Series Recommendation: Eighty Six season 2 [Anime]

The ivory Valkyries carrying the Shinigami
and his cohort descend on the battlefield once again…

After quite an explosive and emotional season 1 (that Fido scene is enough to move anyone to tears), the Eighty-Sixes return once again but this time on a completely new battlefield and new challenges. While season 1 dealt with the discrimination and the inevitable “death sentences” that the Eighty Sixes have to face, along with Lena’s awakening to the truth of her people, season 2 showed us the reverse – where the Eighty Sixes were showered with protection and kindness that they didn’t even know exist, and the Republic that once shunned them faced almost total annihilation.

Season 2 of Eighty Six went through some rough delay, with the two last episodes delayed for 3 months due to timeslot availability on the tv schedule, but now that the series has been released fully and you can enjoy it without interruptions, then this series is an amazing sequel to season 1.

+ Plot: After season 1, the series switches over the situation of Lena and the Spearhead Squadrons. Shin and co is now in the care of the Federal Republic of Giad after miraculously survive their final mission. They were presented with a choice that they didn’t even know exist beforehand: to lay down their weapon and live like normal citizens and not the “livestock” that they were branded like before. However, as jaded veterans that witnessed so many deaths of their comrades and being treated like dirt by the Republic, the Spearheads found it difficult to embrace this new life where they can enjoy warm food, a comfy bed and most of all: peace. That choice also present Shin with another dilemma: does he lay down his gun and end his role as the Eighty Six’s Reaper and enjoy his life? Or does he return to his previous life and continuously throwing himself in harm’s way and personally “execute” his fallen comrade?

This question also applies to the rest of the surviving Spearheads: Anju, Raiden, Theo and Kurena. Each of them had their own reason to fight, and all of them found it hard to leave the fighting behind, especially their Reaper. They’ve always prepared to die at Shin’s hand and being carried to their “promised land”. Now that the promise isn’t their only salvation anymore, what will they choose? Do they put all the things with the Legion behind them and enjoy the happiness that is presented before them? Or will they choose to continue blazing their path of metallic warcry alongside their beloved Reaper, so that he can take them to the promised land?

In season 2, the Republic of Sans Magnolia got their just dessert that the viewers have been rooting for since the start of season 1. Their frontline is overrun, the Legion is racing through their territory and approaching their capital, and the whole nation is all but conquered. Their weak-willed and inexperienced soldiers are useless, only some people actually hold a fighting chance, and the remaining Eighty Sixes definitely do not think protecting the “white pigs” as their first priority. And what will Lena do amidst all this? After learning the truth about her country’s twisted way to get rid of the Eighty Sixes, she has lost hope for this country, but still, she fought on – for the day that she will reach the same place that the Spearheads rest.

+ Animation: The anime kept the pristine quality of season 1, if not improving in some parts especially the inner monologue and presentation. There are some very gorgeous visual effects used in those scenes, as well as the clever contrast between life and death using flower petal’s color. Red represent the living, and blue represent the death – as well as the Legion. The contrast opposition create some pretty beautiful and emotional frame.

I’m not sure if the delay in the broadcast had anything to do with the actual animation of the series, but if they did indeed took time off to perfect the episode, then more power to them. Now that it has been released fully, it is a great thing that they spent to much effort in keeping every frame beautiful. Compared to season 1, there are slightly more mecha fight this time and that the mechs are actual fighting machines now rather than “aluminum” coffins like the Juggernauts, so the fight scenes are much more enjoyable.

+ Mecha Design: The Juggernauts are replaced by the Reginleifs – proper battle machines that can protect its pilot. The color scheme of this buggy mech is a bone-like ivory color which is actually quite eye-catching on the battlefield. The general silhouette makes it look like a reinforced Juggernaut – a quadruple mech with weapons slapped onto the back and front. It has pretty much the same equipment as the Juggernaut and some more stuff. Some pretty cool weapons the Reginleif has over the shitty coffins are the pile drivers. Pile drivers are always cool in my book and they got FOUR of em – one on each leg. This really emphasizes the melee fighting style of Theo and especially Shin. He’s the only one with a dual supersonic blade on the front – which is pretty much his signature by now. And seeing the Reginleif dancing around on the battlefield without worrying it will breakdown is a completely different experience compared to season 1.

The Legion design in this season is pretty much the same as season 1 just that the boss unit is completely different (of course). And I-IV went balls to the wall with the Legion design, pretty much because they are fully mechanical and autonomous so they can be whatever shape they want – including a freaking ground MA.

+ Music: Sawagod took over the main seat for this season’s music. And pretty much the music is on par with season 1. The OP and ED both carries some emotional impact while being ear-worms. They aren’t outright addicting but after listening to them for a while and watching the series, you’d find yourself enjoying the song every time. The OST are also very well done, so there’s nothing to really fault it. The OST department is pretty much just as good as season 1.

+ Conclusion: The 2nd season of Eighty Six managed to flip everything around in terms of plot and characters. The complex development of the Eighty Sixes – especially Shin – is very well done in this part. This season tackle a completely different issue than the first one, so it’s very refreshing to see the Eighty Six being cared for and being treated like normal human – which is a great redemption. Furthermore, we get to see Lena grow up from the sheltered and naive girl she once was, which is also great. Now that Lena can actually face Shin as his equals. With the great production quality (and no delay if you want to watch it now), the 2nd season is a great sequel to satisfy your craving for more animated Eighty Six goodness.

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