With the BAYOG trip to Los Angeles and Anime Expo, I had to defer this article for a week or so. I managed to squeeze in a food run for some bread, canned coffee, and chow for the house and catching up on the previous episode before watching the finale with everyone. Before moving on from here, I’d like to preface again that I admit I’m biased because things pertaining to Gainax/Trigger are amazing to me and I may or may not have also spent 2.5 hours in the hot 100 degree LA sun with Blackatron to watch the JoJo’s Part 5 premier/panel, Trigger Panel, and Gridman premier. Beyond that I will also admit the show is not perfect and while I ranked it at a 9 on MAL, that’s more because DITF was less an 8 than it was a 9, but decided to rank it higher. Admittance of bias now complete, lets take a look at the wild show that has been Darling In The FranXX.
We left off with the remnants of the 9s and not-parents of Squad 13 blasting off into space to go rescue 02 from VIRM whilst in space. The one thing that threw me here was the fact that Hachi and Nana Prime were able to run the Klaxosaur ship with minimal effort and that they were able to accompany and entire fleet of Klaxosaurs to Mars. While not a big thing per se, it started the episode rather disjointed for me even though they tried to hand wave things like how they were able to quickly adapt to space combat. What ensued however was a glorious and majestic AF fight between the forces of VIRM and the Klaxosaurs and Squad 13/9’s. In true Trigger fashion, the battle was wild, with the 9’s, portrayed as antagonists and overall jerks for most of the show, make glorious and heroic sacrifices to make sure Hiro reunites with his Darling. Upon meeting her consciousness in Strelezia Apus, 02’s physical body turns to stone back on Earth, much to the dismay of Kokoro and Mitsuru who end up coming together at this moment. At this moment I would like to point out that the show could have ended (much like at the end of Episode 15) and left the show on a great note. Instead, Hiro and 02 combine to become
Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann Strelezia True Apus and move onwards through a warp gate to combat the home of VIRM using a massive Klaxosaur bomb.
What follows is a massive series of time jumps split between Strelezia True Apus flying through space for years, and the rest of Squad 13 making a life with all of the cryogenically frozen children with the assistance of Hachi and Nana. This also caused a good amount of disconnect for most of the episode as we had jumps of months, where we saw Kokoro give birth and they genuinely had you thinking for a second that the child died. Beyond that we had a jump of a couple years where we find that Kokoro’s child, Ai, has become a barely talking toddler. The entire time, Hachi and Nana were assisting the children in recreating a society free of reliance on Magma energy and Strelezia drifting towards the VIRM homeworld. However things take a turn for the worse when Strelezia engages the main VIRM forces and loses power as Hiro drifts to sleep at the behest of Papa. In dire straits, 02 begs and pleads for help for her Darling. In an almost comical and cliche/cheesy but still somewhat touching moment, the Parasites gather together and use the 02 statue as a conduit to transfer their will to reawaken Hiro form his coma in a scene reminiscent of the intro with Hiro drifting through water. Through this, they defeat the VIRM menace and their souls and the souls of all others enslaved by VIRM return to their home planets. Sure it’s not winning through sheer manly force of will like Gurren Lagann but its still pretty damn good.
After this the entwined souls of 02 and Hiro drift towards Earth countless light years away. During this time we find the epilogue of how Squad 13 and the rest fared. Turns out that they are the victim of enhanced aging techniques and through Ikuno’s hard work, she finds a way to limit this effect even though she herself is still greatly aged. Hachi and Nana are found to be immortal, with Hachi actually slowly developing human emotions. Eventually the Franxx are powered down and through a gambit, humanity is restored as a major force across the planet. Many years later (as implied by the growth of the original tree where 02 and Hiro first met, we are shown two children, likely their reincarnations, meeting again in a mirror of their original forms.
So now to my insight and some shared insight courtesy of the Trigger panel at AX. There were definitely rough spots in this show. This production was a 5 year process between Trigger and A-1/CloverWorks and they admitted that a large amount of disconnect and discord occurred between the two. Citing fundamental differences in the studios I think that taking this into account leaves me truly impressed at what they still managed to create. Some things they brought up made me just kinda face palm in shame, specifically when they referenced the Bitchigo/Death Threat debacle and how they were proud of their Western fanbase, but also how it was a Western “fan” who issued said threat. Other things they discussed were developmental and we were threatened with punishment of
death torture being kicked out if we took photos of their prototype images. One of these prototypes was for the FranXX originally having the humanoid forms and faces akin to the one that Strelezia True Apus took. Finally there were also comical moments like them shooting Trigger bucks at us from a money gun (how I won my DITF hat) and vehemently refuting that Trigger has done any productions that took place in Space besides Space Patrol Luluco. Their evidence was Darling was an A-1/Cloverworks production, Kill La Kill and Little Witch took place in Upper Earth Atmosphere, and Gurren Lagann was obviously Gainax. Overall I would rank this somewhere along the lines of an 8.5, bordering 8.75 if it weren’t for the fact the plot jumped the shark a few times, and got a bit too Kumbaya but was still a great show all around. Let me know what you thought and keep an eye out for new announcements from us at BAYOG tomorrow!