Episode 15 of 86-Eighty Six aired on Saturday giving fans yet another masterpiece of an episode. Even though the episode has a slower pace than others, it showed us that 86-Eighty Six is in its own league right now. And this episode’s praise can be credited to a single conversation. One that would be a normal scene in any other anime turned out to become one of the most significant of the entire 86-Eighty Six series so far.
Warning: this article contains spoilers.
Frederica’s Conversation With Shin
During episode 15, Frederica finally explains to Shin her past and how she got to where she is now in the Federacy. In the light novel, this scene seems like nothing more than a backstory conversation that also introduces a new character to the series.
However, this conversation took on an entirely different meaning for the better in the anime. It seems as if Director Ishii Toshimasa wants fans to truly embrace the story that was being told by Frederica and why it is so important. This moment between Shin and Frederica is transformed from a personal conversation into a scene filled with an abundance of symbolism and haunting memories.
Symbolism During The Conversation
The first shot that stood out the most was the spiderweb in the corner of the window outside of Shin’s room. If we rewind back to the first cour, fans saw a similar shot with a spider just out of Lena’s view. So close yet out of sight. This time around in episode 15 viewers can see a beaten butterfly trapped in a spider’s web. I’ll leave it up to the fans on what this could interpret although I’m sure we all have a similar idea. The anime has shown multiple times now how it perfectly recycles older shots from the first cour with a more present twist to them in the second cour.
The second piece of symbolism is a continuous shot that is there throughout most of the conversation. In the beginning, Frederica is rather upbeat about who she is talking about and the music actually begins to compliment her mood. When this conversation takes a dark turn, a blinking red light can be seen outside the window—the soundtrack instantly changes. As you can see above, the red light is illuminating the room even from an outsider’s point of view.
There are plenty of discussions on what this meant. Whether it’s a sign of the Legion’s upcoming invasion, the red light from the front of a Juggernaut, or something completely different, the interpretation can go many ways depending on how a viewer looks at it. But once the conversation takes a positive turn, the red light becomes a bright moon that gives off a relaxing feeling—opposite of what the red light was representing. Almost as if Frederica managed to give Shin a sort of peace of mind.
Frederica’s Haunting Memories
These images were very brief during the conversation but they painted a picture only a series like 86-Eighty Six could paint. And, if you pause them at the right moments, you can see clearly what the images are.
One of them is Frederica at a younger age reaching up to someone with a smile. Much like the spider and the web, this shot shows similarities to what we saw in the first cour with Shin reaching out for his older brother, Rei. In fact, Shin even tells Raiden during episode 15 that Frederica is a lot like him when he was younger. And, of course, 86-Eighty Six made sure to represent that in the most stellar way possible.
The re-use of similar imagery from the past to symbolize a connection between important characters is something fans wouldn’t even think twice about when these moments happen at first. Yet, 86-Eighty Six continues to surprise us all in many ways. And the story becomes even more incredible when fans find out who Frederica’s “knight” was when she was younger.
The Story of Kiriya Nouzen is Finally Here
Back in episode 11 of 86-Eighty Six, we see Shin stunned for a brief moment as he hears an aggressive voice that he has never heard before from a Legion. Now that the scene has finally come full circle, we now know that the voice he heard belonged to none other than Kiriya Nouzen—Frederica’s knight.
There is one incredible part fans may not have realized at first. Some of the images portrayed in episode 11 that Shin envisions are the same exact ones in episode 15 during the conversation. Frederica’s Imperial mantle with a bayonet piercing it, Kiriya kneeled down with bloody hands and his face in the reflection, and of course, the one used earlier in this article with him holding Frederica.
Despite him and Shin having the same last name, Frederica assures there is no blood relation between the two. However, due to the rebellion that later turned the Giadian Empire into the Federal Republic of Giad, Kiriya became someone she was unable to recognize anymore. He had gone insane from losing everyone he loved besides Frederica.
This was an interesting part of the conversation because Frederica starts it off by telling Shin how much he reminded her of Kiriya. She makes Shin aware that Kiriya is coming in the upcoming Legion invasion. So it’s safe to assume he eventually became a Legion just like Rei did. However, Frederica urges Shin to run away if the situation looks bleak instead of fighting back.
Remember, in episode 13, Frederica did drop Kiriya’s name and basically begged the Spearhead Squadron to help save him. So it’s surprising to see Frederica changing her mind.
Frederica’s Message To Shin
“Saving Kiriya isn’t worth your or the others’ deaths.” After he put the rest of the Spearhead Squadron in harm’s way when he saved his brother back in the first cour, this was a dose of reality Shin needed to hear from Frederica. And fans have to wonder if Frederica said this because she saw Shin’s past—another layer to the conversation—or if this is what she wants at heart. It could be a combination of both given how serious her tone was. Now we also know why Shin’s facial expression changed when Frederica described what Ernst did with her Imperial mantle. As soon as she mentioned it, the images flashed back into his memory yet again.
At first, fans might have thought that this is just standard 86-Eighty Six use of imagery to portray a dark past. But it became much deeper than what the images already were at face value during episode 15. Making this scene much deeper than what fans expected seems to have been a goal for the anime adaptation and the staff for the series nailed it.
What Episode 15 Accomplished
At face value, the episode was slow and perhaps boring to those not heavily invested in the anime. But episode 15 of 86-Eighty Six just further proves that when fans think this series can’t impress them any more than it already has, it still manages to keep on raising the bar even higher. The staff that works on 86-Eighty Six turned an all-dialogue episode into a work of art. An entire episode that managed to take one of the series’ slowest moments into one of the most symbolic ones deserves more recognition than this article.
With Shin and Raiden’s conversation about the Federacy, the upcoming invasion, and even Lena looking at an updated map of how close the Legion are getting to the Republic, it was the perfect “calm before the storm” episode of the second cour. But in 86-Eighty Six fashion, the series manages to perfect this kind of episode.
While episode 14 had a lot of highlights, episode 15 of 86-Eighty Six was a highlight itself. It wouldn’t be outlandish to call it a work of art because that’s what it honestly was. From the crows to the conversations, it makes you want to re-watch it over and over just to catch everything you may have missed the first time.
A highly anticipated Episode 16 will air on Saturday, October 30, on Crunchyroll.
What did you think of episode 15 of 86-Eighty Six? Let me know in the comments! Make sure to vote for 86-Eighty Six in our weekly poll!
Images via Crunchyroll
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