Lycoris Recoil [Anime Review]

More Than Just Cute Girls With Guns

  • Episodes : 13
  • Genre : Action, Comedy, Slice of Life, Shounen
  • Airing Date : Jul 2022 – Sep 2022
  • Producers : A-1 Pictures

During the time when most studios dropped sequels to established series, A-1 Pictures began the Summer of 2022 by presenting two original anime, Engage Kiss and Lycoris Recoil. Admittedly, Engage Kiss was actually the brainchild of A-1 Pictures and Aniplex through what they called Project Engage. Lycoris Recoil, however, is an entirely new and original anime series.

So how does this original anime fare against the highly competitive sequels seasons? Well, since a new manga and a light novel adaptation is announced not long after the series began, and then published before the series even ended, we can safely assume that A-1 sees a promising future for this series. Maybe Lycoris Recoil will be a brand new IP for this iconic studio? Well, before we get into that, let’s see how good it actually is through this brief review.

Discussion Time

In the world of Lycoris Recoil, Japan has become the safest country on earth. There are barely any violent crimes happening in the nation, and people can go about their day with ease in their minds because they know that they are completely safe from criminals. However, the truth is actually a lot grimmer than that. There’s a secret organization called Lycoris that employs high school girls as assassins. They use super A.I. that can instantly find criminals, and before they get to do a bad thing, a Lycoris agent will appear and take them out.

The story revolves around the best Lycoris agent in history, Chisato Nishikigi, and a grumpy Lycoris agent that is assigned to be her partner, Takina Inoue. Chisato is blessed with incredibly sharp eyes and an athletic body that enables her to evade bullets even if it is being shot directly in front of her. That being said, she is a super laid-back person that refuses to kill or hurt other people. Chisato even uses a rubber bullet to make sure her gun would never kill anyone. On the other hand, while Takina is an extremely talented assassin, she is still quite hot-headed and always in a rush to earn a promotion at the HQ. So begin the chaotic, funny, and thrilling journey of these two seemingly opposite girls.

Why You Should Watch Lycoris Recoil

1. Going Beyond The Cute Girls With Guns

The main theme of Lycoris Recoil, and dare we say the main thing that makes people interested to watch it in the first place, is the Cute Girls With Guns concept. That being said, Lycoris Recoil doesn’t simply throw this familiar concept into a random story and call it a day. No, they actually expand this concept well beyond the cute girls with guns idea.

It’s all about contrast and combination. Just as they combine the cute girls with guns, they also blend together serious topics like killings and terrorism with the chill and relaxing days working in a cafe. We also get a great contrast between the happy-go-lucky Chisato with the unhinged and unpredictable Majima.

Even the idea of a world that looks and feels incredibly safe, and yet underneath that peaceful façade, there are actually underage girls killing people left and right, is the perfect use of a combination of two contrasting elements. That is why when Majima finally destroys the boundaries between the two worlds and therefore blends the two opposites together, it’s so thrilling and exciting to see. There are more examples of the showrunners using the principle of combining two things that are in contrast with one another all over this series. But those are some of the most stand-out ones.

2. A Clash of Ideals

Rather than a random encounter between the forces of good vs the forces of evil, what happened in Lycoris recoil is more akin to a clash of ideals. There are several ideals being displayed in this series, but the main ones are from Chisato, Majima, and Shinji.

In the case of Chisato, she was given a second chance in life when she was small. That’s why despite her incredible shooting skills, she refused to take other people’s lives. Majima, on the other hand, is sick and tired of seeing people living in the fake world that was created by the Lycoris. To him, there should be a balance between the good and the bad. By hiding all of the bad things from the people, Lycoris actually does them a disservice. So he decided to cause as much chaos as he can in order to bring back the world to its rightful balance.

And then there’s Shinji, the man who saved Chisato. To him, urging people to live up to their potential, and to hone their talent (No matter what talent it is) for the betterment of the world is the most important thing in life. That is also the reason why he saved Chisato all those years ago. He recognizes Chisato’s talent as a hitman, and he wishes for her to be the best hitman that ever lived. This is why he is deeply disappointed when Chisato refuses to kill other people.

There are other characters with strong ideals in the series, such as Mika, Kusunoki, and even Takina, but the clash between these three is what fuels the main conflict in Lycoris Recoil. All three of them hold firm to their ideals wholeheartedly and refuse to give in even when innocent people end up being the victim. What an interesting way to directly weave character development with the plot of the story.

Why You Should Skip Lycoris Recoil

1. The Classic Batman vs Joker Situation

As mentioned above, a clash of ideals is a great way to tie in character development with the plot. However, the conflict caused by these ideals, particularly between Chisato and Majima, immediately reminds us of a familiar clash between two classic comic book enemies, Batman and Joker.

An orphan child who grows up to be a vigilante yet refuses to kill the enemy? That is Batman and Chisato. A man with green hair who wishes to see the world drown in chaos and deeply enjoys clashing with his arch-nemesis? Well, isn’t that the perfect description of Joker and Majima?

The idea behind this “Clash of Ideals” is absolutely great, but this vicious dance between Chisato and Majima is remarkably similar to the classic Batman vs Joker situation. Everybody who knows anything about Batman will inevitably recognize this similarity. As a result, everything becomes quite predictable.

Lycoris Recoil is without a doubt one of the best anime of Summer 2022. It takes the familiar, and fan-favorite concept of “Cute girls with guns”, and develops it into something even better. The way it builds the conflict around the ideals of the characters is also interesting to see.

There are parts in the series, particularly the interaction between Chisato and Majima, that will remind you of the familiar Batman vs Joker situation. However, that shouldn’t discourage you to watch this highly entertaining series if you haven’t already.

Have you watched Lycoris Recoil? If you have, what do you think about it? Let us know in the comment section below.

Harry is a manga addict first and freelance writer second. While he hasn’t read every manga under the sun, he has read an unhealthy amount of Shounen and Seinen manga. When he’s not writing in Honey’s Anime, you can find him in his personal blog:

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