「本当の名前を」 (Hontou no Namae o)
“Real Name”

Well, not sure we can say it’s starting off on the right foot, but it’s sure starting off anew. Probably to no one’s surprise this episode is arguably the true start of 86 and the beginning of the real fun and games. The 86ers have established the ground rules, Lena has had a chance to recalibrate her approach, and both sides can now get properly back to the chaos of war. Or in other words, realize the suffering waiting in the wings.

Given how strongly Lena’s convictions last week were called out and pulled through the wringer, it was quite nice seeing how the complexity of her beliefs was now tackled in the follow up. Much as discussed here and elsewhere, Lena was very much naïve, ignorant, and arrogant: she thought the 86 as human when no one else would, but still failed to actually see them as such through her actions. It all came across to others as an unctuous way to absolve the guilt she as an Alba felt, something both her uncle and Henrietta wasted little politeness in getting across. While her uncle in particular might be somewhat incorrect in impossibility of ideals (never reaching them doesn’t mean you can never get asymptotically close to them), successfully fighting for those ideals will take more than what Lena thought they required. Lena may not have to go the distance as Theo’s previous Alban commander once did, yet names alone are just the first step on a long path she must walk if she truly wants to start making a difference.

As for the 86ers, it’s also not so cut and dry. Theo’s remarks sparking this debate are (as should be unsurprising given the above) not ubiquitous across the rest of Spearhead; Theo’s squad mates may see nothing in common with Lena and the other Alba, but they do recognize that the Alba are not monolithic in outlook. Such understanding, however, doesn’t mean they want to grow closer to Lena now that her intentions are fully in the open. As highlighted repeatedly both in the show and these posts the life of an 86er is one of a solider where they could die at any time. To build deep and lasting relationships would only risk harsher and more intense pain when those individuals could disappear in an instant. This is why you not only see them keeping Lena at a mental distance, but also San Magnolia’s military bureaucracy also keeping 86er records classified (albeit probably more to prevent any concerted questioning and criticism of how 86ers are treated). Lena’s heart may be in the right place, but this quintessential lesson of war is still lost on her and likely will keep being lost until she grows desensitized to the inevitable casualties or finally breaks from the pain.

I’m not sure I know which one of those outcomes to place my money on, but I’d wager we’ll get a better idea once we find out just how well Lena and Shin already know each other.

Random Tidbits

Although done in part for the pathos and catharsis, it’s always ironic for me hearing casualty rates in any modern war story (whether fictional or real). Modern sensibilities have us see five hundred or so deaths over five years as horrific, yet to be brutally frank that’s a negligible amount and well within acceptable military attrition limits. When armies can easily number in the hundreds of thousands, you never really damage an opponent until you’re extirpating thousands of them from the battlefield with every major engagement.




  1. I liked the scene with the shadow – obviously some inner discrepancy. But Shin…(?) didn’t really seem mentally sane in the first place 😛

    I also liked how they made clear that not everyone shared Laughing Fox’s opinion, it’s really not that one side is right and the other is wrong. The issue was “solved” much more maturely than I am used from anime. The 86 said it’s okay, but they still dislike her and told her so. Was kind of refreshing after the last kind of clichéd episode.

    1. To be fair to Shin, outside of potential character traits his situation isn’t one where you’d expect mental sanity to be easily held onto. Most soldiers wind up growing desensitized or broken at some stage; the mind can only put up with so much.

  2. I was genuinely surprised on how effective it was seeing Theo’s perspective of that scene at the end of the latest episode. I was skeptic on the idea of repeating scenes, but that wasn’t at all a filler anime talking head. Kudos to A1 for the care in his facial expressions.

    Speaking of expression i got the feeling that in some way Jerome would have preferred to die like Lena’s father. His expressions during the dialogue sounded not so much as a criticism of Vaclav but as a “at least you died with your ideals intact while i had to accept to live in this rotten system”.

    Regarding the last part i have to say that i am not too fond of a narrative too based on coincidences, but i can accept it if there is a good payoff in the end.

    1. Yupp, as mentioned last week I liked how they are willing to split up the scenes to show both perspectives, it nicely highlights the concerns and interpretations of both and lets us better relate to both. Limiting the viewpoint to say the 86ers alone would have unduly made Lena out to be worse than she actually is, while focusing only on Lena would have diluted the complexities behind Spearhead’s opinions. Giving Theo some attention here shows just how well it’s working overall.

  3. 561 small plates stuck on that walker sounds like a lot. Pity the guy that has to get the weight distribution right.

