「シン」 (Shin)

Oh it’s been far too long waiting for this. Ever since 86 abruptly left off thanks to the wonders of production hell and other associated fun and games I’ve been eagerly anticipating its return. And not just because of annoying cliffhangers mind you: there’s a definite finale the series was lacking on, something to seal the deal for everything we’ve seen to date. The sort of thing this week and next have and are going to delve into in exquisite detail. Why yes, how did you know I was that excited?

Getting the obvious out of the way, yes Lena is finally back, and yes, you can expect the reunion with Shin and friends to be properly consummated during next week’s actual finale. I’m sure some are a little annoyed it didn’t happen right this moment, but honestly I like how drawn out the affair is. Besides letting Lena speak for herself and emphatically display her unwavering care and loyalty towards her charges both past and present, it helps reveal how Spearhead and her have grown apart since Spearhead’s departure – and yet just how similar they still remain. Lena after all may now be the one needing help to deal with a menace which has overrun her country (as Spearhead once used her help to survive on the frontline), yet she remains the pillar of strength standing firm in a sea of chaos. It’s only right making greetings in person after having some to appreciate just how much (and how little) things have ultimately changed.

Case in point of this understanding is Shin himself who very much is the focus of this episode – and for pretty obvious reasons. For the first time ever the kid finally acknowledged he was chasing death and that it was in part for his responsibility in the deaths of his compatriots. Make no mistake, Shin doesn’t directly blame himself for their deaths – the poignant imagery here reinforces that nicely – but he has certainly internalized them. It’s a combination of fear and self-blame, the agony which comes from being metaphorically left adrift with no one to latch onto and a child’s sense of guilt borne from age and experience (as Anju has previously described). Dealing with Kiri who himself faced similar agony and the resulting fate of the Morpho simply provided the trigger needed to force Shin into facing everything he tried denying and keeping under wraps.

Much as discussed a season ago Shin has been forever caught up in the past and unable to see the future, a kid focused on those before and ignoring everyone whom he’s helped live to fight another day. It’s amusingly ironic (in a good way) that Lena would be the one to finally pierce through his melancholy, but it’s a necessity to help the kid finally see that for everything he’s experience he’s not actually being left behind. As Lena oh so succinctly put, it’s alright for Shin to feel proud for what’s he done: he’s not only brought closure to those suffering, but he’s helped ensure more than a few people have a future full of life they can look forward to. Not a bad badge at all to wear with pride.

For the immediate future, however, it’s going to be all about planning because for all Giad may be back on even footing San Magnolia certainly isn’t – and its redoubt-like borders offer far too much potential for Legion exploits to easily ignore. Don’t expect too much in the way of grand developments for 86’s grand finale, but do look forward to some key characters finally coming face to face. After all, this moment has definitely been a long time coming.

Random Tidbits

While widescreen is usually annoying for anime (even when used for flashbacks), I really enjoyed its use here. You could get a good appreciation of Shin’s mindset from start to finish, from shrinking black borders highlighting his agony and fear to the transparent white of Lena cutting through the melancholic resignation and all the way into Shin’s new understanding and lease on life. There may not be much animation-wise to these scenes, but damn were they ever thought out and reveal just how much you can show without ever needing to utter a word.




  1. It is sublime, I am satisfied as LN reader. Next week is gonna be so good. While I do not realistically expect 86 to have new season, I still hope it will have, because there are some good characters yet to appear and epic moments to savour.

  2. Finally this moment!!! The moment when Shin see Lena for the first time!!! But worst timing possible for help to come! Anyway…when i see Lena entering the scene…i literalli jumped from my bed screaming with joy! Next week hopefully she can meet all of them.

  3. Shin was kinda wrong all along then. He was looking at his fallen comrades the wrong way, that they left him behind, when in truth, they all fought side by side. While it is still true to some extent that they depended on him as a reaper, that shouldn’t be all he remembers about them, and of course it was Lena who brought that fact to his senses. She’s the only one who could.

    I was overjoyed with this whole episode. I have no more words for this, this was near perfect.

    1. Fully agreed, out of everything so far this episode this really nailed the emotions and realizations of those involved and gave the best showing to a moment Shin has been building up to for a while. You couldn’t ask for better than this.

  4. Actually shed a tear this episode, and was taken aback when Shin did the same. They certainly did good here.

    It’s been so long, that I actually forgot that the only person from Spearhead who knows what Lena looks like was their chief mechanic. Even that happened after everyone left. Can’t wait to see what happens when they all meet in person. She even has Theo’s old drawing with her.

    Now that we know how Lena is doing, would nice to know what happened to Anette. Especially if she actually meets Shin.

    One thing I hope they explain next episode is why was Lena out there? We know they changed their command & control method, but it really didn’t get explained at all.

    ps. Grethe’s a fun commander isn’t she?

    1. Heh actually forgot none of the kids know what Lena actually looks like, going to make that meetup all the more interesting!

      Might get an answer on Lena’s presence too, likely will serve as the segue into explaining just what transpired in San Magnolia since we last saw it.

    2. One thing I hope they explain next episode is why was Lena out there?

      Suspect she’s out there to visually target the mortar fire. The little trick she pulled in season one where she took over Raiden’s vision was already risky before she started trying to control all the 86’s as their sole commander. It would probably be out of the question now.

  5. As a LN reader, they did such a perfect job with symbolism especially by using black and white borders to present shin’s state of mind and transition of it was perfect! Everything was so beautifully done, especially the use of music, colors and right metaphors and scenes. When his right hand was cut off by black border, it was really interesting – when you see he was reaching out to them, Raiden is literally his right hand man and not to mention that he felt the lost so bad that he thought he lost a part of his body.
    I loved every second of it!

      1. Shin sounded different in the loud speaker compared to the Para-RAID. Then again, Lena did not recognize Shin’s voice when they spoke in the Para-RAID.

        In the LN, there were static and interference so Shin’s voice was not recognizable in Lena’s Para-RAID

  6. Finally the penultimate episode.
    Man, when the hatch started to open so damn slowly I knew that something was going to distract them. So I guess the author intends to keep us waiting and I wouldn’t be surprised if that were a running theme and it took a few more LN vols until they met for re….
    is what I was about to write, but then you mention that the wait will be only one episode? Not cool lol. But I admit it would be kinda difficult to hide Shin & team being alive (surprisingly all of them) any longer since they‘re the elite team and supposed to collaborate with Lena.
    Lena all alone only equipped with her rifle looked like a dangerous endeavor, even after having scanned the battlefield for remaining enemies.
    The way they used subtitles until the audio connection was established was so well done.
    But I didn‘t hear Shin using anything to change his voice, so I don’t know about Lena not recognizing him.
    While Frederica did a lot of work, it required Lena to „free“ Shin. Now that his character arc seems to be over, I wonder who the story will focus on next.

  7. Wow, I kind of forgot that 86 would be returning this week and boy was I surprised when this post showed up, and too bad I clicked it and saw the spoiler images. But I already halfway expected it and even with the spoilers, I still found the “not-reunion” incredible. So much going on in the background actually, and more questions here than answers especially moving forward. I’d love to see more of this world and what happened after the defeat of San Magnolia. Happy to see this return if only to finish this arc.


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