Eighty Six ep 17: The Reaper’s Agony

Episode 17 showed us the way that our Reaper fought on the battlefield, Lena’s ascension to the “throne”, and a hint that Shin has become more human, step by step.

Just how many time have I said that the visual storytelling in 86 is superb? I lost count and hopefully you are not fed up at this point because It’s too good, and the staff delivers it every single time. The quality drop is minor and not that noticeable, but the adaptation has been amazing that 1 or 2 mistakes would not be a big deal. The situation in San Magnolia, the details depicted the glamorous place you once knew are now just broken buildings, and what’s left of the people, both the combatants and civilians. It was short, but satisfying.

On Shin’s side, we could not escape from the thought of: “Even the Federation was helpless?”. The new enemy, codenamed “Morpho”, laid waste to 4 FOBs in less than 24 hours. Such absurd firepower combined with the old railway systems, Morpho is the nightmare that Hitler once thought of but could never achieved its potential, just like San Magnolia with their Juggernauts. Ironically, thanks to San Magnolia, the Legion achieved their strength. So what is the strategy to deal with it? Of course, an elite task force to dive deep inside Legion controlled territory, and destroy the Morpho.
In other words, Shin’s team, once again, was ordered to become a spearhead.
“Because they are 86”

I froze when the old teammates appeared. We knew that after he buried his big brother, our Reaper has changed. But that was never the case in the first place, Shin is still Shin. In the past, at the moment or in the future, he was, is and probably will never change from that.

So what exactly happened to him?
He adapted to the harsh environment around him, a place that he had nothing else aside from his brothers and sisters in arms, on the same battlefield, in the same walking coffin. In order to survive, he had to shed away a part of his sanity. With a life like that, Shin’s mind must have been a mess.
At this point, It would not be a surprise that Shin is legitimately trying to fight until his death comes to him on the battlefield.

It is the only pride that he has ever known.
It is the only pride that the 86 ever known.
To die like a coward or to fight till the bitter end, and die.

All the cards that the anime staffs has shown to us, led us to another thing about Shin…
His Major is one special existence.
The moment he regained back his sense in episode 16th, it was thanks to Lena’s voice inside his head.
At that moment, it would not be a surprise that Shin thought Lena was already gone from this world.
The information about the Morpho, to the vision that Frederica saw, even the all the scenes in San Magnolia that the anime has shown to us in this episode, strengthen this belief.

And yet, a part in Shin’s mind tried to rejected this idea.
They have been separated, yes. Separated by a river of red spider lilies.
Separated by life and death.
In 86, the color that is usually used when depicted dead people in the ending was blue. The color of the tags was blue, Lena’s color was blue in the ending.
But then, the background color in Lena’s scene, it was never white.
It was black, the same color that was used where Shin stands.
Somewhere in Shin’s thought, he wanted to believe that Lena is still alive.
A bried moment, but it was too well done.

You have done it, A-1 studio.
You have succeeded in making an adaptation that perhaps is better than the original.
Now, we wait for episode 18.