86 Eighty-Six: The Federacy Proves to Be Tragically Similar to the Republic

WARNING: The following contains spoilers for 86 Eighty-Six Episode 17 "I Won't Forget," now streaming on Crunchyroll.

When Shin and his friends were saved by the Giad Federacy and given the chance to live peaceful lives, it seemed like this new country was the opposite of the Republic. However, there have been subtle moments that show the Eighty-Six being treated like pariahs by other members of the military. Shin in particular has been constantly facing prejudice and is looked at suspiciously, as if he did something terrible.

The Federacy has repeatedly said it's not like the Republic. It seems like every time they say this, they're trying to convince themselves as much as Shin, Anju, Raiden, Theo and Kurena. Episode 17 of 86 Eighty-Six makes it crystal clear that the Federacy and the Republic share a lot in common in how they treat the Eighty-Six.

The Legion's large-scale assault continues with no sign of stopping, and the nations under attack now deal with a new type of Legion: an ultra-long-range artillery they're calling the Morpho, apparently an incredibly powerful railgun. It's already wiped out 20,000 people and is extremely difficult to destroy unless the soldiers can get close enough to eliminate it directly. Ernst is warned that unless they find a countermeasure to this weapon, the Federacy will be defeated.

The plan is to send a unit to attack the Morpho directly, and the Giad military officers acknowledge whoever they send will likely die. Thus, they decide to send those who are most likely to succeed -- and least likely to be missed. Of course, that means the Eighty-Six. One of the officers involved in the planning goes to see Shin and his friends and tells them not to do anything reckless. Ironically, he feels the need to tell them the Federacy isn't like the Republic and claims no one is replaceable.

Shin in 86 Eighty-Six

Shin officially learns of the mission in a meeting with Colonel Wenzel and the Division Commander. Wenzel asks why they're the ones chosen; the commander responds it's because they're Eighty-Six. He adds that they have experience in Legion territory and if they've done it once, they can do it again.

All of Episode 17 is hard evidence of the subtle prejudice and discrimination the Eighty-Six are facing in the Federacy. It's now obvious that the Giad military view Shin and his friends' lives as worthless. Moreover, they consider the Eighty-Six to be monsters simply because of their ability to take on the Legion. Instead of being glad they have soldiers of their caliber, they confusingly act as if that's a bad thing.

The only people who actually care whether the Eighty-Six live or die are the other members of the Nordlicht Squadron. Wenzel, who disapproves of how they're being used, tries to convince Shin to back out of the mission while she sends other foreign units. She even suggests he and his friends leave the military once this mission is over. However, Shin doesn't want to run and allow other people to fight for him while he turns his eyes away from war. That would make him no different from the Republic.

Lt Wenzel in 86 Eighty-Six

The Division Commander has a meeting with the officer who spoke with Shin and his friends earlier, and they discuss their chances of survival. The officer says the other soldiers would be furious if one of their friends was sent on that mission, but they think it's appropriate for the Republic's monsters. And if death is so attractive to them anyway, why not give it to them?

To be fair, the mission is optional for the Eighty-Six. They could refuse it, but their stubborn pride won't allow this. The Republic of San Magnolia gave them no choices, so the Federacy is undoubtedly better in that regard. It's true they willingly returned to the battlefield with the intention of dying in battle, which makes them the most logical choice for this job. That doesn't mean their lives are disposable though, and it doesn't give anyone the right to treat them as if they are. 86 Eighty-Six's heroes are still just kids, after all.

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