Selector Spread Wixoss 01 – Black and White Shadows

When people dared you to do a make some posts about the one of the show that you are anticipating this season but is embarrassed to let people know, the right answer is to say no.

Not.

Sure, why not?

But, of course, my impulse control sucks so there we go.

Not that I believe Wixoss is embarrassing. Its one of the interesting TCG anime out there (Though, I suppose, it’s not really a TCG anime since the card battle appear to be superfluous …. which may or may not be the reason why I like it.) Still, I do believe, I’ll enjoy blogging it solely for the pathos and the atmosphere.

Plus, I think I threw my pride out of the window a long time ago when I publicly admitted to watching Saki and Sailor Moon. But, between Psycho Pass, Log Horizon and Unlimited Blade Works, this is probably the odd one out of the bunch. ^^

We begin  the episode with Iona and Tama fighting. The silhouette here is a bit symbolic. Tama looks like an angel while Iona looks like a devil or perhaps its more accurate to say a fallen angel.

Now the interesting thing about this opening was the fact that it mirrors  Episode 1 of the last season. This time though instead of Tama narrating and winning the battle, Iona is the one  narrating and final winner of the battle. (And oh, the tower looks more finished this time and we actually see where Ruuko is. I suppose that is denoting a sense of time. Perhaps showing that this is a flash forward.)

The narration is even a mirror of each other.

Here is Tama’s narration:

I will make your wish come true.

Even if it meant hurting someone.

Even if it meant hurting myself.

So please when your wish came true.

I wish for you  to smile.

I suppose on some level, we can tie this narration on the finale of Season 1. That Tama’s wish for Ruuko is for her to be happy which meant she would not be granting Ruuko’s free all the LRIG wish (if that is even possible) because being trapped in a card will not make Ruuko happy.

Of course there is also the possibility that this haven’t happened yet. It could be in the far future. ^^

Anyway, as I’ve said its interesting how  it mirror’s Iona’s opening narration.

I will make your wish come true.

Your wish and my wish…

I feel they are one and the same.

Why then…

Are you crying?

We know from Season 1 that Iona believes that she and Ruuko are kindred spirits who enjoy battling for the sake of battling. And Iona’s wish is to be a LRIG of a selector stronger than her and have more awesome battles.

Of course, having those awesome battles meant you’re crushing and destroying other selector lives. And while, I’m figuring that this was a measly detail on Iona’s radar, it’s a big deal on Ruuko’s which is where they differ.

Because, while there are evidences that say that Ruuko does enjoy WIXOSS to a great degree. She also appear to have a pretty good moral center. And that is why Ruuko’s wish is to free all the LRIG last season.   Which meant destroying the system and thus no more enjoyable selector battles.

Beside that, symbolically, Tama and Iona’s narration while both wanting their selector (which I assume to be Ruuko) to have their wish granted have an opposite slant.

Tama’s narration is almost self-sacrificing in nature which is fitting.(White LRIG) What with, “I don’t care what happens to me as long as I can see you happy” sentiment being conveyed. This coincidentally mirrors Ruuko’s wish for S1 which if it went through meant Ruuko will be eternally trapped in a card.

Of course, irony strikes. And Tama and Ruuko while not caring what happens to themselves, care about what happens to the other. so yeah…

Though, I’m still not so clear about that sequence to be honest. Did Tama refuse Ruuko’s wish because she doesn’t want Ruuko to become an LRIG? Or did she do it because she thinks that Ru is leaving her behind since Mayu said she’s not her friend? Well, technically both have the same result if Ruuko’s wish comes true, i.e. Ruko will leave Tama behind since she’s stuck as a card. But, motives do matter to me.

In any case, when we compare Tama’s narration to Iona’s. We find that  Iona is quite self-centric. There is no self-sacrifice there. “We are the same, this is my wish as well,” is the sentiment being conveyed. There is an assumption of unity and partnership which I think is a key considering how the failure of Tama and Ruuko’s wish happened.

