Selector Infected WIXOSS – 10-12 Review
Compared to what? Doorknobs?
I actually didn’t know that there would be a second season when I started watching the final episode. I mean, story-wise it’s better that there’s a second season. This finale hardly delivered anything to get excited about. But considering how rushed this finale felt and how half-baked the cliffhanger-ending was, I can’t help but feel it would’ve been better for this to be a standard 2-cour-series. Well, I guess, it certainly gives the animation-studio more time to have this sort of “break” between two seasons. Who knows, if you make more money splitting the series up like this one does. I mean, you have to do promotion for two series instead of one and there’s probably a bit of a drop in viewer-numbers with a second season airing a few months later that requires having watched the first season. My guess is it would be cheaper to keep enough people for a 2-cour-schedule around… well, as long as you can trust the series to sell at least, I assume.
You know, tournaments… They should be more like in fighting games. Just some buddies who get together, beat the shit out of each other, do some bad acting, exchange some cheesy dramatic lines and then some idealistic idiot wins the day so that everyone can have a nice little clap for good old goody-two-shoes doing his thing again. It’s far simpler than what tournaments are really like. Luckily Iona shares that enthusiasm as she had just finished watching Mortal Kombat: The Movie (and refused to watch its shitty sequel).
As a famous person she naturally used some Twitter-like thingy to contact everyone. Naturally Ru has NO idea how twitter works or what #selector could mean. Also, Iona using @iona_ulith as twitter-handle… talk about bloody fucking obvious, right?
But Ru decides to go to the tournament because she has a wish now… and her wish is to sacrifice herself in order to end the endless Selector-LRIG-cycle. Will she be able to achieve her wish at the end of the 12th episode? Or will the existence of a second season force the story to come up with a contrived reason for her world-saving wish to not come true…?
Yeah, sure, maybe with a genie on hand. Otherwise, wishing is only one step of doing what needs to be done. No wonder Ru ended up in the 12th episode like she did with this sort of wishy-washy advice.
And with that the first season comes to a plot-twist-heavy end that offers more questions than answers. But before that: I hope you still remember the one plot-twist that did give answers! Selectors turn into LRIGs and their LRIGs take their place! You better know that by now because up to the last two episodes the series just couldn’t shut up about it. I think this series seriously has spent something like four episode just to explain the same plottwist AGAIN AND AGAIN. For fuck’s sake, I got it the first time! Imagine the kid in The Sixth Sense instead of once saying the famous “I can see dead people.”-line, just constantly pointing that out:
Bruce Willis “Hey, kid, do you like the movie Godfather?”
Kid “I haven’t seen it – but since I see dead people I’ve heard a ton of spoilers already.”
Bruce Willis “What’s your favourite food?”
Kid “Chinese food, but only if it’s delivered to my home. People can die of food-poisoning at Chinese restaurants and since I see dead people I don’t like to be there.”
Bruce Willis “Kid, can you hand me that pen over there?”
Kid “Huh, I don’t see it… you know, because I can see dead people. Sometimes dead people are blocking my field of view. But other people don’t see the dead people that I can see, so they don’t know whether I can see a certain thing.”
For a couple episodes this series was JUST like that. Everything had to be about that goddamn plottwist. This series just couldn’t move on! You would never guess that this was only the first season from the way this series dwelled on that one story-point. But in the end it was time for the finale.
There were three story-beats used for this finale and it certainly delivered them without a lot of spectacle. The first story-beat was a rather logical development after the true nature of the WIXOSS-battle had been revealed: Ru finally found a wish. And like I’ve explained in the previous review of this series, the game had now become the true villain and therefore Ru as the heroine wished to end that evil. It’s a bit sad to see her really becoming the stereotype she had appeared to be from the beginning. Instead of going for the same kind of deconstruction as Madoka Magica did, this series does a lot to simplify the morality at play in the story. Anyway, Ru had a goal to fight for now and I would’ve really liked for her to become more active within the story because of that. With a goal, she could’ve pushed the plot forward and acted like the heroine she’s supposed to be. Instead the plot of the finale relied on two other storybeats for plot-developments.
