monsta666

-the bee's knees
Staff member
Fansub TV Team
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Japanese: 86―エイティシックス―
Airing date: 3/10/2021 (Sunday release)
Episodes: 12
Genres: Mecha, military
Studio: A-1 Pictures

Synopsis: 86 Part 2 is a direct sequel to the first season so folks who haven't seen season one watching this is a non-starter. To give you a low down on what you are missing, 86 tells the story of the war between the Republic of Magonlia and the Gilead empire. What separates 86 from other mecha/war series is that the underclass of the Magonlia Republic, the 86, are used as soldiers to fight this war.

What's more, in the Republic the units they operate are said to be powered autonomously and therefore when these 86 soldiers perish their deaths are never acknowledged as they are not considered humans. This propaganda lie coupled with the less human status of the 86 opens the anime to issues of social inequality, justice and even to a lesser extent genocide and ethnic cleansing. Deep themes but do not worry about this anime being too dark. Much of the story is seen through the perspective of two key characters and it never gets too depressing nor dark. It is a good title that could have been great had the pacing been better and the worldbuilding been given a greater emphasis.

Trailer:



Thoughts: The opening two episodes gives me quite a bit of hope that things are taking a turn for the better as we got some significant plot developments that was sorely missed from the first part.

Most of the screen time in these two episodes is devoted to the five team members of the 86 as they find themselves in the Gilead empire. What they find there is both surprising and confusing. It also sheds extra light on the world around them and gives the characters (and the viewers) pause for thought as things are no longer black and white when it comes to who the good guys are. Introducing the Gilead empire was a great move as it helped humanised them in a big way seeing as all we saw of the empire in part one amounted to robots. An interesting loli Towa lookalike is also inserted in the show and her powers are likely to prove instrumental in the 86s future endeavours. What I do see is the inevitable conflict between the 86 and Lena; their former handler and perhaps future alley. The last bit is just speculation on my part so don't count that as a spoiler!
 
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Norren

Lazy Artist
Staff member
Fansub TV Team
And once again, Shin is back in the battlefield!

The difference between the two countries is fascinating, but also incredibly creepy- The Republic whose discrimination was based on Race and the Federacy's discrimination against the survivors of Spearhead for being the borderline eldritch horrors that war has made them. (I mean... what else would you call a group of kids who seem to be able to do everything but die, who make everyone around them hear dead people?)

We also see that the Giad Federacy is not exempt from the merciless attacks of their precursor empire's runaway creations, and are locked in the same insane war of annihilation with the Legion that the San Magnolians are.
It also won't be that much longer before we find out that there are two other powers hanging in the winds, all ostensibly allied against the Legion, but so cut off from each other that it's hard to call it an alliance. I think they were actually mentioned in a throwaway line early in S1, but I'd have to rewatch it to be sure.

I am really looking forward to the reveals about Frederica's Knight. They teased us way too hard with that last scene in the season premiere. And they keep tempting us with images of Lena looking awesome.

Also, we still need to learn what happened with that crazy fakeout ending last season!
 

monsta666

-the bee's knees
Staff member
Fansub TV Team
And once again, Shin is back in the battlefield!

The difference between the two countries is fascinating, but also incredibly creepy- The Republic whose discrimination was based on Race and the Federacy's discrimination against the survivors of Spearhead for being the borderline eldritch horrors that war has made them. (I mean... what else would you call a group of kids who seem to be able to do everything but die, who make everyone around them hear dead people?)

We also see that the Giad Federacy is not exempt from the merciless attacks of their precursor empire's runaway creations, and are locked in the same insane war of annihilation with the Legion that the San Magnolians are.

It would be good to learn what started of this mad fight between the Giad federacy and the Magnolian empire plus how this "new" country fits in with the overall story. For it being such a central theme of the story in season one the details behind the war itself are surprisingly sparse. At least in this second part we actually get to see Giad thus this side seems more real now.

As for your first point, whilst I would agree the spearhead group are clearly being targeted I don't think the discrimination is as senseless as that found in the empire. One reason they got targeted in the first place is the Giad are aware of their social disfranchisement and want to liberate them from their oppression. That is the official government line and it is not really a surprising stance.

I thought, considering the dynamics of season one, this would be a real issue for the empire. I mean you are basically treating a social class like rubbish but at the same time entrusting them to defend the country. Wouldn't the logical thing be for the enemy to entice this less than loyal lot that by surrendering they could enjoy freedom in their land? The fact this never occurred in season one puzzled me.

As for the public at large, they still see them as the enemy so some animosity particularly because they are so rare makes this understandable. All things considered the Giad seems to be the better place to live than the empire.
I am really looking forward to the reveals about Frederica's Knight. They teased us way too hard with that last scene in the season premiere. And they keep tempting us with images of Lena looking awesome.

Also, we still need to learn what happened with that crazy fakeout ending last season!

I liked Lena in season one and she looks even more awesome this time round. She not only looks more bad ass but she acts it too. I expect we will get less of her naivety and more of her strong-arm tactics. I wonder if she will even stick around with the empire if they continue behaving the way they do. What does strike me is what Shin said in season one about the empire being doomed and the war not ending in two years time like everyone believes. That could come into the fore fairly soon.

As for the fake out ending that was just simple baiting. I didn't believe they were dead unless we actually saw the bodies as dead dead. It takes a bold person to kill off the main cast in that fashion and while it has happened in the past it is rare. Good way to make a cliff hanger though...
 

monsta666

-the bee's knees
Staff member
Fansub TV Team
Episode 3 & 4 thoughts:

Third episode returns us to "normalcy" as the central theme becomes the battlefield once more. The enemy attacks that occur begs the question that Norren alluded to with the war against the Legion. The most immediate being how the Legion can field so many units and what is the end game for these automated units? Beyond that we get to see other side from the Giad that doesn't necessarily paint them in a great light that they like to project. This touch certainly adds a nuance to their side ensuring there are no clear good guys here. The racist narrative is also pushed but personally, from what I have seen so far, this seems like a point that is overstated. Overall though it was good episode.

The following episode is more of a breather, the calm before the storm so to speak. Not much happens here although the hint of imminent disaster is prominent not just in the dialogue but the symbolism deployed. We get a bit of backstory from Fredericka that could carry some bearing for other characters and the overall story. It is the most notable to happen in an otherwise unremarkable episode. Things promise to kick off in a big way so it would be unwise to bounce at this point. This looks to be one of the stronger anime series for Autumn and it is riding at 7.5/10 for me.
 
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