The airing of 86 has slowed to a crawl, and first episode since December 4 is primarily a slow and brooding resting episode. Still, with three episodes left to wrap up the story (or at least the story so far; the source material is ongoing) it can afford reflective episodes like this…but probably just this one more.
After a quick check-in with that Giad officer whose name I can’t recall, Raiden confronts Shin about his reckless behavior in the past battle, and a lot of familiar beats are repeated: Shin doesn’t seem to care if he goes back “home”; the others are worried about him and want to support him.
There’s even a moment of levity when Frederica is a bit too on-the-nose in her assessment of Shin’s present feelings towards Kurena, which is like a little sister and not a real woman. This invokes the ire of Anju, who would prefer if Frederica left things unsaid in that arena, but the humor of the exchange breaks through her, Kurena and Theo realizing that they’ve been relying on Shin all this time while he, the Reaper, fully expected them to leave him someday in death, like all the other Eighty-Six before them.
The group’s Reginleifs are looking particularly ratty at the moment, and everyone has problems that require replacement parts, repairs, or both. But they only need to hold together long enough to catch up to Morpho, which Shin estimates to happen before any of their rigs kick the bucket.
They pause their pursuit to admire the sun setting over a vast grassy plain that looks like the sea, which everyone in the group admits they’ve never actually seen before. Frederica wants to see the sea, and swim in it, with everyone there. Kurena and Anju second the idea, but Shin, set apart from the others as usual, doesn’t say anything.
That night while the others rest in an abandoned warehouse, Frederica hears Shin verbalize the fact that he feels like he should have died before reaching Giad, and still feels dead ever since. Because he feels dead, he hasn’t had anything he wants to do or anywhere he wants to go, like the others. He could smile an nod, but he can’t fake his disinterest.
Frederica calls Shin out as much warmer and softer than he lets on, while admitting that she herself doesn’t feel like she has much use as an empress in a republic, but felt she should at least stay alive long enough to deal with her knight Kiri. After that, who knows…but she’s convinced Shin is scared to move forward because he tried to see the future “for what it is”.
Kuno Misaki continues to do excellent work as the precocious and surprisingly wise and astute Frederica. I was also appreciative to see the five Eighty-Six get one more break before resuming their pursuit of Morpho. Unfortunately for them, Morpho learns that he’s being pursued, which means the element of surprise is out.
Either next week or the week after that, the showdown with Kiri will continue. Will Shin once again get “lost” in the ensuing confrontation, or will his comrades be able to keep him alive and himself?