Lostorage incited WIXOSS Episode 1: Memories / Front and Back [First Impression]
Are you ready for the suffering?
Are you ready for the suffering? I guess the first matter to address is that you probably weren’t expecting me to put out a post on this. Nor did I initially have much interest in doing so – it’s supposed to be Berry who does WIXOSS, and I was perfectly content with just following the series and discussing it online. But Berry is a little short on time this season, and because I feel that this deserves blogging I decided to step in. Asenshi only released their version on Sunday anyway, so if you’re a particularly selective person and decided to wait for them, then from your perspective this post isn’t even that late! Hooray! I should be able to do weekends this season too – it would be a different story if this aired on Wednesdays. So unfortunately, instead of Berry’s insightful commentary you’ll have to put up with my waifu chat and regular best girl discussions. I’m not sorry at all.
In terms of my familiarity with the franchise, I wouldn’t say I know a lot about it at all. I mean, I’ve diligently followed the first two seasons, and I remember doing a quick post when the first season first aired a few years ago, but given that I don’t know much about the plethora of other material that’s now out there (including a movie, several spin-off serialisations and an entire collectable card game) I’d say I’m only barely qualified to discuss this to the depth that I’d like to. I’m marginally acquainted with Peeping Analyze, and I want to watch the movie at some point, but that’s about it. I do have opinions though! Now’s not the best time to elaborate too much on them, but as far as a quick rundown is concerned – I loved the first season, thought the second one could have tied up its loose ends better (not least of all the stuff surrounding the town being destroyed and Ruu’s suspicious grandma) and haven’t seen the movie (yet). I think Ruu is very cute, I think Piruluk is cuter and Aki-lucky was my secret guilty pleasure. Hanayo did nothing wrong, and Chiyori was far too noisy for far too much of the time she spent on screen.
All that… probably doesn’t matter, in all honesty. It’s not like Lostorage is unwatchable if you haven’t seen the two seasons of the original anime. Even after all this time I legitimately have not the slightest clue how WIXOSS is even played. I’m not joking. I know the aim is to destroy the opponent’s Life Cloth and that you grow your LRIGs and that there are SIGNI cards and that’s about it. I’m certain this was the intention of the creators too (speaking of creators, I don’t think Okada Mari is on this anymore) because if they’d spent precious airing time on explaining how the game works, the anime would have been nowhere near as good as it was. As I said two years ago during the first impression post, it’s not actually about card games. It’s about sinking cute girls into the depths of despair using a mechanism disguised as a card game. But anyway, given that Ruu basically solved everything where we last left off, I’m pretty sure this is a separate continuity or a completely different Selector battle entirely, and all we’ve seen so far with regards to the rules and the concept of coins and what’s at stake seems to confirm that. That, or it’s all Piruluk’s fault because for some reason she’s back.
If you put together everything you learn from the episode, you come to some interesting conclusions. For one, the LRIGs aren’t hiding anything from the Selectors this time – or at least, they don’t seem to be. Instead, everything’s been placed up front on the table and the Selectors are aware that it’s not some sort of benevolent opportunity. Yet at the same time, I’m getting this nagging feeling at the back of my mind that there is something Suzu has not been told, and that this something is going to ruin her. Unlike with Tama, Ril isn’t Suzu’s friend. She’s supposedly part of Suzu, but her relationship with her is more like an administrator of the Selector battles and an occasional guide who will help her past her initial stage of refusal and confusion. I’m already kind of biased against all LRIGs because of the Yuzuki and Hanayo thing during the original series (although as I mentioned above, I don’t think she did anything wrong given the position she was in) and so I simply can’t discard my wariness towards Ril.
It also seems like LRIGs themselves could be slightly different entities this time. Instead of being passed around between Selectors and battling to switch places with their owners in order to escape being a LRIG, a Selector’s LRIG in Lostorage seems to be a representation of the Selector created from a blank slate LRIG who reminds me of Mayu for some reason. In fact, the process Suzu went through when she first met that blank LRIG was very similar to what Yuzuki experienced when she first became an Eternal Girl. It’s all very unclear at the moment – are the LRIGs formed from detached aspects of the Selector’s personality? Is that why that random fodder guy who lost to Suzu this episode had such a shy and kind LRIG? You know, if I became a Selector and got a LRIG, I think she would be a cute loli. Just saying.
