If Yugioh and Madoka Magica had a love child this show would be it.
Bingeability: First season better than the second.
Watched On: Hulu
Beginning: Episodes 1-7
I didn’t really know what I was getting myself into when I first started Selector Infected /Spread, but the description intrigued me: In the popular game WIXOSS, there are special cards called LRIGs—cards that possess wills of their own. Ruko is a teenage girl who just found one of these rare cards. If she wins with her LRIG, her wish will be granted.
Let me start out by explaining Selector Infected is the first season (12 episodes) ad Selector Spread is the second season, making the grand total episodes 24.
The animation is clean and overall very cutesy despite the darker themes playing in the undertones. At first Wixoss seems like just another children’s card game, one with the chance to make your wish come true- That’s cool. But like Madoka Magica, getting your wish comes at a price.
One of the key intriguing factors of the show is the mystery surrounding each character. Ruko has some dark past with her mother, Tama (her LRIG) has a blood thirst for battle, and the friends Ruko makes while playing the game all have their own wishes they want to come true. Much like Madoka Magica these girls have interesting back stories and motivation for their wishes.
It’s this collection of intrigue and characters that hooked me in the beginning. The card game of Wixoss doesn’t make much sense, unlike Duel Monster’s which goes into the pain staking details about rules. In this show, the card game isn’t the focus. This is shown in how quickly many of the card battles go, usually they finish within a single episode.
Which allows the show to focus on the overarching plot- the mystery of the wishes.
Middle: Episodes 8-16
We hit the mid season finale with a bang big enough to propel into Season 2. Without spoilers all I can say is that Wixoss keeps up with dark twists that set a heavy tone for the next Season.
With the sudden turn into darker story lines Wixoss unfortunately drops some of the (more interesting) plot points. Ruko’s mother is never brought up again and the story doesn’t delve into the after effects of her friends and their wishes.
Instead the story now focuses on the origin of Wixoss and Tama. This information is needed and interesting in itself but it drags its feet on giving you answers. At the same time it reduces everyone (besides Ruko and Tama) to a supporting role. And still the show insists on introducing more characters when they know there isn’t time to flesh them out. In fact. with the focus so much on Ruko and Tama there is no time to flesh out anyone else!
Such is the case of Akira, a prominent villain throughout the story who eventually disappears with no explanation. This bothered me the most about the series. As far as villains go Akira was crazy, and I enjoyed her scenes. She’s much more interesting than Mayu, the main antagonist, because we see her develop from Season 1 into Season 2 and yet we get no closure on her story.
The show loses sight of what made it intriguing: how the card game affects the lives of all the girls involved. There’s no way around it, the middle dragged for me, but by this point I was already committed to the story and characters and needed to find out what happened.
Meanwhile, I couldn’t help but hope that the show would find the same focus it had in season one before the finale. Unfortunately it didn’t.
End: Episodes 17-24
For the last couple episodes the show kept the same dragging pace. It isn’t until the final four episodes were things get lot better. Mostly because they did what I’d been waiting for, bringing back characters that had fallen off the grid. Character’s like Yuzuki’s twin brother reappear and become relevant for a full two episodes. Suddenly the story progresses again, bringing us to the final confrontation between Ruko and Mayu.
The ending finishes with more of a whimper then a bang (unlike the mid-season finale.) Ruko is molded into a role much like Modaka, as she helps all the girls who’ve been caught into Mayu’s twisted game and everything works out almost too perfectly. Another disappointment from a show that had a constant theme of “everything comes at a price.”
Apparently that isn’t the case if you play your cards right. (Ha, I couldn’t help myself.)
It was a fun ride but I think there were a lot of missed opportunities that stem from the show losing its focus midway. Still, I’d recommend it to anyone looking for a cute anime with dark twists. If you enjoyed Madoka Magica or Yugioh this show is probably right up your alley. And yeah, so the show is ripping off Madoka Magica a little bit.