“Nature versus nurture”
Episode 12 of Lycoris Recoil was an intense thrill ride as Takina has to pull herself together and bite her lip as she helps Chisato defuse a tumultuous anti-Lycoris murder spree. But before we get into the meat and potatoes of this episode, I once again have to preface that the paragraphs before I discuss Takina will be a little more critical of the usual stuff I bicker about with Lycoris Recoil.
LET’S USE THIS KNIFE TO PRY IT OUT!
I was stunned that the original solution to having the Lycoris disbanded was to have an all-new army of kids murder the other army of kids. Lillybell is just recycled the same idea as Lycoris with boys. Getting the Lillybell to kill the Lycoris is just trading one private police force with another.
They’re just kicking the can down the road and passing the buck to the next Majima to expose them and have them systematically killed by another group of kids. Maybe try not having child cops like Lycoris or Lillybell if you want to avoid being constantly exposed for covering up so much crime.
It was a miracle on Chisato, Takina, and their old partners’ behalf that they got the TV running, but it’s crazy that THAT’S the bandage they have to avoid the scrutiny of the general public finding out this info. We’re just supposed to assume that everyone will forget all of this will happen and go back to pretending it was all fantasy.
THE THIN LINE BETWEEN LOVE AND HATE
I wanted to get some of my less glowing comments out of the way before diving into what made this episode stand out the most. Once again, it’s Chisato. Chisato’s self-loathing has been a sore spot with me, and that doesn’t get much better in this episode. Not only has she heard Yoshi dress her down and treat her like a defective doll for not murdering people, but he also owns up to all of the terrible things he’s done to her that Takina is aware of.
Her takeaway from this isn’t to reflect on what it all means that her father figure would be willing to kill her if it means getting the murder doll he always wanted; it’s to try to guilt trip him into not having her kill people. Her obsession with martyrdom makes her come off more as sanctimonious than chivalrous with the way she keeps trying to prevent Takina from recovering the briefcase.
The Batman honor code she lives off of also compels her to refuse to accept even the most non lethal shot. She’s an expert with the gun, but has no idea how to de-escalate by aiming directly for non lethal body parts. They made it seem like sheer luck that she didn’t kill Yoshi all because she’s screaming like a banshee about the prospect of even giving him a shot that avoids his vitals. Yeah, I know he’s your reason for being, but it seemed more heartbroken about having to fire at Yoshi than the possibility of Takina being nearly killed by his ninja assistant. And let’s not tell anyone about the Lillybell guy who gave Chisato a mean glare because she loves keeping her friends in the dark as much as Yoshi loved keeping her in the dark.
GET ‘EM, TAKINA
Now onto the positives. The action is what has made Lycoris Recoil worthwhile, and this episode is no exception. When Takina and Chisato had to hold the fort against the DA dudes who were out to kill, it was pretty suspenseful. It was hard not to get pumped up when Chisato swooped in to save Fuki and then have these girls with pistols try their best to navigate through a firefight where they were fighting big dudes with even bigger weapons. And as much as I grumble about Chisato, I love the chemistry that her friendly rivalry with Fuki has as they struggle to get the city’s regular broadcasts back up and running.
I discovered over the weekend that the show was trending for a bit. Wasn’t sure if it was because this was a huge episode where Yoshi finally showed his true colors to Chisato and the Lycoris were close to being completely wiped out. But then I started to see what everyone else was seeing; it was Takina.
Takina was amazing in this episode. With all of the knowledge she has of Yoshi, she is not playing around and is not ready to mince words. Every look she gave to Yoshi had pure venom, and I was absolutely living for it. And if the animation was already giving its fullest in the action department, you better bet they pulled out all the stops when it came to Takina’s physicality in these scenes. Her writhing, reeling, and shouting were nothing short of evocative as it takes someone of Chisato’s caliber to keep her from tearing Yoshi apart, limb by limb.
This was a huge episode for Wakayama Shion, who gave such a compelling performance as Takina in this episode. She’s become more prominent within the past few years, but this is definitely a career-making role with a character whose iron-clad rigidity is put to the test when she lets her walls down for the one girl who taught her to value life. With this in mind, Wakayama’s performance in Episode 12 depicts a Takina who has come to cherish Chisato with all of her heart, and sees a painful reality where she keeps being torn away from her because of how willing Chisato is to accept such a cruel reality after all this time she’s told her that life is too precious to end so casually.
For Takina to accept Chisato’s pacifism was a bridge she’s been finally able to cross, but by that point, the only way Takina could return the favor would be a situation that Chisato would be upset at her for. But for this moment, Takina lets her unbridled rage take the wheel from her as she takes it upon herself to demand Yoshi’s head for the cruelty he put Chisato through. And Wakayama knocks all of these emotions out of the park instantly. I’m familiar with the roles that her English actress Xanthe Huynh has under her belt, so I imagine that she’ll also kick major ass by the time the simuldub catches. But it’ll be exciting to see what kind of future Wakayama provides us with how well she pulled off Takina.