What it’s about: Ruko Kominato hasn’t made many friends at school. To encourage her to socialise, her brother buys a pack of cards from the hit new collectible game WIXOSS. But underneath the regular game lies a second level, where girls chosen as “Selectors” fight one another in the hopes of having their greatest wish fulfilled.
Why you should watch it: While not always a solid predictor, WIXOSS has proven a successful enough advertisement for the tie-in game to cause it to sell out of all stock across Japan. That said, the card game itself is largely tangential to the actual plot of the series, as the characters struggle with their desires and the costs associated with pursuing them. The character development is first-rate from the first episode onwards – they’re all flawed in their own way and trying to patch up their own holes.
Caveats: The show has a shaky start, so give it a few episodes before making up your mind. It’s also going to get compared to Madoka Magica a lot, which is a little bit of an unfair standard to be expected to reach. The card battles, not being central to the story, aren’t really meant to be predictable – they’re there to move the plot along, not to get you strategising. The animation gets a little lazy at times, with background characters frozen in place.
Themes: Faustian bargains, how you reach your goals being more important than what they are