What’s it about? Suzuko moved away from her hometown and best friend Chinatsu as a child, but now she has moved back as a teenager they have lost touch, and Chinatsu is nowhere to be found. Out of place and finding it hard to make friends, Suzuko buys the starter pack for a card game her classmates seem to enjoy, only on opening it she is told she is a Selector. Selectors cannot refuse battles with other Selectors, and losing will sacrifice their memories. Suzuko is terrified of losing her memories of Chinatsu, but also has no idea how to play this game, let alone against more experienced opponents who also have memories at stake.
Watching this anime I realised how right Yu-Gi-Oh! got the basic template of a card game series. It was just a game for a very long time before it was given the history and mythology it has now, and that was enough to hold people’s attention. This is either the flimsiest premise of the season or we’re about to be hit with an onslaught of backstory justifying how and why some people are chosen as Selectors, must sacrifice their memories, are not permitted to refuse battles, etc.
Suzuko’s challenger in this episode seems like a cruel person until you remember that he has memories at stake too! Either you drop the stakes and make these people actual villains or you raise the stakes and make all of the kids unwilling participants in a Battle Royale style situation. You can’t have it both ways, as Lostorage incited WIXOSS tries to.
(It also gets my vote for stupidest name of the year, though there is greater competition for that.)
That massive gripe aside, Suzuko and Chinatsu both seem like sweet girls who value each other’s friendship, and their inevitable reunion is what would pull me back to this one. Suzuko is lonely but not tragic, failing to connect with both her busy working father and her new classmates rather than being abused or bullied. Currently on the meek side, I hope the card battles will develop her character to a point where she is confident enough to confront her dad and approach her classmates, but I probably won’t be watching.