86 Season 2 Episode 2 – Cage of Pity

86 Season 2 Episode 2 – Cage of Pity

Catch the other episode reviews here


Last episode, we had our reunion with Lena, who’s looking a little different this time around. Not only from the streak of red in her hair but also from her new resolve. As the top handler in the Republic, Lena is leading a new squadron of 86 through this war.


On the 86 side, it turns out that Shin and everyone lived from the cliffhanger last season and have now ended up in the Federacy, built after the fall of the Gidadian Empire, finally able to live a normal life. But will that last? Probably not.


First Impressions

Raiden on the job
(Living the good life now)


We’re starting off on the 86 side, and we get to see a taste of how everyone’s living this new war-free life. They’re all taking it well enough, but it’s obvious that there’s some disconnect there. You don’t fight for so long and then suddenly stop.


Everyone seems to feel almost like they don’t belong in some way, even when everyone’s telling them they do. Shin being the most obvious as dreams of his fallen comrades are haunting him.


Not even having a new little sister with Frederica, who I can’t even remember if I mentioned last time, helps. She’s living with them for circumstances.

Eugene and Shin
(The composition of these shots are great)


Shin learns from his new friend(?) Eugene, that It’s also almost Holy Birth Festival time, which is basically Christmas. They’re also using that to show off some new military spider bots, and everyone’s taking that a little differently. Shin, in particular, seems ready to hop back in.


But in reality, everyone was ready to get back out there except for Kurena, who finally got on board. Ernst has one request. If they’re to go back out on the battlefield, they have to go through the proper schooling to become officers, something I highly doubt will be any problem for people with as much experience as them. This will also help them have more opportunities once the war ends.


It’s here we also get some pretty big information dropped. Annoying little girl living with Ernst, Frederica. You know, the one I possibly mentioned for the first time. Turns out she’s actually the last empress of the Giadian Empire. AKA, the one who ordered the Legion to attack and ruined everything. Beats me why she looks five. Also, she can see the pasts of people she’s met. I don’t know why. Something with her blood. Seems a little random.

Frederica surprised
(Remember, she’s an empress)


Shin and the gang are fairly accepting because their anger is directed at the Republic, which, let’s be honest, is where it belongs. The war was likely just a good excuse at the end of the day. But Frederica has one request, she wants to fight too to avenge her fallen knight, Kiriya, who the Legion have captured.


Now, logically speaking, it’s ridiculous for her to fight. She’s apparently old enough, but she’s like four feet tall and acts like a brat. She doesn’t seem military material, but anime, so she’ll probably not die until she does. Anyway, that’s it.


My Thoughts

So I liked a lot of things about this episode. It focused solely on the 86, which, while I love Lena, is the more exciting group right now. This episode both scared me a lot and made me really happy.


What I mean by that is I said the art worried me. I didn’t want it to suddenly drop off from season 1, which was beautiful. This episode had a few points I noticed where the art dropped a bit. Also, quite a few still or almost still frames. I think it helped bring power to the scenes, but they’re still worth keeping in mind.

Anju as a spectator in her own life
(Again, 10/10 for some of these scenes, though)


Seeing that concerns me, but then you have some of the best art direction I’ve seen in a while. My favorite scene, in particular, was kind of the climax to everyone living their new lives, where you see everyone pulled back away from the scene they were in like spectators watching their lives, rather than actively participating in it. That was pretty nice and was handled super well.


So was all of the ending. Seeing Shin carry the memento from his brother he got last episode with a smile on his face as he goes back on the battlefield was cool. There’s a lot of good art. Just a few scenes that look a little meh, and I hope that doesn’t become too common.


The episode itself, though, was great. In a way, it feels like we’ve gotten through this portion a little too quickly. Part of me wished we got to see another episode of them living a normal life, but so much time was dedicated to it that it feels fitting. Like Kurena says towards the end, she’s finally ready. She’s seen all she needed to. Same here.

Kurena seeing spider bots
(Did I already say how good some of these shots are? They’re great.)


I adored that scene to death. When the Federacy was showcasing their spider mechs, you got to see a little glimpse of how each character took the sight. It was really cool. All of them had subtle differences in the way they reacted, but you knew they were all on the same page regardless. It’s just really good stuff. 86 has not lost it. It’s still going strong.


I also liked all the references to Shin and his big brother this episode too. Having Frederica act almost like a little sister and having Shin run into Eugene and his little sister and say my favorite line of the episode, “It must be rough being a big brother.” So many feelings in that line.


Frederica being the empress is…interesting. I don’t know how I feel about her character. Her and Shin have the best interactions in the series, but she’s kind of odd. Like how old is she? I’m genuinely curious. Why does she act like a stupid kid if she’s an empress? Why can she see the past when no characters have had supernatural powers to this point besides kind of Shin? Why are they letting her fight? I’m very confused.

Back to war
(Back to war, this time with a five year old not five year old)


What would be hilarious to me is if they took this officer school arc and made Shin and the gang live some normal school life, but it is the military, so I doubt that will happen, funny as it would be. In all likelihood, it won’t even last an episode and they’re be out on the field again. Eventually running into Lena’s squadron, I assume.


I do want more Lena next episode, but I don’t mind this focus on the 86 at all. These characters have matured a lot in a short amount of time. Even though they’re going out to fight again, this isn’t because they’re forced to. They want to. They already have their freedom, and this is how they choose to use it.


As Frederica said, they’ve been freed from a cage of oppression. You can’t trap them in a cage of pity now. Again, fantastic line. This episode was pretty great, and it’s handling the story really well. I’m glad they’re taking the story in the direction they are. I was very worried it would lose something, but as of now, it just seems to be gaining more.


Thank you very much for reading


What do you think of the story’s direction? I for one, love it.

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