Lycoris Recoil: Cute Anime Girls… with Guns!

I’ve seen a lot of shows about cute girls doing cute things. I’ve seen them go camping, play sports, work out, etc. Shows like this are slow, calming, and fun.

How they managed to make that work in a John Wick action story, I’ll never know.

Japan’s peace is upheld by the Lycoris, secret agents/assassins disguised as plain girls in school uniforms. After a massive supply of weapons is stolen and the mission to get them back goes wrong, the cold and serious Takina is sent away from DA to LycoReco to work with Chisato, a highly skilled outcast Lycoris with a spring in her step. A country-shaking conspiracy is beginning to unfold, with our two heroines unwittingly caught in the middle.

Right from the opening scene, Lycoris Recoil demands your attention. A delightfully cute montage out of many a slice of life, undercut by brief, brutal scenes of violence; it perfectly captures the tone and content of the story in just a few minutes. It’s impossible to drop the first episode after seeing that.

The world this show takes place in is rather interesting. It is modern enough to be grounded with just enough sci-fi flare to help it stand out. More than that, it feels broad and lived in, like there are dozens more potential stories happening just off-screen.

Of course, none of that would matter a lick if the cast weren’t interesting. Lucky for us, our leads are a delight to behold. Takina and Chisato have a simple but wonderful dynamic brimming with chemistry; each scene they share is absolutely gripping.

The villains are more of a mixed bag. Majima is fantastic, being clever and dangerous enough to be menacing while having just enough charisma to be likable. The others, however, are either underwhelming, like the Alan Institution, or just annoying, like Robota. They all do the job, but the only one who can compare to either of our protagonists is Majima.

As for the rest of the cast, they’re… fine. Each one fills an important role in the story, but only a select handful of them are given any depth beyond their surface personality traits. If it weren’t for the fantastic character designs, I’d likely forget about 80 to 90 percent of them.

All of this comes to a head in one hell of a climax. Each of the pieces come together for one last supreme action setpiece, jam-packed with stunning reveals and even a few tear-jerking moments. The ending is simple, cute, and plenty satisfying while still leaving enough open threads for your own interpretation. A solid conclusion to a solid story.

Visually speaking, this show is really strong. It has that usual clean anime aesthetic, so it doesn’t stand out like something like Mob Psycho or JoJo. But it more than makes up for that with the aforementioned character designs, effective uses of color and lighting, and clever editing.

Oh, and the animation is good. Like, insanely good! When the action kicks up and the guns come out, it’s impossible to tear your eyes away. Between the choreography and the animation itself, this show’s got some of the best action I’ve seen in a while!

Musically, this show is pretty good. It doesn’t have many earworms (except for the main theme, that one slays), but each piece works wonders in its given scenes. Plus, the OP and the ED are both bangers.

Lycoris Recoil is definitely one of the stronger shows from this year. It perfectly balances being cute and badass all in one package. Who would’ve thought that two genres like ‘action thriller’ and ‘cute girls doing cute things’ could blend so well?

Hopefully, this one doesn’t get forgotten in the endless cascade of shows that come and go. Even if it doesn’t prove to be an all-time classic, it deserves better than that.

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