Of course, there is the question mark,

Ruuko is crying.

Is Iona’s wish really Ruuko’s wish as well?

Iona certainly think so. But is it really?

Is endless battle truly Ruuko’s desire? Is she just in denial on S1?

<sigh>

…. They’re going to drag the answer to this until the season finale isn’t it?

For now, on Episode 1 watch as Ruuko tries to have some semblance of normal life.

As we can see, she’s doing a marvelous job of pretending that nothing  happened to her. From the outside, it really looked like Ruuko have a very happy time. It doesn’t look like she just lost her friend. Or the fact, that said friend did technically betray her. (even if she can probably understand the reason for it)

This is primarily the reason why I think Iona’s assumption for Ruuko’s real wish holds any water.

Ruuko is very good at denial.

It’s also interesting to note that Iona’s card is upside-down. My memory might be fuzzy but I don’t think Ruuko put Tama’s card in an upside down position, ever.

But, then again, Iona isn’t Tama.

Which is the entire problem. 

Still, I kinda like that Ruuko was being a bit of a jerk here. It’s actually kinda understandable even. I would be very surprised if she actually managed to forge a bond like Tama with Iona at the start. From a certain point of view, the reason why Tama is gone is because of Iona. A certain level of resentment is understandable.

As for Iona, I’m feeling a tad sympathetic as well. She got her preferred selector, the one she was looking for but said selector is doing her best to ignore her.

 

And wow, now I know that whoever is animating this have a sense of humor

Perfect for the next scene Hitoe and Ruuko went on a date,  (I wish, but Ruuko and Hitoe doesn’t have as much UST as Iona/Ruuko pairing which just drips with it. Or Ruuko/Tama dynamic which is just diabetes inducing)

That and Ruuko’s head is full of Tama even on the outing.

See, exhibit number 1:

Remember scrunchies are kinda symbol of friendship here and Ruuko promised that she will buy Tama one when everything is over.

And subtle: look at the purple scrunchie beside the white that Ruuko is ignoring.

(Hint: Iona)

I wonder if this is some sort of foreshadowing.

Look friendship picture!

And nice some info. Apparently, Hitoe already has friends even from before WIXOSS. I suppose being new and probably having newness jitters; she thought that her friends from where she came from were no longer her friends. But, when she called/texted them, they replied meaning they still cared for her.

Hitoe didn’t need to wish for friends. She already has them from the start.

… Fine. I’ll buy that. Sounds plausible enough and its heartwarming.

…. But, truthfully this just highlights the scammy nature of the system. The more I hear about WIXOSS, the more I feel that the best thing to do is to stop playing it. It appears that whatever wishes that were being granted can originally be granted by hard work and a change of perspective. (except perhaps for a select few)

Meaning it would be more fruitful to go to a psychiatrist than play WIXOSS for your wishes.

This is also the reason why I’m actually sympathetic with Ruuko’s wishy-washy nature on this ep and the succeeding one. Because from the protagonist pov and the information out right now,  it is easy to conclude that this system is rigged with no benefits to the players.

Unfortunately, for Ruuko there is something that still ties her to the system.

And look here we got hints of it.

It’s because she doesn’t want to lose anyone again.

This is tying Ruuko to the system. The need to gain Tama back.

I really liked that we have shots of Ruuko’s bag where Iona’s card is placed while Ruuko is thinking this. It’s a nice subtle reminder of why she’s actually carrying around the LRIG despite the implication that she does not want to even see Iona.

These are the  times when I wonder how the cards communicate. Is it telepathy? Do they hear the thoughts of their selector? Because I really wonder what Iona thinks about “Ru” now.

As we go deeper in the show, it’s really apparent that despite them being off-screen – Tama and Iona kept casting shadows for Ruuko to chase everywhere culminating to this.

