Card games – not just for boys! Check, got it.
So here we are, the show with the worst title this season. I think it’d be fine if you excised either ‘Selector’ or ‘Infected’, but with both its clunky. This was the show that I found impossible to keep the name straight of when going over the shows for the season, and its even theoretically all in English!
WIXOSS starts with the friendless Ruuko living with her Tetris-master grandmother, set against a backdrop of some shadowy, violent visions that are dropped in sans explanation. Ruuko doesn’t mind her lack of friends, but marketing and her grandmother do, so her onii-chan drops in to give her a starter set of WIXOSS cards, the cool new TCG that all the girls are playing! And did we mention that TCGs aren’t just for boys? Because they really aren’t just for boys! And this one is so not just for boys that its sinister iteration with magical talking cards and a battle to be the Eternal Girl (gets to grant wishes!) is ONLY for girls!
Its hard to talk about WIXOSS without being a bit snide, to be totally honest. I couldn’t quite recall while watching whether WIXOSS was an actual TCG or not, but it seemed it must be based on how hard the damn thing is pushed here. That being said, this wasn’t a bad episode… not good, either, mind you, but it did decently and it exceeded the rock-bottom expectations I had going in.
I’ve seen comparisons to THAT magical girl show, but while a couple elements and the atmosphere are reminiscent, what really comes most strongly to mind is Yu Gi Oh. The entire way the battle system is set up is pure Yu Gi Oh: Duel Masters. Add in a dose of Zatch Bell or Rozen Maiden (if you lose too much, you lose your special living card, the LRIG!), a dash of Mai-HiME, and a touch of Digimon Tamers, and you’ve pretty much got this show.
Of course, then there’s Fantasista Dolls – the premise is pretty similar, and the first episodes have quite a bit in common, but I hesitate to make the comparison based on the very different feel to the mood of the shows. They do have the same “Wait, who is this even for?” feeling, though, as both shows come off as meant for the seinen market whereas the associated card games are apparently targeted to the eight to fourteen set of girls. Of course, it may just be a stab for expanded marketability; if you get guys into the shows, they might pick up the TCGs, too.
But, really, its Yu Gi Oh! Duel Masters with the atmosphere of Yu Gi Oh Season Zero (y’know, the one where people’s hands were lit on fire and people got stabbed). Fantasista Dolls as a comparison point is an afterthought – there will be no whale-punching here, clearly.
My strongest sentiments coming out of the episode were:
- the grandmother is cool
- I really liked the backgrounds in several of the scenes; loved the level of detail
- our first rival is a girl who is in love with her twin brother??? how fucking anime is that? and why am I annoyed by this? I usually love twincest!
I’m being kind of negative, but I actually mildly liked this first episode. I hope the toy commercial aspects get toned down a hell of a lot, and I do think its possible they will – the aforementioned Digimon Tamers is the most explicitly toy commercial of the Digimon anime series but also ends up being the best as well as being really quite good. Ruuko needs more character, and some of her reactions to things feel borderline sledgehammer (she frets over how eager her LRIG, Tama, is about battling, in a manner that comes off as overdone considering that she barely knows how to even play the game so far), but its early days.
Oh, yeah, and I’m willing to bet that rival Yuzuki ends up becoming jealous and hateful toward Ruuko because the twin, Kazuki, shows a mild interest in or concern for Ruuko.