It’s time to look at the first season of Wixoss. Wixoss is one of those series that has a pretty cool concept but limits itself with a particular subplot. Online a lot of times you see people mention how they love anime but have a hard time recommending them to people who are not yet initiated into the format because of a plot or character that can be iffy. I can definitely see what they mean as even the best of titles tend to have some iffy elements that you more or less get used to as you watch them. That said, this one definitely sabotages itself early on but I’ll get more into that in a bit.
The series follows a girl named Ruko who doesn’t really have any friends. As a result her brother and grandma tend to worry about her. One day she is introduced to the game of Wixoss and can even talk to one of her cards. The card is an Lrig named Tama. Ruko then meets up with a girl named Yuzuki who challenges her to a battle. Ruko is winning the battle but it is then interrupted and she is told the full story. Ruko has been chosen as a “Selector” which means that her battles of Wixoss will be different from most. If she wins enough battles then she will have her wish granted. The problem is that Ruko has no wish that she wants to grant. All of the other girls are fighting as if their lives are on the line because their wish is so important. Can Ruko really fight and destroy these wishes with none of her own? At the same time, Ruko has only started to make some friends because of the game so if she stops now then she may lose them all.
Right from the start I imagine you’ll have some doubts on how legit the game is. In magical girl shows like this there is always a catch. Just look at Madoka where you end up turning into a witch at the end. I’ll go into this more later on in a spoiler paragraph that I’ll warn you about before entering. In the meantime lets talk more about the show in general. The rules of Wixoss are never really explained. The show doesn’t bother to lay the groundwork here which is a shame. Scripting out entire battles can be pretty difficult which is why it’s always so impressive when Yugioh does it. This show takes the easy way out as it focuses on just showing us the characters attacking and you have to trust that they’re following the rules. There’s no way to really tell though so that makes things a little easier on the writers.
The animation for the show is definitely pretty solid. The character designs are on point and the energy effects look sharp. When we do get the occasional hand to hand technique combo the animation is quite smooth as well. This isn’t really an action title at its core but it can certainly deliver. The animation is also really sharp whenever a contract is made. I liked the lighting during episode 12 as well which helped solidify that as the best episode. It had a very theatrical feel to it as the end drew near.
As for the soundtrack, it’s a little less memorable but I did like it. It’s not a huge soundtrack or anything but I wouldn’t expect it to be for only 12 episodes. There will be a handful of tunes you will enjoy though. I also liked the opening well enough. Wixoss definitely did well in all of the technical areas as you would expect. It’s basically like Megaman or Angelic Layer with the setting and this is just taking a darker look at the genre. Even then it’s nowhere near as dark as Madoka or something but throughout the show you know things are not going to go well for the heroes.
All right, lets talk about the troublesome plot. Yuzuki is one of the main characters and her wish is for her to be together with her brother Kazuki. Unfortunately along the way she started to like him and not in a family sense. It’s an unfortunate plot here in part because it takes up so much space. This isn’t super uncommon for anime. Usually though it’s played for laughs like in Black Clover or Railgun. It’s a comedy plot that shows up every now and then and you can almost write it off as not actually being serious from the character’s perspective in some anime. I’d say both of those are serious but they’re gag plots in the background that don’t effect much. Wixoss decides to take this plot quite seriously and have them deal with everyone’s reactions and how society considers it taboo. Unfortunately it doesn’t land.
Sword Art Online gets attacked a lot for its similar plot with Suguha and Kirito but that series actually tackled it a lot better. Suguha actually tried to get over Kirito by playing video games but unfortunately the next guy she liked turned out to be Kirito in disguise. So at least she tried to escape. When Kirito found out he very quickly and decisively shut that down. He did it in a nice way of course but did not entertain the notion for an instant. She’s his sister even if that’s not literally the case it’s how he sees her so it wouldn’t work. In this show Kazuki very quickly crumbles after 10 minutes of Yuzuki being direct and it’s all over for him.
The show definitely approaches this in a serious way but it’s not a good idea from the start. That’s because there’s no way you could spin this into a good thing. It just comes across as creepy immediately and gets way more screen time than it should. I was originally hoping Yuzuki’s wish was that they weren’t related so she could then make her move. That would have at least helped but since it wasn’t then this issue was not solved. So this plot is really what would prevent me from being able to recommend this show. It’s just a hard plot to get around and ends up dramatically hurting both of their characters. Kazuki in particular since he folds so easily. You’d think he could have stayed strong for more than a day. Instead he proves to be quite weak willed.
As for Yuzuki, it’s a shame since she was probably the most enjoyable character for a little while there. I like that she has a tougher disposition than the others. When the two characters get held at knifepoint by Akira Yuzuki is pretty quick to push her away. When the bullies are after Ruko Yuzuki is also key to eluding them and helping her evacuate the school. There’s just no way to overlook this plot though which definitely has her take a huge hit in the character department. I do doubt her skills as a Wixoss player though since she was losing to a girl who had never played before and didn’t even know the rules. How does that happen?
Ruko is the main character and she ends up being a strong one by the end. She really just wants to have some friends and is glad to have someone to talk too. She didn’t have the greatest childhood although her situation is a lot better now that she’s with her grandma. Getting involved in a game of life or death to her wishes is a pretty big next step though. While she is fairly undecided for a good portion of the story, she does get herself resolved by the end. I greatly enjoyed her character in the final episodes as she finally got serious. She’s consistently been shown to be the strongest character in the series here and the only thing that holds her back is self doubt. Without that she would be able to crush her opponents with ease.
