Lostorage incited WIXOSS
by James Beckett,
How would you rate episode 11 of
Lostorage incited WIXOSS ?
Lostorage Incited WIXOSS is by design a much smaller show than its predecessors. At eleven episodes in, we still don't have any sense of worldwide reality-altering stakes, and we've only really gotten to know a small set of four or five characters. Even the main villain of the story has mostly served as a catalyst for conflict within this small core cast, with his larger schemes remaining ambiguous. This season of WIXOSS has, from its very first episode, been concerned about Chinatsu and Suzuko. Everything else that's happened, every other character we've met (save perhaps for Kiyoi), has been in service of propelling these two girls forward in their respective goals regarding one another. Chinatsu wants to forget about Suzuko, and Suzuko is determined to save Chinatsu from herself.
This narrowing in focus has been both a boon and a burden to this season, many times being both in the same episode. On the one hand, we have a core story and a sense of emotional depth that I've found more compelling than Selector Infected's more convoluted plot. On the other hand, Lostorage's own plotting has felt neglected, with many episodes seeming content to spin their wheels while Suzuko, Hanna, Chinatsu, and others work through their emotional issues. One can argue that this emotional through line is the main story focus of Lostorage, with all of the stuff involving Kou and the LRIGS acting more as set dressing, but the fact remains that while a lot of individual scenes between characters play well in the moment, the connective tissue stringing them together has simultaneously felt inconsequential.
This episode contains so much of everything that Lostorage incited WIXOSS does right and a good bit of what it does wrong. The entirety of the episode is devoted to setting up and playing out Suzuko and Chintasu's final confrontation; after both girls get the opportunity to spend some time with friends and family, the time comes for them to finally meet up and hash things out, magical card battle style. I'll say right off the bat that this confrontation, which takes up a good 2/3 of the episode's runtime, is great. The animation, which had been rather blasé and a little off-model for the first third of the episode, really ramps up and sells the drama of the scene, and the music underscores the lofty emotions nicely. Chinami Hashimoto and Yuka Iguchi have both been doing fine jobs this season as Suzuko and Chinatsu respectively, and with this fight they really sell their characters' emotional beats. Chinatsu is overwhelmed by her self-loathing and lashing out in any way she can, while Suzuko shows the most spine she's had all season and finally tells Chinatsu that erasing her own memories isn't going to solve anything. It's a satisfying battle, and probably the best single scene the show has had since its early episodes.
Most interesting is how it's taken up until this episode to highlight the romantic subtext between these two girls. It was one thing to have Suzuko's admonishments framed against Shouhei's romantic affection for Chinatsu, but it was quite another to show Suzuko's nude frame bound up in chains as Chinatsu embraces her. It's more of an on-the-nose visual metaphor for their friendship than anything, but the erotic connotations are so obvious that I'm shocked it hasn't been brought up yet. I'm sure the show won't really go anywhere with this, but the imagery and passion behind the scene helped bolster the already effective performances happening onscreen.
Unfortunately, for as good as the character stuff was between the two girls, Satomi showing up at the end highlights WIXOSS's biggest weakness and the struggle it will face next week as the season comes to an end. I couldn't care less about this Selector Battle storyline. This is a problem that the previous season had too, where the show tried so hard to make the mystery of the LRIGS and WIXOSS and the selectors this Big Thing, but it simply didn't work. This season, the show itself has shown very little interest in its own overarching plot, only dovetailing back to it when Chinatsu and Suzuko have nothing else to do. When the plot explicitly connects to those girls' stories, it works alright. (See the LRIG suicide from a couple weeks back.) When it stands on its own though, such as with Kiyoi and Satomi's fight from last week, it just doesn't work as well.
Now that Chinatsu and Suzuko's issues have ostensibly been resolved, it's possible that the show can wrap everything up at least partially in its final week, but I have serious doubts. No matter how much I enjoyed the emotional core of this episode, I can't help but be reminded of how unstable that core's foundations are. We'll see how things turn out next week, when everything comes to a head. I'm not sure that the show will be able to stick the landing, but at least we'll have gotten a few solid episodes like this one on the way there.
Lostorage incited WIXOSS is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
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