Ruuko hears Tama’s earring bell thingy and found a familiar person’s back.

What did she do?

Ruuko gave chase, only to find that it isn’t Iona/Ulith.

Even in this just small scene, we can see that Ruuko is unsatisfied with the ending of Season 1. The moment a chance presented itself, she immediately and without hesitation made a run for it..

And then, we officially meet Chiyori and found out the reason why she’s missing from last season namely she didn’t find the venue.

From this, we can infer her character straight away. (I’m not really sold on said character but I suppose it might be a breath of fresh air in a show which is filled with angst)

And it does let us know what the trio planned to do if they ever meet another selector again. Namely revealing the gristly details of what happens to the loser and the winner, heck they even have anecdotal proof hanging around them – Yuzuki is now a  card.

It should be enough to convince any other selector. Heck, Chiyori cannot even refute it and claim they were lying; Chiyori met Yuzuki before.

I’m going to take them using Hanayo’s explanation and not saying that said curse could be overcome by the power of friendship or something to be a deliberate omission. Its not exactly going to help them convince the other selectors if they ever told that tiny detail. Doubly so, if they ever told that tiny detail to Chiyori.

There is also some interesting by-play in this scene.

Ruuko isn’t actively participating in the conversation. Its Hitoe and Yuzuki who’s doing the most of the convincing. Ruuko stands on the side, fist clenched. And perhaps, it’s because she’s not actually looking at Chiyori but Ruuko’s words, “Winning battles would not make you happy,” it feels like something she’s saying to herself.

Heck, I don’t think even Hitoe is convinced that Ruuko really gave up battling. When, Chiyori challenged them both in the back alley, for a brief moment Hitoe looked at Ruuko worriedly. I wonder what that glance meant. Either, Hitoe is worried for Ruuko, its possible that this would bring bad memories. Or Hitoe is worried that Ruuko would take up the challenge.

In any case, while the show is really showing that Hitoe and Yuzuki is done with this whole Selector business. It’s also at the same time making it clear that Ruuko isn’t.

It’s also doing a good job at muddying Ruuko’s motivation.

Because the moment that they failed at convincing Chiyori, Iona pipes up

She just said like three syllables  and Ruuko just falls apart.

Just like that.  

Oh god.

Iona.

I missed you so much and how, you can just drip UST with your sexy voice. You don’t have to convince anyone that Iona is a famous idol because Iona just oozes charm without trying.

I just love their first exchange of words.

“Why are you making that face, Ruu? MY SELECTOR.” 

Possessive much, Iona?

Seriously, I know how Japanese denote their intimacy with names  And from what I know, Iona can’t get more intimate than what she is doing.

I can also imagine that this is hitting a metaphorical nerve with Ruuko. Ruu is like Tama’s pet name for her and she’s the LRIG that Ruuko want, not Iona.

And appropriately, Ruuko is practically putting a metaphorical distance with her next words.

“Iona-SAN.” 

We also finally have a flashback of what happened.

“Iona’s wish is to be the LRIG of someone stronger than her and to keep battling.”

Well, season 1 now makes quite a lot of sense. This also meant that Iona’s final condition is to lose to someone. This meant that Ruu won the battle. (And lost the war there).

I also love how this scene solidifies the starting dynamic between Iona and Ruuko.

Iona is practically dripping with sensuality there. She’s saying that the battle was the very best she experienced and Ruu doesn’t ever register her words.

Her mind is filled with her former LRIG.

I think that Iona is aware of it at this point which make me a tiny bit sympathetic to her. Still, Iona isn’t an innocent victim; just look at how she used it to get Ruu to battle again.

Iona: You should have battled that girl.

Ruuko: I’m not going to battle!

Iona: You want to see Tama again, right? That wish might just come true … if you battle that is.

Ruuko: No… I … won’t

This exchange is rather good. Iona is so methodical and calm just laying out Ruu’s options. Compared to that,  Ruu’s response is getting progressively frantic.  She’s desperately  trying to deny everything that comes from Iona’s mouth.