Tama is one of the main Lrigs and definitely the best one. She’s not manipulative the way the others are. In a way this is because she lost her memories though. Unlike the others she has no idea on what is going on here and just wants a good fight. She loves fighting and as a result is always asking Ruko to participate. It’s definitely good to have an LRig who enjoys the game. It makes things easier on Ruko at least and they make for a good combo. Tama’s card must have great stats as well with how she easily takes care of her opponents.
Then you have Iona who is one of the main antagonists here. She’s rich and one of the most powerful players so she can come across as rather intimidating. She’s not unhinged the way that Akira is but still exudes an aura of great power. She’s not someone that you want to mess with and she’s a very solid character. She’s probably the only person who doesn’t back down to Akira. Aside from her fights with Ruko you never get the feeling that she’s in trouble. It’s why she makes for a great villain and the back and forth with Ruko in the final episode made for a very intense final battle.
Then you have Hanayo who is Yuzuki’s partner. She comes across as one of the wiser Lrigs although because of that you can’t really trust her. After all, the more you know about the game the more that you are keeping from your Selector. Hanayo certainly has plans of her own. The show tries to make her a sympathetic figure but it’s hard to buy into it. She knew exactly what she was doing and the only reason she didn’t say anything is for her own benefit. So no matter how you slice it, she’s not someone that you can trust.
Akira is one of the villains of the series and easily the best character by the end. She is definitely willing to win by any means necessary and is the most savage fighter. What I also liked about her was her quick wit. She can read into the wish of her opponents and always twists it in such a way where the opponent loses confidence. She does this to all 3 of the main characters with great success. In particular it was impressive with how she handled Ruko since you’d think that not having a wish would trip her up but Akira takes it in stride. She can be rather insane and cruel but that’s what makes Akira so good. Her nickname gimmick is fun as well. You won’t find a character tougher than Akira. From this season you can tell that nothing will break her. The fact that she even tried attacking the characters in the real world showed her true resolve.
Chiyori is a character who shows up briefly in the series but doesn’t get much of a role here. She basically serves as a quick opponent to be defeated and someone who still plays the game for fun. By the end of the season she won’t have made much of an impression on you although her outfit is cool. Midoriko is probably the worst of the LRigs in the series. Just a very weak character all around and doesn’t make any of the right decisions. As an LRig you either need to embrace being the villain or try to be a rare hero. Midoriko tries to act sympathetic the entire time but when you’re always saying the plot twists a bit too late, it starts to ring as hollow.
Urith is an example of an LRig who likes being the antagonist. She talks tough throughout the series and definitely isn’t afraid of anyone. She is a very interesting character and definitely one that you like to have around. It helps that she can back up her tough talk. Finally we have Hitoe who is definitely the most timid member of the main group. She’s not really much of a fighter at all and tends to lose just about every battle she’s in. Her backstory is rather tough since she’s never had friends before and wants some but isn’t sure how to go about it. I was glad that her mother appears as a very reasonable character and not one who is making things even tougher on her. Ultimately Hitoe has a solid character arc but she never quite rose up for me. She stayed as a fairly weak character and I’ll need to see her step up to the plate to change that.
These next 2 paragraphs are the spoiler ones so please keep that in mind and skip them if you have not seen the show yet. You don’t want to keep on reading. So it turns out that the cost for losing 3 battles is that your wish becomes distorted and you forget about Wixoss. For example if your wish is to make friends then you can never make friends again. It’s a tough penalty but not one that really sticks. We find out in the series that you can override the negative wish if you have enough willpower. It makes sense though because the wish also has limits. It turns out that the Wixoss cards can’t really use magic to make wishes come true. What happens is if you win enough battles, your Lrig takes over your body and you take its place. It actually makes a lot of sense since it’s pronounced Elrig and the girls are told they will become Eternal Girls when they win. If you spell that backwards it would be GirlE. (Eternal Girl) It turns out that it’s spelled a different way as I found out when writing this review but because of that you may figure out the twist almost immediately.
With few exceptions, the Lrigs have no real powers. So that means if your wish is to take over a Kingdom or something it’s not going to happen. Literally how the pact works is once the LRig takes over your body it has to fulfill the wish you asked for to the best of its abilities. A lot of these wishes are pretty easy like becoming an author or making friends. Some like claiming a romance should be more difficult but the Lrigs tend to have some charm. It does then make sense why they can’t enforce the negative wishes so well either. I do still question how Akira overrode hers so easily though. She didn’t forget the game for an instant and went right back on the attack. I suppose her will is just rock solid. So the whole game feels like a scam the more you think about it but of course the characters don’t know this. It’s an interesting twist since usually the powers are absolute.
The best episode of the series is definitely the last one for me. I was glad that Ruko finally had a strong resolve and fought for it. Her deception to Tama was a pretty big one though. I suppose she figured Tama would never know but in a game where your LRig can read your mind at times that is very risky. I do think Ruko’s decision was a good one but while I understand the lie, she should have been upfront with Tama. It may not have worked but it’s a risk you have to take. The idea of a quick tournament while climbing up the tower made for a solid climax as well. It’s just a great way to end the season and the cliffhanger is intense. You definitely know there will be a season 2 from how it ends but if not that would have been quite the ending for sure.
Overall, Wixoss had a rocky first season. If you take away Yuzuki’s plot then this definitely gets bumped up a pair of stars but ultimately that plot is absolutely crucial to the season in the sense that it appears in almost every episode. It would basically be a different show without it. There are ways the show could have fixed it and had a similar plot instead but the past is the past. With how events unfold in this season the next one will have changed the dynamic a bit. So the show handles most of its aspects rather well but I’d sooner recommend checking out the original Magical Girl show with high stakes known as Madoka Magica. To this day that’s still one of the all stars of anime.