I really tried with Darling in the Franxx but I naturally lost interest. If you read the synopsis you could see why many have gravitated towards the series and why I would at least to attempt watch it:
The survivors of a catastrophic war against monsters cluster inside the fortress city Plantation and train youngsters to defend humanity by piloting large battle robots called Franxx.
So what was wrong with the series? First I’ll start with the good. The animation was top notch. And that was it. Much of the criticism of the series is that it drives too much from other mecha series like Evangelion and Gurran Lagann. I don’t think it’s the biggest problem the series has.
The obvious and silly fanservice. The pilots simulate the doggystyle sexual position, with the females bending over. The first few episodes lean heavily on weird sexual tropes. I only have the first few episodes to go on, but maybe the series had a more sophisticated plan in mind and I’ve missed it. The in your face sexuality has apparently force China to ban it.
Finally, I didn’t care for the mecha themselves. They were seemingly design after the female form, but it made them look to “cartoonish,” almost like large toys. In the first episodes the fighting aspect was clearly secondary to the emotional drama between the teens. If Darling in the Franxx wanted to hold on to some of the audience presenting more action could have done it.
This episode begins with a battle between the Franxx and a Klaxosaur. During the altercation the Klaxosaur spits acid on all the Franxx, the blue substance leaks into the cockpit of the Franxx. The acid corrodes the parasite suits of the females, resulting in the boys getting to perv out at their expense. The boys refrain from telling the girls that they’re exposed, the Klaxosaur is destroyed and Hiro informs Zero Two of her exposure.
The boys unconvincing stated that the only reason they didn’t say anything was “because they didn’t want to distract the girls during battle.” Zorome dismisses the girls feelings suggesting that “it’s not like being seen hurts you or anything.” Miku’s not having it, but Hiro tells everyone that according to Zero Two she believes that it’s okay to be a little pervy. Miku suggests that they quit, she uses tape too create a symbolic separation between the genders.
Nana, Hachi and Dr. Franxx discuss the fact that so many of the squad members have hit puberty at once. Dr, Franxx calls it “unprecedented,” while Nana suggests that they follow the procedures in APE’s manual and intervene. Dr. Franxx says that they should just observe them and report later. Zero Two finally joins the girls but on her terms, and tricks the boys into using the bathroom while the girls are inside. Unsurprisingly, a fight breaks out with the boys stating the truth that they were tricked, however, due to the previous deception the girls don’t trust their word. Nana arrives and tells everyone “knock it off.”
The boys and girls separate into their respective rooms, where the lesson of the episode comes to it’s head. This were I have the most issue with this episode, Hiro states that the girls are “frail.” This doesn’t make sense considering the fact that as he later explains they also “take the brunt of each battle.” You can’t be both frail and take the brunt of damage during each fight, right? This episode is largely fun of cliche’s about gender role, girl are weak, so boys must be strong to protect them. Boys can’t control themselves so you can only expect them to minimize their ogling, not stop all together. That said at least the boys do realize that ogling the girls while they risk their lives is something they should stop doing.
The episode takes an abrupt turn when Miku leaves and hides in one of the former squad rooms. While looking at a picture of the squad she breaks down, the rest of the squad find her in tears on the floor. They ask what room their in and Zero two explains that it was likely the room of the former squad 13. Zorome wonders why their not here and Zero Two tells him it’s likely because they we “wiped out.” They realize that if they don’t get to know each other better and reconcile they will die like the previous squad did. The part of the episode wasn’t completely inconstant with the themes of early parts but it’s dark tone did clash with the previous humor. Regardless, Darling in the Franxx continues it reductive view on gender, but I liked this episode overall.
Asuna 1/7 Figure — Movie Sword Art Online -Ordinal Scale-
It was always going to happen but it finally did, Zero Two and Hiro officially paired up in Strelizia. Mitsuru pairs up with Zero Two and it doesn’t end well. Unlike previous pilots however, Mitsuru survives. He describes his experience as horrific, and how Zero Two smiled during the entire ordeal. Understandable, he will never pilot with her again and warns Hiro against doing so.