Of course, its kind of hard to be in denial when your own action betray you.

Iona: Why did you bring me with you, then?

Just throw me away if you’re not going to battle.

Ouch. Armor piercing question there. Ruuko can’t throw Iona away even if she tried.

Iona: That’s right. You want to do it.

You can’t let go.

Really. I think Ruuko is aware of it on some level, that’s why when Iona talked, she ran way from Chiyori. No need to be tempted. Because, Chiyori is a rather tempting target compared to most selectors. She knows what she is getting into but she still wants to participate. Ruuko can battle guilt free.

Still, there is always the question of Ruuko’s motivation. Currently the forefront is easily understandable.

She wants to find Tama. She wants to help the LRIG like Yuzuki as well. 

That’s why she can’t let go.

Iona’s monologue reveal that they have some fundamental problem with that.

 There are many things I don’t understand.

Why doesn’t Ruuko want to fight?

She seeks the battle, just like I…

First problem, Iona doesn’t really get Ruuko’s moral scruple. My friend compared Iona as an older Kotomine version seeing Ruuko,  younger Kotomine version.

I don’t think that the this an exact comparison because Ruuko has been shown to care for Baa-chan, her older brother and her friends, but I can’t deny the similarity considering that Ruuko appear to derive a lot of pleasure from battling which is being presented as a source of suffering.

And then there’s her wish…

I want to help Yuzuki and everybody else!

An LRIG only accepts a wish she believes she can make come true.

It was abandoned in the end but why did she accept such an absurd wish in the first place?

She must have believed that she could make it come true…

Second problem, Iona does not believe that Ruuko’s wish is actually possible.

And considering her statement, “An LRIG only accepts a wish she believes she can make come true.”

They have a massive problem.

Beside that, the statement can be read in so many ways.

Is the power of the wish dependent on the LRIG’s imagination? Meaning as long as they believe that they can make a wish come true, it will come true. Thus, the solution would be Ruuko getting Iona to believe in idealism and magic…

Is there a special LRIG’s like Tama that can fulfill any wish and Iona isn’t one of them?

Is Ruuko’s wish impossible in the first place? Meaning, the reason why Tama granted it in the first place was because she doesn’t know her limits?

As we can see, whatever take you get from that statement, its still going to take some massive hurdle.  And we are not even getting at Iona and Ruuko’s fundamental ideological differences as illustrated at Iona’s solution to this tiny problem.

I am Ruuko’s LRIG.

I would just like to take a moment to say I love how Iona is so possessive when she says this. Plus, this coming from her rumination about Ruuko’s former LRIG reeks of something… jealousy and resentment perhaps? ^^

I’ll change Ruuko

Instead of clinging to an impossible wish,

I want her soul to throb,

At her desire for battle.

Together with me.

All I can say is wow. My yuri goggles cracked completely. Too much stimulation.

Combined with, Ruuko’s declaration that Iona is her only clue to find Tama and we get one hell of a recipe for disaster.

End Notes: 

At the end of the episode, I’m deliciously savoring the irony.

Irony #1:

Because if its true that Ruuko is in denial of how much she loves batteru, the presence of Iona is going to make her want to go into more denial. Especially, if what Iona is saying is true. She’s not going to battle because Iona reminds her too much of what she can become.

This meant that one of the things blockading Ruuko’s wish to battle and find Tama is precisely because Iona is her LRIG. The one person in the world who wants her to battle. If Ruuko’s LRIG is anyone but Iona, she won’t have this much hesitation. Heck, if it’s some unknown LRIG, Ruuko might even feel sorry and decide to battle to give them a body.

That and an unknown LRIG would not have much ideological difference in a wish of freeing all LRIG and stopping the selector system.

