「さよなら」 (Sayonara)

While we are not technically into second half territory yet, this was the week where 86 flipped the mid-story switch. Everything from Lena’s committed determination to Shin’s finding of peace and even the promise of discovery anew was brought forth to chew upon, with the only uncertainty being just what happens next. This story is now firmly in the great unknown.

Starting things off (and quite rightly too) was Shin’s showdown with his brother, who to probably no real surprise succumbed to the combined efforts of Spearhead and Lena both. Honestly not much to take away from this: Shin did what had to be done, got some well-deserved closure, and was finally provided the opportunity to grieve for the only family he had left. Shin’s brother may have fallen apart at the seams and given into the fear and professed helplessness of the situation (unlike Shin himself), but he was still family for the kid – even in that form (or maybe even because of that form) no one deserves the requirements which fell upon Shin’s shoulders. War truly is an ugly business.

Such agony, however, does somewhat distract from probably the more important development this week in Lena’s actions. If to slightly toot my own horn I did see this coming eventually, just not right now – the girl has been building up for insubordination, but I was expecting it to happen later on after a few more confrontations. This moment for her does deserve major kudos though, and doubly so for coercing Henrietta into it; whatever one can say about Lena’s naivety (which still exists, albeit now in a decreasing state), she has shown the ability to learn, adapt, and now initiate necessary changes, going as far as to coopt operational – i.e. army level – forces for the sake of her objectives. What she does next will be very interesting to find out, because I seriously doubt both that Lena’s commanders will take her actions lying down (unless Henrietta sufficiently covered their tracks) and that Spearhead will get back in contact anytime soon. One way or another Lena is now a commander without a squad and it’s anyone’s guess just where she goes next.

All of that though leads to Spearhead themselves and what is probably the biggest tease of them all: just what will they discover in Legion territory? San Magnolia obviously has no idea whatsoever if Para-RAID’s operational range is anything to go by, and outside of more Legion even Spearhead itself has no damn clue. I think it’s a given, however, that they won’t find just Legion; there’s more to this world than San Magnolia and the enemy empire, more than the likes of the 86ers who survived the initial Legion onslaught. If survivors aren’t found I’ll be incredibly surprised, though the form they take (e.g. remnants or actual organized governments) is undeniably up in the air. And that of course precludes whatever Legion itself is doing in the area, because Shou as should be remembered was just one Shepard among many.

For all which 86 has so far revealed a great deal remains to be discovered, and with only two episodes to go rest assured the next big reveal will likely be the most explosive to date. After all, have to hype things up for that second season!




  1. The despair of Lena at being left behind is an extremely interesting way to subvert the expected finale in which the whole squad dies. Despite the constant danger they are now free, while she is now alone in nation she despises, full of delusional idiots unknowingly going toward their doom. She has made a lot of progress, but now she has to prepare for the worst.

  2. Well, well, well, Lena really did a magnificent job of being supporting mission control, if I do say so. guilt-tripping Anette into hacking support, no less.
    We have now the cast go separate ways. Surviving Spearhead members go into great unknown, while Lena (and Anette!) are left in a doomed nation without even that glimmer of hope that have escaping 5.
    I guess her only choice is to try and alert higher-ups to the disaster brewing since Legion is not going to switch off at predicted date. Failing that, hijack some transport and perhaps with Anette in tow run for her life.
    And call me genre savvy, but I have feeling Shin and co. will meet Lena again somewhere in the future. Maybe even in person…

    1. The thing is even Lena isn’t really aware of what’s coming. She may have been alerted by Shin, but his words alone aren’t enough I think to convey the severity of situation to her. The girl has a serious climb ahead of her, and the first part of it will recognizing just what sort of threat she and San Magnolia faces.

  3. Didn’t think Annette’s comeuppance would come this early, much less delivered by Lena in such a cruel and manipulative way. Gotta say, I loved every second of it!

    Lena’s development has been really cool so far. Even reminded me of Ethan Winters in Resident Evil Village. Both just got fed up with their situations and set off doing whatever it took to fix their troubles.

  4. Is it just me or is that a Mass Effect reference in the article (Shepard). Anyway, I’m quite surprised this episode came early. I was expecting such significant event to come as a mid-finale. I do hope they can follow-up on this episode with even more juicy revelations and twists. I hope the payoff in this journey to the great unknown will be worth it, since I am already quite invested in the remaining survivors, and Lena herself. I didn’t expect to like any of them, but somehow, they have managed to pull my interest. Well done.

    1. Nawh that’s just me missing when spell check screwed up XD

      I will say too that bigger twists are coming. I don’t know what specifically will come for this season’s finale, but everything Lena and Spearhead have faced to date is nothing compared to what’s just over the horizon.

  5. “The Republic doesn’t play by any sane rules.
    So there’s no reason for me to, either.
    I should’ve done this a long time ago.” – Vladilena Milizé’s being badass

    While I had my reservations about the despair and helplessness in the earlier episodes it was so good to see Lena finally saying “screw it”, openly rebelling and taking matters in her own hands.

