It’s not looking good for San Magnolia.
In the most recent episode of 86 Eighty-Six we see an unthinkable situation occur. San Magnolia’s outer defenses are breached; the Legion has made it inside. As the legion broke into their territory, stunned officers questioned what they were seeing.
How did it come to this point?
The clear answer is the overwhelming force of Legion breaking into their homeland. San Magnolia is outgunned and outmanned. While no civilization is ever destined to survive, there were many problems in the culture of San Magnolia. It wouldn’t be a shame if it all collapsed.
What kind of culture did San Magnolia have?
The cultural problems of San Magnolia were evident from the very first episode. It was a very hypocritical culture.
The propaganda of the war painted their society as cultured, advanced, even ideal, sending self-piloting mechs into battle so no lives were lost because of their superior technology. The lie of the propaganda is that the mechs were piloted. But through sophistry it was argued that even if lives were being lost, they were just Eighty-Sixers who aren’t considered human. So of course no one had died.
Remember in the first season as Lena begged her Uncle to do something about the treatment of the Eighty-Six. She argued the principles on which the republic was founded demanded they be treated equally, even with respect. Her uncle was not ignorant to what was going on, fully aware of what Lena was saying. And instead of feeling any kind of remorse or guilt he blamed the treatment of the Eighty-Six on the will of the people. Meaning that without political impetus to the contrary the genocide of the Eighty-Six would continue.
From the context clues we have gotten so far, the society was largely morally bankrupt. Lena’s words reached no one, and changed no one’s mind. Good Riddance San Magnolia.
While San Magnolia was a morally bankrupt culture, their military culture was arguably worse. Tasked with defending San Magnolia to ensure its survival, the officers of the military were constantly partying. No one in the upper echelons of command was taking the war seriously.
What was the reason the command structure didn’t take the war seriously?
There was an unchallenged assumption, or belief, that the war would end after a certain period of time. The Legion was set to shut down. It was believed that the Legion would not be able to operate due past it’s AI lifespan. The math had already been done, and there was no reason for them to want to believe otherwise. The legion would be gone, and the Eighty-Sixers would be dead.
For the military and the political arm of the Republic, this was a win-win situation.
As we learned from Lena and her experience with her original spearhead squadron, the Legion actually wouldn’t actually shut down. The legion had the ability to assimilate the recent dead of the eighty-sixers and keep its own war machine operating.
Like a zombie horde, the Legion just keeps on going. The assumptions of San Magnolia’s leadership structure are completely wrong. No one ever tries to figure out the true nature of the Legion, because in their mind they have already won the war. No mindset is more poisonous in war to assume you have won a war without knowing everything there’s to know about your enemy.
Was this doom foreseeable? Absolutely.
The only question I have is did Lena even try to warn the military of the truth? We never see her actually share the information she has learned. Did she already lose faith in the military and didn’t share the truth? Did she share her information and get rejected? I wonder if she tried. I wouldn’t blame her if she didn’t.
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