Irony #2: 

 The LRIG who decided to stop battling to make Ruuko happy back in Season 1? She’s the driving reason why Ruu can’t quit and be contented and just be happy in her normal life right now.

The driving reason why Ruuko is actually considering battling with Iona is because its her only clue to find Tama!

Irony # 3:  

Iona’s wish is to be an LRIG of a selector stronger than her. After quite a lot of battling, she found it in Ruuko.

And despite the fact that Ruuko maybe the same as her in their love for battling. The only way that Iona can ever get Ruuko to fight and metaphorically slowly dye her in her own colors is to play on Ruuko’s wish to find Tama (meaning a wish to replace her as an LRIG which is against her own wish) or Ruuko’s wish to free all the LRIG which if successful is going to stop the selector system  in its track, something that Iona would not want as well.

Other Stuff: 

And I’m taking a page out of Cytrus here and listing other blogs which you can follow WIXOSS episodic stuff, in case I lost my motivation and consequently my bet.

RandomRC  – Good old Random RC. They’re pretty reliable and they blog crazy fast. You can also be sure to get the gist of the episode without much bias from them. Actually guaranteed to finish the series unlike me. ^^

G-Empire – The blog which I frequent to look for any Yuri in anime. That and wrestling jokes. They will be sure to tell you any Yuri you missed while watching.

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6 Responses to Selector Spread Wixoss 01 – Black and White Shadows

  1. chaos says:

    Night!
    You actually made the post! As I've told you, I love your ramblings and you rambling about my new obsession is the best. Don't give up!
    And start making the next episode post soon. Grins maniacally. I won't stop hounding you until you do!

    And oh still maintaining that Ruuko isn't younger Kotomine? She feast on suffering I tell you!

    • Meh. Blog everything on WIXOSS plus the first season in between. I better get an awesome Christmas present for this. ^^

      And no, you're still not convincing me that Ruuko is a budding sociopath.
      Its abundantly shown that she cares for people other than herself. 😀

      Though, Ruuko is someone who's seriously easy to influence and she probably enjoy battle more than she should. So yes, I agree that she has a lot of "battle lust" and if Iona's plan of corruption TM goes through. Ruuko might go screw it and just battle for her satisfaction.

      And I don't also agree that Ruuko's wish last season is solely her denying her inner love for battle. She does care a lot for her friends meaning that is not just her pretending.

      In summary, I think its not mutually exclusive. that Ruuko care for her friends and the fact that she lusts for battle. Multiple wishes can exist on a single person. In S1, her wish for her friend's happiness supersedes her lust for battle (that and I agree that Ruuko might be in denial about said lust). In S2, with Iona as her LRIG whispering things to Ruuko's ears, who knows what will happen. ^^

  2. Alex says:

    "Plus, I think I threw my pride out of the window a long time ago when I publicly admitted to watching Saki and Sailor Moon. "

    it's kind of depressing for the rest of us to hear you say this

    • I love Saki. I really really do. I love many of the mahjong matches but I have to admit that selling it to someone who don't already love it is very hard. Lesbian superpower mahjong sounds pretty weird at first.

      Its actually the reason why I made the blog in the first place, I got really annoyed when people say that there is no mahjong in it and all it has is "luck". Its actually the opposite, Saki right now due to the tournament is mahjong most of the time and it has less "luck" or "randomness" than real mahjong games. Not because of the narrative but because of the way mahjong in-universe work.

      Its how people can predict matches in the first place.

      …. I think I found my first blog article Saki in a long while. Hmmm… maybe this will break my depression from having episode 12 deleted….

  3. Overlord-G says:

    Just to correct I eventually changed The G-Empire to The Yuri Nation so you know I'm where it's at when it comes to yuri and wrestling jokes!
    As for WIXOSS, I love both seasons, flaws, plot holes and all and I'm mega pumped for the upcoming movie! YUSH!

  4. nightsentinel09 says:

    Thanks for letting me know. And there is a Wixoss Movie? ^^

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