「行こう」 (Ikou)
“Let’s Go”

And the hits keep coming and they don’t stop coming. Just when you thought 86 had revealed enough for the moment, or that things might take some time to better explore such matters, in comes the haymaker to further reinforce exactly what this series is all about. I’d say it’s out of the frying pan and into the fire, but the pan has been vacated a while ago.

Although my issues with Lena are well-documented, this might be the first time she deserves some sympathy. That showdown with Henrietta, besides the technical implications mentioned below, shows just how delusional San Magnolia has become. Henrietta after all cannot be blamed for her own past actions; siding with the majority and reinforcing the ostracization of 86ers was done in part to preserve her (and her family’s) safety and security.

This is the reason why when one’s livelihood is threatened by taking the wrong stance you quickly apologize and/or fall into crowd – need look no further than Nazi Germany, the USSR, or any other top-down regime too see such action in practice. Henrietta’s response I can therefore understand, but her blaming of Lena is very much a disingenuous attempt to hide the immense guilt she feels. Lena may be a naïve idealist, but she at least tries to act on her beliefs, and it’s something that hurts Henrietta because it blatantly highlights Henrietta’s past mistakes. She hates Lena because Lena has the courage she lacks, and so cuts off her friendship to avoid having to dwell upon it. It’s sad, it’s disappointing, but as Lena’s uncle shows, it’s also the path of least resistance when it seems the entire world is dead set against you.

As for the 86ers, lo and behold there’s more to their status than simple cannon fodder. While I’m somewhat disappointed the underlying mechanism has assumed magical ability status, the presence of esper-esque powers among certain 86ers succinctly explains both the nature of Para-RAID system – i.e. Shin acting as a conduit for everyone else to hear the voices of the dead – and why San Magnolia is so determined to see them all perish.

Is this a heavy-handed approach? Without a doubt, but one which highlights just how screwed San Magnolia is. When your entire system is effectively based on a personnel class who themselves are anathema to your post-survival future, such a future becomes impossible given the unlikelihood of matching the timing of their complete extirpation with the elimination of your actual enemy. Either you’ll be found out, or the enemy will simply roll over the remnants of your liquidation in progress. As Shin’s warning to Lena indicates the latter is more likely than the former right now, and given the confirmed “activation” of his brother, Legion’s testing of new weaponry, and Spearhead’s intentionally suicidal Charge of the Light Brigade orders, it’s a probability which grows more certain by the day.

There’s a reckoning quickly approaching for San Magnolia and 86er both, and the only question is who will walk away alive once the dust finally settles.




  1. Isn’t a bit extreme to consider any form of ESP as super fantasy magic? By that logic we have wizards in Heinlein’s Starship troopers and we are in Hogwarts every time we see a Gundam series with Newtypes, which is practically always nowadays. Also the mild telephaty working only with family members was quite useless until they used it as a basis for the theory behind the Para-Raid. That said i find less acceptable (and it’s my main gripe with the story) the crossroad of coincidences that ties some characters of the story. I can buy that Lena met Shin’s brother, but the whole “Shin was the childhood friend of Henrietta” etc is a bit too much. I guess that in the original novel the author had problems with her character and decided to gave her a more involved role, but it doesn’t work very well.

    1. Oh don’t get me wrong, I don’t consider ESP that extremely! Rather I just think it’s an unnecessary fit for this story given the “realistic” overtones at work and how sensibly everything else has been tackled. I actually think Gundam (at least the UC timeline) could work without Newtypes too for the same reason; like 86 it IMO holds its own perfectly well as a straight war story.

      Definitely agreed on the coincidences though – and thanks for pointing out who Henrietta’s friend was, I didn’t catch that! In hindsight simply having Henrietta reminisce on a nameless friend would’ve worked fine for getting her thoughts and feelings across. These sorts of setups don’t really need much in practice to work right, and Henrietta also isn’t the sort of character who requires a lot of exposition. Simply retaining her as Lena’s conflicted friend and overseer of Para-RAID would’ve been enough.

      1. Let’s say that in the great scheme of things the theory behind Para-Raid is more important that it seems. Shin’s family ability is now useless (all his relatives are dead and it doesn’t work with anyone else, meaning that’s only important to understand the inspiration behind the device) and the ability to perceive the dead has another explanation connected to the near death experience, but also to a couple of things that the anime omitted, at least for now. I have to say that without it the following novels would have been considerably less interesting. While the main course remain grounded it gets extremely creepy later on, adding some extra layers that works extremely well.

