to cool you down (that name looks out of place wherever I put it). This could give you the infectious dosage of (sweet) depression that you’ve been looking for, it certainly fits the criteria nicely. This series has its fair share of mind-boggling plot twists and awesome battles and the LRIGs character designs, especially Tama (Ruko’s LRIG) was very pleasing to my eyes. Although the fights are a worthy point, I can’t shake the feeling that they cut some corners with the animation, things in the background are undetailed, the water-color on the background can look awfully bad and you’ll notice a few rogue lines here and there, the pencil lines are also as thick as they get sometimes. Like I said, the story is about three girls who fight to make their dreams come true and they face a lot of mental challenges along the way. Seeing something terrible happen to a friend and not being able to do anything about it, misunderstanding other people’s feelings, being faced with the choice of survival with the loss of another and total mental breakdowns, you name it, it’s going to have that one too.

-KKSparrow

Extra

If you’re going to watch this because you think it is similar to Mahou Shoujo Madoka then I can offer some advice for you. A Comparison really…

  • The biggest similarity is that they both feature some kind of action or the other. In Madoka it was the Magical Girls with their powers against the Witches and in Selector it’s the Selectors against one another with their LRIGs.
  • The main characters in Madoka are superior to the ones featured in Selector in my opinion. There was so much outward emotion and unbearable thoughts portrayed by the Madoka team that they easily trump the half-real and strange logic behind the characters here.
  • Hmm…I wonder why there was never an asshole as a Magical Girl in Madoka. Security probably kicked them out. Selector has them and she’s a super annoying, ungrateful, self-loathing brat, you know, like the ones that truly piss you off beyond compare because they cause so many problems for our precious characters. Yeah. Don’t go berserk buddy. Good Luck.
  • When Madoka was out to send us into a phase of hatred towards Kurbey, you don’t have anyone to blame in Selector. Sure you could blame the ones who made it…wait, who made the cards again? Oh, they’re too lazy to tell you that. Well you could always blame the other players who most likely will be overjoyed for finding such easy prey. God Bless.
  • Like the girls in Madoka, the three here are fighting for their wish and also face the consequences for it. They get hurt just like the girls in Madoka but they are not the best at making us feel for them. The character development in Madoka was very well-deserved while the three here are not that believable. If only they would let us into their twisted minds, this show would be much more enjoyable. Don’t just show us that a character has matured, make us believe it.
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I Gotta Run See Ya!
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