“Countless souls were claimed But no deaths were recorded”
This and a bunch of other cool quotes grace the pages of 86, the manga adaptation of the popular light novel series. This war story mixes elements of the Gundam and VOTOMS franchises together to create a new beast, and the first volume builds a solid foundation for the future.
For years, the Republic of San Magnolia has been fighting a war against the Giadian Empire and their army of autonomous drones, collectively called the Legion. San Magnolia also has their own drones for this no-casualty war… which is a complete lie. Do you wonder why the manga is titled 86? That’s the name of the territory of immigrants the Republic labeled as “subhuman” and then forced them to pilot their flimsy war machines. Souls are claimed, but no deaths are recorded.
Already we have political intrigue, racism, and war on the thematic tap; factor in the 86ers have Republic “Handlers” that direct them in battle, and you have slavery in the mix as well. There’s lots of great potential right out the gate, though I feel the first volume is more about introducing these elements rather than exploring them. The manga instead focuses on the battles, and the insect-like mecha designs make for interesting action.
It’s an interesting world, but the characters that inhabit it are less interesting. You have Lena, a female Republican Handler who is in the army but is very kind, and Shin, a 86er captain who doesn’t play by the rules. If you’ve read or watched anything in the mecha genre, then you know this could describe a number of characters in the genre. It’s tough for a first volume to make instantly distinct characters, so I can’t fault the manga for characters that seem stereotypical. The characters are likable enough, especially the 86er crew. Anyone who has watched Mobile Suit Gundam: 08th MS Team will get similar vibes in the scenes that feature them.
Fans of mecha will feel right at home reading 86. It has the action and robot-fighting one would expect, and offers some new elements to keep you intrigued. With this, the light novel, and the upcoming anime, it’s best to hop on the hype train early. If 86 reaches its potential, as I hope it will, it could be the Next Big Thing.
Shin survives a hard-fought battle (86 Ch. 6)
86 Eighty-Six Manga Volume 1
Long besieged by the fully autonomous killing machines known as the Legion, the Republic of San Magnolia endeavors to turn the tide of war by employing autonomous weapons of their own... Enjoy Asato-Asato's award winning novel in fully illustrated manga form!Add to CartLearn More