「それでも」 (Sore de mo)
“Even So”

Never say patience doesn’t pay off. After all the waiting, after all the hype, the moment where peace and fragile tranquility transitions into open battle and ominous uncertainty is here at last. At this stage we may have a pretty good idea how things will turn out in the end – but we also don’t know for whom such fortunes await.

While there’s plenty this week worthy of at least passing comment, probably the big thing for me over all else were the visuals. Eighty-Six is already known for its beefy animation, but damn was it nice getting nearly a whole episode worth of eye-candy. The battle sequences especially were the star of this show, whether that be the detailed artwork on display or the effort which went into showing how utterly vicious and frightening cluster munitions, artillery fire, and the moments before certain death can be. A-1 does get panned at times for some of its work, but episodes like this show just what they’re capable of when given enough money to spread their wings.

As for the actual events this episode, well, the results speak for themselves. Legion finally initiated their long planned offensive, effectively lashing out in all directions in the likely expectation of having at least one of its wings find success. Shin of course (like Lena) knew this was coming, so it was quite fascinating seeing not only his reaction – probably the first time his duty and abilities have openly gotten to him – but also his response. For the first time in a long time the Reaper was back in his element, and he cared not what others may have thought to such appearances. Grethe for example probably now understands her actual control over Spearhead is at best skin deep when it comes to Legion matters, while Frederica was forced to realize that Shin isn’t one to be kept in a box to assuage her own fears. The kid walks his own path, and while he may follow in Kiri’s footsteps, there’s nothing which says he’ll choose the same direction at the fork in the road. After all, just have to remember how that showdown with Shin’s brother went.

Speaking of Legion showdowns, as promised Lena is finally back in action, and in the way we all knew was coming. No major shocker here, regardless of Lena’s foresight and planning San Magnolia was wholly unprepared for an attack of this scale, and thanks to San Magnolia’s use and abuse of 86ers, completely unable to both stop and turn back the Legion as Giad was able to do. Lena’s pointed chat with her uncle simply exemplifies the issue: San Magnolia relies on veritable slaves for defense, you cannot reasonably ask such men (and women) to protect you out of their own free will in a vacuum. Either those slaves will spitefully kill you for their treatment, or they will make demands in return. Demands that won’t simply be three square meals and roof over their heads. Whatever the choice San Magnolia is finished, for if Legion doesn’t destroy the country the postwar fallout with the 86’s place in society will take care of it.

For all Lena’s uncle can be disliked by seemingly wanting to take the easy way for his own involvement in the system – i.e. seeking death at the hands of the Legion – he’s also right that Lena must come to terms with this reality. Whatever the future her place and position as well as everyone she knows and cares about will not be the same. Will she accept death should San Magnolia’s new leadership demand it? Could she accept the same for others she’s intimately involved with? I think we can guess the answer, but it is something she has yet to properly realize and consider.

Such a point, however, is far down the track as Legion has to first be dealt with and as we all know it’s not the easiest of tasks. After all, Legion has plenty of machines and weapons at its disposal, and if cliffhangers are any indication, we’re about to get up close and personal with the latest example.

 

Preview

40 Comments

  1. WOW!! What an episode, I never expected it to come this fast and this FURIOUS. From start to finish until the cliffhanger post credits, I was at the edge of my seat waiting for something after death flags were raised the previous epsiodes. Plus, while Hiroyuki Sawano’s score has been described as being TOO SIMILAR to his previous works, when it rises to a crescendo, it really works here, and highly effective. I was surprised to see Lena’s uncle this nihilistic or defeatist, he himself is already quite convinced the Republic will fall and he wants to see Lena get crushed by the realization that everything seems futile. I don’t know how to feel about that, but he might be right after all. The animation here gets a step up despite some significant CG use, but I particularly liked how frantic and furious the battle scenes were. It never got quite this intense the previous season, so this is probably the highest the series has got in terms of action. The final scene though, that was too much of a cliffhanger even for 86’s standards. Now this series is in a roll.

    MMX3
    1. Agreed. This episode is a good example of 2 things:
      1) While the criticism that Sawano’s music tends to sound the same is a fair one. It really is a case of don’t fix what isn’t broken.
      2) The negative stigma against CG animation is only because it tends to be used poorly and to save costs. But when it’s actually used properly, pure eye candy.

      JHNSeph
      1. Totally agree regarding CG. The problem is that we tend to remember only the negative examples like Berserk and the inclusions in other anime that are just crude cost cutting measures.
        There are a lot of good use of CG even from a while ago like various installments of the Fafner Franchise, Majestic Prince (very impressive for a 2013 anime) etc. It can also be used in creative ways like to convey the Tokusatsu feeling in the Gridman Universe series.

        Lambdalith
      2. Definitely agreed, CGI is like regular 2D animation, you simply need suitable effort to get amazing results from it. Ufotable has been a good example of just what it can do, and now A-1 has reinforced it hard. Not every CG anime will necessarily be EX-ARM or Berserk XD

  2. I still can’t wrap my head around how they perfectly timed each key scenes to the OST and vice versa. That almost felt like 20+ minutes of Sawano eargasm. Kinda reminds me of Dunkirk where they had something playing in the background all throughout to keep the intensity unimpeded.

