Lostorage incited WIXOSS
by Rebecca Silverman,
How would you rate episode 1 of
Lostorage incited WIXOSS ?
How would you rate episode 2 of
Lostorage incited WIXOSS ?
When is a game not “just” a game? Anime and literature have been asking that question for a long time now, and the most recent aspirant to the answer is Lostorage incited WIXOSS, the second series (and technically third season) to be based on the WIXOSS trading card game. The title appears to be a portmanteau of “lost” and “storage,” presumably referring to the sinister reason why the heroine, lonely high school girl Suzuko, is forced to fight along with others unfortunate enough to be chosen as “selectors,” or wielders of sentient LRIG (base) cards: every battle you lose results in the loss of memory, and losing five battles in a row will erase you.
Honestly, I'm not entirely on board with this concept – it feels unnecessarily mean. That does stand to change as the series goes on, however, because elements of both these episodes can be read as indicators that Suzu, and later her estranged childhood friend Chinatsu, have been “selected” because they have inner reserves of strength drawn from their shared memories. Both girls have named their sentient LRIGs after the handmade keychains they shared, and since the LRIGs have access to their Selectors' minds and memories, both continually make comments about the hold that the girls have over each other. Although the show is setting them up to face off against each other in a negative way right now, my hope is that eventually both will realize the power of their friendship and will not only both survive, but break the system. If that becomes the end game, which does feel plausible, the base concept may prove worth it.
As of right now, however, there are some issues that arise from these episodes doing such a good job of conveying to us just how emotionally alone both Suzuko and Chinatsu are. Suzuko's family moved away six years ago and has just now returned, only for her to transfer schools in the middle of the year, when friend groups and cliques are already set in stone. To make matters worse, she hasn't heard from Chinatsu in years, so the one thing that could have made this move bearable is absent. Seeing some girls at school playing WIXOSS, she picks up a deck only to end up a Selector and be forced into serious battles. She does win her first one, but the concept and the experience are so traumatic and repugnant to her that she's hell-bent on never engaging in another again.
Chinatsu, meanwhile, is given no explanation for why she buys a deck – possibly it's to try and reduce the stress in her life. It turns out that her family had to move to company housing after her father lost his job, and now every day is a financial struggle for Chi and her parents. She works five days a week at a fast food place while studying hard to win a full scholarship at her expensive school, so her LRIG's urging for her to learn the ins and outs of the game is more an irritant than anything. Not fully understanding what the price for losing is, Chinatsu accepts all matches just so that she can end the whole thing. It's only when she starts to understand that she might lose herself that she becomes serious, but unfortunately that's only after her LRIG Meru has annoyed her so much with memories of Suzu that she's become angry with her childhood friend by default.
So we now have Suzuko desperately trying to avoid all battles (to her LRIG's despair) and Chinatsu practically spoiling for them. Both girls have become outsiders in their own lives, with Suzuko's father essentially absent from her world entirely (the implication is that her mother has died) and Chinatsu feeling helplessly caught in the current of her family's misfortunes, causing her to act out against the two girls who tattle that they saw her out late. (It is interesting that we can't quite tell if Chinatsu is vilifying them because of her mood or if they really are malicious.) One is afraid of her power while the other is willing to do anything to master it. You just know that when they meet again, it isn't going to be pretty.
Whether or not Lostorage incited WIXOSS can balance out its crueler elements with the girls' emotional strengths and weaknesses will be its ultimate test. With many Selectors in the opening theme yet to be introduced, I am hopeful that it will take the girls some time to actually meet, because right now it would utterly destroy Suzuko to see who Chinatsu has become – and that would make this a really short series.
Lostorage incited WIXOSS is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
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