  2. Annette simply makes this show hard to watch for me. But if her character’s purpose is to send the message that racism is all non-sensical and that we shouldn’t even bother to fathom where those guilty of it come from, then I respect the author’s decision. Not all things anime are supposed to be fun to watch. Though I also wouldn’t mind if she gets some sort of a comeuppance, like a cold pitiful look from Lena some time after later, anything to upset her. She’s not worthy of any respect or love as a human being.

    1. Her role right now is very much to highlight the contradictions at work. Henrietta is guilty for supporting the 86 system, but her reasons for doing so are important to remember because it makes her one who’ll turn on it once she feels safe to do so. Post-war Germany is the best modern example of this, as the majority of the German populace quickly abandoned Nazism the moment WW2 ended. These sorts of systems never retain large amounts of devotion, at best 30% of the population fanatically believes in it while the rest go along to avoid being the odd sheep out.

      She does, however, deserve some comeuppance for how she treated Lena. She knows it was wrong, but did it anyway to cover for her own faults. That sort of thing, especially with close friends, always comes back to bite you.

        1. Not really IMO, have to remember she’s far from the only one (e.g. Lena’s uncle). The unfortunate reality is we are social animals and peer pressure works very well in these situations. Henrietta’s punishment, as with those like her, is the guilt she’s laden with because that will never disappear and will eat at her until the day she dies.

  3. It’s obvious who that 86 childhood friend of Henrietta is though it would’ve been great writing of her character if she’s not used as a connection between that past friend & her current friend. I mean she can become one of the majority through an encounter of a random 86 child who sees her as a lovable big sister.

    When there are words of an 86 having supernatural abilities of telepathy, that said 86 child is forced to get under the knife by her father. Now that could’ve been a good trigger in how Henrietta got so jaded with the racism she had to adapt to. That would’ve been a great character analysis instead of her being a destined connection of the main protagonists.

    As for Haruto’s off-screen death, you can’t help but wonder it’s to replace Daiya & Recca’s deaths being skimmed through in the LN source material. I guess this is also a hint to blind viewers to go purchase the LNs to find out what’s been skimmed in the anime adaptation.

    At least 86 is at an appropriate even-paced anime despite 80% is dialogue heavy/exposition dumps compared to A-1’s predecessors, especially SAO where the first arc was skimmed to get to the second arc like they needed to keep blind viewers intrigued with the action scenes

    1. Unfortunately Haruto died off screen even in the novel. Due to the fact that it was written for a contest, the first book is very short and has basically only five action scenes, two of which are extremely brief. The author later on wrote various short stories to flesh out the characters that got the short end of the stick (actually vol 10 will be a collection of side stories and maybe Haruto’s death will be one of those) and the anime combines original segments with elements from the expanded material.
      Anyway the books written for the actual serialization are far more balanced with a good mix of action and story.

    2. The pacing is undeniably one of this show’s strengths. It really shows IMO how adaptations can benefit a lot by getting creative with their scripts and letting their world building flow naturally rather than squeeze it out via infodumps. So many earlier adaptations (especially light novel varieties) would’ve become significantly better with such an approach.

  4. The Shin and Lena scene had a weird translation imo. Here’s the quote from the novel:

    “And one more thing. I can’t hear the voices of the Legion that used to be beyond the eastern border.” He made it sound like he’d forgotten to file a report. Maybe it was an attempt to cover up something he was trying to convey. “Maybe that’s just the limit of what I can hear, but it’s possible someone is still alive out there. Maybe someone will come to help before the Republic falls… If I take down the Shepherd, the Legion will be thrown into chaos for a while. That’s all the time I can buy you, so until then…you have to stay alive, Major.” His tone pushed her away, and his voice was indifferent, but those words that almost felt like a prayer for her well-being made Lena clench her fistsT

  5. Oh well, San Magnolia higher-ups are just delusional thinking they can destroy all evidence of their crimes. As cases around the world have showed, you just can’t hide genocide for long. For one thing any prospective post-war visitors from outside would notice total lack of 86-ers in the streets, and wreckage of Juggernauts strewn about the battlefields would provide DNA tracers for future criminal investigators…
    You can criticize Lena for her naivete and idealism here, but damn if I dont prefer her over more “adult” and “reasonable” Alba.
    As for the para-RAID being basically enhancement of latent psychic abilities, while I don’t like it, I am not totally averse to the idea. We still don’t know a LOT about human brains and their capabilities.
    I wish now good luck to all surviving Spearhead members, and to Lena who is amongst few Alba who deserve saving from inmpending destruction of the Republic….

