This is the sequel to Selector Infected Wixoss (SIW). This anime continues the story and strongly builds upon it. The basic story is about a magical-girls type card game. Make no mistake, it’s much better than it sounds (I admit, I was very hesitant to watch it after hearing the premise of the anime). If you liked Puella Magi Madoka Magica, you might find this interesting for its darker, heavier themes.
Purpose: Very Good. The anime adheres to the broader purpose set forth in SIW. This anime delved much more into the world itself and the reasons behind the world. Though there were some minor distractions on the way, they mostly kept towards that goal. The distractions, amusingly, came in the form of somewhat unnecessary indecision of the main character. That said, it was important because it marked a transition period as it changed its focus from the SIW characters to the cards. It was accomplished very well because this anime is most notable for how they blended world with character and used the intersection between the two to reach the conclusion.
Characters: Good. The characters were relatively the same as the end of SIW. They were continued in a solid, consistent manner. However, there wasn’t really too much growth or development on their part. Generally speaking, they were deep enough that they really didn’t need to be expanded upon here – it was sufficient for what they were trying to do. What was particularly interesting is how the cards, ordinarily part of the world, became more character-like as it progressed. Interestingly, that was where most of the character development focused in this second season. Again, development for these characters was strong enough that it got the job done, but wasn’t deep enough to make them particularly special.
World: Excellent. This was where the main focus of this anime was. SIW didn’t really delve too far into this area, so there was a lot of room to explore. The world was driving everything going on here and was really a very important character in the story. One of the really interestingly done aspects of this world was the balance that it achieved between explaining the reasoning behind everything without going too far – they explained enough so that it was a reasonable and interesting explanation without going into the minutiae. Often, anime will take that step too far and try to explain everything, which can sometimes harm storytelling by damaging the overall mood. As an aside, I’d generally consider the cards to be a part of the world, even though they became characters in much the same way that the world did. However, they were such an integral part of the story, they really served as the bridge between character and world.
Plot: Very Good. Well done overall. In broad terms, the beginning and end plot points were somewhat weaker than the middle. While not ever bad, the plotlines were relatively straightforward and didn’t really twist things in an unexpected fashion. The beginning plot did seek to accomplish some things by stalling the main character growth to set the stage for expanding the world. Really, the middle is where most of the changes in world and character happened. During the middle, the viewer learns the most about the world and the characters because those plot points reached “critical mass” where the world really started to take on a character of its own.
Storytelling: Very Good. Flashbacks and backstories were the strongest points of the storytelling here. They managed to convey the impact of some rather difficult situations in a skilled manner. Some of the strongest moments involved characters realizing the full weight of the world weighing against them. On a different note, the anime also had a superb use of character design to emphasize what they were trying to accomplish. Another strong aspect of the storytelling here was their use of violence to punctuate and highlight the drama going on. The violence generally came in the form of the battles. They were handled in a very skilled manner, neither getting bogged down in rule recitations nor in drawn out special attacks. They were almost like a visual depiction of the conversation, argument, or struggle going on between the characters.
Pace: Very Good. Again, beginning and end were the slowest, but never really slow. Aside from that, no real complaints. They generally lingered on the plot points as long as they needed to.