Selector Spread WIXOSS Review

This is review number four hundred and thirty three. This anime is part of the Fall 2014 lineup, and it’s called Selector Spread WIXOSS. It’s a twelve episode anime about a very confusing card game. Seriously, someone explain the rules to me. Let’s read on.

Story

The show follows the cast of the first season as they try to move on with their lives. There are too many unanswered questions though, and the dark world of Selector battling yearns for them. Will they heed the call?

Taking the Pants Off

JVOMVAy

This anime is pretty messy. I don’t remember much about the first season, but I also know that I don’t really forget anime. Once I get reintroduced to the beat of the world, I can pretty much remember what the show is about. I reviewed the first season a good four years ago, and I think I was still releasing seasonal reviews as early as the anime ends. I had a lot of free time back then. I remember loving the first a lot, because it was kinda dark and it continued the Madoka idea. If we get more shows that celebrate the darkness of Madoka, then I’m all for it. I actually revisited my review of the first season and I’m shock just how big the wall of texts are. Sweet flaming Pikachu, do I still write like that? But anyways, the second of WIXOSS is messy. I already said that. Basically, I still remember how the first season ended. The main character battled the overpowered girl and she lost. We soon discover the OP girl’s wish is to be the main character’s LRIG. It was a smack of confusion to entice us to immediately watch the second season. This season was supposed to answer a lot of things and it’s supposed to bring closure to a lot of issues. Yeah, it did neither. It was really an unsatisfying experience, and I’m sure that sensation of being smacked with confusion is still lingering in my face. Like, seriously, what the hell happened here?

Diving In Head First

Thankfully, you don’t really need to re-watch the first season to follow this anime. The first episode served as a catch up on the series so far. So, there’s this game called WIXOSS and special girls with the power of the cards, or some bullsh*t, are called Selectors. These girls battle with their LRIGs, girl spelled backwards and this fact blew my mind back in 2014, and if you rack enough wins then you’re wish will be granted. Being a Madoka-like creature though, the wishes are double edged. If you lose three times, then you get beheaded. Wait, no, your wish gets reversed. So if you wish for cake, it gets flipped where you not only get to not have cake but you also develop a phobia or an allergy to it. It’s dark stuff, not eating cake. If you do win though, then it’s an extras wrinkle of what-the-fudge. You actually swap places with your LRIG. You’re now the LRIG trapped inside a card, and your LRIG must fulfill your wish. So, they’re the lucky bastards that get to eat the cake. The first season followed the journey of five girls as we are slowly taken into the world of WIXOSS. Given that the anime is a multimedia project, it also served as a way to entice viewers to actually play the real life WIXOSS card game the show is promoting. I mean, I think it is promoting it. I’ve seen two seasons of the show and I still don’t know how to play the damn game. It’s like a mix of Bakugan and Angelic Layer, and if you have no idea what I’m talking about then that’s fine. The mechanics of the game isn’t really important. It’s all about that Madoka-like story finally getting its intended ending.

Hey, Mari Okada series composed this anime. Huh, ain’t that something.

Horribly Written

Before we get to the main story of the anime, we should focus on how the whole wishing thing actually works. In the first season, there is a mysterious power that gives LRIGs to Selectors. When your wish comes true, it’s not magic or some miracle that grants your wish but your LRIG does it for you. So if you wished for world peace, the girl must grant it. Of course, this plot hole was covered with a stipulation that the wish can only be granted if it’s within the power of the LRIG.  Which begs to question, why play a deadly game of Madoka roulette when the wish can be attained by any normal idiot? I mean, if the girls wish is for cake then its ok. If it’s to bring back her dead mother, then it’s a no go? Why even risk your life for cake?  Doesn’t the entire setup of the anime feel just a tad stupid? We already have an ominous being giving talking cards to special girls, but their powers end there? The rest is up to grit and unreliable human effort? You’re willing to die for something you can do yourself? Isn’t that just really retarded? Who wrote this sh*t? C’mon. They better not direct any movies that’ll garner press. Ah, look at me, taking shots at Okada. I better stop before I trigger someone into luring me into a twitter war that is totally beneath me.

