I would be remiss to say I’m not slightly disappointed 86 decided for transitory reminiscing over major developments this week, but if there was a moment for it this would be it. Only one episode remains before the suffering that is a season’s break, and given the hints emerging during the course of this one, best be sure 86 intends on leaving off a cliffhanger. One way or another, major change approaches.
While the members of Spearhead are largely nondescript filler for the main character that is Shin, it’s nice seeing the touches the series gives to the life of the squad. Small moments like riverside fishing, quintessential bath time, or quiet recollection highlight well how attached and close they all are – and how quickly they understand how it can all be taken away. The discovery of a wounded Legion machine shows this best; sadness and emotion, yet understanding and acceptance. Life and personal circumstances are often never fair, but you make the most of it because there’s nothing to be gained from wallowing in fear and melancholy. No matter how ubiquitous anime-wise some of these scenes might be, they serve their function well reinforcing the stark uncertainty of Spearhead’s existence.
Probably the more important moment, however, dealt with Fido. Honestly never expected the guy/robot/weird evolution of the Boston Dynamics dog to get his own screen time; he was just another background piece to add flavour to 86’s world. Yet he serves as the centerpiece for one hell of a flashback which not only fleshes out the life of Spearhead (I especially liked the fading of the chalkboard, very succinct indication of the squad’s change in mentality), but also adds some further mystery to Shin himself. I doubt for example few will miss the implications of that family photo, or the answer it suggests for how Shin is able to understand Fido so well. For all we learned vis a vis Henrietta and Shou, there’s still apparently a good deal left to discern regarding Shin’s past and how it factors into both Legion and its combatting – after all, there’s a reason Fido wound up in that situation without Shin even knowing who he was.
The answer for that may not be in the cards anytime soon of course, but given the foreshadowing this episode I fully expect something big will help fill in the time during next week’s finale. Spearhead may be all alone in the great unknown for the moment, but rest assured Legion aren’t the only thing they’ll inevitably stumble across.
The mention of Kurena never maturing makes me think she’s been repressing her trauma a fair bit, and it might come to an explosive ending when that can gets opened. Stay genki, Kurena-chan.
Fido, you were good boy. Hope the team can scavenge whatever amounts to its brain or something.
To be fair they all have in some capacity, you don’t last this long in such a role without being able to wall off your feelings.
Well, the penultimate episode was surely a competent if not well made “calm before the storm” episode. I would have wanted progressively explosive twists and turns right after the previous episode, but it was not to be. I’m quite surprised at this episode giving importance and significant airtime to Fido, which has largely remained in the background until this episode. I don’t know how to feel about that, but it surprised me it caught me off guard emotionally even in the course of just one episode. That’s quite a feat, though it may be a fluke as well. Anyway, I do hope the last episode before the long wait will be explosive enough to warrant tantrums about the long wait.
Don’t think it’s a fluke, this season has been pretty well-written with good narrative choices all things considered. It probably helps that the writers have two seasons to work with as it eliminates the need for chopping and rushing that a single cour adaptation would’ve definitely had – the cutoff point this season wouldn’t be the cutoff point otherwise for example.
This episodes is inspired by a single paragraph and a short story about Fido, but it’s 90% anime original with the supervision of Asato Asato.
The problem of this type of episodes is that they are usually fillers. Yeah, you spend more time with the characters, but they are usually inconsequential and the left only a sense of waste in the viewer, especially for short series. With this premise i fully expected this episode to be the weakest of the first cour, but i took me totally by surprise.
There are a lot of memorable things like the beautiful rural scenery healing the scars of a battlefield, the abandoned city and the sinister night procession of Legion drones roaming the land like ghosts.
Shin happier mood is not actually a positive change, like Raiden fully understood. The Reaper has achieved his main objective and he is just happy that death is coming for him soon. He still has nothing to live for and he just want to take his comrades toward the last glimpse of hope. In that regard he consider himself no different from Legion: a ghost unnaturally still lingering on Earth and with the desire to rest. In a way i felt he was almost envious of that Black Sheep, because he was “returning home” before him.
Regarding Fido…they say that upon death you see your life passing by. We saw the “life” of the most trusted companion of the Spearhead squadron and it’s a real emotional roller coaster. Kudos to A1 for the foreshadowing of subplots that will come to fruition veeery late in the line.
Regardless of execution it’s still filler, but it’s very good filler. Pulling off these types of episodes successfully requires adding something to the cast or world, material which otherwise wouldn’t have popped up elsewhere and this week arguably did just that in the flashbacks, exploration, and featuring of Fido.
A1 certainly deserves credit for the adaptation choices made, but the production committee arguably deserves more because they gave A1 the time needed to feature a fully fleshed out story,
Fido’s loss hit me more than any of the other 19 members. Didn’t see it coming and didn’t think I’d actually care.
What is Fido anyway? Kinda missed that photo while watching, so didn’t think to much about it. Was that montage it’s life flashing before it’s eyes?
Laughing Fox burned his sketchbook. Guess Lena will never find out how he imagines her.
There goes my speculation of Fido having a human soul within him(?). We will never know for he’s really gone for good…🙁
Heard this episode is 5% of Volume 2’s first chapter; the rest is based on a future volume where it’s a prequel to volume 1. At least Haruto’s death is shown to have emotional impact despite saying his final words to Fido for 5 sec in the home video.
Hopefully final episode, regardless of knowing we’ve secured another cour, doesn’t be lackluster like what Slime’s final episode of first cour in Winter 2021. May it be a satisfying cliffhanger so that we viewers won’t cringe or feel monotonous like what Slime did.
Given the significant difference in story between Slime and 86 I wouldn’t worry about this season’s finale being lacklustre. There’s a pretty significant (albeit already hinted) twist ahead in this series and next episode should hopefully reveal it.
Yeah, the montage was his life flashing before his eyes until he was hit at the end of the episode. That image surprised many LN readers, mostly because in the books that plot point is explored way after the scope of the anime. A1 surely took at heart the criticism of the adaptation of Alicization and they are not skipping anything this time.
Well, spearhead survivors living carefree “school field trip” was fun.
Even if Shin is kinda directionless at the moment.
Fido flashbacks were nice buti wonder what was the battle being fought when he was destroyed? Will rest of spearhead survive?
This episode would’ve been perfect if Raiden had said this to Shin while they were fishing (& later on to the rest of their team):
“There’s only five of us. As much as I want to fulfil that speech I’ve just made to the Major, I think it’s best we should go moving forward without any regrets. I would be lying if I said I didn’t want payback to the white pigs in charge. So whatever happens in that country, it’s not our fault.”
This would’ve made us viewers to know that they aren’t doing anything because they don’t want to, but because they’re unable to given the vast numbers of the Legion roaming about in this episode’s opening scene.
Also when was the last time an LN got adapted at a better pace & timing? Now it’s only the constant blind haters giving biased comments of A-1 being incapable just because the SAO adaptations have pacing issues.
Just the nature of the beast that most viewers don’t realize the studio doesn’t have much say over how much is adapted. They’re hired to produce so many episodes up to a certain point in the story. If that point is deep into the series with only one season budgeted? Chopping and rushing ahoy. 86 is really fortunate that it’s received both two season’s worth of adaptation and will cut off at a reasonable point (if current pacing is anything to go by); it enables A1 to fully flex its studio muscles.