Eighty Six ep 22: The long-awaited Reunion!

Wordlessly, painfully, tearfully and breathtakingly beautiful episode
3 months.
It took us 3 months to reach this episode.
Man, I just don’t know how to exactly translate my feelings into words.
“Was it worth it? After all those times?”
This episode is all about the story, and the insanely detailed amount of visual story telling.
The satisfaction that you could get from this episode visual story telling alone is over 9000.
In fact, I would like to do this review like a dinner menu.

First, your entrée: Shin’s mind got broken up.
Picked up right at the moment when we left. Shin just sabotaged the Morpho, and right after that, he once again lost his purpose to fight, to live. The others 86 from his old Spearhead Squadron reappeared, but not the joyful from the day he met in episode 19, but in the appearance when they deceased. Some of them was “reaped” by Shin, some KIA, some suicided, and only God knows why Haruto’s corpses got hanged up in Fido’s POV in episode 10.
They thanked them for what he had done, but his mind brutally tried to reject the dead’s mercy. His heart was closed so tight that all of the sorrows back when he first become “Death” came back to him at once. He had tried to run away from it, with the desire to kill his brother, and when that happened, he tried to kill the morpho, and now… He couldn’t do that anymore.
And now, the survivor’s guilt was all in his mind. Notice the two black bars in the scene when his mind got broken up? That was literally how he saw this world: a narrow one, with nothing on the sides of if, only darkness. Gosh, we knew how fucked up his mind was in the first cour, but the depth was deeper than what we could imagine.

That was the reason why, everything around him is so “blue”. Ms Asato, the author, tweeted after episode 22 that in the original Light Novel, she intentionally used “blue” as a color representing “death and its people”. Shin survived on his comrade’s corpses, again. Surrounding him was nothing, but death. Suddenly, a Legion somehow was still alive, and its eyes in Shin’s POV, were red. And yes, that was the color of the living, also from Ms. Asato’s tweet.
But the Legion was not “alive”, right?
No, rather than the Legion, it was meant for Shin’s haunting desire to get himself killed. That desire, was alive, for a brief moment, but was enough for the audiences to sympathize, to understand what was in Shin’s heart at that moment. Thank god, the “plot armor” activated, and we moved to…

The main dish: Lena
Shin’s view was filled with nothing but the “blue” of death,
Lena replaced all of it with a Lycoris field full of “red”.
Shin once said to Lena he would rather fight to the death than waiting for the execution site, yet his words now contradicted him.
Lena was once naive, but thanks to Shin’s word, she now stands with her comrades and fights till the bitter end.
Shin asked Lena, why did you still remember the death, Lena said to Shin, because she was asked to.
Everything that Shin asked Lena, Lena answered them all.
Before Shin’s realization, we saw a plethora of emotions exploding on the Reaper’s stone-cold face, so much so that it’s like he had reverted back to being “normal” – a person who is afraid of pain, loss, and death. Now that he is standing at the “finish” line, he realizes he has nothing else to live for, after saying all the big words that he should be the only one to die, and that his comrade shouldn’t sacrifice their life bla bla bla, Shin finally came face-to-face with his reality – that deep down, he is afraid of “death”, yet cannot stop advancing towards it.
But Lena – the girl that has once been ridiculed by him, and he used to think nothing of her – has now progressed enough to stand proudly in front of him. Furthermore, she has created an “anchor” in the land of the living to salvage Shin’s emptiness. If he deems himself nothing, then she will give him something – the very thing that he had “bestowed” upon her – the memory of the Spearhead Squadron. Of course, that hit Shin like a truck, and he hasn’t completely figured himself out yet. But we have seen the significant changes that is stirring within him. He’s glad that his comrades are alive, that “she” is alive. Surely Shin isn’t aware of it yet, but the Reaper’s scythe can also turn into a farming tool that nurtures new life, and the Bloody Queen will be the one to wield it. And that is when the sauce come in: visual storytelling.
Breath taking. It was just breathtaking. The scene was crafted wisely, efficiently. Every frames felt like they was made with love and passion for 86. If you have experienced the light novel version, then you would know that we would not know Lena was there until the very end when she announced her name, while in the anime version, we could see Lena from the very beginning. It made both experience unique to each other and a perfect example for strength from both platforms, but to me, things shown to me directly tends to have a more powerful impression than pure words alone. With that, 86 is surely one of the best anime adaptations, period.
Our menu is almost completed, it would be a shame if we forget our dessert: the music.
Seriously though, you let Sawano Hiroyuki in charge of your music composer then he will make sure that the audience’s emotion is going to be drawn out completely. This guy knows how to manipulate our emotions, how to make us hype through the roof. The hypeness could go from 0 to 9000 with a single drop, especially with the track that was used in this episode: Voice of the Chord. Gosh, I want to watch that scene again.
With it, our menu is completed. I hope that our menu has satisfied you.
See you soon.