What’s it about ?
Surprise ! It’s another cardgame tie-in ! Except a lot more ambitious.
Ruuko, our teenage protagonist. She’s the kind of introvert who has no friends besides her family circle. Obviously we can’t have that, and it’s quickly going to change.
Her grandma, for example, would be delighted for her to get some friends. She’s way too nice to press the matter, though. I like her morbid sense of humour (that’s quite the nasty punchline for Skyline Tetris), and it’s easy to suspect she knows a lot more than she’s telling.
Ruuko’s older brother doesn’t seem to be living with them, although he visits often. (Where are her parents, anyway ?) Cue standard sibling antics, as he’s a bit of a slob. Out of nowhere, he gives her a starter deck for this new popular WIXOSS cardgame that even girls are into. Except it’s not an ordinary deck.
Tama, Ruuko’s avatar card, might be Augmented Reality pushed to far. Not only is the character in that small piece of cardboard somehow animated, but she’s also talking. Admittedly, not very coherently. Also, only Ruuko can hear her. At least at first.
Yuzuki, one of her classmates, immediately zeroes on her the next day. See, there are only a limited number of players (“Selectors”) with those special cards. If you win while battling each other, you get a wish to be granted. (Which sounds very dodgy to me already.) If you lose three times, you’re out… and I’m not certain it’s only the card who disappears. Anyway, she’s sure the newbie is easy prey.
Kazuki, Yuzuki’s twin brother, watches the match. Except he can’t hear the cards (you have to be a Selector), nor see the very elaborate VR interface the two players are somehow immersed in, so that must be very boring. He compensates by providing some exposition about the rules, as he feels this match is a bit unfair to Ruuko. Not that he should bother, as Tama is somehow super-powerful. Yuzuki is lucky the match gets interrupted (and thus becomes a draw) by the schoolbell. Also, her tentative wish seems to involve being able to bone him, so, er, yeah.
There are various other Selector/card showcased in the OP sequence, so I’m sure we’ll run into them eventually.
Very good. If there’s one thing this show does very well, it’s atmosphere. There’s a constant sense of dread, not helped by the creepy gory dreams Ruuko starts having after getting Tama. All the fantasy/VR/whatever sequences are gorgeous, if a bit dark.
Well, that’s a way to get me intrigued by a card-game show : have it drowning in murky paranoia. Oh, sure, there are still scenes designed to showcase how awesome the damn thing is, but it’s easily compensated by the impression that it’s all a trap and that this is going to end very badly for all involved. The usually super-cute Tama looking like a bloodthirsty berserker during battles compounds that feeling.
I’m seriously getting some Madoka flashbacks here. I doubt this is going to be anywhere as good, but there are worse aesthetics to ape.
Okay, show, I’m intrigued. Where the heck are you going with this ?