I am really excited about this review y’all. 86 was definitely the best emotional wild ride I’ve had in a long time. It’s a brillant story that demostrates discrimination with a militaristic and classist lens. It orginalinated from a light novel series and wow does it show. The plot is enaging and the characters are deep this is the shit I live for, my favorite kind of seinen.
SO from the first look I figrued this anime was a mecha, and it is but not in the way you think. The machines are clunky and bulky and only in one part of the country. The frontlines. But the commanders aren’t on the field, they’re in a city far away and everyone has white hair there. A huge part of this anime is the war but mainly because of the “mystery” or propaganda the white haired military tells it’s white haired citizens. Meanwhile the non-white haired people are forced to fight in a war that is impossible to win with the tools they have. Those people are called, The 86. Their enemies is called the Empire of Giad who are a mindless hoard of robots.
The story mainly follows one commander from the the city of white-haired who’s name is Vladilena Milizé but we call her Major. Who takes on her first squadrant to command, which happens to be The 86. She meets then meets the legendary leader Undertaker aka Shin. Through a sort of built in walkie-talkie system she can communicate to any person in the squadrant indivually and as a group all at once. This is how we, the viewers, get to know the pilots of the clunky mech suits. Each pilot had a codename that was earned in battle and over time the Major learns little things about each pilot. As simple as each episode is, it slowly uncovers the characters politcal views, history, backgrounds and stories on the battlefield and off. By the end of season one that was all we needed to feel connected and sad when their numbers would decrease.
Like most war stories it’s a given that people you meet in the story will die. But I didn’t think that I would have formed such an attachment to the characters and some after they have died. It truly was a masterpiece to behold had me sobbing by the end. A supply robot had me in tears. It was honestly as touching as watching a long distance relationship with someone who was in the frontlines of a war. You heard, their sorrow, their want to life, their want to do more but couldn’t, and above all the trauma and PTSD that comes with war.
Anyways, I’m going to stop before I spoil things. But I would recommend 10/10 to those who love a good heartwarming story about dedication, sacarfice and a new take on fighting for human rights.