“Papa,” and the rest of the leadership doesn’t want Zero Two to become tainted by the “parasites,” and want to see her at the frontlines. Despite Zero Two’s kill rate, Hiro and many other parasites still want to pair up with her. Regardless, Hiro manage to sync up with her perfectly, so it’s unlikely they will try to replace him. Meanwhile, the Klaxosaurs have become more troublesome recently. They are more active and it’s now more difficult to locate the core.
He series is clearly painting Strelizia, Zero Two and Hiro as the best team. However, the other members can’t seem to do anything without them. One weird moment that occurred in the episode was when Hiro stated that, “I feel myself going deeper inside of you.” I’ve already criticized this series silly sexually innuendo, but this was too on the nose. However, maybe I’m taking this series too seriously and that was meant to be a joke. That said the show is getting a little better, but I think that the Klaxosaurs could be a little bit more creative looking.
Darling in the Franxx is an anime series from the producers Trigger and A-1 Pictures, focusing on a “post-apocalyptic future where humanity has been driven to endangerment by giant beasts known as klaxosaurs.” Children are bred to be partnered in boy/girl pairs called Parasites and they pilot Giant mecha called Franxx. The series seems to lean heavily on the two genders working together. The title characters both highlight this fact by referencing a bird called Jian. The Jian is known as “the bird that shares wings,” what is interesting is that they both recite this fact but draw different conclusions. 002 believes the fact that male and females need to work together is “beautiful,” whereas Hiro believes that this makes them pathetic.
The Parasites are at a graduation called a “welcoming ceremony,” where they’re told that they are “the chosen ones,” by Papa a weird hologram, that they must “shed every last drop of blood,” and “children that aren’t fit for this purpose have no value.” Meanwhile, Hiro is given permission to remain but he chooses to leave as his former partner Naomi leaves. It is made clear that her fate is going to be ominous. What is confusing is that it seems like Hiro was largely responsible for the failure but he’s been given an opportunity to stay but Naomi wasn’t. It doesn’t matter however, because a klaxosaurs attacks and kills her.
The klaxosaur is an odd looking creature, with a body that seems too large for its legs. The klaxosaur falls into the plantation as it’s being shot at. As it attacks the garages it uses a massive beam that is deflected by 002’s Franxx. However, she is knocked back into the plantation and her male partner is killed, but she plans on piloting the Franxx alone. Hiro is concerned for her life and she responds that she “isn’t afraid to die.” Hiro predictable offers to fight with her, together they are able to dominate the klaxosaur, Dr. Franxx notes that “when the negative and positive-male and female factors combine and their hearts become one, the iron maiden will reveal her true form.”
In the second episode, What it means to connect we become more familiar with the other characters and how Franxx function. Zorome is the typical bully anti-hero, Gorou is the groups negotiator keep the group in harmony. What’s notable about how the Franxx function is that the Stamen (males), named after the male fertilizing organ of a flower, are the “drivers,” and the pistil (females), named after “the female organs of a flower,” are connected to the female looking Franxx. The manner in which the two pilots are seated in the Franxx is highly sexualize, with the male sitting in an upright position and the female positioned in front of him like she’s riding a motorcycle, simulating a sexual position.
Furthermore, the piloting handles are literal attached to the females suits so the males steer the Franxx using their bodies. To bring the obvious sexual innuendo home, when connecting the female pilots emote a sexual moan. Hiro inability to pilot a Franxx seems to be some sort of metaphorical suggestion of sexual dysfunction. This is all so obvious and not the least bit scandalous unless your a child. To be blunt the fan-service is just distracting. That said Kill la Kill had similar elements, and while it eventually got old I really enjoyed that regardless. Overall, I liked episode 1 more than episode 2. However, given the fact that this season will be 24 episodes long I’ll stick with it for a while anyway.
Finally, the animation and visual style is spectacular. This of course shouldn’t be surprising to anyone familiar with the work of Trigger and A-1 pictures. Everything from the character design, mecha design, monsters and environments are clearly hallmarks of their visual style. The world-building in this series is rather slow and the terminology wasn’t clear, with some still not making sense. Also, who the hell is Papa, why do they call him that? Is he the father of all the orphan? Why was he a hologram?