Here we go again.
What’s the Story?
When Suzuko returns to the town where she grew up, she’s actually looking forward to it, for one she finally has a chance to catch up with her childhood friend Chinatsu who hasn’t been responding to her letters. Things don’t exactly go as planned though, Chinatsu moved house years ago and Suzuko struggles to make new friends and her father is never home. Suzuko buys a deck of WIXOSS cards that appear to be all the rage in the hopes of making friends. Instead Suzuko is chosen as a Selector, one of a only a few players that have talking avatar card, called an LRIG, and battle it out amongst one another to have a wish granted regarding their memories. The downside though, is that if you lose, you lose everything, bye bye memories and your whole personality. That’s not the worse of it for poor Suzuko though, you see Chinatsu is a Selector as well and she’s not exactly as Suzuko remembers her.
And we’re back! After the defeat of Mayu in the previous seasons I bet you thought it was safe to get your WIXOSS cards out again (though seriously, these series are terrible adverts for the game, not only do I have no idea how to play the game after three seasons, but they also advertise that if you play, something horrible could happen to you!). Now I started watching this series before I watched the previous series, though after a couple of episodes I did go back and binge watch both Selector Infected and Selector Spread (something I was planning on doing anyway, but it was a nice incentive) and I can safely report that you don’t need to watch the previous two seasons to enjoy this. New city, new cast, new cards (what we see of them), there is a little bit of crossover, but that really just amounts to one episode explaining how we got from the events of Selector Spread to Lostorage Incited, which the continuity nerd in me does appreciate but it does leave it rather late in the anime to explain that sort of thing. It probably gets the balance about right, there’s not too much continuity to scare off or confuse newbies, but there is something for the fans to dig their teeth into, it’s just that this series has so little connection to the previous entries in the franchise that when this suddenly lands on you it feels a little out of the blue.
From a story front Lostorage is very similar to Selector Infected, but not so much that it feels like one is ripping off the other. We’ve got the main protagonist who’s a bit awkward and struggles to make friends, but when she puts her mind to it is practically a genius at the card game. We’ve got the fact that the card game is pretty much background noise so we can have some flashy fights to better symbolise the conflicts between characters and put pressure on them. We’ve got the raging psychopaths, the heartbreak and the sheer unrelenting darkness bearing down on characters until they smash into pieces. A lot of the pieces feel the same they’re just put in a different order or shaken up a little, though I have to say that the fact they’re playing for memories this time around instead of wishes is a good thing. It gives the series something different to talk about and there’s some good ideas floating around. Though not all of the changes for this series are as good.
Maybe I should treat this as its own thing and not compare it to the previous seasons, but that’s all my brain keeps doing. The animation is the first thing I come to, it just doesn’t pack the same punch as the previous seasons and I think that’s mostly down to the colour. Lostorage Incited has a very muted colour palette; it’s all soft colours and sunset pastel whereas the old animation was much brighter and flashier. There are a couple of bits, especially during the battles towards the end where the animators get to show there stuff a bit more, but I was never really blown away.
Another disadvantage this series has is in the character department, don’t get me wrong there’s nothing wrong with the characters, but, again, the previous series had a good helping of crazy people I could cheer on, but in this one the characters are all so normal and relatable. I mean the characters are all understandably upset about having to fight to protect their memories and also taking memories from other people by defeating them. There’s only one character I’d regard as truly crazy and while the guy is a total sadist and he does have his enjoyable moments, he is also entirely creepy (seriously, did we need so many sexual innuendos directed at teenage girls by the clearly older man?).
The main character is a bit of a letdown as well, though I think Suzuko suffers from the same problem as the series, which is it takes her a while to find her footing. She just comes across as so meek and naïve, her reluctance to battle is understandable, especially after she learns what’s at stake, but it just drags on for so long. She has no drive and her constant attempts to run away only make her more and more frustrating to watch. Her character gets a major boost once she actually decides to fight and starts learning the game more seriously, I mean I would have loved for this character to turn up sooner, she actually becomes a little bit of a badass during the last few episodes.
That does bring me to the best character, Chinatsu. From the start she captures your attention, the perfect student and daughter who starts to turn to the dark side when the pressures of life get a bit too much for her. You see Chinatsu tries to be perfect in an attempt to live up to Suzuko’s memory of her, an idea that Chinatsu starts to see as a chain holding her down. It’s some great drama and gets really tense as she meets up with Suzuko, you just want Chinatsu to realise the truth, that she’s misidentifying the problem, it’s not her memories of Suzuko that’s the problem but the pressure she’s putting on herself. She needs to find a way to vent and come to terms with her life, to look to the future, without throwing everything away and becoming the evil queen. Great character.
Lostorage Incited WIXOSS stumbles a lot at the beginning, but it does eventually find its footing. The story, once it gets going, has some good ideas at play dealing with people’s memories being at risk and how this season chooses to follow on from the previous seasons (though the 2 previous seasons are by no means mandatory watching to enjoy this). There are some really dark moments, but it culminates in a heartfelt, if bittersweet ending. Chinatsu is the most consistently interesting character, though the others are all enjoyable if not as crazy as I’d like. If you’re a fan of the previous seasons, this is pretty good, just not as good, but still enjoyable. If this your first experience with WIXOSS, then I think you’ll enjoy it, then you can check out the previous seasons, so win-win.
Chris Joynson, aka the Infallible Fish, is a writer, blogger and lover of animation living in Sheffield. The blog updates every Friday.