Airing date: 3/10/2021 (Sunday release)
Genres: Mecha, military
Studio: A-1 Pictures
Synopsis: 86 Part 2 is a direct sequel to the first season so folks who haven't seen season one watching this is a non-starter. To give you a low down on what you are missing, 86 tells the story of the war between the Republic of Magonlia and the Gilead empire. What separates 86 from other mecha/war series is that the underclass of the Magonlia Republic, the 86, are used as soldiers to fight this war.
What's more, in the Republic the units they operate are said to be powered autonomously and therefore when these 86 soldiers perish their deaths are never acknowledged as they are not considered humans. This propaganda lie coupled with the less human status of the 86 opens the anime to issues of social inequality, justice and even to a lesser extent genocide and ethnic cleansing. Deep themes but do not worry about this anime being too dark. Much of the story is seen through the perspective of two key characters and it never gets too depressing nor dark. It is a good title that could have been great had the pacing been better and the worldbuilding been given a greater emphasis.
Thoughts: The opening two episodes gives me quite a bit of hope that things are taking a turn for the better as we got some significant plot developments that was sorely missed from the first part.
Most of the screen time in these two episodes is devoted to the five team members of the 86 as they find themselves in the Gilead empire. What they find there is both surprising and confusing. It also sheds extra light on the world around them and gives the characters (and the viewers) pause for thought as things are no longer black and white when it comes to who the good guys are. Introducing the Gilead empire was a great move as it helped humanised them in a big way seeing as all we saw of the empire in part one amounted to robots. An interesting loli Towa lookalike is also inserted in the show and her powers are likely to prove instrumental in the 86s future endeavours. What I do see is the inevitable conflict between the 86 and Lena; their former handler and perhaps future alley. The last bit is just speculation on my part so don't count that as a spoiler!