Well, it’s here, the busiest day of the season. Doubt me? Just look at that schedule – thirteen shows on one day? Oh the memories of some seasons at old. At least it’s a satisfying sort of exhaustion though thanks to the likes of 86 here, because if there’s one show that’s going to be intriguing to watch, this one is it.
Exactly as the ever-popular RC preview discusses in the link above, 86 at its core can be thought of as your classic anime war series, where a ramshackle group of veritable misfits finds purpose and reason on the battlefield amidst utter destruction, countless atrocities, and perpetual suffering. Or in other words, a gritty Sora no Woto without the cutesy slice-of-life mixed with a dash of Heavy Object and Valkyria for spice. The star of the show is Vladelina Milize (Hasegawa Ikumi), an ambitious major of the San Magnolian Republican Army who winds up handler—i.e. commander—of so-called drones, immigrants and other rabble who serve as the backbone of the army. While these “drones” are undeniably human, San Magnolia’s recent conflict with another empire has led to them being ostracized and dehumanized, requiring them to serve for a set period as literal cannon fodder to protect the Republic and its actual citizens from invasion.
From this it’s relatively simple to know where things are going. Vladelina for example is the black sheep in her chain of command, the one person who sees humanity in a group signalled out as a convenient scapegoat. Such care naturally cuts both ways, with her compatriots seeing her as weak and blind to the realities, while her indentured subordinates rightfully suspect pretension, arrogance, and pompous vanity given her comfy position behind the lines. The girl is obviously going to induce some change on the part of her charges given her convictions, but the manner of it – and what happens in the process – will be interesting to see.
On the other side of things are the drones, and once again there should be no major surprises. Outside of the usual array of teammate archetypes the only real important one at the moment is Undertaker—i.e. Shin—(Chiba Shouya) who functions as lead for the group, a quiet and stoic kid who pulls no punches when required. And also one who has apparently caused his previous handlers to go as far as commit suicide. We’ll certainly get into the nitty gritty on that in future episodes given its ominous importance, but for the moment I think the talk on Para-RAID—i.e. the system for handler-drone communication—does enough to answer a lot of the obvious questions. When your command and control system is predicated on the sharing of sensory information (and the sensory information of potentially dozens of combatants) it’s not hard thinking how that could drive some mad. Yes, fully expect Vladelina to start exploring that part in depth – not like it hasn’t already been teased!
Overall while I wouldn’t make any serious predictions here, given the fantastic visuals at work and the fact 86 is scheduled for a 24 episode split cour run, I’d keep an eye on this one if you’re not already doing so. Spring may be stacked in the number of potential smash hits at play, but 86 stands a fairly good chance of leaving all that competition firmly in the dust.
OP: 「3分29秒」 (3-pun 29-byou) by hitorie