86 Eighty-Six’s first season was phenomenal.
86 Eighty-Six made it obvious how things were going to end from the early onset of the anime. It didn’t make it any easier to watch the final moments of the Eighty-Sixers as they succumbed to their inevitable doom. If there were any last illusions of hope for them, they have now completely vanished. As the audience knew from the beginning the Eighty-Sixers died in the way that was fashioned for them by the Republic.
There was a lot at play for 86 Eighty-Six as an anime. It’s an almost impossible task to tackle the subject of racial genocide, let alone the morality of a nation in the midst of war.
It’s interesting that Lena, a member of the oppressing race, is the one to give the show it’s depth of meaning. If the audience hadn’t seen it primarily from her point of view we wouldn’t have had anything to go on. Anyone else’s point of view would have dulled the point and the pain that 86 Eighty-Six is trying to make. If Lena had just accepted reality for what it is at face value there would have been nothing to feel when the last of her unit perished in battle.
Lena is by no means a saint. She also enjoys a very privileged position in her society. Not everyone has immediate access to a general of the armed forces. She is strong-willed and refuses to accept things at face values as everyone else does around her. She actively goes against the grain to her own detriment to prove a point. But while she exhibits strong character and a level of morality, she is flawed and unable to affect anything of consequence regarding the lives of the 86 Eighty-Sixers. It is a sin she alone seems to bear.
Without Lena there would be no crux for the anime to lean on.
It’s fitting that after the last battle for the Eighty-Sixers, the one where presumably all of them met death, Lena arrives at their old base of operations. She visits their world, without them in it. It’s a bleak and tragic visit that is devoid of life. Memories flood her mind as she tours the facilities, thinking back to her conversations with the Eighty-Sixers. What they said and how they lived were a small reminder of her time together with them.
While she could never be with them nor share their fate, she is the lone observer left to tell their story.
The only things that the Eighty-Sixers left behind worth taking for Lena was the cat, a book, and a few notes written out to her directly. She finally gets to see the drawing of the pig that was supposed to be her. It’s a small laugh we get to have as the finality of the situation sets in for Lena and the audience. We get a photograph of the team, and along with the name of the full roster. Their real names instead of their battle monikers. It’s proof that for a small moment they lived, fought and died proudly on the front lines.
Without Lena however there would be no memory of the Eighty-Sixers. There would be no guilt or pain of those who died in battle. Lena ties the story up into a cohesive knot. While leaving innocence behind, Lena stands tall in the face of the new tomorrow without them. She won’t forget their names or who they were. What I wonder is how these experiences will change Lena, and if she can somehow find a better future for the world she currently resides in.
Thank you Major for the wonderful story told.
Do you agree? What are your thoughts? I want to know!
Is there anything you would like me to cover? Do you want to know my thoughts on anything? Have something I should know? If you answered yes to any of the previous questions, comment below!