The second storybeat is Iona creating a Selector-tournament at the new big tower that’s under construction. I’m sure everyone still remembers that tower. After all, Ru’s grandmother made a REALLY weird and creepy comment about it in the first episode. Well, at least we know now why that grandmother said that. It still doesn’t explain why she would say something like that, though, and it’s weird that Ru doesn’t seem to share that interest. Anyway, there’s a tournament and it’s one of those big, epic events that pose a challenge in terms of storytelling. There are hundreds of possible reasons why a series may not be up to the challenge of depicting it. Maybe it doesn’t have the budget or the writers don’t know how portray it in a good way or the series doesn’t have the time for showing it and so on and so on. The reasons don’t really matter, what matters are the results. And in this case it ends up leading to a blatant cop-out. The series simply doesn’t show the tournament. The duels of that tournament are more implied than shown. The only two that are being shown are those between Ru and Hitoe (that reveals the latter regaining her memory because… reasons) and the one between Iona and Ru. The others might as well never have happened. Not that I lament that fact. After all, WIXOSS is a card-game built on bullshit first and non-existent rules second.
So, Ru naturally beats Hitoe because apparently the universe likes seeing Hitoe stand up but loves watching her fall. With that there was only Iona left standing in Ru’s way (because for some reason Ru just NEEDED to best Iona despite the universe’s logic making it somewhat unnecessary). And that’s when the second storybeat of the finale is introduced. Of course, just like the tournament it simply happens out of the blue for a not-yet-explicable reason. Ru is THIS close to getting her wish granted – when Tama suddenly has a vision of her talking with that thing every ‘Eternal Girl’ meets. And that thing somehow convinces Tama to not support Ru’s wish because it would turn her into something else. I’m not really sure how Ru’s wish actually affects that anyway. If she wishes for all LRIGs to be freed, does this make it a one-time-deal or are there no more LRIGs around after that wish…? Who knows, the one thing I’m sure of is the idea that Ru would have to somehow sacrifice herself to make it all happen. After all, that’s why Tama betrays Ru in the end.
Yeah, because it was a dumb wish! At this point I don’t even know why she’s in the story… She still wants to be friends with Yuzuki and Ru – despite the supernatural affliction that causes her pain whenever she remembers them. Good for her! But now what? At this point she’s just a walking sob-story serving no story-related purpose whatsoever.
And another thing… I’m in the process of rewatching Madoka Magica and people have compared this series to Madoka Magica quite a bit, called it a ripoff and whatnot. And at first I wasn’t really thinking of this series as such. Sure, it was similar but WIXOSS did enough of its own to differentiate itself. And the stuff that was similar used general tropes. But this finale is using storybeats from Madoka that are a straight ripoff. These aren’t tropes a multitude of pieces of fiction have used. These are VERY specific things that are being copied by this series. The idea of a friend denying her best friend’s wish because it would demand for that best friend to sacrifice herself that is relevant to the betrayal of Tama is a rather obvious ripoff of the relationship Madoka and Homura had. Also, Ru’s all-encompassing wish to simply rewrite the laws of the evil game is a direct copy of Madoka’s ‘prayer’ in the finale of the TV-series (and the second movie). But in the end, I would still say this is more like a lesser version of Madoka Magica. It’s simply doing such a bad job of implementing the ideas stolen from Madoka Magica. Maybe this is simply how mahou-shoujo-series are written from now on in a post-Madoka-Magica-world. At some point, these Madoka-Magica-like interpretations of the mahou-shoujo-genre may become its own sub-genre and then it would be weird to just call them all rip-offs.
Selector Infected WIXOSS tries to follow up its major plot-twist with a finale that has as much shock-value but obviously falls short. The stage that was set up for the finale turns out to be a shallow affair lacking spectacle and depth. Also, the series’ willingness to turn most of the events of the finale into a mystery made the action a rather unengaging affair. While the end of the first season tries to be a plottwist, it rather comes off as random and confusing. And by having the main-character suffer a huge setback, the series’ momentum has moved backwards instead of following the forwards-momentum created by the new-found goal of the main-character.
- This moment in episode 10 when Ru and Yuzuki as LRIG hear a couple girls talk about Iona’s weird party-invitation… What a groanworthy, stupid scene! First of all, Ru is talking to a bunch of cards – in public! Wasn’t this whole Selector-thingy supposed to be a secret? Second… Really, the “#selector” didn’t give it away what the deal was? They set there talking for like a minute about something that should be VERY obvious.
- I have no idea what all this stuff right at the end is supposed to mean. Tama disappears, Iona becomes the new LRIG of Ru, etc., etc. … it’s really just a bunch of stuff happening without the series giving it any real context.
- Hitoe is a waste of space.