    Anyways this episode is too goated it’s not going to be easy for A-1 to top this.

    kindle
    1. It shows they have some excellent sound engineers working on this. Placing music and sound effects to scenes is often the most challenging part of a production so having it work so well here is testament to the skill of the staff.

  3. Shivers ran down my spine while watching the action unfold before my eyes. The CG, the fight choreography was masterly crafted. Not to mention the perfect Sawano music.

    Similar to first season’s episode 9, this week’s episode might have been the highlight of 86, season 2.
    Which would be fitting the way it played the same bgm track while Lena had to once again say goodbye to a beloved person seemingly about to die. First team Spearhead and now her uncle. Though this time she isn’t despairing. She still has the mission to convince the 86 to help defend San Magnolia on their own accord. I expect them to help her since she does have a good reputation, but will that be enough?

    boingman
    1. Lena has in effect grown up, I have a hard time thinking the old her wouldn’t have broken down, but with her experience and position she cannot afford to do that now. Guaranteed she agonizes over what her uncle is doing, but it’s something she’ll only think about after doing her duty.

  4. Man seeing how Shin’s bloodlust and adrenaline boost for shooting down the hordes of Legion slowly develop from Season 1 is realistic as HELL.

    I understand why Shin is called a reaper, but is this he at this point SO damaged and tormented that he can’t exist without the Legion? When the Legion is bested and wiped out should Shin be killed in battle too?

    RenaSayers
      1. I don’t think he has a death wish yet like Lena’s uncle personally, but he definitely lacks the base survival instinct at this point. Shin is effectively acting on impulse, he does what he’s been forced into doing without any real thought. He still cares a lot about the rest of Spearhead so he won’t be seeking death while they remain live and well.

    1. That wasn’t entirely bloodlust. More like he’s pissed off which is essentially different. The pissed off “fml I don’t care if I die” kind.

      The letter he got triggered him, which is why the anime stopped showing his entire face right after he read that.

      kindle
  5. An interested tidbit: the VA for No Face (Legion commander at the start of the ep) is the same of Lena’s father.

    Finally we saw the Large Scale offensive in a fantastic episode that still manages to convene the feeling of a massive battle while keeping the focus on the characters. Frederica zig zagging between Kiri and Shin and seeing that both had the same creepy smile while fighting was disturbing. If Shin continues toward this route he’ll be exactly the monster saw by those who fear him.

    Meanwhile Lena reach the point in which all her development and preparations comes to test when she has to take command of all the 86 squadrons in an epic moment. The path she is walking is made difficult not only by the desperate situation, but the tricky situation between the 86 and the Albas. She is not going down without a fight.

    If that was not engaging enough, Legion is using the super railgun against the Federacy when practically all their forces are on the open. We’ll see how they deal with that thing.

    Lambdalith
    1. You could have spoiler spaced the first paragraph imo.
      Not like it matters too much to me anymore, since someone already hinted it on MAL forums, which is a shame, because I wouldn’t have noticed otherwise. Well, can’t blame anyone for actually noticing though, so nvm.
      Frederica had some great moments this episode, although she at times does feel like a Lena stand in for me dealing with Shin’s broken character.

      boingman
      1. It’s not a spoiler since it’s not confirmed by anything. It’s a hint that you can notice just hearing his voice and checking the VA list. It’s a popular theory since his appearance, but nothing really confirms that.

        Lambdalith
        1. Well, yeah, but in this case it’s a drawback of the anime as it ruins the surprise as it confirms the theory. Which is why I would have preferred if they had eithered altered the audio or used a different voice altogether.
          Of course I have no idea how much of a role it’ll play later.

          boingman
          1. It’s innocuous because nothing has come in play yet even in untranslated novels. Despite the theories he is just important as a high ranking Legion commander. They used the voice because they cannot incorporate the hints from the narration and internal monologues from novel 2 which were very specific, narrowing considerably the options that made sense from a narrative standpoint. Outside of that it’s still a dangling point.

            Lambdalith
        2. More like a nod and a wink to LN readers than a spoiler. That theory about No Face’s identity has been going around for a while now. And the LN’s author is most likely aware of it, so they just decided to throw in that “joke” of having the same VA as abit of acknowledgement.

          Flamerounin
      2. Will side with Lambdalith on this one, not really a spoiler because it’s matching voices between characters without any additional information (e.g. not the first time a VA would play two unrelated characters). Plus there’s been enough hints to the possibility since the first season that people would be looking out for this.

    2. It still has not been made clear to me, but is San Magnolia’s government structure a military based one? I haven’t heard from something like a president or a prime minister or a cabinet. It seems like the government is run by military. Because I have to say, they are quite incompetent in handling this war, I mean, did they have the foresight of preparing for a large scale attack from the Legion and chose to ignore it and sacrifice a district? If so, the fallout of that revelation is enough to cause a rebellion from within. If the top honchos also knew, it’s obvious they didn’t cascade it down to their officers, since a lot of them are still gallivanting around. OR really, they were too incompetent to realize that. Still, either way, the Republic will have the shock of their lives, and the fallout of the attack is something Im looking forward to. Lena’s uncle seems to have given up already and has felt the republic is deserving of what’s to come.

