Last episode, literally everyone died, or at least, that’s what it seemed like. I also died because that was over two months ago. That’s right, we had a huge delay, but it’s finally time to get back to this. I literally read the whole light novel series since then.
We’re, uh, doing this a little differently. We’re just talking about the whole episode like I’m reviewing a whole series because I was too engrossed to actually write anything that was happening. And yes, I’ve cried. I’ve cried a lot.
So, it’s been over two months since the last episode of 86, thanks to a lot of scheduling and production issues. We were all, rightfully so, upset when that happened. That leads to perhaps the biggest question that needs answering: was this episode worth the wait?
Somehow, and I have no clue how, yes, yes it was, my god, yes it was. This is easily the best episode of 86 so far and I will fight anyone that says otherwise, but not just that, this may be up there as one of my favorite episodes of an anime of all time. It wasn’t just perfect. We need to create a new word for something beyond perfection.
This one big scene was the big one. This is why it ended at the worst possible time. This is the episode that Shin finally meets Lena in person, though she doesn’t know that herself. It is probably the biggest most hyped moment in the whole series, light novel and all, and is probably the most character-defining moment for Shin.
This is what causes Shin to fully break down, give the most genuine smile I’ve ever seen in my life, and go from knowing he’s a broken man, to realizing finally he’s a sad, hurt, lonely child. It’s when Shin finally becomes human, you could say, and stops being a “ghost.”
That was the whole episode. It was nothing but Shin’s slow descent into madness, finally broken by Lena, who pulled him out of the darkness once again. Shin went from yelling “kill me!” straight to an enemy’s face to crying tears of joy. Basically, he’s how I felt in a nutshell.
This episode went hard on the animation. I cannot tell you how much they did the light novel justice. The scene was beautiful there too, but that was just words. There were no real visuals or even descriptors to it. That didn’t stop them; I’ll tell you that.
This whole descent into madness was much more violent and raw in the anime. Whereas in the light novel, Shin is upset and realizes his feelings; this was him basically screaming at the top of his lungs that he’s fed up with being the reaper. He doesn’t want anyone to leave him behind anymore. Going as far as to try and scratch the headless reaper off of his spider mech. He wants to die too. He doesn’t want to outlive everyone. He doesn’t want this anymore. His heart can’t take it.
That’s why Lena means so much to him, by the way. If he dies, nobody will remember his friends, but if Shin dies, there’s nobody in the world who will remember him, besides Lena, of course. She’s his reaper. She’s reaping the reaper. She’s the hero that saves the hero that saves everyone.
I think this more violent look at the whole thing was better. It felt more like Shin didn’t want to realize it. Like he was fighting it with every fiber of his being, and the only way he could possibly manifest his feelings without completely admitting defeat was to yell kill me, terror showing in his eyes and movements, completely betraying everything about the character that he was before.
It’s then that you finally see that Shin isn’t a strong, cold reaper as everyone thinks. He’s a kind, lonely, broken child who couldn’t bear the burden he decided to shoulder on his own. With each comrade lost, the weight crushes him more and more until there’s nothing left.
I could say a lot about this episode visually, with all the amazing scenes they added and how beautiful the symbolism in basically everything was, but I could never do it justice, and I can only hope these few images could.
Do you want my advice? Go watch 86. Do it. Go watch the series if you haven’t. It is so good, and so is the light novel, but the anime is honestly better, somehow. The staff on this series need some type of award. It’s perfect, and I’m going to cry again. It gave me so much genuine, child-like happiness. I’m actually just freaking gitty. I don’t think I’ve ever been this happy watching an anime.
This episode was literally better and had more condensed quality in 20 minutes than entire anime series I’ve seen.
Thank you very much for reading
If this series had finished, it might have been better than Ranking of Kings. Yeah, I said it.