    1. Have to be careful, they may want to cover up their crimes, but are doing so in a way that potentially gives them suitable cover. Letting Legion do the killing and preventing the recovery of 86er bodies lets San Magnolia sufficiently argue that the majority perished in battle, and that they perished because Legion was invading the 86 region. Also the 86 camps would still remain so San Magnolia could also muddy the waters with refugee spiels.

      There would be questions about why only 86ers seems to have died of course, but it would need the other nasty aspects like human experimentation to come out for any sort of deep dive. It’s a pretty ingenious (and insidious) plan all things considered.

      1. Pretty ingenious if you dont count that even with normal war uncertainities and all (Clausewitz…) it is next to impossible, to tailor killed 86ers to destruction of Legion, so either they are left with sizeable 86 population to dispose of, or run out of 86-ers before Legion stops. And now with Legion having found way past expiry date, and new, powerful weapons…
        Think, Alba , think! (meme)
        BTW, I find Anette more sympathethic than Uncle, because she at least has some conscience, even if she is trying to deny it. Uncle just went “I was following orders” route and doesnt seem to feel guilty at all…

  6. Besides the suspicious link to Shin’s family, I really like how they went with Annette here. She made one mistake in the past because of peer pressure and it haunts her for the rest of her life. That one mistake shaped her whole future. How her family ended up, her future career and why it’s so hard to get a significant other. Certainly didn’t expect childhood trauma to be the reason she disdains the guys in her generation.

    I certainly don’t expect her to completely cut Lena off. Lena seems to be her last hope to humanity. Seeing Lena in shambles and utterly confused on what to do probably made Annette break down in despair. For all her suggestions to Lena to keep her distance to the 86s, I think she’s actually her ideal. Good thing for her, her breakdown wasn’t as bad as Shin’s brother.

    Annette gave up on her people, Lena’s uncle gave up on their leadership, I’d love to see what one naive girl can do.

    Oh, and a major complaint about the leadership. Those idiots pushed so hard for the Para-RAID system and the still couldn’t make use of it. Sending Spearhead deep into enemy territory without making sure a handler is monitoring them? Do they even know what happened in the last battle? Their lack of initiative to gather intelligence is almost as disturbing as their genocidal tendencies.

    1. I also expect Henrietta won’t fully cut Lena off. She may have told her never to return, but it’s very likely regret (or something else) will get her to seek Lena back out sooner or later. Henrietta knows she’s in the wrong, but she first has to accept it before she can beg forgiveness and atone.

      As for Spearhead the intention as I understand it is simply to get them all killed. The Magnolian leadership doesn’t care about intelligence because they honestly (and stupidly) believe Legion will keel over dead soon enough. Why bother knowing what the enemy is up to when they obviously are in their death throes?

      1. That’s the thing that really irks me. They really believe that Legion will shut down on time, but the only proof they have is superficial at best. They have the capability to gather first hand intel without needing anyone to come back alive. They could validate or invalidate that theory. And since the ones going are disposable, it cost them practically nothing.

        1. Well, not exactly superficial. The emergency shutdown protocol is very real. Legion also seems to know the limits of the Para-Raid (it’s extremely long range but not infinite) and has placed important assets beyond the effective range of the device. Remember that the toasters know everything from the assimilated neural patterns. The Republic is also not particularly keen in disproving their only hope spot.

  7. I‘m confused because Spearhead were more ppl at the end of the previous episode when they told Lena the truth. And now they‘re down to five remaining members?

    Well, this is it. Shin told Lena where to flee to once Legion starts to overrun the Republic, so time to start packing.
    The only question now is who else apart from our two protagonists will make it out alive.

    1. Yeah, Haruto and the others got even more shortchanged in the anime. At least in the book they acknowledge that they died in a battle between Shin’s last exchange with Lena and the preparations for the suicide mission. In the anime it’s a “blink and you miss” moment.


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