Lycoris Recoil episode 3 brought us more than just Chisato dodging bullets and a glorious punch we all wanted to see. This time around, the latest episode focused primarily on Takina’s internal conflict, showing fans that the series is much more than just pure entertainment. Along with notable camera work and interesting story development, Lycoris Recoil came back this week with another potential chart-topping episode thanks to its wonderful use of visual storytelling.
Takina’s Internal Conflict – Beginning
To simply put it, internal conflict is when a character deals with problems within themselves. And Episode 3 did a marvelous job of exemplifying Takina’s internal conflict—worrying about where she belongs. The episode made it clear that Lycoris were at one point “gifted” orphans who were brought on board by DA to become agents in order to make Japan a safer place. As a result, DA is home to Takina, and many others as well. It’s where she always thought she belonged and where her purpose in life is and always will be. But like every story in existence, a journey must begin. For Takina, that road to possible redemption hopefully resulted in her being reinstated to her original position at DA.
So to watch that journey in a single episode not only showcased the wonderful writing for the series, but Lycoris Recoil did it with noteworthy direction as well. In Takina’s conversation with her “successor”, Sakura, she became rattled and couldn’t quite grasp that DA would replace her so easily. Lycoris Recoil Director Shingo Adachi’s decision to use the widely known “Dutch Angle” for this scene between their interaction captured her emotions perfectly.
To start off with the close-up of the handshake showing how uneasy Takina is about the whole situation then transitioning to the use of the Dutch angle, which is to give greater effect to a character’s uneasiness, it’s actually the first time in the series we see Takina completely thrown off. Not only that, but it’s not a common occurrence you see a staple in cinematography used in anime like this.
At this point in the episode, it’s clear that Takina has become an emotional wreck and doesn’t know what she can do at this point. Visually, we notice she’s losing control of a situation that she constantly thought she could handle. Almost as if giving up all hope and leaving the life she knew behind was her only option. Which is rare since we know her as a calm, cool, and collected character. But as I said before after episode 1, Takina is character development personified.
The use of close-up angles is extremely relevant in Lycoris Recoil and Adachi didn’t shy away from continuing that trend in Episode 3, especially when Takina was about to hit her breaking point. After being told there’s no need for her at the agency anymore and her former partners showing no sympathy for her situation, the shot below was a marvelous decision that showcases Takina’s lowest point emotionally in not just the episode, but the series so far. Close-up shots are used to amplify the emotions of the character at that point in time. And as a viewer, it felt like Takina was truly defeated.
Takina’s Internal Conflict – Climax
While Chisato did have her fair share of screen time in Episode 3, that never once deviated from who the episode was focused on the entire time—Takina. The episode felt like one giant moment in time where Chisato basically told Takina, “Figure out what you need to figure out internally, I’ll handle all the external problems.” And that’s exactly what occurred throughout the episode.
And during this time, many shots involved Takina in front of the water fountain in the lodge of the headquarters. Now, this could be left up for interpretation in many ways. Perhaps it was made to represent how she can’t see clearly what’s in front of her. But this low-angle shot below with the light shining on her for the first time in this episode with the waterfall drowning out of the frame was a wonderful moment that was captured right before Takina joined in on the match with Chisato. Letting us know that she was about to make that leap forward on a new journey.
A low-angle shot usually has one of two motives—to show dominance and empowerment or to show helplessness. I think it was a perfect shot to use right before Takina made that leap forward to where she realized she truly belonged—by Chisato’s side—giving that sense of empowerment back that we know Takina had all along. And that feeling was mirrored thanks to Chisato’s efforts.
Takina’s Internal Conflict – Resolution
The use of background elements and certain camera angles when Takina begins to try and cope with the realization she may never earn back the spot she was once in were not only perfectly used, but they were subtly exposed to the viewer throughout the entire episode. For example, Takina and Chisato traveled to headquarters sitting across from each other on the train at the beginning of the episode. She also denies a piece of candy from Chisato as well.
Then at the end of the episode, Takina decides to sit next to Chisato and decided to eat the same piece of candy. Notice how the colors and the weather also adjust to Takina’s mood as well. It’s little moments of visual storytelling like this that don’t require much, if any, dialogue and truly set Lycoris Recoil apart from the rest of the pack this season. It was a nice representation of Takina’s own internal conflict finally reaching a resolution and gives the viewer the feeling that we just witnessed a wonderful ending to an old journey as she begins a new one.
Sure we can say the most satisfying part of the entire episode was when Takina finally got her revenge during the match. And that moment could also be argued as her true turning point in the episode as well. But it was ultimately the decision to do it in the first place that lead Takina on a new path for the rest of the series. Now, the real question going forward is, what’s going on with Chisato and what’s her history with DA?
If you enjoyed Episode 3 of Lycoris Recoil, then make sure to vote for it in our Summer 2022 Week 3 poll! Episode 4 will air on Saturday, July 23, on Crunchyroll. The series has currently held the #1 spot for the first two weeks of the season!
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