Whistleblower, computer security consultant, and free press activist Edward Snowden highlighted a popular mecha light novel turned anime series on his Twitter earlier this week, putting 86 -Eighty Six- under the spotlight.
The controversial American figure Tweeted on Tuesday, “Even anime is contemplating how we shift the burdens of war,” along with a picture of the series’ logo.
Produced by the Sony-owned studio A-1 Pictures (Your Lie In April, Sword Art Online, Erased) and directed by Toshimasa Ishii (his first credit as a lead director), 86 adapts the award-winning light novel series of the same name by author Asato Asato. The series explores themes of autonomous warfare, race, and utopia.
Set in the picturesque San Magnolia Republic, 86 follows Vladilena “Lena” Milizé as she grapples with the knowledge that her nation’s drone army is manned by people deemed less than human. Soldiers called the 86 pilot mechs to fight against the neighboring Giadian Empire’s legion of drones in order to protect the 85 districts of the Republic. While the public thinks their nation’s army is autonomous, most of the silver-haired, silver-eyed Celena that know the truth simply don’t care about the casualties because they see the citizens of the Republic’s 86th district as racially inferior.
The series has been incredibly popular since its first cour was released in spring of 2021. The second cour currently ranks number six on MyAnimeList’s top-airing series chart despite being off for several months due to production issues.
Crunchyroll is streaming the series subbed and dubbed. 86’s final two episodes will finally be released in March.