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First Impressions: Selector Infected WIXOSS

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Didn't Madoka already die for our sins?

While taking in WIXOSS, I couldn't stop thinking to myself, "This show really, REALLY wants to be Madoka Magica," and you know what? That's probably really unfair. After all, Madoka was a groundbreaking show; there's nothing wrong with taking inspiration from it. And just because you can tell where the creators are gleaning some of their inspiration from, that doesn't mean they aren't bringing interesting ideas of their own to the table. But even so; if I had to describe this series in three words, as of right now I would say "Poor-man's Madoka."

But whether it's derivative or not, JC Staff must be doing something right with this psychic/card battle/magical girl anime, because I'm more than willing to come along for the ride.

BATTLE!

The name WIXOSS refers to a collectible card game that's taken off among school girls, but as we learn early on, there are two versions of the game in this world. Most girls who've taken it up are playing a regular fantasy card game, probably not too far afield of Magic: The Gathering and the like. However, a chosen few girls have been given access to the "true" game; deemed Selectors, these girls have access to magical-girl like card avatars, and their games seem to take place on some strange psychic plane far removed from the real world. These Selectors are battling to become "The Eternal Girl," which means their ultimate wish will come true...or so they think.

Our focal point is Ruko, a shy girl who's given a starter pack of WIXOSS cards by her brother in the hopes that she'll make some friends with them. Ruko soon learns that she possesses a talking card, called an LRIG, and the adorable little white-haired girl depicted on the card wants nothing more than to fight other cards in battle. Ruko would just as soon ignore all of this nonsense, but unfortunately for her, other Selectors can tell when a new Selector shows up; this isn't a fight she can avoid.

BATTLE!!!!

It's all pretty competently done; characters are fluidly animated, the backgrounds have a nice grittiness to them that makes the story feel more grounded in reality than usual, and this episode does a good job of revealing the world of Selectors without either overwhelming the viewer or becoming boring. Ruko may be a bland heroine for some, but I can relate to her shyness, and her grandmother is awesome. The WIXOSS battles look pretty cool, even if they're borderline incomprehensible; why are the players sitting so far apart? Why even bother with physical cards at all, when this is clearly a psychic battle between magical girl avatars of some sort? Maybe we'll find out, but I tend to doubt it.

But for me, the hook here is not the card battles or the character interaction, but the hint that there's going to be some truly twisted, End-of-Evangelion style mindscrew here. We only get a tiny glimpse of it in this episode, but it's enough to make me curious what dark secrets this weird card game is hiding.

Eeeeek!

Hmm, a magical girl card game anime, that' nice- AH OH MY GOD WHYYYYYYYY

Now, there's an excellent chance that this is all going to end up becoming a huge, pretentious, convoluted mess, which seems to be the fate of most shows that try to emulate Madoka. The hints at deeper, more disturbing meanings could easily be imagery that's just thrown in to look cool, and may come to nothing in the end. But for right now, I'm digging the whole vibe of WIXOSS enough to give the show the benefit of the doubt and at least see where they're going with all this.

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Karen Mead
Karen MeadContributor   gamer profile

Hi, I'm a former newspaper journalist who got tired of having a front row seat to the death of print. There probably could be some interesting story there about a disenchanted reporter moving on ... more + disclosures


 


 


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