And so the anime of the century ends with babies and…. more babies.
Darling in the Franxx was highly anticipated when it was first announced at Anime Expo last year, and to finish right during the weekend of this year’s Anime Expo makes you wonder how long it has been. I remember not showing interest in the show because it was Trigger and mecha, and the first episode had me captivated and the entire series was riding on my spine until the end. But how exactly did it accomplish that?
The series has a large number of characters to begin with, each in their own different personalities. The drama and emotion was raw and the characters showed them like they were just babies experiencing life for the first time. The show manages to juggle several teenagers around and give them all an equal amount of treatment, although it’s no surprise that during the first half, most of the spotlight went to a love triangle between Hiro, Zero Two, and Ichigo, especially with the ending scene in Episode 14, where I’m sure had everyone pissed off.
When the episode aired, I was going to write an article on it, but opted out. Obviously the story’s main focus was mostly on Hiro and Zero Two and how their relationship would determine their fates by the end of the series. I had a feeling that Hiro would eventually die as a non-human, converting to full-on klaxosaur in the very end, but as long as Zero Two stays with him for all of eternity, then I’m fine with that.
Backstory… let’s talk backstory because I almost never do in my reviews, but I feel that backstories were really important in fleshing out the chronological events in the series. The three characters who really were the drive of the series, were Hiro, Zero Two, and Dr. Franxx. Dr. Franxx is literally the only one left alive from the world that we know today and discovered magma energy, which in turn, civilization began to use and turn it into the dystopia we see in the series. By creating the Franxx, he also inadvertently began a war with VIRM, an outer space species who wanted the magma energy inside of Earth and control the planet itself. In the end, VIRM kills Dr. Franxx, which would then cause an entire turning point in the series, making way for the Klaxosaur Princess and finally the end of the war after her death.
If anything drove this series, than it mostly has to be the fandom’s love of their waifus and ships. In the beginning, we were set up with our first potential love interest for Hiro, Ichigo. It was established that since they were children, she had a crush on him, but Hiro did not feel the same way, because he had already fallen for someone else, Zero Two. In Episode 14, Zero Two’s violent tendencies caused her to be removed from Squad 13 and deported back to her original squad. Ichigo, acting as the leader of the Squad fully supported her removal and took her chance to kiss Hiro while he sees Zero Two off. Of course, that was what started this year’s infamous waifu war. Last year it was Rem and Emilia, and now look at what we got this year. I will be frank with you, but at first I honestly supported Hiro x Ichigo, particularly because of their chemistry together and their backstory (that was revealed at the time). In my initial defense, I commended Ichigo’s actions, but after watching Zero Two’s backstory episode, I began my support for Hiro x Zero Two, although Hiro x Ichigo will still hold a special place in my heart.
It’s undeniable that without Hiro and Zero Two, there wouldn’t be a Darling in the Franxx, but I daresay that there wouldn’t be a Darling in the Franxx if there wasn’t Kokoro x Mitsuru. Initially, I didn’t care for them, and I think that went for most of the show’s watchers as they weren’t that crucial to the plot until very much later. On the surface, Kokoro discovers and brings back a book on childbirth, and that would kick off her eventual romance with Mitsuru and the birth of their first child that would eventually kick off new generations to come for the next several (I assume) centuries.
I don’t think we can end this review with a quick shoutout to KISS OF DEATH, the amazing and super memorable theme song to this series.
I’m a sucker for romance, but I’m also a sucker for plot, drama, mecha, music, and a whole bunch of other things that make an anime good. Easily, Darling in the Franxx earns a spot in my top anime list. Shame it’s over and we may not get to see something like this anymore. Meanwhile, Trigger is working on something new…