What’s it about? Welcome to the wide, wide world of Wixoss and Wixossland, an online virtual space where players engage in “Diva Battles.” A “Diva Battle” is a game format that allows three plays to team up and compete for the most “Selector” fans. Enter Asu Hirana, a girl who wants to become the best DiVa in the game.
I don’t remember why I picked WIXOSS DiVA(A)LIVE, but I did. I kind of regret it, but not for the reasons you might be thinking.
WIXOSS DiVA(A)LIVE (hereafter WIXOSS DiVA) is a brand new science fiction series currently being streamed by Crunchyroll. It’s also being produced by J. C. Staff who has produced a lot of series over the years. Notable titles include The Disastrous Life of Saiki K., Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon?, and of course, lots of WIXOSS.
Matsune Masato (Chaos Dragon) will be serving as Wixoss’ director, alongside Tamai Tsuyoshi (Bikini Warriors) on series composition. Music will be done by Iuchi Maiko (Akudama Drive), with sound direction by Saito Yoshinori (Negima!?). Finally. Shigure Ui (A Romantic Comedy Where the Childhood Friend Absolutely Will Not Lose, as well as a Vtuber) will be handling character design.
I don’t know how to transition into the meat of my review because I’m still not 100% sure what I just watched. Still, I chose this show: now it’s time to get into the weeds.
Episode 1, “Let’s Go, Top!”, kicks off with an action packed fight of the card game Wixoss between the Glory Stars and Junction, two Diva Battle teams duking it out for points and Selector votes.
Honestly, I was fully here for the opening, which is very hype. It got me pretty excited, even though I have no clue what a Wixoss is, nor what this franchise is all about. Still, the music amping up got me a little bit pumped up for whatever was gonna come next: I was ready for some card game shenanigans. Plus, the animation was pretty smooth: I like how dynamic it was as it shifts around our main characters.
Then came the confusion.
A lot of action started happening and a lot of terminology got thrown around, and before I knew it, we were back in a high school setting with the main character from the earlier Diva Battle. Safe to say I was left feeling quite clueless, but I continued my watch because this is a review.
The plot eventually leads the girls back into the world of Wixossland, a VR realm where Diva Battles are held. These battles combine Wixoss cards with magical girl-esque transformations that are pretty cool to look at. Still… I was quite confused as more terms got thrown around. By the ED, I was just kind of done.
There are so many terms in this show: an overwhelming amount of jargon that never got explained or got the barest of explanations. This might be my most frustrating watch ever, specifically because the tension that was supposed to be there—and the Diva Battles that I was supposed to be enjoy—became immediately unenjoyable specifically because I didn’t have a clue what these girls were talking about.
This was definitely a case where I’d have loved the protagonist—one Asu Hirana—to look at the camera and into my soul and lay out what a Diva Battle was and what Wixoss even is. Honestly, that would have made this series so much more accessible. Instead, I found myself just having to continue to guess and assume what the terminology used in the game meant.
There’s also the issue of Hirana, who’s supposed to be a likable but instantly made me hate her, which feels… not nice. Even the scene where she eats a bunch of flyers (it’s because she miswrote a kanji) didn’t make me smile. Add in this episodes way too irritating “villian” characters, and you have a recipe for disaster.
WIXOSS Diva(A)Live is supposed to be a new spin-off entry in the franchise, which to me, would mean giving a bit of backstory for new viewers to help them understand the rules of this world. While I don’t necessarily expect it to explain everything, I did expect this first episode to give me a lot more to work with.
I think my mistake was in thinking this would be like a new PreCure, where the rules and the world get laid out in the first episode. That is to say I assumed it would be a case of a franchise with different “universes” within. I expected a bit more of a functional premiere: instead, I got… this.
Here’s a perk: the music is pretty good. Then again, that’s not a shock as Iuchi Maiko’s most recent music credit was Akudama Drive, which had music so fierce that I wanted to dive into each measure. When the music amps up in WIXOSS DiVA, it’s really enjoyable and often, adds that nice “battle anime” veneer that always feels good.
However, outside of that, I found very little to like about this premiere, even though this show should have been something I’d mildly enjoy.
I’m sure fans of the franchise probably are very here for this, but as a newcomer watching under the assumption that this is a new entry -and therefore, accessible- I ended my watch with a very sour taste in my mouth. It’s not good as a new entry, nor is it good as a spin-off.
Like I said in my coverage of I-Chu, I’m glad this series exists because I know there’s fans who love it. It’s not for me and left me feeling cold, but I know it’s for someone. Honestly, that’s typically how I feel about most series. If WIXOSS is your thing, then I’m really glad you’ve got a new entry.
In fact, if WIXOSS is your thing and you’ve read this far, please feel free to help me jump into the franchise down in the comments. I’d love to learn and understand what was hapepning in this premier, and I’d love to hear why you, dear reader, like it.