REVIEW: ‘Lycoris Recoil,’ Season 1 – Delivers Great Action And Charming Characters

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Lycoris Recoil Season 1

Lycoris Recoil Season 1 is a gun girl action/comedy anime produced by A-1 Pictures. Tokyo is experiencing a previously unknown level of peace. However, the average citizen doesn’t realize this peace is maintained thanks to the preemptive actions taken by a clandestine organization known as Lycoris. Its agents act on potential threats, removing the problems before they begin. But when one of its elite members, Takina, botches a job to save her teammate’s life, she is sent to a satellite branch of the organization as a form of exile. There she meets Chisato, a legend in the Lycoris community and someone who may change how she sees the world.

The basic setup of Lycoris Recoil Season 1‘s starring duo is a classic. The grave, hard-edged Takina pairs with the happy-go-lucky Chisato, like chocolate pairs with peanut butter. The team’s initial interactions create no end of frustrations for the always-focused Takina. But as the series progresses, Takina and the viewer learn that there is far more to Chisato than her unnerving reflexes and cavalier attitude.

Chisato falls into a category of anime character that I have always adored. That is the hyper-skilled combatant that just wants to live in peace. Like others in this archetype, she has sworn never to kill, despite some of the series villains’ efforts to push her into breaking this oath. The reason for her self-imposed restraint is one of the core elements of the show’s exploration of her past.

This journey into Chisato’s past, the secrets it contains, and their impact on the present quickly come to be the central focus of Lycoris Recoil Season 1. While I enjoyed the way the series handled its larger narrative in general, the best aspect of this tale is how it focuses on perspective.

As the series continues, we learn that Chisato is who she is because certain people have a mission for her to complete. However, these goals come into stark contrast with what Chisato believes her goals and the means she implements them should be. While this is not a new concept, I love how Lycoris Recoil delivers this conflict of objectives by explaining why Chisato believes in what she does. As the story delves into the character’s past, it shows its protagonist’s take on the world around her as she saw it when she was a child. These eyes do not see what is there but only what they want to. This leaves an indelible mark on Chisato’s view of things.

While the narrative focus of Lycoris Recoil Season 1 is placed squarely on Chisato, it is Takina’s point of view that much of the narrative is filtered through. As she learns and grows beside Chisato, the Lycoris agent’s perspectives about how things should be and what’s essential transform before the viewer’s eyes. This growth informs how the story focuses its narrative and colors its evolving presentation of Chisato wonderfully.

Surrounding the starring duo is a solid supporting cast that helps amplify their charm and assist them when the shooting starts. From the wise and enigmatic teacher Mika to the lazy super hacker Kurumi, each cast member brings something worthwhile to the show.

The only major weakness that Lycoris Recoil Season 1 sports are in some of its humor. While the series always succeeds at being charming, there are times when its attempts to be outright funny fall pretty flat. Happily, this doesn’t come up too frequently, but it feels like a noticeable stumble when it does.

The only other complaint that some may have with this season comes from its end. While I think the ending is good, the series builds up its finale with an evolving scenario that feels like it is going to culminate in a moment that will be heartbreaking. Rather than this, the show steps away from the precipice at the last second, delivering something that is far less impactful. While I’m a sucker for a big finale, I think the ending that Lycoris Recoil Season 1 crafts works well for the series and is faithful to the characters it has built up.

The action throughout is presented in a precise and methodical way. Rather than the mad chaos that so many anime embrace in their action, A-1 Pictures delivers sequences that are intense thanks to the precision and control of its combatants. Chisato and Takina provide a skillful and precise approach to combat that instantly draws comparisons to John Wick. The blending of gun combat with hard, fast melee always brings excitement and wow to the show’s action.

When all is said and done, Lycoris Recoil Season 1 delivers charm, heart, action, and a narrative that digs into how we interpret the motives and actions of those around us. And how this interpretation can be just as impactful as what people’s motives really are. It is a fun, unique ride that I would recommend to anyone.

Lycoris Recoil Season 1 is streaming now on Crunchyroll.


Lycoris Recoil Season 1
  • 9.5/10
    Rating - 9.5/10
9.5/10

TL;DR

Lycoris Recoil Season 1 delivers charm, heart, action, and a narrative that digs into how we interpret the motives and actions of those around us. And how this interpretation can be just as impactful as what people’s motives really are. It is a fun, unique ride that I would recommend to anyone.

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