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At first glance, 86 seemed like another mediocre Mecha Military anime to me. There had not been a promising show of that genre for the past few years, but oh boy, I was wrong. 86’s entry in the genre did exceptionally well. Protecting its top place at weekly Reddit karma ranking and being hella popular, the show has great potential and the first few minutes into the show is enough for you to realize it!

ADAPTATION OF AN AWARD-WINNING BESTSELLER NOVEL

The original light novel, 86 -Eighty-Six- was written by Asato Asato and illustrated by Shirabii, and published in 2017, followed by its manga adaptation by Motoki Yoshihara in 2018. The anime was then produced by A-1 Pictures and Toshimasa Ishii, with Toshiya Ōno writing the scripts (Source: Wikipedia). The first season of the show starting airing from April 11 to June 27, 2021, with 11 episodes and a special, which made it perfect for 1-day binging. A new movie had been announced, but there’s no clear date because of the delay caused by the pandemic. A-1 Pictures have announced multiple seasons, but Crunchyroll or Studio Lerche has yet to renew the anime for a second season.

STORY – 8/10

The show’s main premise is based on the harsh nature of war, racism, and oppression. 86 draws a lot of inspiration from events of WW2. A massive war between the technologically superior Giadian Empire and the monarchy Republic of San Magnolia has raged for 9 years. After the war had begun, all it took was a month for their army to be wiped out by the Giadian Legion, the high-end unmanned army of self-replicating drones. Realizing the overwhelming power of the Giadians and its Legion, the Republic made two decisions. One followed the evacuation of all citizens behind the fortified walls that protect 85 territories. The other one was the Special Wartime Peace Preservation Act, which followed that all the nation’s people without silver hair and eyes like their race, Alba, were to fight the war against Giadians and were not considered human beings. They were gathered at the 86th district and were known as 86s. They were made to fight the Legions with the Republic’s own drones, Juggernaut. The story seems interesting on paper, but not THAT interesting. It might seem “narrow” if compared to other big anime, and the world-building might seem a little off, but the show gets intense quickly, and it just works well by the end of the season. 

CHARACTERS – 8/10

Most of the characters shown in the show are great and depth. The anime has comparatively more characters on the 86 side than Republic, which… makes sense. Despite how good the characters are made, each having their personality and MC’s pasts (I hope they disclose the past of all characters of the crew in upcoming installments of the show), the main characters seem like those typical “mysteriously cool” and “naive and honest” we all have been seeing from years. Our female protagonist, Lena, is too much naive and doesn’t know a thing about life, and the male protagonist, Shin, is made to look cooler because he does not talk too much and stays mysterious. There aren’t many of the side characters, but they are sure to win your heart. But I feel it would have been a lot better if they were not that much of a typical main character. Good character development in the upcoming seasons might make the character thing perfect.

ART AND ANIMATION – 10/10

I know it is a great Mecha Military anime, but I primarily started watching 86 just for the sake of its visuals, and I don’t regret it. Studio A-1 Pictures did a fantastic job on the anime. The art and animation of the show are top-notch. Everything real smooth. It might not even be comparable to its competitor, Vivy: Fluorite Eye’s Song, but it is very nice. The direction is amazing and perfect in every frame. The animation is another thing that makes the show great. The fight scenes are a treat for an average action genre fan. You can’t complain much about the animation in the anime.

SOUND DESIGN AND VOICEOVER 9/10

86 has some banger of soundtracks, from emotional tracks to heart-throbbing action tracks. The sound design of the anime is yet another reason to see the show. The tracks give sequences life and surely make the show more enjoyable.
Despite an excellent sound design, I feel the voiceover of the female protagonist, Lena, is too over the place when she’s talking to the 86 crew because it seems like forced nervousness and remorse when those emotions are not needed. By episode 9, I was very irritated by that, but it turned out to be OK later on. That’s the only flaw I found. It has some pretty good voiceover for other characters. Again, nothing much to complain about it furthermore.

SOMETHING YOU NEED TO KEEP IN MIND BEFORE WATCHING

So when starting with the anime, 86 would seem too confusing because some terms like “Processor” and “Handler” are not explained that clearly in the starting and most of the things will go over your head. So if you’re planning to try out 86, here are few things you need to keep in mind to process what’s going on.
“Processors” are the 86s forced to fight “Legion” drones and pilot their robots vehicles known as “Juggernauts.”
Processors fight sitting in their Juggernauts and are assisted by Albas known as “Handlers” from the Republic through a special wireless connection called “Para-RAID.”
I hope I made myself clear.

VERDICT

So, in the end, I definitely recommend you watching 86 if you like Mecha Military or if you are scraping for some new anime. 86 has so much potential and will surely be one of the best anime of the spring 2021 season. It has few flaws, but that can be unseen. Summing things up, The anime is amazing, and A-1 Pictures did a very well job over 86.

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Seven-Squanchy-Seven

A gamer, in for some fun.

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