The start of season 2 focuses on Lena. After season one, she got demoted, but slowly and surely she gets her command over the 86 back. She is also a lot more determined to catch up to the what we and her think are the last 5 fallen members of the Spearhead squadron. While the last shots of season one featured a frame with the book All Quiet on the Western Front, the western front is anything but quiet. The legion keeps pushing forward, the Republic is suffering more and more loss. With the many frames of statues and buildings full of cracks, we all know this can only end one way. With part of her hair dyed red, in honor of Shin’s fallen brother and her savior, she is working with a new group of 86, this time trying to expand her influence and create a sort of resistance or coordinated network of 86 units that can act in unison when the need for such an all-out combined attack arises.
On the other side of the battlefield, in the Federacy of Giad, the former Empire, whose technological advances created the legion and caused all this mess to begin with, Shin awakes. In what will be one of the themes of season 2, Shin thinks he is alone again. He wishes he was the one dead, tired of being left behind by all of those he fought next to, or all those who meant something to him, like his brother, or Lena. Unlike in the Republic, the 86 aren’t second hand citizen in the Federacy. Ernst, who is acting as a president of the Federacy of sort takes them in as his adopted children. The war still rages on, but the Federacy is against sending them back onto the battlefield, mostly due to their policies against child soldiers. There are hints athat Ernst adopts children due to the fact that his very own died during the first years of the war, but that is never explored further. But he does come off as a person trying to atone for something.
During this period, Ernst and Federica, another adopted child, who’s got quite the backstory herself, are trying to help them lead a normal life. Anju starts a cooking course and immediately rises to the top, impressing everyone. Kurena tries to be a fancy teenager, a potential shopaholic. Raiden who always like to work with his hands, joins a moving company. Theo keeps working on his painting and drawing skills. Shin spends most of his time in the library where he meets a young man named Eugene and his sister. While they are the same age, Eugene also doesn’t go to school, due to his financial status. He is hoping to join the army and use the money earned there to help build a better future for his young sister. Federica often accompanies Shin everywhere. Federica was the last empress of the fallen Giad Empire. One of the closest retainers and knights what as a man named Kiriya. Like Shin, he is of the Nouzen clan. Federica sees a lot of Kiri in Shin, especially when he goes full flow mode on the battlefield. Kiri ended up being killed and decapitated by the Legion, and he still looms as one of their most important and most dangerous members.
Throughout this period, as they try out a normal lifestyle, they don’t seem to realize what is really going on. They are so conditioned by their life and especially their time in the army that they can’t even figure out what the word future even means. Its impossible to ask out of children who have spent all of their days being seen as tools that will break down today or tomorrow, to start thinking and planning for the future. Sure there are sides to them that they should explore more. They should try and Ernst does a good job of, turning them into more rounded people, but the flow of history is against them. They were put into a position, that of a child solider, from a very early age. That is all they know, and currently that is all they are capable of excelling as. This can mean only one thing for now, as long as there are Legion, they will fight and spend their time on the battlefield. But they won’t be alone, Fido will join them as well!
It is clear that they are so scarred and near a breaking point. None other than Shin shows this perfectly well. While everyone thinks of him as a machine and someone who is never phased, that is far from the truth. You can never know what really is inside the person and Shin is an excellent example of that. Ever since the incident with his brother, who almost choked him to death after their father and mother died, Shin as seen himself as a ghost, an apparition. The only thing he wishes for is to finally cross over to the other side with all those people who have fought next to him, who meant something to him. That is why he goes wild and tries risky things on the battlefield, he just wants to find peace and for him peace only comes in the form of death. This is why Federica takes so much care to help him not go crazy and end up like Kiri. Shin doesn’t want to think about the future, because to him future always was and he thinks will be loneliness. Throughout his life, those close to him have died, and in the despair that gnaws at his being, he thinks that will never change. As long as he is alive, he will be forced to lead people to their demise.
Episode 21 goes into a great depth exploring that part of Shin and its my favorite of the season. I loved the finale as well, can’t remember the last time I felt such strong emotions throughout the whole finale as I did watching this show.
Can’t wait for season 3!