The anime Eighty-Six (sometimes just called 86) just released Episode 16 on Saturday, October 30. The new episode, simply called “Even So,” may just be the best episode in the anime’s history yet. It was poignant, compelling, and moved at a quick pace that kept viewers entranced from beginning to end.
This is a review of Eighty-Six Episode 16, “Even So.” (Also referred to as 86 Season 2 Episode 5 in some locations.) As such, the review will have spoilers. Please note that this is an anime ONLY reviews, with no light novel spoilers.
The Legion Are Launching a Full-Scale Attack
The new episode “Even So” launches from a viewpoint we haven’t seen in quite some time — the viewpoint of the Legion themselves. The Legion’s commander — named “No Face” — informs Wide Area Network 1 that they are to cease all standby operations and begin a full-scale combat assault. They’re targeting the Giad Federacy in the east, the United Kingdom of Roa Gracia in the north, the Alliance of Wald to the south, and the Republic of San Magnolia to the west. It’s an all-out, full-scale attack on the major holdouts against the Legion. They’re not holding back this time — it’s exactly what Shinei had warned about back when he and his crew were still part of the 86 in the Republic.
This is the last time we see things from the Legion’s perspective in this episode. After the intro, Shinei is waking up Raiden because he can sense the Legion’s plans and he knows things are about get very bad, very fast.
“This is close to the worst case I’d imagined,” he admits. “Some of the forces I’d expected them to send to other nations are headed for the Federacy.”
The Legion are focusing their efforts on them, and Shinei is going to have to tap into that darker side of himself in order to fight them on a more even footing. (At least, that sounds like what he’s hinting at when he tells Raiden not to connect to him unless he absolutely has to do so.)
“I thought I was used to it, but what I’m feeling tonight is rough,” Shinei admits. Things with the Legion are darker than they’ve ever been before, and that’s saying a lot coming from the Reaper of 86.
The assault is massive. Every area in the theater is under attack. But the Nordlicht squadron has been waiting for this moment and thanks to Shinei’s warning, they’re ready.
Shinei Must Tap Into His Darker Side to Win This Battle
For a brief moment, we see Shinei smile after Wenzel tells him to “maintain our combat lines until the other units are ready to go, no matter the cost!” It’s a subtle indication that he’s tapping into that darker side of himself, but also a reminder that this is exactly where the 86 thrive. Losing himself in battle and becoming “the monster” is how he wins.
Some of that same attitude can definitely be seen in Kurena’s smile too, which I find interesting. She used to emulate Shinei. Is she following the same path that he’s on?
This Episode’s Battles Were Beautiful, As Were Shinei’s Scenes with Frederica
The battle scenes in this episode were especially well done. They were beautifully animated, with a lot of attention given to every detail. And just as anticipated, it is the 86 who ultimately save the rest of the military, rising to the occasion and fighting the second wave after recognizing that this is where the main battle is going to take place today.
Some of my favorite scenes in this episode involved Frederica. We still don’t know the full extent of her power (or of Shinei’s for that matter.) She’s able to tap into the battle itself and pinpoint Kiri’s exact location. And later, when she peers into Shinei’s perspective, she realizes that he’s acting exactly like Kiri did when he was consumed by the Legion battle.
It appears that one Nouzen may be following in the other’s footsteps, and that terrifies her. But she’s also scared that he’ll get too deep into the battle and die, just like Kiri did.
There’s an interesting moment when we can see that Shinei has pushed his Juggernaut too far and he may be left powerless as a Legion machine attacks him.
But just before he gets cut down, there’s a flash of light, which gives him a chance to attack and barely survive.
Will this moment have a deeper meaning later?
Frederica later calls Shinei a fool because she’s the only one who understands what a truly dangerous path he’s on. I absolutely loved the way the episode portrayed that scene. Shinei was exhausted from battle and Frederica goes to see her adopted big brother, worried sick, and confronts him in the rain. We first see his reaction as a reflection in the water before we pan back to Frederica and see her crying. Shinei isn’t the most affectionate person, so seeing him lightly hug little Frederica may appear like a subtle sign of caring, but it’s actually quite significant. Kudos to the production team — this scene was done perfectly.
We Finally Return to the Republic
For the first time in quite a few episodes, we return to the Republic. Last week, we saw a brief scene with Lena and a map that indicated they were now surrounded by the Legion. This week, we see just how dire things are. But Lena (now referred to as Bloody Regina) isn’t giving up. She’s bringing all the squadrons under her command and into the Gran Mur to defend District 1 from the Legion. This is their only chance of survival. Her uncle argues with her, explaining that there’s no way the 86 will want to help them after all that they’ve done to them. But she believes they need to take this chance. She’s going to honor the memory of her first squadron and do what she believes is right. In the end, he decides to support her, even though he believes that this will be worse for them than being slaughtered. She’s an idealist, and he thinks Lena’s ideals are going to end up dying under the harsh light of reality.
We also get another after-credits scene. Frederica is telling her friends about how she saw Kiri attack the Republic in her vision, with everything on fire. This means the Legion is inside the 85 districts and the Republic may be lost. But Kiri is no longer attacking the Republic. She’s interrupted by a blinding flash of light before she can say where he is. The episode ends on a huge cliffhanger, as Shinei shields Frederica from what is likely Kiri’s attack.
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