There was once a time when anything that the animation studio J.C.Staff produced caught my eye as something I should at the very least give a try while it aired. One of those shows (what was also one of the last I applied this general curiosity towards) was an anime that aired in the Spring season of 2014 and used as promotional material for Takara Tomy’s new card game, selector infected WIXOSS. While this show wasn’t anything overly special, it was a dark hopeless look at achieving your wishes no matter what the cost that was exactly what people who like dark and hopeless shows would want while not being so depressing that it alienated the entirety of the general airing anime audience.

With an original story written by Mari Okada that used the card game as an interesting centerpiece but kept the game itself ambiguous enough that the show never became about the game (like how Yu-Gi-Oh is done) while keeping presence in the production making sense overall, selector infected WIXOSS grew a reputation amongst the people who liked it as something they could reliably enjoy. After selector infected WIXOSS was a sequel series, selector conflated WIXOSS, that put the original story by Mari Okada to rest in a fitting conclusion — after the last selector WIXOSS spin-off manga ended in December of 2016, Mari Okada had finished everything she started for her original WIXOSS story.

However, WIXOSS anime didn’t end there. In the Fall season of 2016, J.C.Staff aired a new sequel to Okada’s story in the anime Lostorage incited WIXOSS. This time the anime staff was completely different with very few members sticking around from the first two seasons and that meant series composition was handed over to Michihiro Tsuchiya. This overall wasn’t a terrible thing since the show continued to visually look fine and Tsuchiya added some interesting ideas to the overarching WIXOSS story. Whereas in the first two seasons all of the main protagonists and antagonists were females, Tsuchiya added a few male characters into the mix, and where Okada’s WIXOSS was about making your wishes come true, Tsuchiya’s WIXOSS was about individual identity and what it meant to be the “true you”.

These aren’t bad ideas, and while watching Lostorage incited WIXOSS the production, at least for half of the season, was pretty much up to par. It was nothing amazing and overall the show played it pretty safe for the first six episodes, but then it got a few things wrong. Tsuchiya introduced death to the WIXOSS anime in a way that felt hollow and wasn’t really thought through as much as just losing games was in Okada’s story. Along with this, Tsuchiya lost the important ambiguity the WIXOSS card game had inside of the production. Okada’s conveying of the game wasn’t perfect for what needed to be done, but Tsuchiya made it more confusing rather than too clear and ultimately made the card game feel like it’s presence was unnecessary.

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This was, at least for me, what killed my expectations for anything in the future WIXOSS anime wise. How poor the latter half of Lostorage incited WIXOSS was in terms of story was what lead me to looking into the staff for each show and realising where things fell apart. Tsuchiya added plenty of things that could have been interesting, which in concept are still very interesting to me, but the way it was executed made it crumble with the expectations of Okada’s WIXOSS. It felt like dark moments were being forced rather than developed and the deeper themes were harder to get a light bulb on immediately whereas the first time a character lost three battles in selector infected WIXOSS it became blindingly obvious what the show was trying to say.

Which is unfortunate, because the new season of WIXOSSLostorage conflated WIXOSS, seems like the staff did their homework. The return of the original cast from Okada’s WIXOSS caught my attention with the new season airing in Spring of 2018. Their shift to a character from one of Okada’s manga for the series not only being the main character but being conveyed well from her source material not only has given me higher hopes but has also gotten me to stick around a little longer. I’d be lying if I said I was expecting it to be as good as Okada’s WIXOSS was in my eyes, but there are at least signs that are pointing me to believe this season will be significantly better.

Firstly, Tsuchiya has a cast of familiar characters now rather than brand new ones he was inserting into the story, for the exception of this season’s main character. Since he’s already proven himself to be capable of representing a character with an existing background through both this new main character and the already witnessed return of Akira Aoi and Ruuko Kominato being done well and fitting their story at least not horribly. Their introductions felt necessary and they don’t feel like they were shoehorned in, so if the season continues with this cast it will undoubtedly do better than it did with it’s original cast.

Secondly, it seems like the changed shift in themes from wishes to identities is going to be back under the spotlight and hopefully with a season to develop the change in battles in the show Tsuchiya has a better idea how to write the story to fit his theme. While it would have easily been more preferable if Tsuchiya didn’t just flop his attempts at making an addition to WIXOSS, if he has another stab at it with a cast that was written by someone who created the setting his story takes place in, hopefully he’ll have put more thought into how to incorporate his theme into the show rather than trying to juggle new characters and completely changing what the audience knows about WIXOSS.

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The most unfortunate thing about this dilemma, however, is that had it not been for the returning cast, my interest in Tsuchiya’s story would be completely gone. The initial entry into his arc of WIXOSS made a mistake when it had expectations to live up to, and for some people that may even keep their interest in the show dead. However, the most fortunate thing about that slip up is that now everything that the season does well is a pleasant surprise. Hopefully, the surprises keep being pleasant, and the end result is something overall better.

Thanks a bunch for reading this week’s editorial! This was an idea I had bouncing around in my head for a little bit but it wasn’t until I caught up with airing anime that I noticed that perhaps the new WIXOSS isn’t awful. If you have anything to add to this post feel free to do so in the comments and as always if you want to see what I’m up to when I’m not writing for this blog why not follow me on Twitter? See you all next post!