It gets stupider, because we discover that a lot of the LRIGs and Selectors have actually done this cycle countless times. They got their wish granted, became an LRIG, granted someone’s wish, turned into that girl, got a new LRIG and just did it like it’s their hobby. Why? Seriously, why go through all that? What is the point? I do understand there is some higher power in the works or whatever, but these girls have a choice. They don’t have to play. Also, if the whole switcheroo thing has gone through many cycles, then shouldn’t that sh*t be already established in the first season? At least hear rumors on the internet or random exchanges between the girls. I can understand the LRIGs hiding the plot twist, but shouldn’t that also be established in the first season. Have some sort of foreshadowing about the LRIGs knowing about the switcheroo. Now, I get it. They want the selectors to experience the despair they felt, I’d love that plot twist but there’s a problem here. The second season is all about positivity and the power of friendship and all that bullsh*t. LRIGs actually showed compassion, apologized to the girls they deceived and even tried to sacrifice themselves for their Selectors. Ok, cool, where was all this sh*t in the first season? Seriously, you just wanted this overly complicated game of body invading turn into a story of friendship and cake? This is the payoff people got after the cliffhanger of the first season. Isn’t the second season supposed to answer questions, not confuse the f*ck out of people? Seriously, who wrote this sh*t?

Heh, the credited writer is Mari Okada. Nah, it’s too easy. Let’s not go there. I heard she was a last minute script writer for Mayoiga, and the director was bonkers to begin with. Do you think she also came late into this project? Eh, I’ll just blame the director too.

Short Sighted Storytelling

This is a phenomenon where the episode’s story is more cohesive than the overall story. Basically, episodes don’t really connect together and the result is a mish mash of bad writing. This is evident in this anime, because there are three credited episode writers. If you look at the episodes they did, one wrote episode 3-4 then another wrote 5-6 then another wrote 7-8, then you’ll understand why the entire thing is a mess. It’s like they were playing a game of hot potato, and it’s pretty funny. Plot threads randomly appear and disappear in the show, and there are too many characters doing too many things at once. I think the show opened with one simple plot point: the main character doesn’t want to play WIXOSS ever again. That’s a fine way to start the series, since it carried over the smack of confusion from the last season. The OP girl became her LRIG, but her previous LRIG suddenly vanished. Where did she end up? Well, put a pin on that question because the show doesn’t want to answer it just f*cking yet. Instead, CHORIZO!!!!!

A new plot thread about a girl and her sausage appears and it isn’t related to the first plot thread. To be fair though, I like this plot thread because it featured a naïve girl walking into the dark game of WIXOSS. She has no idea about the whole switcheroo deal, and I kinda wanted her to suffer. But put a pin on that f*cking sh*t too, because we’re switching plot thread.

Out of nowhere, a story about a light novel author appears and SHE has all the answers to the mystery behind WIXOSS. Like, seriously, if she was important wouldn’t it be cool if we at least she her typing away at her keyboard as early as the first season? But, whatever, she has her own story about WIXOSS and then she reveals all the mystery behind the game, right? Nope! New plot thread!!!! Lesbians!!!!!

Yup, this chick from the first season re-appears along with the OP girl. Except, OP girl is already a card, so who is in OP girl’s body? Wait, I think this plot thread came first before the LN author, but I don’t really care. They all just appear, disappear and re-appear randomly. I also like the yandere character in this plot thread, but it just really added to the confusion. But, ok, what happened to the main character’s original LRIG? Is she still with us? Yeah, she is, and she’s part of a new plot thread! A non-lesbian plot thread!!!

I freaking threw my hands up when the show revealed there is a white girl and a black girl in the story. Like, for f*cks sake, can’t you f*cking keep it simple? You have to add another plot point to this already messy story? Why? Sweet merciful Pikachu, why?! I think this plot thread appeared at episode nine or ten. Luckily, Mari Okada herself wrote episode 9-12. We can at least expect some cohesion and some closure, finally, right? Um…….Right?