It’s worth noting that Suzu’s dementia is already happening, and has happened. For every moment she spends not battling, her memories are being eroded. It’s not that a chunk of her memories gets carved away with the corrosion of one coin – it’s a gradual thing. The mere fact that so many coins turned black before her first Selector battle implies that something irreparable has happened to Suzu, and Ril’s words later on confirmed exactly that. I don’t know if you noticed, but ‘Suzu, ganba’ was not what Chinatsu said to Suzu in that flashback. She said ‘ganbatte’ instead. ‘Ganba’ is super cute, but it’s different. And I think that is really, really important, because it’s simply not what loli Chinatsu said. In other words, her memories have now been falsified. I’m pretty sure this isn’t just an oversight or something. Memories are basically the central theme of Lostorage, and here the implication is that after becoming a Selector, Suzu can no longer be sure that her memories are accurate – are what she thinks they are. And the worst thing is that she has absolutely no clue. I can already see it now. Suzu finally meets with her precious Chii-chan after so many years of being apart, but one or both of them no longer recognise each other or have twisted their memories of the other irreparably.
If there’s anything I can predict about this season of WIXOSS it’s that a happy ending is very unlikely. I don’t know about you, but thrusting estranged childhood friends together in a high-stakes supernatural card game in order to reverse your forced gradual onset of dementia doesn’t seem very cheerful to me. That opening scene of Suzu and Chinatsu playing together is probably the happiest this anime is ever going to get. I’m actually not sure what the plot twist this time will be, because I don’t think they’re going to be reusing the whole concept of successful Selectors being cruelly denied their wishes and turning into LRIGs – with the end of the OP showing all the Selectors inside cards, it’s almost as if they’re telling us that they know we know, and that as a result they won’t be trying that again.
At the same time, there is absolutely no way that everything will end happily ever after if all five of a Selector’s (very beautiful) coins turn gold. If you seriously entertained that thought for even a second, you haven’t watched the first two seasons properly. It’s a lose-lose situation for poor Suzu, we just don’t know exactly how she’ll despair the moment she thinks she’s won. If turning all coins gold really was a goal to aspire to, then why have that random draw at the start where your LRIG assigns you a number of coins to start off with? It’d make things ridiculously easy for some Selectors. And there’s not even an incentive like there was with the first Selector battoru – if you win you just get to leave with your life and memories intact, from how things currently seem. Nothing’s been mentioned about getting a wish granted or becoming an Eternal Girl, although I do accept that the threat of losing all your memories in itself is likely to be a good enough incentive to make you keep on participating.
Apart from the coin system, there have been some other changes as well. The most obvious of them is that there are now male Selectors, which further reinforces the idea that the Eternal Girl mechanism isn’t coming back. We won’t be getting YOBs any time soon, in other words. I know there are some who will be rather disgruntled by this, but I don’t really mind. Piruluk has lots of more important things to justify first, like why she’s doing what she’s doing (if it’s her fault at all). As for the new LRIGs, I’ll have to get used to them but they seem cute. I think Nanashi is an absolute semen demon, and I hope to see lots and lots of her especially if the Selector girl in her school ends up befriending her like the preview suggests. Mel is cute, Ril is cuter. Guzuko is a waste of a design, and I mean that in the best way possible. She’s great, but I just can’t see that dude being very relevant in the story at all, and so nothing good will happen to Guzuko nor will she be around for very long. If anything, they’ll be used as an example to show Suzu (and us) exactly what happens when your five coins all turn gold or black. Poor Guzuko.
Shit, this got quite long. But yes. I’m quite excited. It’ll be hard to properly compare this to the original two seasons until we’ve seen more of both the format of the current Selector battoru and the wider plot, but there seems to be lots of potential and lots of suffering. I don’t know whether I’ll ever come to like Suzu as much as I did Ruu, but only time will tell. Pick a best girl and a best LRIG, and let’s see whether either of them still have their smiles protected by the end of the series. If that’s even possible.
Possibility of Watching: Guaranteed
Possibility of Blogging: High