86 Eighty-Six is a mecha anime series that’s worth adding to your must-watch list. Sometimes, we may become too full of mecha animes because they might just be all the same: wars, finishing off a villain, a main character with the best gundam among others who faces internal or external conflicts. But 86 Eighty-Six is a different one. The story may be simple, but it is the plot and the three-dimensional characters that give the series the spice, making it an anime worth watching. The first episode will give you a glimpse of what 86 Eighty-Six is about and the reason behind its title, and the tragedy and conflicts that the characters are facing, making you want to watch more of it.
Looking Into The Characters
The state of being three-dimensional of the main characters makes Eighty-Six more interesting to the viewers. For example, all throughout the series, the character of one of the protagonists Shin is slowly being revealed until the audience get to understand his story: his past, his mission, why he is the way he is at present, and the person he would become.
Aside from Shin, Vladilena Milize or shortly known as Lena is also another major character to look into. We get to see how she runs after her ideals despite the many forces that come against her way.
Another good thing about 86 Eighty-Six is on how they try to portray the characters as “light” and “carefree” despite the burdensome journey that they are in. They are like in a death squad, in a place where there is no hope for tomorrow — yet the characters are happy, are living their lives, and are seizing each day. Some of the peculiarities of the Lena and other characters are also shown, adding more personality to the scenes.
One more addition to look forward to in this series is how they give “soul” to the machines, which you cannot typically see in most mecha animes. You might be curious of what this “souls in machines” is about, but this article isn’t about spoiling you the rest of the story. Just watch it and in the middle of the series, you will understand what it means.
The Non-linear Plot
What’s interesting about 86 Eighty-Six is how the entire story is told. It can be easily observed that the storyline is non-linear. The first episode started at the middle part of the story. The first episodes leave you with a myriad of questions and a need to explanations. As we go along the series, the stories behind previous scenes are slowly unveiled, and that’s when the audience understand and get to appreciate the story.
One example for this is the curiosity that it elicits to the viewers when it was revealed that the juggernauts aren’t only mere drones but that there are actually humans operating inside those machines. Questions would start to pop out from the viewers mind how it has happened, and it will only be much later in the series where it will be shown why these humans are separated from the citizens of the Republic of Magnolia, and why they are the ones operating the juggernauts.
Cinematography and Animation
Cinematography plays a big role in any movie or series. It gives life to the scene. Every scene in the series is well established and portrayed because of the effective cinematography. Wide shots were used to establish the current setting or location of the scene, and how the camera movements work has made more impact on the mood or emotion that the scene tries to portray. Close up shots were used to emphasize the emotion of a character especially emotions of anger and despair.
In general, the angles, shots, and movements of the camera were well carried out that it helped tell the story and communicate the emotions of each scene more effectively, especially on the war scenes.
The colors used are vivid and has helped set the mood for every scene being established. Animation was well executed, especially on the war scenes where the speed of and abilities features of the juggernauts are exhibited. More specifically, Shin’s juggernaut and his ability to maneuver it with fast speed unlike any other processors was well shown through its animation.
See for yourself how amazing this anime looks!
If you want to see them in action, here’s a video of these characters in a battle! It’s pretty cool!
Playing With Subtlety
86 Eighty Six has a heavy theme. It talks about war and death, friendship and betrayal, beliefs and ideologies. One commendable thing to note about its direction is how effectively these heavy scenes are treated with subtlety and in a stoical manner rather than the usual melodramatic treatment, and how smoothly it segues from an intense scene to a brand new sunshine days.
Let’s look at Shin again. In the beginning, when he was introduced as the Undertaker, he was described as a brutal and ferocious processor who takes down any handler he encounters. But the first time has was finally shown, he at first looked like normal, which makes you ask, “Why is he called the Undertaker? He only looks like a normal teenage boy.” Shin’s story and details about his past was told very finely and toned down yet full and vivid, and that goes to prove how effective the direction is.
It’s Not Just All About the Juggernauts
Just like the great mecha animes, this one doesn’t solely revolve around the properties of the machines as well — how good performing they, their features, or the abilities that they can do. Instead 86 Eighty Six focuses rather more on the characters and the setting, with having the machines as a tool to complement the story.
There’s a lot to look at in 86 Eighty Six other than war and battles. It’s about love, friendship, hope, home.
While it talks about about the certainty of death and the uncertainty of tomorrow, it is giving emphasis on living your life in the present moment. The 86 in the series fully knew that however tough they fight, in the end they will still face death. But they are seizing each day with one another — enjoying their meal, doing what they love, laughing their hearts out.
While in the first part you can see how unfair and cruel life and humans can become, it has made it’s redemption at the end in conveying love and nation building and inclusiveness.
You May Also Like: Code Geass
If you like watching mecha anime that also talks about conquering and defending kingdoms or nations just like 86 Eighty Six, then you will definitely love Code Geass. Although it has machines and about war, another addition to it is the power of obedience towards the holder of the Geass. It is also an interesting anime with a distinct storyline from other gundam or mecha series.
We actually have lots of Code Geass articles that answers a lot of questions about it. You can learn more about Code Geass by clicking this link here.
Our Final Thoughts
Having said all this, one must not dare miss watching 86 Eighty Six, whether or not he or she is into gundam and mecha animes.
The mecha aspect of the this series perfectly complements the elements of the story especially the character development, setting, and the plot. The establishment of some details, characters, settings and the lack of the essential details, how it puzzles and makes you ask questions in the beginning gives thrills to watching the succeeding episodes. How the characters take you from one scene to another is very well executed. The non-linear plot calls up for the viewers to pay attention to every part of every episode for them to connect all the dots, understand the characters better, and appreciate the end part even more. Effective and well-thought cinematography adds up to the direction and telling of every scene. Plus how the stories of friendship, hope, love, and inclusiveness were told makes it whole.
How the story has evolved from merely about war and destruction to hope and to living a life of purpose is just awestriking and something that’s worth watching and recommending to anyone at all.
Thank you for reading! If you made it this far, you are awesome!
If you like this article, check out our other articles for more Gundam and Mecha related fun!