Although only early days for 86, I think it’s safe to say this one will be a treat. Optimistic thinking? Certainly, but the pieces are here for something good should the stars keep aligning. After all, any time two seasons and slow buildup present themselves, best expect the scales to at least tilt towards the positive.
Probably the one thing surprising me most about 86 so far is the production values. Whether down to enticing eye candy designed to sucker you in before the inevitable midseason drop-off or not, there’s no denying A-1 has thrown some serious fat stacks at this show. Battles are case in point, featuring some excellent 3D CGI and special effects work that really adds to the overall aesthetic; movement is appropriately chaotic, explosions have oomph, and the grit and grime of war is thoroughly present from start to finish. It honestly feels a lot like Aldnoah (well, the good first part of Aldnoah), which given the soundtrack at work too isn’t that bad a comparison to have.
As for actual story, we also got some hefty tidbits to help keep things moving along. Probably the big one here is the reason for San Magnolia’s war, with the autonomous Legion enemy effectively being a machine consciousness that got out of control, wiped out its masters in the Giad Empire, and turned its attention towards Magnolia. At least they have an expiry date estimated to occur a year or so in the future, right? Yeah, I’d take that detail with a hefty grain of salt until more is learned. From everything revealed so far, there’s no indication the future is anything but dark and full of terror.
And that then leads to the matter of the 86s themselves. In short, pretty much pure racism: San Magnolia strips those not deemed “true” citizens of all their rights and uses them as a veritable janissary force to keep the country safe while promising then a better future for their sacrifice. I can agree with Lina for detesting this system and wanting to completely overhaul it, but it’s incredibly hard not thinking the girl is naïve; after years of being treated as subhuman with current citizens seeing them as little more than tools, there’s nothing to suggest 86ers will be suddenly allowed to retire and become recognized human beings once again after Legion is defeated – if anything, San Magnolia is likely to clamp down harder and either concoct a new threat needing them to remain as 86ers, or just liquidate them all. True change will only come when the current Magnolian leadership is forced into it, which funnily enough has already been teased with Lina’s increasingly outspoken attitude and the risks she’s inviting.
It may only be early days, but expect things to soon get wild in the world of 86.
While the technology at work in 86 is undeniably mecha-esque sci-fi, there’s some modern familiarities lurking under the surface. For example, not often you get your spider machines flinging APSFDS at the enemy.
For those curious on the German names, Eintagsfliege is a Mayfly – pretty good name for such critters – and Löwe is a (male) lion. My inner pedant calls out when more than one Löwe is present though; they’re Löwen, not Löwes!
ED: 「Avid」by SawanoHiroyuki[nZk]:mizuki