- Mangaka : Shirabi (Art), Asato, Asato (Story)
- Publisher : Yen Press
- Genre : Drama, Sci-Fi
- Published : March 2019 - Ongoing
86 Introduction (No Spoilers)
The Republic of San Magnolia engaged in a war against their neighboring Giadian Empire’s army of unarmed drones known as the Legion for a long time. Through research and breakthroughs, the Republic finally developed autonomous drones of their own, turning the war into a battle without casualties—at least… that’s what the government claims.
The truth? A bloodless war doesn’t exist. Outside of the 85th Republic territories lies a non- existent sector called 86th sector. Young men and women are branded as 86, stripping their status of humanity, and forced to pilot the unmanned weapons into the battlefield.
Welcome to the frontlines! This is the place where we are assigned to an important task, and that is to defend our country, the Republic of San Magnolia, from the Legions. Your team? You will be working with the best of the best, Team Spearhead.
Ah, yes. Before you meet your team, here is your drone. Introducing M1A4 Juggernaut. Equipped with grappling arms, high-frequency blades, machine gun, and wire anchor. As for safety… there is no safety. Yes, there’s no airbags, so… good luck out there!
Off the bat, the story is exciting and unique of its own. For the readers to get a better idea of what we’re reading is that think of Hunger Games (sort of) and a tank and a spider that somehow breed together and create a spider tank. Okay, the latter is exaggerating, but you get the point.
Meet Vladilena Milizé or Lena for short. She is one of the noble families in the Republic of San Magnolia, who works as an Elite Republic officer who achieved the rank of major at the age of sixteen. You know the drill, we have an officer-rank waifu who has the power and knowledge to command and lay waste on us all! So her role as an officer is to command her pilots based on what her subordinates hear and satellite image. Unlike other San Magnolia people, she is strong, kind, and caring toward her subordinates, which makes her a respectable major for the pilots, but not her people.
The story begins with her success with her recent mission and that contribution compelled the upper echelon to transfer her to a rather important group, Spearhead squadron. The Spearhead squadron is the first team that will be dispatched and engages with the enemies called the Legion. However, the members of the division were actually 86s, in reality, they would be called slaves or anything similar to that and forced to participate in a war until they die. See the discrimination here?
No, no. We are not talking about the Juggernaut from X-men series. We’re talking about Spider tanks, strapped with machine guns, grappling arms, wire anchor, and high-frequency blades! Have we ever mentioned there is a page dedicated to the schematic and specification of M1A4 Juggernaut on the second page of the light novel? The design and the fine details of the juggernaut might pique your interest if you’re into mechanical designs and Gundams. Of course, Gundams and spider tanks are different, but it is an excellent way to explore more, so you do you.
As you go along with the story, you will meet the members of Spearhead. Each member has unique personalities that make you feel like you’re actually in a team and fight as a unit on the battlefield. Sure, they have their own flaws in terms of personalities, but we can’t help but feel the bond manifested between ourselves and the characters.
Their leader, Shin, is the captain of the squad. His knowledge of tactical warfare is similar to Lena. Still, both of them have different ways of achieving the same objective, which leads to conflicting decision making and executions, and it wouldn’t be fun without friction, right? Shin is mysterious in his own way, and he holds something special that is beneficial to the Republic.
The character designs? Crisp and clean. We love the pilots’ fatigues and Lena’s ensemble. Although the characters are around high-school student age, their outfits gave military and mature vibes out of them, making them look badass and ready to wipe out their enemies at any moment.
4. More Than Comrades
When there is a war, losses will be made. To emotionally sensitive readers, be prepared to cry because there will be losses… lots of losses… in the story. We’re not making fun of you, we actually call a lot on this one. The characters you will be working within this world don’t have much choice and working in an environment where death is upon them is putting a lot of pressure on them and leads to mistakes. The rest, you know what’s going to happen.
86 is a dark and exciting light novel series that gives us an insight into how people feel of being forced to fight a war they didn’t ask for. The sight of seeing your comrades killed in action, the trust issues that you have to deal with your superior, and what action should you take to bring everyone back home safely. The mechanical design is fantastic because of the fine details and specifications they displayed. The characters are unique and loveable in their own way, which forms a special bond between them and us.
The story shows how discrimination affects the livelihood of others and the state of the society they are living in. Every decision has pros and cons. However, this society weights a lot more disadvantages than the other. Important to note is that slavery is not cool. If you like a military action and system in a world of spider tanks/Juggernauts, it might be worth a shot for you to give this one a try.