86-Eighty Six has, unfortunately, run into production issues as of late. Episode 18 was delayed a week and now the upcoming episode 19 is pushed back a week for the same reason as well. However, 86-Eighty Six still managed to deliver a solid episode despite production issues.
There was never a moment in episode 18 where it didn’t feel like a classic 86-Eighty Six episode. Regardless of all the still shots used, it still had symbolism, solid transitions, beautiful CGI, emotional dialogue, wonderful audio production, and a cliffhanger ending.
Shin and Frederica’s Argument
Up until this point, Shin and Frederica’s relationship has been a series of heart-to-heart talks and brother-sister antics. Her worrying about him was nothing out of the ordinary. And Shin taking to her like a little sister was a nice touch of character development. But in episode 18, the two clash heads for the first time and the staff does a wonderful job of capturing the moment.
While there are a couple of re-used shots during this scene, there are others that deserve some praise. It felt more like an 86-Eighty Six conversation than just some non-important side scene with production flaws. One particular reason for that is the camera angles that are used.
Take this specific shot above for example. This is the first time that we actually see Frederica genuinely terrified of Shin in person. The angle just over Shin’s shoulder looking down at Frederica really symbolized just where he’s at as a character and how Frederica perceives him. In fact, it’s actually the first time Shin has ever looked down on anyone in the series period.
Is this industry-defining cinematography? No, it’s not. It’s a well-known shot that amplifies the scale of power between two characters. But amidst production issues, it’s a smart way of conveying a message that 86-Eighty Six is so used to giving us recently—Shin is becoming a monster. The scene also shows the reverse of this angle with Shin looking down on Frederica with aggression behind a blank stare. The scene didn’t lose any emotional value and that’s thanks to great camera work and voice acting.
Production’s Use of Symbolism
What’s an 86-Eighty Six episode without some sort of hidden meaning mixed in with a solid transition? From the same scene, we see in the gif below the transition of Frederica’s drawing of Kiriya fading into Shin staring back at her. This particular transition is relatively simple but the staff still used it to perfection layered with a deep and heavy question from Frederica.
This isn’t the first time in 86-Eighty Six where the series has significant dialogue playing over simple, yet symbolic, things in the surrounding environment. Earlier in the series, during episode 7, Kurena’s dialogue played over a shot of a dessert during the festival in The Republic of San Magnolia. The dark and detailed words match the sight of the dessert giving very graphic mental imagery. They take this a step further by taking something sweet and having it overlap gloomy dialogue.
In episode 7, it was Kurena’s rant over a sweet dessert. And in episode 18, Frederica’s innocent drawing of Kiriya overlaps the deep question she asks Shin. The reoccurs other times in the series. But it was nice to see it again in episode 18 with a fade-in/fade-out overlay of the picture of Kiriya.
Grethe’s Spotlight in Episode 18
It’s unfortunate that production issues occurred for an episode that was supposed to give Grethe some spotlight. Going back to what I first said about still shots, this was easily noticeable during a moment with Grethe at the beginning of the episode. During her reveal of the Nachzehrer aircraft, we see the same wide shot a few times during the scene. They even did this same shot near the end of the episode but the Nachzehrer was painted black instead of white. (The Rolling Stones would be proud.)
For such an enormous aircraft that is key in helping the squadron succeed in their mission, the emphasis falls flat on something that is supposed to be grand. However, the 86-Eighty Six staff managed to make it work. Grethe was still in the spotlight whenever a scene involved her and it really showed off just how incredible she actually is. I went into more details on how the episode did a good job of spotlighting Grethe here.
Episode 18’s Ending
In typical fashion, what would an 86-Eighty Six episode be without an exciting cliffhanger? Shin begins to hear a hoard of Legion voices as they drown out the ending theme. Then as his evil smile starts to form it begins to feel like an adrenaline-pumping, classic 86-Eighty Six moment.
All in all, 86-Eighty Six delivered a solid episode despite production issues. The staff still managed to give us stuff to be excited for with more action on the way for episode 19. Shirogumi Inc.’s incredible CG production for the series has yet to let us down in the action department. So I doubt it stops now. The CG Legion in episode 18 looked high-quality as always along with the flying dust and debris. Hopefully, episode 19 is the last delay we will see going forward. Episode 19 of 86-Eighty Six will air on Saturday, December 4.
For more information on episode 19’s delay, read more here.
Images via Crunchyroll
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