The anime Eighty-Six (sometimes just called 86) just released Episode 18 on Saturday, November 20. The new episode, simply called “The Truth Is,” now surpasses Episode 16 as my favorite in the anime series. This one literally brought tears to my eyes.
This is a review of Eighty-Six Episode 18, “The Truth Is.” (Also referred to as 86 Season 2 Episode 7 in some locations, although this is technically part 2 of Season 1.) As such, the review will have spoilers. Please note that this is an anime ONLY reviews, with no light novel spoilers.
This Episode Was Emotionally Powerful
Let me just start by saying that this anime has just gotten better and better. Season 1 part 2 is even better than part 1, and each episode is hitting me more every week. I found myself shedding some tears at one part in this newest episode. The characters are really authentic and fleshed out. They aren’t caricatures and they have quite a bit of depth to them. I remember when the series started and I thought this was going to end up being mostly a love story between Shinei and Lena. Instead, it’s a story of survival in even the darkest of circumstances. It’s a story of how deeply racism and discrimination can affect a society. It’s a story of the trauma of war and trying to find a reason to keep going forward even in the middle of it, when you’re not sure if there’s even going to be a happy ending at all.
The episode begins with the President of the Federacy, Ernst, meeting with a subordinate and reminiscing on how many of the officers thought it would be better to eliminate the 86 rather than take them in when they first found them. His subordinate still believes that the 86 are “monsters created by the madness of the battlefield” and not children. But Ernst says the ideals of the nation are to take children like the 86 in and provide them safety and care. He doesn’t believe in just killing them off or letting them suffer. In fact, if I’m recalling correctly, he technically adopted all of them when they first arrived so they could continue to live in the country. The fact that even people in this advanced civilization have such a negative view of the 86 is so disappointing. I’m glad that Ernst is fighting for them.
But he’s not the only one. Wenzel is fighting for her Nordlicht squadron too. She convinces the military to let her use a prototype airplane that basically hovers over the ground and moves at a crazy fast speed. They’re going to use that aerial vehicle to get them close to the Morpho, deep in Legion territory, and take it out. Meanwhile, the Federacy and its allies will be fighting alongside them, battling the Legion to pull them away from the Morpho so the 86 can have their chance to strike.
It’s such a different mentality than the Republic, which just sent them in purposefully to die. And Wenzel is so dedicated to her squadron that she is piloting the plane herself. This character is honorable and such a contrast to the majority of the military in the Republic.
Shinei’s Scene with Frederica Brought Tears to My Eyes
The part that hit me the hardest in this episode was the scene between Frederica Shinei just before he left for battle. She can see her knight Kiri in Shinei and she’s terrified (like she explained previously) that he’s going to let himself be subsumed by the battles around him and eventually lose himself in it all. And of course, she wants to be the one to face Kiri after he lost himself in battle when he thought she had died. But more than that, Shinei is the closest thing she has left to family. He’s a big brother to her and she really loves him. So the idea of being left behind and not being able to go into battle, the idea that she won’t be able to stop him from possibly dying, just tears her apart. I think anyone with a sibling or a best friend can really relate to this scene. My brother’s 13 years older than me and I can remember as a very little kid in first or second grade always feeling so sad whenever he had to leave to go back to college or work. I can’t even imagine the types of feelings a little sibling would have knowing their big brother might never come home! I also think that Shinei probably needed to hear this from her, especially after all the mean letters he’s been getting from his friend’s little sister blaming him for her brother’s death.
Just before they went into battle, Wenzel’s speech about how they all want the 86 to stay alive and find a way back was particularly touching. The 86 spent most of their military career living under the shadow of knowing that everyone wanted them to die. Now they’re in a country where there are still some outliers who want them dead, but the majority — including the leaders — want them to come back. It’s such a different atmosphere for them, especially Shinei who almost lost himself in a battle a few episodes ago while thinking that no one cared if he lived or died.
And as if we didn’t have enough touching moments already, Ernst gave the 86 a special video message before they left. I really think he views them as his own children in many ways and cares for them deeply. And they’re all very touched by his love for them, even if they only show it in the most understated of ways with the slightest of smiles. Ernst tells them that their top priority mission is to come back alive, no matter what he emphasizes.
Then there’s this interesting moment when Ernst says to himself that if they don’t come back alive, he’s going to “destroy this world.” I’m not sure exactly what this scene means, except to show just how deeply he loves those kids.
As the battle begins, we get an inspiring speech from Ernst about how important this mission is. And then we see the stalwart 86 shaken by the massive power of the airplane that Wenzel is piloting. I think she just gained some appreciation from them!
As they head into battle, they can hear the sounds of people fighting for them and dying for them. It’s unusual, to know so many countries are on their side.
And as Shinei hears the voices of the Legion in his head as they approach, he smiles.
This was an amazing episode, and perhaps one of the best in this anime series to date. It was powerful, moving, and has left me eager to see what happens next in this very important battle. Being that this is 86 and anything can happen, I don’t have any predictions. Only a lot of high expectations based on the quality they delivered this week. (And a hope that we’ll see Lena again, since I have no idea if she lived or died when the Legion attacked.)
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