Dec 20, 2014
Link_of_Hyrule (All reviews)

Not many people know what to make of the Selector WIXOSS series. “Eh… it was okay I guess?” seems to be the reaction of most people, and I think that can be largely attributed to the fact that it’s so radically different from anything else in its genre; we’ve never seen anything quite like it. Anime fans simply aren’t sure how to feel about a show centered around a card game that never even explains the rules of its own card game. While most anime in the card genre are about making every conceivable reward obtainable by means of said children’s card game (i.e. Yu-Gi-Oh), WIXOSS is about precisely the opposite: The ramifications of said card game. This show isn’t about the glory and fame brought to those who win the game, it’s about the pain and sorrow that the game brings to those who play it. WIXOSS takes the Gurren Lagaan-esque “Do the impossible!” attitude that you’d normally see in this type of show and flips it entirely on its head, and that’s what I love about it. Presenting the most overlooked anime of 2014: The Selector WIXOSS series

Synopsis: WIXOSS is a card game that's popular with teenagers; teenage girls especially. However, the seemingly innocent card game has a secret. There exist cards called “LRIGs”; cards that have actual people with wills of their own trapped inside them. Only “special” girls called Selectors can hear the voices of the LRIGs, allowing them to do battle in a dimension that other humans cannot access. It's said that whomever triumphs in these battles will have their greatest wish granted. Our story follows Ruko Kominato, the latest girl to find an LRIG. She names her card “Tama”, and without any further explanation, is thrown into her new life as a Selector.

In case I haven’t already made it obvious, WIXOSS is NOT an average entry into the card game genre. In fact, it can justifiably be called a deconstruction of its genre. It has a considerable amount of depth to it and discussing its themes without spoilers could be tricky, but I’ll give it a shot. WIXOSS questions the very basis of achieving all of your wildest dreams by means of a higher power; it essentially examines the very basis of reaching all of your goals without directly facing the challenges that come along with those goals. Nearly every girl in the WIXOSS universe has a wish; a wish that they are convinced is impossible for them to realize without the limitless power of being a Selector. However, as is heavily foreshadowed, the deal isn’t as sweet as it’s made out to be. As the girl’s grow more and more miserable, they realize that this means of obtaining their desires goes against the very nature of accomplishment. Some of them discover that they didn’t want what they thought they wanted, some of them discover that what they wanted was within their reach the entire time, and others discover that they are happy with what already have after all. They don’t find happiness and contentment because someone came along and waved magic wand; they find it through their own thought processes and experiences. This is just one of many of the masterfully executed themes in the WIXOSS series, all of which are evenly paced for the most part, expertly foreshadowed, and beautifully executed. WIXOSS not only manages to have deep and meaningful themes, but it manages to be entertaining at the same time. There are some seriously exciting and heart-throbbing moments that will “Wow” you. That is no easy task, and it’s perhaps the main reason I consider this show to be so underrated. All in all, this anime had a spectacular story despite the fact that it could have elaborated on certain plot points a bit more and given a bit more closure towards the end.

The characters, in my opinion, are just as well written as the plot. While Ru, our protagonist, may be a bit bland, the rest of the cast is fleshed out, packed with personality, and legitimately complex. This is an extremely impressive feat given the sheer number of major characters that WIXOSS attempts to work with. From the humans to the LRIGs, nearly every single character is given proper motivations and a distinguishable personality. I’ve never seen a show that’s been able to do this with such a large cast and have it actually work until I watched WIXOSS. You WILL find at least one to grow attached too and you WILL become emotionally invested in the show as a result. The best part of this cast is that there are no clearly defined lines between good characters and evil characters (well, except for one character…). Even the most seemingly cruel Selectors/LRIGs are sympathizable and have logical motives that back their actions up. My personal favorite character was Tama. Not only was she inhumanly adorable, she actually managed to have a complex personality and her actions carried massive thematic weight. I was literally cheering at my computer screen for Tama to prevail in times of peril. She is without a doubt an incredibly likable character. However, like I said, there are many more great characters to choose from.

I’ll briefly touch on the fantastic soundtrack and the masterful use of animation before closing out: Starting with the OST, it never fails to get the job done. Its unique blend of new-age and orchestral tracks never fail to set the appropriate tone. Whether it be enhancing a saddening scene or pumping up an exciting scene, WIXOSS’s OST covers the entire emotional spectrum. Add on the two incredible OPs and you have yourself an awesome soundtrack. However, the real highlight of this anime’s presentation lies in the genius animation. Ladies and gentlemen, we have a confirmed sighting of VISUAL STORYTELLING! I know, shocking for a modern anime, but it’s true. WIXOSS blew me away with some seriously genius symbolism, with the contrasts between light and dark being a central theme. Not only does WIXOSS accomplish the difficult task of conveying meaning without words, it can also be breathtakingly beautiful at times. Some of the imagination and planning put into a couple of these settings is absolutely remarkable. This is seriously some noteworthy animation, even if it isn’t getting any attention.

In conclusion, the Selector WIXOSS series is criminally underrated. Why seemingly nobody else can see how masterfully this show executed its main themes and ideas is beyond me, but I’ll tell you one thing: this anime is a must-watch for psychological fans. WIXOSS may not be perfect, but it will keep you on the edge of your seat, it will make you think, and it will dazzle you with its presentation. Honestly, what more do you want? Go watch it!