86 Season 2 Episode 3 – The Reaper Returns

86 Season 2 Episode 3 – The Reaper Returns

Catch the other episode reviews here


Last episode, we spent the entire time with the 86 and saw them live a peaceful life in the Federacy and see how years of war affected their psyche. Fantastic episode. Also, Frederica was the last empress of the Giadian Empire. That’s a big bomb dropped. How will she fight with the 86 in their triumphant return to battle? Let’s see.


First Impressions

Shin doing a flip
(Dude, look at that sweet flip!)


We start off with some kind of training exercise for everyone in the military, I suppose. Nothing too crazy, just riding the slightly chunkier spider mechs around and shooting some targets. Shin got paired with Eugene, and he shows how experienced he is by pulling off a backflip because why the hell not?


So the blonde girl we saw briefly last episode now has a name. I mean, I’m sure she had one before, but now we know it. Lt. Colonel Grethe Wenzel, and she’s now going to be in charge of our 86 friends. Apparently, they did already graduate the school and are part of the military now.


Wenzel brings them a little away from the Federacy and shows them a memorial they made with all the names of the fallen 86. Now, everyone takes this kind of strange, and I can see why. On the one hand, it’s good, but also why is it in a separate place from the rest of the Federacy that dies in battle? And would Shin and the gang even want it in the same place? Complicated emotions here. The same I’m feeling right now.

Shin seeing Fido
(The real reunion we’ve waited for)


Because it turns out that Fido didn’t actually die. Shin’s odd dog bot thing that died last season in one of the most unexpectedly heartbreaking episodes I’ve ever watched is still kicking, and Shin shares a cute moment with it. Nice stuff.


Frederica explains her role in the team. I was wondering how she’d fight, and the answer is she doesn’t. She’s a mascot. Apparently, it’s a Giad tradition to have some little girl with the team that way they feel some sense of responsibility to protect her. Shin calls her a hostage in a way, and he’s kind of right. You want to protect this girl, don’t lose.


Shin also meets up with Eugene again and he talks about all the things he’ll do with his little sister on his next leave. You know what that means. The poor bastard is never getting his next leave. 

Eugene's little sister
(Enjoy the saddest image I could get)


And literally the next scene, he’s dead. Just cuts to his bloody hand holding the pendant with his little sister’s photo in it. Wow, I spoke just at the right time. That was funny, I guess. As funny as death can be. So Shin finishes him off and moves out to battle once again.


My Thoughts

Wow, that was another really good episode. Looking back, not a whole lot happened. I mean, it was basically just the military stuff and Eugene dying, but the episode is really important. 


I will say, I do miss Lena. I’m loving the 86 stuff, but Lena is just as interesting and sometimes more so than Shin, so I hope we get back to her soon, but these episodes are necessary. I imagine they’ll meet on the battlefield in some way, and Shin needs to be out on the battlefield for it to happen.

Shin in spider bot
(The Reaper has returned)


I have to say, I love the entire duality going on in this war right now. It really has come completely full-circle, with Shin getting a mech similar to the Republic’s and him just cutting through Legion once again. The difference is, he’s essentially swapped sides, and rather than being forced to fight, he’s now doing it because he wants to. We’ve gone back to the beginning but in the opposite way. It’s really cool.


But to be fair, Shin never really was on any side to begin with. He fights and kills the Legion because that’s all he knows. It’s not even that he necessarily wants to. He just doesn’t know how not to, although Shin isn’t without humanity, of course. He does care for people. It’s why he put Eugene out of his misery and tried to warn him away from fighting. Shin can handle it. He couldn’t.


I love everything about how the Federacy is handling things. They’re trying very hard to do the right thing, but given everything we know, you start to question if it is right. Is it right to let the 86 fight? Is it wrong to stop them? Is it wrong to use Republic technology, even if it’s superior? When do they become no better than the Republic?

Memorial for the 86
(Now that’s pretty)


My favorite part was easily when the memorial to the 86 was shown. Seeing their reactions to that forced me to really think about how complicated of a situation this is. 


As far as the Federacy is concerned, they’re decent people. They truly think of the 86 as people, and this was a show of good faith to them. But then, at the same time, is it really right of them to put these names on a memorial in some foreign land without asking permission? The Republic was still their home. The Federacy didn’t mean squat to them. In a lot of ways, it’s Giad’s fault that things turned out how they did. They’d be alive if not for the land they’re being honored in.


So while it’s a nice gesture, that’s all it is. It’s not actual progress. It’s a formality. I love how much 86 makes me think about these things. This story is going so much deeper than I thought it would. It’s now become psychological in a lot of ways. It went from racism to delving into the minds of soldiers after their battle has ended and how they feel about their fallen comrades. It’s pretty deep.

Shin and Eugene
(Still odd to see Shin interact with Alba)


And say the Federacy wins the war, which I highly doubt, will they end up fighting the Republic, forcing the 86 to fight their home? What if they only win the war because of the 86, which is how things are progressing? Does that make them just as bad as the Republic? Are the ends justified so long as the means are different? I don’t know. Do kind words make the difference? I really don’t know. I don’t know where that line is drawn, but I’m interested to find out.


Also, there were good fight scenes too. I should probably mention that. This is about mech warfare, after all. Good stuff, it’s just there’s so much more to talk about in the psychological aspects of this war. It’s really good.


Thank you very much for reading


What did you think of the episode? What about the “mascots?” That was honestly one o the more interesting parts to think about.

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