Another week, another really good episode from selector infected WIXOSS. Have I said enough times how pleased I am that WIXOSS is turning out to be good? Suddenly, we’ve moved from having characters that are essentially faceless to characters with defined personalities and desires, and character growth happening all over the freaking show. Man, stuff like that gets me excited to watch a show. And WIXOSS is now at the level where I wait to watch it when I’m not exhausted, because I want to have the best experience I can.
So, we ended last week with Iona’s announcement of the upcoming Selectors tournament, and we come back to find Ruko, Tama and Yuzuki investigating the tournament. Rightly, Yuzuki and Tama are suspicious, but Ruko seems to have lost the indecisiveness that plagued her early on in the show. She’s got a wish now, but it doesn’t seem she realizes the danger of her wish. After all, if you fail, your wish ends up backfiring. If Ruko loses three times, does she damn all Selectors and LRIGs eternally to this twisted game? It’s a bang or bust wish and, as Yuzuki points out, even going bang might not be a great outcome.
I’m sure this comes as no surprise to everyone, but it was just this episode (appropriately as Tama is showing some—well, some more—signs of being an atypical LRIG) that I noticed Tama has one red earring of the same design as “Mayu,” the girl in the white room. Someone else has a similar earring, just on the other side…but I’ll get to that later.
In any case, Ruko is showing signs of being just a little bit desperate and a little bit delusional. She’s suddenly caught up in the thrill of finally having a wish—and why wouldn’t she be? She’s spent ten episodes bumbling around without a wish, without a reason to be battling and now she’s finally found one. To me, it seems that Ruko’s wish may not to be “freeing everyone” after all, but simply the wish to have a wish, to belong to the world of the Selectors. All the worry and guilt she’s felt from hurting others has seemingly dropped away in the face of having a wish. She’s even moved to the point where she’s forcing a reluctant Tama to battle, a Tama who has grown a great deal from her “Battoru~!” days. This Tama has come to value Ruko’s friendship above the momentary thrill of fighting. What? Character growth for the cutesy girl in the card? I love it. Ruko’s bribe to Tama, the image of all four girls living as friends, is obviously a pipe dream, and Tama seems to be aware of this.
A short digression: Mayu’s revelation on the nature of the wishes able to be granted—wishes that a normal girl could fulfill—falls right back in line with my speculation on the nature of the Eternal Girl wayyyy back in episode 1.
The danger of this game is already explicit; it’s self-actualization without any of the associated work (a miracle, as Yuzuki calls it later) […]
In other words, WIXOSS (the game, not the show) can only grant wishes that could have been otherwise fulfilled with “a little effort.” By using WIXOSS, Selectors are trying to bypass the necessary effort to become their ideal selves. And, instead of getting their wishes granted, they end up punished. There hasn’t been enough on this to call it an actual theme yet, but these are hints towards a really interesting message about the importance of taking responsibility for what you want to be and putting in the necessary work.
We also get a short bit of Ruko’s grandmother talking on the phone with what turn out to be Ruko’s mother, and her grandmother makes an interesting statement about Ruko. If Ruko’s not a child or an adult, what is she? I don’t think we’ll find out right away. Once upon a time with WIXOSS, I may have been afraid that this was just a throwaway scene, but the way the show has been going lately, I’m sure we’ll return to this (and Ruko’s mother), just like we did with the tower.
And then, the tournament. Man, this is some twisted stuff. Iona’s card party turns out to be nothing more than a huge experiment to try and ascertain how many wins you need to have your wish granted. We also find out what she wants, but not why she wants it. What’s the purpose in getting to the white room? Yuzuki’s already been there and got thrown out. Does Iona want to meet Mayu? Does she want to become a LRIG herself? Either way, it seems she has one of those special LRIGs (there’s Tama’s reverse twin with the Mayu-paralleling earring), too, so her wish may very well be granted.
Ruko clearly doesn’t realize the irony when she tells Yuzuki that Hitoe is suffering, when her own actions (though well-intended) are doing the exact same thing. Like I’ve been postulating, Ruko’s road to saving everyone will necessarily be littered with the pain of the very people she wants to help. Does her desired end justify her means? Or has she just found a nice-sounding excuse to let her battle again? Tama’s reluctance to join Ruko’s purpose makes me think it may very well be more of the latter than the former.
WIXOSS is starting to inch closer to being a great show, teasing numerous themes and continuing to develop its characters. Akira’s also still out there and, as we’ve seen with Hitoe, you can be a Selector more than once. Next week is the end of the first cour, and I’m eagerly awaiting what I’m fully expecting to be a great episode. WIXOSS hasn’t let me down in weeks. I see no reason it should do so in the finale.