86-Eighty-Six anime shows Spearhead Squadron’s post-war journey
86-Eighty-Six Episode 10 gives Spearhead Squadron a much-needed break, before suddenly turning things around with a tragic death.
WARNING: The following contains spoilers for 86-Eighty-Six Episode 10, “Thank You,” now airing on Crunchyroll.
As a result of a seemingly endless war, terror and inhumane treatment of its main characters, 86-eighty-six provides a welcome break with Episode 10. While it’s mostly adventure rather than action, this episode fills in some key gaps that the corresponding luminous novel lacks.
As the source material quickly moves from one major event to another, the anime takes its time to show Shin and the others the peaceful days that pass through largely unoccupied Legion territory. This allows viewers to delve deeper into Shin and Raiden’s brother-in-law relationship, as well as their robot companion Fido’s contribution to the team via an emotional montage of his stored memories. But of course it’s not 86-eighty-six without an attached tragedy.
As Shin, Raiden, Kurena, Anju, and Theo cross lush fields, go fishing and swimming in a peaceful river, and explore long vacant towns, the sense of genuine freedom and joy begins to envelop them. They remember their fallen comrades as well as their left-hand commander, Lena, while enjoying the simpler things in life. Kurena wants to bathe with the boys, especially Shin, while Raiden ponders their future and the possibility of finding a town with human survivors, uncontaminated by the Legion. Now that they can at least think about it, what do they want to do with their lives?
Shin gives Raiden the same answer he once gave Lena: he didn’t even think about it. For now at least, it doesn’t have to be because they all enjoy being in the moment. There is no one else around them – no incorrigible Alba and the Legion’s murderous mechas are at a safe distance, so it’s just them and Mother Nature. Although he still hears the voices of the Legion in his head, Shin is much happier here than at any time before in 86-eighty-six. He laughs out loud with Fido, joking about Raiden’s fatherly nature and admiring the sights and sounds of the new areas they discover.
Episode 10 also gives significant screen time to Fido, the companion robot of the Spearhead Squadron who befriended Shin years ago and has always helped the 86, providing additional resources. and communicating with soldiers if necessary. He talks to Shin and the others with beeps and boops in R2-D2 fashion, and somehow Shin always seems to know what he’s saying.
It is revealed that Fido has a memory bank containing happy memories of his time with each of his friends, many of which are shown in the anime through an emotional montage. We see how Shin first encountered it, damaged after a fierce battle before it was restored as new. From then on, he and the 86 others secretly confided in Fido. He sees Kurena bursting with joy when Shin touches her back, Anju is shown crying on her own after Daiya’s death, and Fido delights some of the soldiers by choosing the tastiest food from a new shipment. Fido might be a robot, but like R2-D2, he’s a true friend and hero with his own emotions.
However, it is still 86-eighty-six, so even a respite episode must include a tragic event. It’s unclear what happened or where exactly he is, but the final scene of Episode 10 shows Fido in a field, now all alone, surrounded by fire. Shin and the others are nowhere to be found. Fido, apparently crying after recalling the happy memories that summed up his delicious existence, explodes. This series can not help but make its viewers cry.
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