    With the remaining Spearhead members at the brink of being wiped out, that’s when the sky burned up from the cannons shooting down the flying enemies in order to clear the way for the mortars. Such an awesome moment and impressively done by the production team.

    Gotta also praise the director for details such as Lena stepping into the heavier rain guilt tripping Annette. With both getting wet to the bone, it’s Lena’s victory.

    My initial reaction regarding the final minues was confusion because I wasn’t sure whether Lena feared for the lives of Spearhead or whether she simply was afraid of being left alone. Looks like it was the latter.

    Noticing the boxes in Lena’s command room, are those signs that she’s ready to get the hell away? Considering the expected punishment by the higher ups, I’d expect her uncle to help her out.

    Two more episodes to go that I expect to mostly deal with Lena’s side of the story. Will we have to wait for the 2nd season to see Shin and team again?

    1. Regarding the boxes I’m not sure. My assumption was they contained all the equipment Henrietta needed to break into the artillery systems. I doubt she plans on running; she may care deeply about Spearhead, but she is also determined to help defend her country.

  6. Loved this episode!

    Closure for Shin, great action and finally, proper use of the para-RAID system. Give it to good officers and get great results. Like Lena. She’s got a good head on her shoulders. Sure the stars aligned, but taking advantage of it was no easy feat. Making use of sabotaged logistics, situational awareness, good use of personnel, and also taking into account the enemy’s psych. Quite impressive.

    A slight surprise was that Lena is just one rank higher than Annette. Somehow didn’t expect that. Also have trouble figuring out what branch Annette is in.

    I think what Lena did really shows that they are friends. Now the question is will they still be friends. Lena’s practically all alone now. With the remainder of her squad’s status being “signal lost”.

    The next episode is really the great unknown.

    1. I’m not too surprised by Lena being higher rank, she’s technically commanding troops after all while Henrietta is very much rear line. I suspect that Henrietta’s rank in particular exists to help drive her Para-RAID research, similar to how doctors usually receive officer ranks to prevent trouble with patients.

      1. Was actually surprised that Annette’s rank was equivalent to an army captain. Didn’t expect it to be that high. Agreed that it probably has to do with her Para-RAID research.

  7. I’ve to admit this episode really shaped my perception of Lena though I’m sure the few final chapters of the first volume would tell the reader what happened between Lena’s conversation with Shin and giving Annette a heavy guilt trip.

    So this is where her character development has finally begun? Despite being in late second half of this cour, it seems Lena is prepared to get demoted seeing using that Interceptor Cannon without higher-ups permission is a no-no.

    I can see this is how 86 series was meant to be a stand-alone novel once upon a time. Seeing that it got approved of being a long-running series, the LN author sure is brave to make an open ending for her first volume. It’s a satisfying one I say, and I wouldn’t complain if that was the ending.

    For now, I’m curious how they’ll fit the first chapter of volume 2 in the final two episodes. And if you think the 86 were heartless in leaving Lena alone, they’re not. The PARA-RAID is still on so they are listening to her panting, fling down and finally sobbing her sorrows. I speculate Shin didn’t say goodbye to her means they’ll see each other physically someday.

    In a personal perception, saying goodbye to someone means you won’t see or hear them ever again. That’s why Shin said goodbye to Big Brother.

    1. Aye

      “Sayonara” is a Firm “last” Goodbye. When you expecting to see the Person not very long or perhaps the Last time

      “Mata-ne” is to meet the person on the other day or seeing around

      I think. Well, that is my “Subtitles” Japanese Wisdom

      1. “We are going Ahead Major…”

        They are waiting for her. It is not an Sayonara, and She realized it.

        So if this Anime has 24 Episodes, then i bet they find outside Are86 a Peaceful Place. But the Problem is, to quite or populated with peoples that long forgot This Are86 War. This Legion could be an old abandoned but still Operational Autonomic Factory that know only one target, Destroying Are86

        I have some kind of “Studio Ghibli” Music Video in Mind with a Angel they set free against all odds, to find out the the Outside World is doing fine.

        They do not want that they leave Area 86, because they fear to lost control over them, there are many Animes in the past with this Style like “Freedom Project” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freedom_Project)

        and other similar Videos. Where colonists on the moon thinking that Earth is dead and in reality it recuperate, but the High Ups do not want to lose the control over them on the Moon

        i expecting something similar here, but perhaps these 5 ex-86 Squad Crew came someday back without their Signal to infiltrate in secret Are 86 to get Lena out or change the Country from the inside out

    2. IMO an open ending is a good thing to do for any one-off story like this. Half the fun of sci-fi is the world and systems building which goes into it, so keeping the door open for future stories in the same universe is never a bad idea, especially if you already have a rough draft of where things can head next. It does take good writing skill to pull off though, which by all accounts the author did a very good job at handling.

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