The next time I see girls playing trading card games I’m bolting! Wixoss starts of innocently enough humming along as a story of cute girls playing cards with a side helping of “please buy these cards – look how cute they are!”. But just when you start leaning back and soaking up the pleasant moe feelings it pulls you, gagging and struggling, in a different direction: by episode 3 you’re well and truly caught up in a soul crushing emotional maelstrom of forbidden love, loneliness, forlorn sadism and nihilism. It’s unrelentingly melodramatic as it throws each of its main characters into the fray and forces us to watch as their lives spiral out of control. It’s tough viewing but it’s like an imminent train wreck you just can’t look away from. If you thought Wixoss was just pretty young girls sitting around, drinking tea, fondling each others breasts and playing the occasional card game, you can think again. And if train wrecks are your thing, I fully suggest you strap in and join me for the ride. Selector Infector Wixoss will be two seasons long, so it’s not too late to jump on board the pain train!
I love this teenage angst stuff
Yep, I admit it, I’m a sucker for sappy teenage angsty stuff. I think it’s a condition that stems all the way back from my early years of watching Buffy the Vampire slayer, but it’s a guilty pleasure that’s stayed with me for life. Unfortunately it’s been a while since I’ve found an anime this heavy with it. I think the last time I was this revved up about the awry feelings of twisted young girls was Mai Hime. Back then my heart bled for Shizuru and her patently unfulfilled lesbian love for Natsuki, and for Mai’s crumbling soul beneath her happy facade. Now, with Wixoss, I can actually hear my heart cracking whenever Yuzuki starts the self-destructive talk of the love for her brother that can’t come true, and I’m glued to the screen with shock when Hitoe’s simple dream of making friends is crushed. Meanwhile, the main character seems to be harboring some strong nihilistic tendencies beneath her good girl front, while her talking card, Tama, is the cutest little bundle of adrenaline-junky sadism you’ll ever find. I know it’s all over-the-top and definitely bordering on silly, but the potency of these raw, naive feelings still guts me, and I absolutely love the unstable, flawed characterisation that hangs over all of the girls. As you might have gathered, I’m totally ensnared by Wixoss, and it’s the only other anime this season, alongside Ping Pong, that I hang out every week to see.
Incest is best
Probably the biggest hook that this show has stuck into me is Yuzuki’s totally obsessive crush on her brother. Her actual brother; none of that not-blood-related cop out crap. It’s not because I have boner for the idea of two people with the same mother getting it on, not at all. The reason I love stories like this is because they’re forbidden love. It’s one of the oldest tricks in the book of how to make the audience have feelings, but it works on me every time. If you’ve ever experienced unrequited love, you should be able to sympathise with poor little Yuzuki. Sure, loving her brother is creepy and not really the best idea, but love is illogical and notoriously unwilling to compromise for the people who are infected with misdirected feelings. Beyond all reason and responsibility, Yuzuki is bound by her aching heart to wish for the impossible – a normal relationship with her brother. Of all the wishes seen so far hers is the one with the most at stake – wixoss is the only way she can make it happen.
I don’t know if I support her wish, but I sympathise with her the most of all the girls.
Welcome to Fight Club
The main character of the series is another interesting piece of work. She’s probably the most atypical character in the show in the sense that she’s a girl drifting through life without a sense of purpose, almost detached from her own existence. Once she’s thrust into the combative arena of Wixoss, she realises she has nothing to lose, and she even starts to find a rare flicker of joy in the heat of battle. Her motivations for battling with the dreams of girls hanging in the balance is purely that it’s fun. I can’t really remember another female anime character with this kind of nonchalant, nihilistic bent, and it’s kind of exciting to see how far down this path she’s going to go by the end of the series.
Episode 7 was good
I watched episode 7 yesterday morning and it delivered all the things I love about this show. Yuzuki is wandering the streets looking for girls to start battles with, Ruuko is finally goaded into doing battle with Aki-lucky’s utterly evil and deeply perceptive colleague. While previous battles have lacked suspense, this one had a great energy and was probably the high point of the episode. This was partly because the dynamic between Ruuko and Iona really electric – they’re both a match for each other and they’re both in it for the thrill of the hunt. I see a really fun rivalry brewing here. Feeding off this energy, Tama’s thirst for battle was more irrepressible than ever!
She was so fierce this episode that sparks could’ve been bursting from the sides of my computer monitor. I could feel the heat of her excitement!
Another contributing factor was that Hiroshi Tomioka did a significant amount of drawings for it. His effect animation made things visually exhilarating, while the music and sound effects also held up their end to produce a bold and stimulating action sequence. The importance of the effect animation can’t be overlooked in Wixoss; since the card girls don’t actually make physical contact, there’s no actual choreography. It’s up to the flashy sparks, flames and beams of light to make things fun.
The episode ends on a really sharp cliffhanger, with a resurgent Akira taunting Yuzuki and Ruuko into an inevitable showdown in an abandoned warehouse. By the look of it, Akira is now off the rails with no hope of return. She was an intimidating figure before, but I expect to see her reach new levels of psychopathy now that her pride has been ripped to shreds. Her finally ‘Aki-raki’ of the episode literally sent shivers down my spine!