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Lycoris Recoil
Episode 7

by Christopher Farris,

How would you rate episode 7 of
Lycoris Recoil ?
Community score: 4.4

Lycoris Recoil's penchant for banter, for demonstrating rapport between its characters, initially felt like something of a gimmick within itself, a flaunting of that cute-girls-with-guns-doing-cute-things flavor that was so integral to it. As it's gone on though, the series has shown how well its handling of dialogue amongst its cast can move story beats and even deliver lore and background information in an efficient manner when it really wants to. The opening of this seventh episode is another strong example of that, welcoming us back into the familiarity between the crew of Cafe LycoReco (made all the cozier after the more uneven previous episode) while serving to demonstrate how the cafe is "Home" for Chisato and the station she's most comfortable in. The ideas of those encapsulating components alone make it easy for the audience to understand what this episode is 'about' and give an idea of what the tone of the overall series is going for, and that's all before you get into the dense story sandwich contained within.

This is not an action-packed episode of LycoReco, technically, but unlike the fourth episode which devoted its downtime to taking a cutesy slice-of-life breather, this one uses its space to really ramp up the drama by delivering on so many of those little lore nuggets that have been dropped up til now. I mean don't get me wrong, it is still plenty cute, as this show is wont to be, with the centerpiece of the story necessitating a date-peeping bar infiltration by Chisato and Takina that sees them rocking a swish dress and suit combo. But it's also a story setup that's thoughtfully centered on the future, both the idea of that for the characters and the more immediately upcoming elements of the story. Even elements like Robota and Majima's continuing machinations feel properly integrated thanks to bits that are brought up here tying into the conversational intrigue surrounding that central bar meetup.

Looking to the future means we have to be aware of the past, so part of the foundation of this episode is digging into the previously-hinted-at backstory for Chisato. Initially it looks like it's going to be another case of a single tantalizingly-teased line like the "LilyBell" last week, with Majima momentarily remarking on the role he supposedly played in the wrecking of the radio tower. But then that gets expanded with a little more context that fleshes out the continuing connection he seems to share with Chisato, which is only escalated by this episode's post-credits bomb drop of Majima having his own Alan Institute pendant like Chisato. People don't head into the future alone, and their past connections always have the potential to push them there or meet up with them. Presenting that is why the news of Majima's provoking attack on a police station is delivered to Chisato and the others via Fuki and Sakura catching back up with them, and why Chisato finally discovering her past connection to Yoshimatsu is borne out of the latter meeting up with Mika due to their own tangled past.

It's good stuff, even as some of it is hardly unexpected. We could all pretty much guess that Yoshimatsu wasn't exactly on the up-and-up, with his plans for Chisato alongside his intersecting manipulations of both the D.A. and Robota/Majima mostly leading to the question of exactly what kind of bigger-picture evil plot he's preparing. What is unexpected is learning just how deep his connections go, from the aforementioned pendant of Majima's, to his exploiting of Mika still harboring feelings for him. Even alongside the methodical moral ambiguity of the D.A. or the wannabe-supervillain that Majima is, it marks Yoshimatsu as the overall antagonist of all this, finally giving LycoReco a more concrete idea of where it might ultimately go in the future.

As with so much of LycoReco, even the process of just getting there is its own brand of fun. This is a series that will have its lead character's super-observation powers cause her to inadvertently spy on her boss's text message, only to have to spend all day ruminating on what it might mean before she even brings it up. And it's incredibly funny to have the girls nearly blow their attempts to follow and spy on Mika exactly one second after they start because they can barely act inconspicuous when he opens the door again. Remember, these are all highly-trained espionage field agents. But that side subversion manifests in smart ways as well, like what appears to be a multi-layered sitcom misunderstanding simply being dismissed once the team deduce that Mika might really just be on a date with Yoshimatsu and they shouldn't intrude. I love the sheer casualness of this revelation, with the naturalistic dialogue delivery making apparent how Chisato and Mizuki already knew Mika was gay and just hadn't mentioned it yet to Takina and Kurumi, or simply assumed they already knew (also if you'd told me a few weeks ago that Lycoris Recoil would have canon gay adult men in it before either of the teenaged female leads confessed their feelings for each other, I'd have questioned if we were watching the same show). It's potentially more impressive the way the show plays that element completely straight (or not straight, but, you know) ramping up the drama as Mika's resolve to safeguard Chisato's future is tested by his lingering love for Yoshimatsu, little that the guy deserves it.

But even more than that, I appreciate LycoReco's willingness to swing away from so many of the seemingly stock setups that bring it to where this episode ends up. Chisato doesn't just overhear Mika and Yoshi's conversation and not interfere, setting her up for some stewing misunderstanding. Instead she directly approaches Yoshi to confirm that he's the guy she's been seeking to thank for years, and seems to become more aware of Mika's more complex intersections with that whole setup. And from there, Mika's assurance that he'll meet Chisato back at the cafe afterwards would seem to set him up for a death flag, but instead the pair meet right back up at the bar, demonstrating how their relationship has actually gotten to mature in this moment, even as Chisato returns to putting up a chipper face back home at the cafe the next day. It sells how even the characters who have known each other the longest among the cast still have a way to grow closer to each other. And appropriately, after the series had already been doing perfectly well entertaining me in the present, all this gets me truly excited for what might await Lycoris Recoil in the future.

Rating:

Lycoris Recoil is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.

Chris is a freewheeling Fresno-based freelancer with a love for anime and a shelf full of too many Transformers. He can be found spending way too much time on his Twitter, and irregularly updating his blog.


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