Since I have conducted a first-impression for this anime adaptation not too long ago, I thought it would be fair to do some sort of concluding section for the sake of a better judgment for the series as a whole, and the verdict is....maybe I was wrong (but at the same time there's still quite a lot to rant).
To cut right to the chase, the main issue I have with Eighty-Six is, weird enough, the way it has nothing to hide from the audience by constantly sh*ting on common tropes regarding war stories and the likes.
Like, they just blatantly push over as much "suffering" and "reality check" as possible whenever there seems to be some kind of "positive" resolution that could possibly happen.
I get what it is trying to convey in all honesty, I mean most of us are probably tired of the power of friendship mumble-jumble so having something acting as a counter-measure for that isn't a bad thing.
Nonetheless, the execution matters a great lot so I don't know, just constantly shoving lamentations in our faces won't do well either. It would have been much better to have a flexible transition between the anti-thesis instead of resorting to a one-sided approach which feels rather forced and even cringe-worthy at some point of the endeavor.
Yes, I'm referring to how Lena, the protagonist of the show, just kept getting trampled over be it mentally or psychologically which at first was kinda sympathetic then turned to meme-able to downright excruciating to get through. Do note that I'm not criticizing the character in question whatsoever, I do like Lena as a character if anything.
Instead, it is the plot, or structure to be more precise, of the story (in this side) that just kept pissing me off. Seriously, not only does it get repetitive, sometimes sh*t just happens out of nowhere and felt incredibly convoluted.
Damn, I'm not even sure what's the point of all of this character "tormenting". Do they want us to feel bad for Lena that much? Or are they just trying to make a point about the reality of war and complex politics?
Or maybe they just wanted to use Lena as a tool to convey the theme of comrade and gaining "true" freedom, something that's basically beyond her comprehension given the discrepancy between their status and environmental upbringing?
However, in either case, though there are good intentions behind this method, I don't think it has proven to be effective enough, so yeah, that's about it for my main complaint about Eighty-Six.
Of course, I wouldn't even be writing this post if there were no outstanding aspects of the show, heck I might as well have long dropped the damn thing if all I got was the rant above. But Nah, the funny thing about this anime is that its weakness is also commensurate with the benefits it brings about.
By leveraging the "straightforward" approach, while one "side" was destined to embrace
eternal serious suffering, the opposite "side" of the narrative has managed to obtain much more substance and engaging storytelling to make it up for the negatives listed above.
That being said, I won't delve too much into this since it would fall into a heavy-spoiler zone which is beside the purpose of this post. Still, there's one thing I can say for sure is that the title of the anime at least carries more meaning and value the more time I spend watching it.
The cast is relatively huge, to say the least, but it's quite remarkable that the author managed to keep them away from being a mere "background" kind of character who would be long forgotten at the drop of a hat.
The interaction between the main cast feels natural and dynamic, so even in the event of a long-ass conversation that is to commence, I could hardly find myself being bored or disinterested.
On top of that, oft time there would appear intriguing expositions which are well thought out and even brought up nice topics for discussion (at least something worth mulling over).
For real, this is definitely not your typical war drama story that you can easily bump into every now and then (okay that's a stretch but something like that 😂).
And of course, I'm also diggin' the world-building of 86 because it does have tons of room for expansion and further polishing. Having a clear history with an intricate system laid out succinctly can hardly ever goes wrong.
Apart from the fascinating deep-dive into the other side of the story, Eighty-Six isn't an anime with "all talk", it does have sleek action to heat up the atmosphere on top of a banging vault of music which goes super smooth with the flow of the story.
Regardless, they can get a bit disruptive at some point thanks to the not-so-balanced volume distribution 😂.
All said and done, there's one thing that still bugs me even now which is the "spider" tank design, since, to me, it's not a very compelling choice of a concept.
Even though I must give it to them for trying to be creative and come up with something new and different, I'm just not too big of a fan of this so welp.
The Legion on the other hand is pretty good aesthetics-wise anyhow, in fact, they look more "convincing" to me than the spider-tank for some reason but whatever.
So yeah, in the end, I guess Eighty-Six wasn't a fruitless journey after all. Much as it pained me with the absurd amount of cringe-worthy moments, I was also kept on edge and filled with excitement for the second half of the material mentioned above.
One thing for sure, the anime adaptation has got me invested in this series, so a novel marathon is to be expected at some point in the near future. Until then.