The following contains spoilers for Lycoris Recoil, available to stream on Crunchyroll.
Lycoris Recoil brought adorable shenanigans and gripping action to the summer of 2022. Lycoris is an organization of teenage girls who act as security and often assassins to prevent crimes and keep an illusion of peace in Japan. When a plan goes awry, Takina takes the initiative — and consequently the fall for the entire debacle. She is exiled from the Lycoris headquarters and dormitories and sent to live in a café where she will learn from one of Lycoris’s top agents — Chisato.
At first, Takina is stiff and formal, completely focused on finding a way home. Chisato teaches her to enjoy life, and to value it — Takina is shocked to learn that Chisato uses non-lethal bullets. Over time, Takina comes into her own values and personality, sometimes goofing around alongside Chisato. The journey, however, has many twists and turns.
The Girl in the Suitcase
One of their first missions together is escorting the elite hacker, “Walnut”, to safety when his competitor “Roboto” goes after him. Walnut wears a squirrel costume and has a masculine voice, and he rolls around a yellow suitcase that he guards closely. He even urges Takina not to use it as a shield. In the end, however, Walnut is murdered by machine gun fire — or so it appears.
Once the coast is clear, Walnut”removes their squirrel head to reveal a fellow agent in a bulletproof vest. She opens the suitcase to reveal a blonde preteen girl — the real Walnut. She comes to live with them at the cafe, although she insists on going by Kurumi, which is simply the Japanese translation of Walnu”.
Mr. Matsushita Never Existed
Another assignment involves protecting Mr. Matsushita in a tour around Tokyo. He is in a wheelchair and unable to move freely, completely reliant on his headset in order to communicate and on other machines to survive. Chisato develops an itinerary, and they take him around the city, laughing and taking pictures. When they realize they are being targeted, Mr. Matsushita gets serious — he tells Chisato the man murdered his family and begs her to kill him.
When this doesn’t happen, Mr. Matsushita’s machinery flat lines. It turns out the man in the wheelchair was kidnaped from a hospital, with someone else controlling his machine to talk for him. The man the girls had been traveling with is now deceased, and they also learn that Mr. Matsushita never existed in the first place. This doesn’t have a deep impact on the plot of the overall show, but it is an impressive and gripping twist.
Chisato’s Terminal Illness
In Episode 9 of Lycoris Recoil, we learn that Chisato has known all along that she would not live far into adulthood. She had congenital heart failure as a kid, and her guardian Mika’s paramour, Yoshimatsu, arranged for her to have an artificial heart to extend her time. The condition was that she had to use her talent for killing for Lycoris — a promise she didn’t know about and did not fulfill. Consequently, Yoshimatsu arranges for her time to be shortened to a mere two months.
This gives us some insight into Chisato’s personality. She refuses to kill, because she could never justify senseless murder when her own life was so generously spared. She is lighthearted and cheerful, even in dark situations, because she is trying to enjoy every moment she can. She embraces life because she has so little of it left.
Mika’s Trick Leg is a Hoax
An entire set of final plot twists hinge on the fact that Mika has been faking his leg injury, and that his cane is a weapon. Armed with the element of surprise, he attacks Yoshimatsu, whose own chest contains an artificial heart that can replace Chisato’s. With tears streaming down his face, he kills the man he once loved, and Chisato survives.
Many anime are notoriously tragic, and this happy ending is a huge relief. However, it did leave some loose ends. The main villain escaped, Lycoris is still forcing teenagers to kill, and the enemy who used Mr. Matsushita as a puppet is still a mystery. A second season seems like a possibility for this bittersweet thriller.