It Is Still Badly Written

Uh, okay, so this season opened by trying to answer why OP girl wanted to be main character’s LRIG? Also, where did the main character’s LRIG go to? Who truly controls the WIXOSS, and can Madoka’s wish really come true so she can save everyone in the end? Seriously, it’s the same thing in this anime. I think the anime did answer all the questions, but nothing really came off it. You see, it started with a confusing smack about misplaced girls and the second season ends with a story of a girl trapped in a room envying snow. Like, ok, what the actual f*ck? Whose ass did you pull this ending out of?

The entire mystery to the whole WIXOSS game is so disappointing. It’s all the imagination of a bored girl? Are you f*cking kidding me? It doesn’t really answer anything, because we still don’t know how she controlled the WIXOSS game. Is she an alien? Is she a malignant spirit that attached herself to some yugi-oh cards? Is she like a demi-god or some sh*t? The anime never really explains it. It just told us this girl is the cause of everything, and now we should feel sad for her. I feel sad for the sausage girl, the yandere, and maybe even the LRIGs of these girls but not the girl trapped in her room. Why? It’s because the story just randomly introduced her as the solution to all our problems. We had two f*cking seasons to write her into the story. There were twenty four f*cking episodes and we could’ve come up with a flashback episode dedicated to her. We could’ve at least let the LN author flesh her out to expand her lore. Good f*cking gawd, you could’ve done anything to make us convince she rules the WIXOSS world. But you didn’t. You just lazily wrote her in, and you expected the audience to care. It’s like watching Attack on Titan and then you suddenly see an oversized toy duck attack the humans. Does that make any sense? Well, it’d stung more if the author just didn’t give us an explanation why a giant rubber duck is now hunting the humans. I mean, f*ck, you’re a celebrated writer and you couldn’t even do a Dues Ex Machina right?

But no, let’s shift focus away from the writers. They don’t deserve the hate, even though their job is to f*cking write the story. Eh, I’m tired. I’m so tired.

The Headless Mami

As I look back on the first season, I think I am convinced it’s only brilliant because they copied Madoka beat by beat. The optimistic girl is lured into a dark world where she needed to make a wish, she discovers the wish has some dark caveats, one of her friends gets pawned into oblivion, another wishes for their crush to like them back, there was another girl that acts arrogant but secretly wants the main character, and there was a fifth girl that acts as foil for the other characters. The card game elements of WIXOSS diluted the Madoka elements, but it’s pretty evident a lot was lifted from Shaft’s work. Do you know why I am convinced it was stolen from Madoka? Simple. Given a chance to grow the story of WIXOSS, the writers had nothing good planned. They didn’t understand the darkness of Madoka, they didn’t have an end goal (Madoka is about trolling the magical girl genre), and they just didn’t understand what made Madoka so riveting. They just copied sh*t. I’ll give them points for not making the enemies aliens, and maybe more points for trying to deviate from Madoka’s direction, but the entire thing is just a mess. It makes you wonder how tightly conceived Madoka is.

But did the writers truly have a dud in their hands? No. Given the situation, they were in the same position as Evangelion. They both made plot threads appear and disappear randomly. The problem is that they just didn’t have any point to their story. What is WIXOSS about, exactly? Is it about the card game? The dangers of wishing rather than doing? The naivety of youth, maybe? With no real end goal, the experience is pretty meaningless. Evangelion is just as messy, if not messier, but it had an end goal. It wanted to encapsulate Anno’s depression. Madoka also had a clear end goal. It wanted to feature the dark side of the magical genre. The show went as far as to give us a saccharine OP in the first few episodes to deliver that point. WIXOSS had nothing to tell. It was just a story tacked onto a card game. It’s empty. It’s meaningless.

And it’s very telling to write something that is otherwise meaningless. Think about it. That’s the scary part about WIXOSS. Talented writers wrote a story that ultimately had no meaning, no purpose, nothing to impart. They put effort on something that does not matter. As a writer, you gotta wonder where their passion where while making this anime. Or is it truly fine to make something meaningless for a pay check. The Headless Mami is dancing in all this darkness.

