You know, at one time I thought it would be a wait for 86’s second season. Split cours always seem to feel like something out of Re:Zero’s release schedule (heh), but damn if summer didn’t fly by. The curse of getting old – and if you don’t already know the feeling, best enjoy the experience while it lasts! On the plus side at least it means 86 is here once again and damn it’s like it never left. Starting off with twists and hinting towards foreboding experiences: darling, I’m already (back) in love.
Given how this season is a direct continuation of the last, I won’t waste too much time on refreshers here – you want to know what 86 is about, what happened previously, or avoid any spoilers best get on that first season pronto. It’s not like this new one is wasting much time either, as we’ve jumped directly from the charge of the Spearhead brigade and Shin’s attempted death by machine assimilated brother into Lena becoming an effective pariah while Spearhead find out that there’s more beyond the lands of Legion. Yes, San Magnolia aren’t the only people left in this world.
While I imagine some are surprised by the twist laid out this episode (for those who didn’t spoiler themselves over the summer at least!), it was, to be fair, a pretty obvious one. There was no way this story would continue by writing off a good chunk of its pathos or taking away what primarily drove (and still drives) Lena’s actions, as no subsequent character could easily match up to Shin or his past. Likewise the Empire itself; Giad may have lost to its creation, but if San Magnolia could keep them at bay, there’s no way other states couldn’t do the same. Indeed we got that in spades here, as the new Giad Federation has clearly shown it has the tools and the personnel required to do the necessary fighting – and without the dehumanization aspect to boot. There will be more revealed on this part given the perpetual deception of outward appearances, but without a doubt Spearhead’s future battles won’t emulate the past.
Case in point of matters being more than skin deep, we’ve got the very personal issues of both Lena and one President Zimmerman – goddammit Crunchyroll learn your German names – to consider. Lena’s predicament is fairly obvious: her insubordination has demoted her, yet her family connections and battlefield success keep her in a command position to many a chagrin. You can see how jaded the poor girl has become (and not like the show is making an effort to hide the reasons why), however it’s development I’m really enjoying. The old Lena for example would’ve never hit back against her commanders like this before, or just outright ignored them in pursuit of her assigned directive – i.e. defending San Magnolia. It’s the sort of spine she needs to have to help her charges, and also the spine that would not grow without the trials and tribulations she went through last season. I’m quite looking forward to seeing just how far she goes with her new gritty determination.
On the other hand is Ernst and one Princess Frederica who will have plenty to say in regards to the Spearhead side of the equation. The potential here is obvious – Frederica representing the thinking which gave rise to the Legion and Ernst keeping her safe for some reason – but how it’s used will be something to watch. Ernst after all has survival on his mind first and foremost, yet he clearly has some personal regrets which Frederica and Spearhead help him overcome. How this factors into what Spearhead does next will be interesting to see, because while Ernst may wish to show them peace, Shin and company have their own wants and desires almost certain to lead them back to war.
Speaking of war, rest assured that’s not far off either, for if there’s one thing you can be sure of the Legion it’s that moments of calm aren’t indicative of success. There’s a storm brewing on San Magnolia’s horizon – and far too many of its defenders are in no shape ready to deal with it. Best sit down and buckle up boys and girls, this season is going to be a blast.
OP: 「境界線」 (Kyoukaisen) by amazarashi