Ok so as @cmdrcluckcluck discussed in his article on DARLING in the FRANXX, there’s lots of innuendo in this show. In a recent AMA on Reddit, Hiromi Wakabayashi, the creative producer from TRIGGER! that worked on DITF, Space Patrol Luluco, and Kill La Kill discussed a few points on DARLING in the FRANXX. One of those was addressing the suggestion that like KLK and its life fibers, or Gurren Lagann and DRILLS!, DARLING in the FRANXX is likely to have a bit of underlying meaning and a reason for all this craziness. At least something better than “Dr. Franxx is an insane pedophile who likes to make children assume sex positions in robots.” And if this was just a TRIGGER! production, I’d have the faith to roll with it, but with A-1 in the mix, I have to be a bit wary.
That is not to say that A-1 Pictures is at all a detriment to this show. To the contrary, when it comes to the combat, the rough edges that TRIGGER! tends to have are polished with that unique A-1 style. Having created such beautiful things such as Blend-S, Interviews with Monster Girls, Blue Exorcist, and Aldnoah Zero, they have done a wide range of great genres ranging from monsters, to battle, to mecha and these ranges of work definitely show in. There were several times I looked at my TV and was just left with my mouth agape at the beautiful art and animation that somehow managed to pin down that unique TRIGGER! style but just execute it flawlessly with all that additional style and flair.
Now onto the plot so far, which while seemingly sparse, is really full of a bunch of subtle hints that we at BAYOG have been reviewing as we discuss. Essentially we’ve had a bit of a taste to the background of this world, which seems to be Earth after a cataclysmic event that rendered humanity unable to live in the world due to monsters known as Klaxosaurs and are currently living in mobile massive cities called Plantations. We get more insight to this where we find that the culture is a very militaristic based environment with the our child soldier mecha pilots from Squad 13 seem to be very odd compared to others. During a joint mission with the Parasites from Squad 26, we see that the variation, unique FRANXX, and use of nicknames flags them as special and different. The squad of Plantation 26 also take offense to 02’s cavalier attitude that apparently cost them some team members. I felt the disjoint here was a tad strange where at one minute they seem to be autistic emotionless automatons, who acknowledge that for whatever reason they will never grow up to be adults (a goal that Zorome and the other’s seem to have) to being furiously angry at 02, then back to being properly robotic during the fight with the Klaxosaurs. Taking a quick back seat, we had some other moments come up in the past few episodes including Hiro being unable to get it up with Ichigo, which kinda really messed with both of them, as well as Mitsuru trying to ride with 02. This leads to the expected result of it not going well at all.
Jump back to this fight during the joining of Plantations 13 and 26, where Hiro embarks on his third ride with 02, the forecasted final fight before the teamkiller curse took his life. We also find that this curse is apparently real and Hiro’s body is wrought with a blue Klaxosaur like substance wrapping his heard and flooding his veins. Resisting the self-preservation impulse in his brain, he rolls up and goes out and fights and when he thought Strelizia had defeated it, he resigns his fate. We then have 02 shift into feral mode and attempting to fight back while being pummeled constantly. Somehow, someway, through pure manliness and strength of will, Hiro resists and forces back the blue grasp of death and returns to fighting alongside 02 and bringing her back from the berserker rage she was rocking. In one of those aforementioned awe-inspiring moments, Strelizia goes and curb stomps the massive TRIGGER! bad guy to glorious effect.
We then have the Squad rewarded with a beach episode that some folks IRL met with a bit of skepticism. Personally I found it to be a great episode that was actually rather tame compared to the rest of the show. In it, we have the team members trying to find out what a “kiss” is and why it’s important, as well as Ichigo finding a way to confess the feelings she doesn’t understand to Hiro. All in all, I love some of the things that TRIGGER! has been implying/referencing and I can’t wait to see all the meaning behind the numbers of the Parasites as I’m pretty certain they got this extra stuff locked down and in a couple episodes my mind will be blown. So far the show has been pretty damn good and TRIGGER! fanboying aside, I’m looking forward to this wild and fun ride.