Also, what is up with all the “she entered me” dialogue? How…did…she entered you, exactly?

Sato, Okada and JC Staff

Ok, I won’t mention Okada here. Let’s leave her alone. She’s a talented mother*cker. Takuya Sato directed both seasons, and I do think he sucks at it. I love the visuals and the background, but the directing kinda sucks. This season is plagued with dialogue scenes and he barely did anything with them. Fight scenes are sloppy and the animation just didn’t look good. It felt cheap in some episodes. The card battles are confusing to follow, and I don’t understand why the players have to be so apart when their LRIGs do hand-to-hand combat. He didn’t really bring anything interesting to the show, and I know good directing can make bad writing work. This is basically a minus on top of a minus. I did remember gushing at how JC Staff is finally on a reignited creative high when the first season came out. Seriously, they were meek until WIXOSS and then Food Wars came out. Now, I think, they’re doing pretty good. They have shows scheduled till 2021. It’s pretty exciting to see them back on top. The second season is a clear dud for JC Staff, but I don’t think it matters. They’re in peak condition as of this point. Good for them.

Sight and Sound

Character design is credited to Kyuta Sakai, and they’re pretty underwhelming. The LRIG costumes lack some flair to them, and the uniforms aren’t appealing to look at. I can only imagine how an LN illustrator will use bright colors and appealing skin tones to accentuate the fan service. I guess underwhelming is what you’d get when you give the job of designing characters to a key animator. Granted, he did character designs on a lot of manga adaptations but clearly he couldn’t do so with card characters. The card designs are ten times more awesome, by the way. It’s exactly how I envisioned the characters in the hands of an LN illustrator. I’m still not sure how to play the game though.

The backgrounds are gorgeous. I love the aesthetic of the anime. I think I gushed about this in the first season as well. I love the pastel style and how the characters float in the background. It gets even better when this visual style is incorporated to dark moments. It’s easy to miss the beautiful details sprinkled all over the rusty and cluttered world the girls live in. I think this is the only aspect of the anime that I really like.

The animation is underwhelming as well. It’s passable, but it lacked style. It lacked some gorgeous sakuga moments, and the colors of the characters are a bit too boring. You’d expect cool things during card battles, but they really just flow with no care. It’s as if the director was also experiencing the smack of confusion from the last season. But again, the animation is still passable though. In fact, the animation is good enough that it highlights the awful writing. I do think there are some missed opportunities here, like making the white room more dream-like, making the yandere’s monologues more menacing and even adding some blood to scenes that demand some blood. Yknow, just small details to heighten a scene. I dunno. The animation just felt lacking in a lot of areas.

The anime’s OP is “world’s end, girl’s rondo” by Kanon Wakeshima. This is a decent song, but I seriously tuned out while listening to the OP because the anime is just mind numbingly bad. It’s not as good as the first season’s OP, but it has its charm. You also can’t go wrong with Kanon Wakeshima. Her voice is awesome. The OP sequence is pretty great. It features all the characters, some of the plot threads and the gorgeous visuals of the show. The animation is also kinda lacking here, but it’s a good representation of the actual show.

The anime’s ED is “Undo: Ashita e no Kioku” by Cyua. I honestly skipped the ED song while watching. I kinda gave up on the anime halfway through. It’s a decent song, but it doesn’t really grab me in anyways. The same goes for the ED sequence. I love the background visuals, but it all feels subdued. Bored. I suck at analyzing music though, so that’s just my opinion on it.

Overall Score

5/10 “It’s confusing and badly written. It’s a complete letdown given the high the first season ended on.”

The show is hard to follow, and it’s laughably written. Original Screenplays can either be a rarity of gold or common trash. This one goes to the latter, and it can get pretty painful. The show is kinda funny at how bad it is, but it’s not really an exercise I’d encourage people to try. If you enjoyed the first season, then set your expectations low for the second one.  It’s not good. I do not recommend it.

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One thought on “Selector Spread WIXOSS Review

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