Lostorage incited WIXOSS
Episode 8

by James Beckett,

How would you rate episode 8 of
Lostorage incited WIXOSS ?

I've been thinking about it, and I don't think WIXOSS' problem is that nothing has been happening. The problem is that it consistently feels like nothing is happening. Even in episodes like this week, where we get to learn a fair amount about some of our most underdeveloped characters, the plot still only seems to move in fits and starts. These developments are just a little more pronounced this week, and the new information just barely makes this entry an improvement over the last few. It's still not where it needs to be this late in the game, but it is upward momentum nonetheless.

For starters, we finally get some concrete detail on Hanna's goals and the personal tragedy that led to her down this path. A dead little brother is nothing revolutionary in the realm of anime, but the twist this Selector game puts on things gives it an interesting perspective. Hanna can't change the past, but she can shed some light on what happened to her brother, unveil long dormant memories that could potentially lift the weight of his loss off her shoulders. Much like Chinatsu, Hanna isn't trying to change the world so much as she's trying to change her perspective on it, and I think that Hanna's goal makes a lot more sense as character motivation. Chinatsu believes she can alter her entire world simply by removing Suzuko from her life, while Hanna is simply seeking little bit of absolution. I'd wager the latter is something a lot of people can relate to.

On the antagonistic side of the fence, we get to learn quite a bit more about the bookmaker this week as well. Not only was Kou formerly an LRIG who is now inhabiting her former master's body, but her (now his) game seems rooted entirely around taking revenge on the humans who use LRIGs to their advantage. Again, vengeance is old hat in the anime game, but it is something concrete to staple on to his scheming, a personal drive that makes him more of a full-fledged character. I'll be interested to see if his identity ties back into characters from the first season. Any references to previous WIXOSS events have been little more than winks and nods so far, so I'm curious to see if anything more comes of that connection, or if the series would have been better off as a full-fledged reboot.

As far as our actual main characters are concerned, we do get a nice yet brief interaction between the two that finally shows the cracks in Chinatsu's façade. She'd been played as so mercilessly headstrong in her pursuits the past couple of episodes, it was hard to see if any of the “old Chinatsu” was left, especially since we've only really gotten to know that side of her through exposition and flashbacks. Seeing her falter in light of Suzuko's unwavering friendship was a small touch, but it went a long way toward addressing my complaints about her characterization. It's still got a ways to go, but it's reassuring to know that there's going to be more to Chinatsu's arc than upping her Edgy Quotient™ a point or two every week.

Despite all these advancements, I would still be very hard pressed to praise this week too much. There's just something about the direction and writing that neuters a lot of the emotional impact these beats are supposed to have. Maybe it's the constant repetition of the same settings and environments, or maybe it's that so much of the Selector conflict is internalized, making the stakes and consequences difficult to demonstrate. Either way, it's going to take more than a handful of plot revelations and a nice scene or two to fix the pacing and energy problems this series is having. The forecast is looking a bit better, but it will have to improve even more if WIXOSS is going to leave any lasting impressions by the time this season ends.

Rating: B-

Lostorage incited WIXOSS is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.

James is an English teacher who has loved anime his entire life, and he spends way too much time on Twitter and his blog.

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