It’s been a while since now and the last post. To make it up, I’ll be posting more frequently this month. Let’s get started.

When we last left off (ignoring #11), we were examining the things that only happen in the card game anime Yu-gi-oh. Now it’s time to continue this discussion, and talk about the other things that happen in this genre; because they happen only in anime.

#12 Card games get dark (er)... than last time

Let’s start by looking at a different show.

WIXOSS

Full disclosure, this is the only other card game anime I have seen all the way through.

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The Selector WIXOSS (surprisingly pronounced We-Cross) is an anime about Ruko Kominato, who receives a WIXOSS deck (a popular card game) from her brother. In the deck she discovers a card containing a GIRL (known as a LRIG), whom she names Tama. Ruko also discovers she is chosen to be a Selector, someone who battles other girls that are also Selectors, in order to have their wishes granted.

WIXOSS is another one of those card game anime that takes these games seriously. Not so much on a world threatening level, but a more personal one. The show has been described as being similar to Madoka Magica, both having themes dealing with “having your wish granted and the cost.” It’s a fair comparison, though I would say Madoka ends up being a bit darker and more tragic. That’s not to say WIXOSS is not dark. If anything, I would say WIXOSS is just a bit more twisted in the fate of its Selectors and their wishes, than Madoka was with their magical girls.

Major Spoilers for Madoka and WIXOSS follow:

Final Fate

In Madoka, the ultimate fate of magical girls is that eventually they become the very witches they fought. This was the ultimate price magical girls paid for having their wishes granted.

In WIXOSS, your wish is granted, just not for you. Due to the twisted mind of the creator of this Selector system, what ends up happening is that your LRIG takes over your body and now lives as you with your wish finally being granted. You become an LRIG and will end up doing the same thing to others; that is become an LRIG for another Selector, promising them they’ll have their wish granted if they win enough matches, and technically grant their wish but not telling them you end up trading places. So the LRIG swaps bodies with their selectors Freaky Friday style, and ends up living their selector’s life with their wish finally granted. And that’s just what happens when you win.

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When you lose three matches, in addition to having your memories of anything having to do with WIXOSS erased, you have your wish reversed. Examples:

  • If you wished to be rich, you become poor.
  • You want to live forever? You’d probably die on the spot.
  • One character, Hitoe, wanted to make friends. Losing three times causes her to feel pain anytime she is close to or even thinks about making friends. Also considering by this point of the show she had already made friends with Ruko and her other friend because of WIXOSS, this is just twisted.

This is a no win scenario no matter how you look at it. At least in Madoka you actually got your wish. Granted, in Madoka they did still try to screw over the person, somehow even trying to apply real world physics to justify it (something about for all happiness that happens from your wish there has to be equal despair or something like that). The point is the selector system was messed up.

Some other thoughts about WIXOSS

The Very Existence of Selector System

How does all of this happen? No, seriously how? The Selector system is created by a girl whose only purpose of making this system is to take the lives of other girls away from them, due to her own anger of not having much of a life outside of her room because of her bad health. All that’s shown is she’s psychologically broken, and out of nowhere invents this twisted way of playing this card game. So how exactly was this caused? Was it some messed up version of the belief a child’s wish is the most powerful thing? Was it magic? Is she a God? We’ll never know.

How do you play?

The show really only uses the card game as a means to move the plot forward, though I just wished I knew what the hell was going on. The show takes the time to make every turn/play look epic and important, but at no point does the show ever actually try to explain how this game is even played. It just becomes a whole bunch of characters saying a whole bunch of random words like evolve and grow, and other words that without context makes absolutely no sense at all. Sometimes it just sounds like they make up random effects/conditions out of nowhere just to have certain characters win or lose. I guess, to be fair, most shows have the rules of the game as an afterthought but still…

Will you look at that, again there is just too much stuff to talk about when it comes to card game anime. Will we ever finish? Will we move on from this and start talking about other things? Tune in next time on Only in Anime to find out.

To be continued...


Bonus

While it’s still fresh in my mind, after re-watching the film Summer Wars over the weekend (hail our new Savoir Baa-sama), there’s another thing I can add to the list. Spoilers for the movie follow.

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Somehow a game of Koi-Koi, a Japanese card game played with Hanafuda cards, determines if the world gets thrown into the nuclear apocalypse. So it’s not just limited to trading card games, but the whole point of playing any card game in anime is to save the world.


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