86 Season 2
Episode 19

by Callum May,

How would you rate episode 19 of
86 (TV 2) ?
Community score: 4.6

Hi there! It seems like we rarely see each other these days.

86 has returned from its second (but not last) week delay to finally deliver the episode we've all been waiting for. The show has been stuck in an unfortunate state of limbo as of late, with the cast trapped within bland meeting rooms and the annoyingly frequent cafeteria. Couple that with the production issues that have plagued the second cour and it made for pretty dull viewing material filled with exposition.

Episode 19 hasn't repaired the show's 2D animation problems, but it has finally put Nordlicht Squadron back on the field. I was beginning to forget how much I loved seeing these spiders battle. The Morpho itself is glorious—true final boss material—and it was satisfying to see the chaos unfold from the butterfly's perspective as well. Clearly when it comes to Shin, the Legion have other plans in mind.

With the cast finally unburdened by the bureaucracy around them, I'm looking forward to seeing more kinds of scenarios as we approach the finale in 2022. It's not that I have a particular problem with the members of the Federacy—in the absence of Lena, Ernst's speech in this episode was particularly exciting—but their drama rarely has the weight and impact of the characters that are actually out there doing stuff. I honestly couldn't care about why Greta has two superhero nicknames or what went on between her and Willem. I'm far more distracted by the upcoming clash of the Nouzens.

I mentioned before that the week delay didn't solve 86's animation problems, but thankfully the 3D artists at Sanzigen have kind of been the saving grace of the episode. While the characters rarely move outside of long-shots where their detail has been drastically reduced, the movements of the 3D mechs coupled with their unique sound design remain one of the most interesting aspects of the show. It's particularly fun that the Morpho itself sounds gross. Sure, it's a mech named after a butterfly (a design the show foreshadowed in a previous episode), but the squelching sells the idea of “This is an abomination, kill it, kill it quick”.

Right now, 86 has set us on a path towards a finale, but it's worth bringing up an important question—what next? Since it's adapting an ongoing light novel series, we're unlikely to get closure, even in the unlikely event that it gets a second season. Much like their trauma, 86's medium will never let them retire from battle. Right now, we're affixed on Shin's battle trances caused by the voices of the Legion, but it's unsettling that we may never see a resolution to that problem in animated form.

Anyways, I'm off again. Next week's episode has been delayed due to a programming issue, rather than production, but I'm sure the animation directors are happy to have the extra time, regardless. Last week, I scratched the 86 itch by building one of Bandai Spirits' Juggernaut model kits, which ended up being a lot of fun. Plus, they're an investor in the anime, so the more we build, the better a chance of a second season.


86 is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.

Callum is the host and creator of the YouTube channel The Canipa Effect where he explores topics within the anime industry. You can also find him talking nonsense on Twitter.

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