Based on the highly acclaimed light novel series by Asato Asato, sci-fi/mecha drama 86-Eighty-Six joins an already-packed Spring 2021 anime lineup. A story of war, romance, race and class discrimination, and child soldiers treated like livestock, this is not a series for the faint-hearted -- but it sits near the top of many anime fans' lists this Spring. Here's all the major details and plot points (spoiler-free) you need to know before diving in.
The Republic of San Magnolia has been at war for nine years. Their foe, the Empire of Giad, has developed autonomous machines called Legions that have dealt heavy losses to the Republic's military. This is, until the Republic developed its own mechanized units called Juggernauts to fight back. According to the nation's top leaders and politicians, Juggernauts are likewise fully autonomous and fighting the war on their own, successfully stopping all human casualties. But this is a lie.
In reality, the Juggernauts are piloted by child soldiers called the 86. The Republic of San Magnolia is made up of two races, the darker-skinned minorities called Colorata and the lighter-skinned majority called Alba. Over many years, the Alba scapegoated and mistreated the Colorata to the point that the minority race is considered subhuman. The Republic consists of 86 sectors, with 85 comprised of Alba and the Colorata banished to the 86th sector. Ever since the Juggernauts were developed for war, the children of many persecuted 86 families have been forced to pilot them and battle the Legion until they die.
Protagonist Shinei "Shin" Nouzen is an 86 Captain and squad leader who, for reasons unknown, can "hear" the legion's movements. Major Vladilena "Lena" Mirize, an Alba, is assigned to lead Shin and his Spearhead Squadron from afar as they do battle together. The two have never met but they develop a bond over time as Lena comes to understand the full horrors of the Republic's treachery -- and even more shocking secrets beyond.
The anime's first trailer depicts Shin and Lena's vastly different life situations on the inside and outside of the Republic of San Magnolia, along with a preview of the CG effects used in a war scene.
86-Eighty-Six will begin airing in Japan on April 10, 2021 on Tokyo MX and will run for two cours, though they will be split rather than continuous. It is currently unknown where the series will be streamed in the West.
News to Know
86-Eighty-Six is directed by Toshimasa Ishii (Mirai, Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day). The series is produced by A-1 Pictures with script writing handled by Toshiya Ono (The Promised Neverland) and character design by Tetsuya Kawakami (Sword Art Online, Sakura Wars).
Shinei Nouzen will be voiced by Shōya Chiba (Haikyuu!!, Fire Force) while Vladilena Mirize is voiced by Ikumi Hasegawa (Bottom-Tier Character Tomozaki). The opening theme song, performed by Hitorie, is called "3-bun 29-byō" while the ending theme "Avid" is performed by SawanoHiroyuki[n2k]:mizuki.
As of this writing, there is no word yet on an English dub for 86-Eighty-Six.