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?
images from: Random Curiosity