Before moving away from her childhood home, Suzuka Homura made a promise. A promise to her best friend Chinatsu that they would always be best friends. When circumstances have Suzuka move back to the place she grew up, Chinatsu doesn’t appear to be anywhere in sight. Everyone at Suzuka’s new school are enticed by the new WIXOSS trading card game. Not fitting in at her new school, finding it difficult to make new friends and with Chinatsu nowhere to be found, Suzuka purchases a deck of her own in hopes to fit in with the crowd. Shockingly, one of the cards in her deck turns out to have a will of its own, and explains that she has been chosen as a “Selector”, a special type of WIXOSS player that must defeat other Selectors in matches or risk losing themselves and their memories to darkness forever. This is more than just a game, it’s a battle for who you are.
The original Selector Infected WIXOSS series was the biggest surprise of 2014. I never expected much of it, and it turned out to be an absolutely phenomenal series that earned my spot for Anime of the Year as well as a place in my all time favourites.
So naturally, I have been incredibly hyped and overly excited for this new WIXOSS series since the day it was announced, and have been eagerly awaiting the release of this episode. And after such a long wait I am happy to say that I wasn’t disappointed in the slightest.
First of all, to answer the big question: No. You do not have to have seen the original two earlier entries in the franchise to understand what’s going on. This series is more of a reboot of some sort with completely different characters and a some what different direction in storytelling within the same universe. Although, I’d highly recommend watching the prior two series anyway, because they’re amazing.
But what about Lostorage? Well, judging from this episode alone, it’s been an absolute blast so far. The series wastes no time getting into its main story and setting things up. In this first episode, the series has more or less established its main characters personality and the story it is trying to tell. Suzuka is already a solid and fully realised main character, and she is entirely different to Ruko from the original WIXOSS series, which means Lostorage isn’t simply taking the same route as its predecessor, making everything feel fresh.
And that’s really what makes this episode feel so great, it delivers the brilliance of WIXOSS yet it’s entirely new and exciting at the same time. I was worried that the series was going to simply lift from the original, and re-hash the same story elements and core themes, but instead it’s doing quite the opposite.
Unlike the original series which was a slow build up from mere fun and games transitioning into a dark, messed up, life crushing scenario, Lostorage wastes no time in getting straight to the point. It’s dark and twisted from the get-go and Suzuka herself is placed in imminent danger right from the start. This time around, the WIXOSS game is not a choice nor is it a battle for ones own dreams and desires, it’s a battle to maintain ones identity and memories, which has the potential to create some incredibly interesting conflicts and scenarios further down the line.
And judging from how this episode ends, it looks like Chinatsu, Suzuka’s childhood friend has also become a Selector. Are they going to clash at some point, battling one another for the sake of maintaining their own identity? I seriously hope so, because the prospect of such an emotional conflict is just too exciting to not happen.
Oh, and the first Selector battle was awesome. I won’t ruin the excitement of it, but it was a fantastic and energetic conflict of pure epicness.
However, there were some minor issues with the general aesthetic. While this is certainly one of studio J.C Staff’s better efforts in terms of character designs and animation quality, the backgrounds of the series are fairly bland and occasionally look very out of place. I’m not sure what they were thinking with these new backgrounds, but they can be pretty jarring, and I hope I get used to them over time. That being said, the backgrounds used in the Selector Battles are another story, they look incredible.
And despite my issues with the aesthetic, the directing of the series and its consistently well handled atmosphere more than make up for it. There’s a lot of scenes that greatly emphasise Suzuka’s character and her general feeling of loneliness through subtle directing techniques that really enhance the experience visually despite its visual problems. The scene transitions are also wonderfully handled, and really convey the sadistic tone and dark atmosphere that the series is going for. And the sound design is really something else, with the music and sound effects being beautifully composed and produced.
As a humongous fan of the original WIXOSS, this first episode of Lostorage was everything I expected and so much more. I didn’t expect this new series to bring so many new ideas to a franchise I thought had explored all of its possible ideas already.
If the series keeps up this momentum and this high quality, it will not only be the Anime of the Season, but it will most certainly be the Anime of the Year.
This is the best first episode I’ve seen all year, and I absolutely cannot wait for the next one.
Oh, and Suzuka is best girl. Period.
So what are your first impressions of Lostorage Incited WIXOSS?