Sorry about putting this here guys. There’s this new site that has been stealing all my content (and content from a lot of other great bloggers) called Anime Sensai. They really suck. But I figure I might as well use the opportunity for some advertising. So if you actually came across this post on Anime Sensai, please know that 1 – they did not write it and 2 – although their bots are doing a pretty good job at stealing posts from all over as soon as they are published, they don’t seem to do to great at lifting al the awesome screencaps I collected or all the extra material bloggers put into their content. So make sure to go visit the source link you see on top of posts and as for this one, just come visit my blog: I Drink and Watch Anime. I post daily and actually have awesome readers to interact with. I’m going t be posting this paragraph on top of my posts for a little while. I hope it doesn’t annoy you guys too much.
- Titles: LycoRyco, Lycoris Recoil
- Genre: Action, science fiction, crime
- Episodes: 13
- Studio: A-1 Pictures
Japan is a peaceful place. A place where the citizens can enjoy everyday life free of fear of crime and terrorists. And that’s because they have Lycoris to watch over them. Lycoris are elite assassins, trained from infancy in the art of eliminating…problems. And for reasons they are all young girls in school uniforms. Because you see, schoolgirl uniforms are so common in Japan that it’s one of the best ways of staying below the radar and not being detected. Because of course, Lycoris are above all secret. After all, you can’t just expect the general public to accept that the government turns innocent orphans into soldiers before they’re even old enough to drink. That would be a PR nightmare… I mean that would be dangerous for the Lycoris. Their cover would be blown. Takina is such a Lycoris, a really good one but a little too impulsive at times. Because of that, she has lost her place at DA (headquarters). Chisato is also a Lycoris. One of the best that ever was, and yet she’s been relegated to small-time side office for years now. Will the ambitious Takina and the laid-back Chisato come together to save Japan once more?
If that description sounds familiar, it’s because it might as well be a genre. The cute girl assassin genre. You know, anime like Gunslinger Girl, Spec Ops Asuka, and even Noir have all used this formula before. And if you enjoyed those, you will probably enjoy Lycoris Recoil.
I’m at a bit of an impasse here. While watching Lycoris recoil, I thought it looked good. The character designs were fun enough and I enjoyed the backgrounds. I think the art is nice. I do find the Lycoris uniforms fit a bit oddly but I’m not sure why. Maybe my mind has been warped by so many years of anime that if the proportions aren’t ridiculously elongated, I find it uncanny. That’s quite possible.
However, when I step back, I can’t help but think there is something dull about the production. Maybe undistinctive would be a good word for it. These characters could be part of a lot of other shows. In three years, I’m not sure I will still recognize them. Or if they put them in different outfits right now, I might not.
The storyline would make it possible to get very extravagant with the visuals yet it’s sort of proforma. Pretty for sure but not striking. At least to me. And while looking through my screencaps, there were few that jumped out at me as particularly good. That’s very rare. Even in shows that I find visually lacking, there’s usually one cap that I can show off as impressive. Here they all sort of blend together. Make of that what you will.
Oh and just a quick note, I really prefer the Japanese cast on this one. I accidentally started an episode in English and it was a bit jarring for me. Like old-school overacted dubs from the 90s. Maybe if I hadn’t already gotten used to the Japanese version it wouldn’t have been that bad but as it is, I really did not like it.
Story & Characters
I sort of gave the story away. Not only in my description but when I compared it to other shows. Especially Gunslinger Girl in my opinion. So I’m going to talk more about the generalities and tone.
As I said, this is a genre. And while I was watching it, I couldn’t help but think that someone in the writer’s room thought that little girls with guns are really sexy. I’m not saying that Lycoris Recoil reaches the levels of fanservice of something like Magical Girl Spec-Ops Asuka. Not even close! But there is an entire episode dedicated to what type of underwear each girl wears so there’s that. And of course, there’s the ever-so-close friendship between the two main characters that can be read as romantic if you wanted to. It’s not explicit but they won’t crush anyone’s daydreams either.
And so far, all of this is rather cliché. But, I liked Lycoris Recoil more than I thought I would. And I think there are things that make this specific anime a bit more distinctive.
One thing I particularly appreciated is that for once, this isn’t a show dedicated to showing girls suffering. A lot of the young women doing battle seinen shows I have watched tend to spend a lot of time showing us the characters getting injured or being emotionally destroyed. There are some unpleasant things that happen to the characters in Lycoris Recoil but not many and they aren’t dwelt on. It’s much more of an action series than a drama. And I think the shift in tone does wonders for how enjoyable it is to watch. And how easy it is to suspend disbelief. At least it did for me.
The pacing is also swift. We’re thrown into the action, and it never lets up. There are even a few mysteries to solve along the way. This goes in tandem with the action feel of the series.
I will say that the character development is so-so. Especially when it comes to supporting characters. This is definitely what I would call a plot-driven series. However, because of the structure and pacing of the show, it doesn’t feel like an oversight or compromise. I was not under the impression that these were one-dimensional characters but rather that these were complete characters I didn’t get the chance to know all that well. Do you know what I mean?
Except for the villains. I really think the show would have been better if they developed the antagonists a bit more. They came off as a bit generic and that was definitely a disservice to the anime. To be clear, I don’t think Lycoris Recoil was bad because the villains were underdeveloped, I just think it would have been better if they had put in the time to flesh them out better.
I did appreciate Mik’s past relationship with Yoshimatsu though. I thought it added a bit of humanity to both characters and blurred the morality nicely. Good touch on that one.
Even though I keep saying Lycoris Recoil is the type of show we have seen before (and I stand by that), it has been a while since we had a good entry into the genre. And it’s probably one of the ones I personally enjoyed the most. I do encourage you to give it a try. And if you like the girls with guns trope then you HAVE to watch it.
You might like this anime if:
You really liked Madoka
My favourite character:
- Every time Chisato gets excited – take a sip
- Every time Takina is fast to shoot – duck
- Every time Chisato helps out enemies – awww
- Every time anyone dies – pour some out
- if they’re not really dead – put it back in the glass
- Every time we see the outside of the café – take a sip
- Every time anyone eats on a train – get some snacks
- Every time Takina (or anyone else) wants to get back to DA – take a sip
- Every time Chisato dodges – clap
- Every time we see that weapons deal – take a sip
- Every time we see the radio tower – raise your glass
- Every time Fuki gets mad – take a sip
- Every time we see the owl pendant – take a sip
- Every time Shinji makes sense – put the glass down
- Every time Takina has pig tails – take a sip
I save all my screencaps on my Pinterest and you can find more there if you are interested. But I still like to show you a few in the post. If you’re like me, screencaps are something that really helps you decide to watch an anime or not.