Episode 1 Impressions: Selector Infected WIXOSS

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Selector Infected WIXOSS definitely came to the front of the anticipation list for its very dark and gritty PV.  Though it still remains up in the air if this card battling anime can shed the stigma of the typical and shine as a great new take on an old and tired formula.  Will it become the next Madoka Magica, or just be a dark card battler.  As we dive into the first episode, there’s both promise and hesitation.

Synopsis
e1wixoss5Ruko Kominato is a relatively quiet girl who recently moves to a new school and now lives with her grandmother.  While she doesn’t care to meet new friends, her brother informs her that her grandmother worries about her because she hasn’t.  For this reason, Ruko’s brother buys her a deck of WIXOSS cards in hopes that she can meet new friends by playing it.

WIXOSS is a card battling game that is hugely popular with girls.  This is due in part by a big push by idols and celebrity women claiming that they all play it.  After receiving this deck, Ruko returns home and decides to crack it open.  Upon pulling her first card, she finds it housed by a cute white-haired girl who appears to be awakening from a sleep.  After it makes some noises and moves around, Ruko freaks out and startles her grandmother who rushes in to check on her.  Turns out her grandmother doesn’t hear the odd cat-like noises it keeps making.  Finding it to be an odd thing, Ruko puts the cards back in the box and goes to sleep.

Later that night, Ruko has a nightmare involving a nearby towering skyscraper that is being built.  However in her dream she fears the towering pillar will make the city disappear and screams for it to not fall upon the city.  Seemingly in response to her plea, a large white creature blocks its path and is impaled by the pillar.  The beast turns its gaze to Ruko with its hideous face, causing her to wake up in a panic.

She blames her nightmare on the still yapping card.  Pulling the card out, the card exclaims “battle” as if it desires to be played in a card game.  For this reason, the next day Ruko struggles over whether or not she will approach other players.  Before she can make a decision a girl named Yuzuki rushes up to her and claims that she has finally found her.  She calls her a “Selector” or a chosen card holder that is able to hear the voices of special female themed cards called “Rulig Cards” (or LRIG).

e1wixoss2Taking Ruko to the rooftop, they are joined by Yuzuki’s brother Kazuki.  There, Yuzuki explains the true purpose to the WIXOSS game and the chosen Selectors.  Turns out the celebrities and idols that have been pushing the game to be popular are actually Selectors themselves.  Since Selectors battle each other in order to be triumphant and have their wish granted, it benefits them to find the Selectors.  Though it’s not all good news since if a Selector loses 3 battles, their Rulig Card vanishes and so does their ability to do battle in the Selector’s realm.

With little explanation about the game itself, Yuzuki rushes Ruko to a bench, places out a game board, and awakens her Rulig Card to summon them into the playing field.  Ruko is transported into an alternate realm where she and Yuzuki sit at battle tables facing each other.  Even before soaking everything in, Yuzuki begins her turn and places a card on the battlefield.  Turns out Yuzuki wanted an easy win so she desired to attack Ruko before she could learn.  Thankfully for Ruko, Kazuki is able to speak into the world (while those within cannot communicate out of the realm) and talks Ruko into how to start the battle much to Yuzuki’s dislike.  He explains that Ruko must give her Rulig Card a name.  She names it Tama, after a cat her grandma once owned since it reminds her of it.  Tama seems to like this name and Ruko sends her into battle.

After commanding Tama to destroy Yuzuki’s card, Tama is then sent to inflict a devastating blow upon Yuzuki’s Rulig Card named Hanayo.  While Yuzuki begins to panic over the thought of losing, Hanayo encourages her to continue in hopes of granting her wish to be able to love her brother Kazuki.  Yuzuki panics in a blush and tells her to be quiet.  This entire ordeal is cut short when suddenly Kazuki calls for them to stop the battle due to a teacher showing up.  The battlefield suddenly closes and the three rush back to class.  When Yuzuki questions the state of the battle, Hanayo claims that the battle was interrupted and thus is not counted.

e1wixoss14Later, after school, Ruko runs into Yuzuki who explains her now sleeping Tama.  Apparently cards sleep after they have a bout, so it seems normal.  Ruko invites Yuzuki to her home to which she agrees.  This pleases Ruko’s grandmother greatly, who rushes off to the store to get some snacks for the girls.  To an extent that seems somewhat spoiling.  Alone in Ruko’s room, Yuzuki gets a confirmation that Ruko did not hear her embarrassing secret wish and seems to want to keep it that way.  Since Ruko has no care for the game, she offers to give Yuzuki a free win, Yuzuki declines as she feels Kazuki would hate her for it.

Thoughts
Selector Infected managed to do two things in its first episode correct.  It put a dark tone to things (even if rather reserved) and created some well designed characters that are grounded in reality.  However where it went wrong is in not creating enough intrigue.  It didn’t come out and say “Hey, we’re different here!”  So I’m still rather conflicted as to if this show will take it in a deconstructed direction.  Rather than breaking down the mold and making something that will knock my socks off, it’s still rather similar in formula to the standard card battler.

That’s not to say I’m throwing it out yet.  I honestly don’t expect it to go out of its way to destroy the mold right off the bat since it could very well be teasing a standard card battler before tearing its foundation out.  So time will tell, and there will be other impressions as I go along with this show.  We still haven’t seen the poison element that was teased in its PV and summary.  I foresee that their desires for a wish may in fact corrupt them into something more sinister or toxic.

e1wixoss10I will say however that the relationship of dreams, Rulig Cards, and Selectors gives me a feel of Dream Eater Merry.  Being as the cards have their own desires and sometimes that meshes with the dreams of the carrier.  Which in Dream Eater Merry was a great concept.  So even just in that, I have some hopes here.

As I mentioned, they designed some pretty good characters already.  While so far Yuzuki has no redeeming value as she seems like a very overused stereotype in that she’s a bro-con that seems to stupidly want that as her big wish, the other characters seem pretty solid so far.  Ruka, a quiet but not socially inept main protagonist with a cute personality, will do well in leading the show even if she’s fairly standard for a protagonist.  The real shine in episode 1 was in fact the grandmother.  She was lively, had a presence, and made me chuckle often with her great personality.

Stay tuned for more impressions.  If you haven’t seen the show yet, be sure to catch it on either Funimation.com or Crunchyroll.com!

Episode 1: This Miracle Trembles

THUMBS UP! PROMISING!

THUMBS UP! PROMISING!

IMPRESSIONS VERDICT:
Good!

Goods:

  • Good start
  • Good cast of characters
  • Decent dark feel

Fears:

  • Typical card battler
  • No deconstruction so far

Impressions are based on a single episode and don’t necessarily reflect the series as a whole. Unless dropped, we will continue to give updates on thoughts and impressions of the series as time goes by.

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Co-Founder of OtakuSpirit.com and Co-Host of the OtakuSpirit Animecast. A huge fan of anime since the early 1990s, consuming over 800 shows. While he's late to the collecting scene, he's found a lot of joy in filling his DVD/Blu-ray collection as well as collecting figures. Once a week, he posts unboxing and feature videos on anime goods to YouTube.