    Flashback probably explains why Lena’s like this. Possibly faced the undeniable truth head on when she was little. Someone has to recover the little girl right? Can’t stay in denial like the others around her.

      1. That guy is an unsung hero. With all that stress on the joints i bet that there isn’t a single original component in Shin’s Juggernaut and it burns more spare parts than all the squadron combined.

  4. Her uncle is way too suspicious which makes me think that it’s a red herring and that he’s truthfully on her side and not responsible for what happened to his brother…
    Now that both sides have been correctly introduced to each other, I’m interested to see in what direction the story will head…

  5. I wonder if we ever get more of the history as the whole setup is just weird and this brought that up again. It’s basically constructed so Spearheads view makes sense but Lena can’t really do anything. All she can do is do her best as their commander.

    I wonder if the 86 are clones/GMO’s or something. That would explain how the country was able to define them as processors with few so few dissentors.

    We probably won’t get there, but it’s kinda scary to imagine what happens to them when the war is over.

      1. That’s possible. The 86 do seem to have more natural coloring. I can see it going either way., but that does make sense.

        I’d also bet they discover evidence the autonomous legion they are fighting has figured out how to build more and won’t actually expire after two years.

        1. Regarding the Legion, I’m really itching to find out if that’s going to be the case. The premise guarantees there’s a twist in here somewhere, and Legion being self-perpetuating would be one nice way of upending the status quo.

        1. You should mark those things as spoiler.


          Show Spoiler ▼

          1. Spoiler tags added!

            Yeah for whatever reason the spoiler tags aren’t working for commenters. We do not know why, but it’s on the list of things to fix when we get time to finally get around it.

  6. so here we have some important info down the history lane:
    -how Lena came to disagree with official Republic line
    -there were actually Alba who decided to fight along 86-ers, most of them probably dead by now
    -I presume that both Alba dissenters like Lena and 86-ers themselves have come to conclusion that system is too well entrenched to be changed, but is it really?
    I wonder if Lena will investigate possible avenues for change.

    1. While Theo’s original commander deserve some respect for his choice, i think that he wasted an opportunity to slowly build an opposition against the segregation and exploitation of the 86. I guess that his superiors were very happy when they approved his request to be assigned to a Juggernaut squadron, seeing it as a problem solving itself.

    2. It’s not so much that the system is entrenched, but that changing it requires more than a few people fighting for it. These sorts of movements are never overnight affairs, they can often take years – if not decades – where you fight tooth and nail for every convert as you slowly build up your argument. It’s why Henrietta’s and Lena’s uncle’s smack down was important because Lena was operating under the impression words alone would win her this battle.

  7. It’s awful how they handled the scene with Shin and Lena. Unlike the novel, the conversation was not shownn Shin’s POV, but the Lena’s POV, which was not good idea. That could have been the first to truly highlight Shin’s character.

    1. Context and dialogue are exactly the same. They just shifted the part related to Shin brother to the end for pacing reasons and it works better to end the episode.

  8. The truly horrifying part was that those 561 deaths are people Shin personally knew. That number may be negligible on the scale of a nation’s military, but it is unfathomable on a personal scale.

    1. Oh yes no disagreement there, it’s why I specifically mentioned the emotional aspect driving this aspect. There are some though who honestly believe the personal scale should be equated to the societal scale, which is where I draw the irony from.

  9. I’m honestly beginning to get tired of the way the uncle and the scientist act all helpless in the face of it all, especially the scientist. When the uncle said what he said about ideals, that just turned me off from having any further investment in his character, same as the scientist when she gave Lina that strange look as the latter walked away. I get that they don’t want the stability of their lives to be disturbed by not having anything to do with the 86-ers, but to even force that on Lina at every opportunity is just getting old at this point. And the problem is, I’m starting to feel that way with just the fourth episode. I hope future episodes will not show them as much as simply Lina and Spearhead, because that’s where the story really marches on starting with this episode.

    1. Both Jerome and Annette are bitter people that gave up on ideals. After this Lena has to walk alone…something she is accustomed to considering that she has an extremely cold relationship with her mother (the breakfast scene in ep 1 is eloquent) and she doesn’t have any other real friend.
      By this point things start to build up toward the main aspect of the story.

    2. IMO I think it might be wrong to say they gave up to preserve their stability. In Henrietta’s case probably, but the uncle is likely concerned about Lena digging herself a hole that could possibly both destroy her and threaten San Magnolia’s security. Undeniably the show is pushing the message a little too hard, but I’d be surprised if we see much more of it given how Lena has now committed to her path.

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