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86 Season 2
Episode 21

by Callum May,

How would you rate episode 21 of
86 (TV 2) ?
Community score: 4.6

So it looks like we've reached some kind of end, fittingly titled “All That's Left.” While the rest of the seasonal shows have been wrapped up, we're still lingering about. And as it turns out, we'll be lingering until the end of March 2022. 86's second cour has been plagued with production issues since its return, but that soon devolved into complete collapses, with the show becoming biweekly for a while. Because of that, they've run out of available timeslots and will now be broadcasting the final two episodes in three months' time.

I'm not going to pretend it hasn't affected my enjoyment of the show. It's difficult enough for a narrative to build up and sustain tension weekly, let alone several two-week breaks leading up to the climax. I ended up spending the first few minutes of each episode trying to remember what on earth was going on. Remember when they all finally left the military base on that plane/hoverboat thing? That was a month ago. I ended that review by saying, “Hopefully the show will actually reach its finale.” I guess we'll have to wait a bit longer.

That said, the 86 team have found a great place to end the year on: we finally got that long-awaited boss battle. I'll admit, it felt a little sudden. I didn't really get the impression that they were that close to the Morpho by the end of Episode 20, but hey, I'll take it. After all of his friends nobly sacrifice themselves, Shin comes face-to-face with Kiriya yet again for a final showdown. At this point, I wasn't particularly impressed. Of course, Shin would fight alone, and of course, Frederica would have to come out to snap the both of them out of it.

But it was at the exact point when Frederica yelled that Kiriya was a close-quarters expert that my entire impression of the scene turned around. Suddenly the fight felt like a challenge for our immortal suicidal maniac. After all of his solo stupidity, he's found himself actually needing the help of others. In this case, it seems to be coming from a yet-to-be-revealed Lena and her new fighting force. Lena is a big part of 86's appeal to many people, myself included, so March has just become a little more exciting.

I've never been all that impressed with Kiriya as a villain for this arc, largely because for all of Frederica's exposition, what we have seen so far was a floating face with a villainous expression chanting “I'll kill you.” But luckily, the second half of Episode 21 managed to hit a little deeper just in time. Instead of Frederica just telling us how similar the two Nouzens are, we got to see it play out in real-time. The best part was when we see how the battle feels from Kiriya's perspective as he's portrayed as a giant desperately trying to squash a mechanical ant. It was a fantastic directing choice for a character that felt so plain up until now.

After the first cour's fake-out, I don't really expect any of Spearhead Squadron to have perished this week. I'm happy to be proven wrong, but I feel they're now plated thick with plot armor. I wonder if we'll even remember about Raiden getting hit point-blank or Shin getting caught in the explosion by the time we reach next spring.


86 Season 2 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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