      MMX3
      1. It’s a democracy with a parliament and the assorted bureaucracy. In fact a lot of bad political decision even before the war were propaganda driven and led to the massacre of their outdated (they didn’t adopted Feldrebs because it was a foreign innovation) army in the first months of the war. Anyway their idea was that Legion was just observing the last instructions from their creators (which is partially correct) but the original models were incapable of creative thinking so they believed that they were just executing hit and run attacks in which they retreated once a certain threshold of casualties were sustained. Legion on their part maintained the ruse stationing outdated units on the Republic front because their main goal there was brain harvesting in the territory of a passive and clueless opponent.
        As Lena said in the first cour, it was unthinkable that they were preparing a large scale offensive or they were able to develop new type of weapons. Their incompetence made the rest with the handlers drunk for the Revolution Festival while their squadrons were destroyed by the first waves of the assault.

        Lambdalith
  6. Loved how the showed a bit of the logistics working in the back. Probably one of the reasons for success compared to the other country. A surprising thing they showed was that they’re using 12.7 x 99 NATO rounds. Very suspiciously related to this world.

    Since Shin’s battle started three days after Lena’s, have to really wonder what happened to San Magnolia. It would be prudent for Legion to push through and take out the manufacturing facilities that Lena mentioned. And speaking of Lena, have to wonder how her team fares. Despite her demotion, it looks like she’s managed to gain access to a lot more personnel and facilities. Annette probably had a hand in that I presume.

    Can’t wait for next week. XD

    theirs
    1. Embarrassingly they copied all the ammo list provided by their military consultant without removing the NATO (which obviously don’t exists in this world) rounds designation. It can be interpreted as a blooper of sorts while previous things (like Shin’s books) were artistic licenses.

      Lambdalith
      1. Interestingl;y, Giad uses 88mm ammo as in that used by both German Empire in WW1 and 3rd Reich in WW2….
        Coupled together, this looks like author took inspirations form real world nations, with San Magnolia modelled on France, and Giad on Germany.
        Any takes on what the other 2 nations are modelled from (spoilerless, if possible)?

        ewok40k
        1. They are composite as well. However their geographical position already betrays some of their components. One is a great nation at the north of both the Republic and Giad while another is smaller, mountainous and at the immediate south of both.

          Lambdalith
      2. Pretty sure the NATO part isn’t a blooper — they just used that to make things look familiar than making up fictional ammos like FASKFSHFSHD which wouldn’t make any sense. It’s functions the same way as the book, or even the connotation “Legion” which also shouldn’t exist in this world.

        kindle
        1. Think it’s this as well, NATO just identifies a standard calibre type so using it here is a quick reference to San Magnolia also having standardized ammunition. Nice quick understanding at a glance which avoids excess technobabble.

    2. The logistics side makes me wonder how does the Legion do theirs. After all they were expelled frm original territory of Giad, and dont have a country to support it. Where do they get fuel, ammo, spare parts from?

      ewok40k
      1. Let’s just say that the designer of Legion wanted the drones to be almost completely autonomous from the military industrial complex so they have their ways to produce everything they need without relying on factories and fixed installations. We should see something about that in the following episodes. Anyway the fact that Legion was autonomous is considered one of the factors that made the big industrial groups back the insurrection during the civil war. If Legion was going to permanently replace the army (which wasn’t happy either) they were going out of business.

        Lambdalith
        1. Ffs, who gave go ahead to that harebrained idea to have robotic army that doesnt even need supply chain? No one had common sense to Ask, what if they decide they dont need us anymore? And not building in some sort of kill switch?

          Ewok40k
  7. Daaaaamnnn…
    What an episode.
    Legion tackles on all 4 still resisting states,, at same time.
    Not sure about how the other 2 newly mentioned nations have fared, but while Giad has seemingly managed to fend off the assault, with much help by 86 survivors in the Nordlicht (though Legion still has the super-railgun up its robotic arm), San Magnolia failed HARD. Not wonder considering military was dead-end job for failures. I am afraid Lena will be at very best make few survivors escape, at worst, die a valiant but futile last stand. And then even if she succeeds, the Alba-86 conflict can end up destroying whatever she manages to save.

    ewok40k
  8. EMP doesn’t work on Legion. What shocked nations that already had Feldrebs was the devastating effects of the EMP emission of the Eintaigsfliege and the fact that Legion drones have no side effects and can still communicate and coordinate. Can’t say much else without spoilers, but Legion is more like a organism than a machine. In the Eighty Six world they also have nukes and advanced nuclear reactors, but without intelligence they would shoot blind in Legion territory with no guarantee to hit something vital (or to hit at all due to Legion anti missiles countermeasures), while they would have to deal with the consequent fallout. The latter would be lethal because, from what we have seen, the habitable landmass in this parallel Earth is 1/5 of our world and concentrated in a single continent in the northern hemisphere with a vast ocean covering the rest of the planet.

    Lambdalith

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