86 2nd Season | First Impressions: Could it be better?

The disappearance of the Spearhead Squadron beyond the horizon does little to hide the intensity of the Republic of San Magnolia’s endless propaganda. Vladilena Milizé continues to operate as “Handler One,” the commander of yet another dehumanized 86th faction’s squadron in the continuous war against the Legion.

On the Western Front, Shinei Nouzen and his squad are quarantined in a military base controlled by the Federal Republic of Giad, formerly known as the Giadian Empire. The newly-established government grants the saved Eighty-Six full citizenship and freedom. Housed by the president Ernst Zimmerman himself, the group meets his adoptive daughter and the last Empress, Augusta Frederica Adel-Adler.

However, within the calm of this tender society, Shinei and his team feel that their purpose is on the battlefield. Before long, they are once again in the midst of the Legion’s onslaught as a part of the Federacy’s Nordlicht Squadron, accompanied by Augusta Frederica. But, as history repeats itself, they realize that no matter the side, death and pain on the front lines are the only comfort they know.

86 2nd Season has been an exciting anime, but it has also been one of those extremely hyped-up anime. With that hypes comes with the expectations that 86 2nd Season will follow through and meet those expectations. This is where I differ from quite a few people, I actually did not think the first four episodes were all that great.

This leaves me with the following question, could it be better? I’m not someone who has read the Light Novels, so I have no clue what will come. However, from what I can gather from other ongoing reviews (especially ones on MAL), those who rate the second season highly have also read up on the light novel. This obviously isn’t true for everyone, each episode is viewed differently by everyone. However, for me, it feels like there’s a lot that’s lacking here. I can tell you what it is as well the biggest thing that I think is missing right now (based on the four episodes I’ve watched) is action.

Episodes one through four have been very chatty episodes, which as you know by now, that is my biggest pet peeve. I don’t mind conversation, however, when you watch essentially four episodes where all the characters do is talk I cannot help but feel a little disinterested. I get it. It’s important to provide context, it’s important to explain why Shin and friends find themselves in a new country. When Season one ends off with Shin losing his head and the rest of the Spearhead, you wouldn’t expect to see them alive and well at the start of episode one of the second season.

Not only were Shin and friends alive and well, but they were free and now found themselves in the country formally known as the Giad Empire now known as the Federal Republic of Giad. The next question you’d ask yourself is “Okay, then what happened to the Empire, the ones who created the Legion”. You find out immediately in the first episode that the citizens of the Empire revolted and toppled the Empire and the Legion. My biggest gripe with this is that we as viewers are only told this, we do not see anything regarding the Empire being overthrown. We do not see any flashbacks relating to this time, nor do we see how it happened or the last battle that resulted in the toppling of the Empire.

It honestly feels like we’re missing a lot of valuable information that I think would have worked to the benefit of the anime. Instead, we see Shin and his friends walk around and experience a country that allows its citizens to be free.

This isn’t a bad thing, of course, Shin and company have always talked about freedom and what it would look like. We saw a little glimpse of that as everyone made their way to their final mission in the first season. So to see them experience freedom knowing that death isn’t their next stop was nice but also felt extremely unnatural. If I were, to sum up, the general vibe of episodes one through four, it would be unnatural. New surroundings, new people, and new freedom for Shin and his friends. While it was nice, it ultimately wasn’t something that wanted to experience forever because it felt unnatural, they grew up as soldiers for the San Republic of Mongolia. All they have ever known was the horrors of war and unfortunately, it was where they felt most comfortable. This urge to be back in a place where they feel comfortable caused them to join the Federal Republic’s military and aid in the extermination of the remaining Legion.

But even then, we see more chatter than action. Maybe it’s because whenever I think action, I immediately think that we’re going to see some epic fight scenes like we did in the first season. Apart from maybe the first 10 minutes or so of episode three I believe, we haven’t seen much of anything. Almost as though each episode has been playing catch up, trying to justify and bring closure to the events we did not get to see through our characters’ dialogue. Which is something I do not personally like.

But anyway, that’s all in the past now. So do I think that 86 2nd Season could be better? Yes, but I am only four episodes in so I hope that what I’ve experienced up until now isn’t something that carries on for the rest of the anime.