Chinatsu AkasakiTomo MuranakaWIXOSSTaku Yashiro
selector destructed WIXOSS
Medium: film
Year: 2016
Director: Takuya Sato
Writer: Mari Okada
Keywords: WIXOSS, SF, anime
Country: Japan
Language: Japanese
Actor: Ai Kakuma, Ai Kayano, Asami Seto, Ayane Sakura, Chinatsu Akasaki, Misaki Kuno, Rie Kugimiya, Risa Taneda, Yoko Hikasa, Airi Ootsu, Ayako Kawasumi, Haruka Yamazaki, Hiromichi Tezuka, Ikuji Nose, Junichi Yanagita, Kaede Hondo, Kotomi Yamakawa, Kotone Watanabe, Kyo Yaoya, M.A.O, Mako Morino, Masumi Tazawa, Minami Takahashi, Rina Hidaka, Ryou Sugisaki, Saori Onishi, Satomi Arai, Taku Yashiro, Tamie Kubota, Tomo Muranaka, Yuiko Tatsumi, Yukiyo Fujii, Yumi Uchiyama, Yuna Yoshino, Yusuke Kobayashi
Format: 91 minutes
Website category: Anime 2016
Review date: 1 November 2017
Selector Wixoss
As soon as I saw that there was a WIXOSS movie, I went looking for it. Unfortunately it's yet another TV series compilation movie, but I eventually watched it anyway. It has a bit of original material (including an extended ending), while in addition I'd just watched Lostorage incited WIXOSS. It might be interesting to compare the franchise's 2014 and 2016 iterations. To clear up any confusion, by the way, this is WIXOSS v.1 (2014), in which girls choose to compete in trading card battles because the winner gets her wish granted. (Lose three times and you'll get the opposite of your wish, i.e. a curse.) This is very different from WIXOSS v.2 (2016), in which girls and boys are forced to compete in the same trading card battles, with the winners getting the opportunity to edit their own memories and the losers getting death.
I quite enjoyed this film, but it's a laughable failure as a standalone movie. If you've never seen the original TV series, you'll sink without trace. I've seen it all and I was confused! It's a compilation of both 2014 seasons, i.e. 24 episodes, or 9.5 hours. They've managed to make something watchable out of Season 2 (selector spread), but their version of Season 1 (selector infected) is a train wreck. Characters and story points are introduced so badly that it's hard to call them introductions at all. It's a jumble of girls and scenes, not helped by starting with some childhood flashbacks. Who's who? Were those two the same girl? Is X what Y used to look like? Story points are left dangling, e.g. the incest. What happened with the incest? Did they do it? What happened to them? What happened next? Well, if you want to find out, you'll have to watch the TV series! You can't remove Incest Girl from WIXOSS because she's one of the main characters, but this film nearly manages it by condensing her story into bullet point form and then not bothering to tell us how it ends.
I could imagine newbie viewers being... um, surprised by that. This film couldn't care less about that audience.
From that point of view, this film is abysmal. After a while, though, to my surprise, I realised that I was quite enjoying it.
Part of that's just memories of the original. I was filling in the gaps in my head. However the film does have certain things it's focusing on, which are mostly the monsters (Akira and Ulith) and the protagonist (Ruko and her LRIG). The monsters come across very clearly. Akira's the more successfully portrayed of the two, as a mentally unstable fake-cutesy sadist who's going to end up practically axe-crazy. All she needs is an axe. Ulith, on the other hand, is a bit of a cartoon. She's evil. Her motivations are evil and she doesn't seem that credible as a person. The movie's extra material is mostly focused on her, presumably in part to flesh her out and make her more believable. This doesn't really work, to be honest, although I quite liked where her story goes at the end.
Themes come across clearly. Friendship is clearly the show's core idea, with a lack of it defining Hitoe, Piruluk, Mayu and Ulith. "Just like Hitoe, I didn't have any friends." The Ruko-Tama relationship is the show's emotional core and their final reunion is emotional even in this abbreviated retelling. (That's new. The TV series didn't have that. It just ended with Ruko setting off to go looking for her.) That fits with all the WIXOSS players being female, incidentally. It would have muddled up the friendship theme to have both male and female players, whereas the 2016 show was using more adult metaphors and so deliberately went down that road. The only heterosexual 2014 girl wants to shag her brother. Admittedly the film ends by adding heavy romantic overtones to its intense two-girl friendships, but that's not unreasonable given how the story had unfolded.
(The different LRIG designs fit into that, incidentally. The 2014 LRIGs often dress very revealingly, but their apparent age tends to be young and their figures boyish. They're children. That's appropriate for a show about friendship. The 2016 LRIGs, on the other hand, generally have big boobs and outfits that draw attention to them.)
Is this a good film? Yes, I think it is. I feel dirty for saying so and it depends on you having seen the parent TV series, but it succeeds in the limited goals it's set itself. It explores its themes. It gives us a new and more satisfying ending. I enjoyed it. However as a work of self-contained storytelling, it's a pathetic bloody stain. Its take on Season 1 is impressionistic. Its take on Season 2 is merely bad, with the SPOILER towards the end (to give the most obvious instance) being pulled out of nowhere and then falling apart with less than the acceptable minimum of explanation. Perhaps it's best viewed as a mostly-recap 25th episode?