「それでも」 (Sore de mo)
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.