Lostorage incited WIXOSS
by James Beckett,
How would you rate episode 5 of
Lostorage incited WIXOSS ?
WIXOSS is hitting a weird sort of rhythm, which is more apparent than ever in this episode. The plot is inhabiting a limbo where it feels like a whole lot is happening and nothing much at all is happening, all at once. It isn't detrimental to the series, not yet at least, but I would be lying if I said this wasn't the weakest episode the show's given us so far.
It doesn't help that Suzuko and Chinatsu's reunion managed to feel so underwhelming. After the last few weeks of setup, I was expecting something much more emotionally resonant and impactful. Obviously, it's a little too early for them to battle each other, but the entire conversation boils down to Chinatsu telling Suzuko that she's playing the game to erase Suzuko from her memories. This should be a huge moment, and the direction tries to push that angle, but the impact just isn't there. I think we needed more time with Chinatsu and Suzuko interacting in the present to really highlight how far apart they've grown. As it stands, the scene simply plays like another bit of setup for the real character development we're going to get down the road. While I've appreciated this season of WIXOSS' ability to cut to the chase plot-wise, I am starting to feel that the decision to keep Chinatsu and Suzuko's relationship mostly flashback-centric is doing more harm than good.
The rest of the episode continues down this bumpy road, spending too much time on material that seems superfluous while giving more important elements short shrift. Shouhei and Chinatsu spend roughly half the episode chatting with one another, but nothing comes of it. We learn about why Shouhei is abstaining from battles altogether, but his role in the story is still a complete mystery. He's just kind of there. Then in the back half of the episode, Hanna and Suzuko get the fight that Hanna's been chasing for weeks now, and it just comes and goes with no real impact. I see what the show is trying to do, showing how even budding friends will be forced to fight one another in this game, but we've only just started to see that friendship grow, and the writing isn't developed enough to communicate the emotional fallout of the battle, whatever it may be. I wish the episode had spent more time on Chinatsu and Suzuko, saving these other beats for further down the road. As it stands, the plot this week felt like busywork, but busywork that amounted to very little end product. Nothing about the episode is terrible; it just feels incomplete.
I am enjoying the general concept of this season though. The idea that the girls aren't fighting to alter reality, but their individual perception of reality, is a twist on the formula that has the potential to be compelling. WIXOSS is using the Selector battles to explore how people are shaped by their memories and ask if someone can change their life simply by changing what they remember about their life. It's high-concept stuff, and I'm eager to see where it goes from here. Unfortunately, as we saw this week, such a heady premise can easily get lost in the weeds of exposition and the stage-setting parts of a story. WIXOSS needs to spend some more time developing its ground-level emotional foundation, lest it be consumed by the void of philosophical navel-gazing, as so many anime (including the original WIXOSS) have before it.
Lostorage incited WIXOSS is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
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