Last year Studio Trigger announced a new title that would premiere in January titled Darling in the FRANXX. Admittedly, I didn’t really look further into the series considering I’m not all that into mecha anime. Outside of Code Geass and Gurren Lagann, I’m not a huge fan of humans jumping into huge, bulky machinery to fight. I’d much rather see Magical Girls fighting with magic or characters swordplay, guns, or supernatural powers. However there’s been a lot of positive, (and crazy), feedback surrounding this title and I can’t deny the production looks great too. Studio Trigger is also behind several titles I enjoyed, (Kill La Kill, Gurren Lagann, Kiznaiver, Panty and Stocking With Garterbelt), so I figured why not at least give it a shot.
Darling in the FRANXX takes place in a distant future and revolves around a pink haired girl with horns named Zero- Two and a boy named Hiro who meets her. He’s part of a group of parasites, (humans?), who were raised to attempt to defeat the monsters that dominate the world with the use of mechas called FRANXX. After meeting in the woods as she is swimming, they later meet in the middle of a battle. Hiro feels compelled to help her pilot her mecha since she is alone and would most likely be defeated. Their sudden partnership draws the attention of other people Hiro knows for the horned girl is rumored to be a killer.
The first episode is practically saturated in cliches. There’s this misunderstood guy who’s sitting by himself and questioning existence full of the kind of angst that’ll be revealed later in the story and he sees a naked girl swimming and thinks she drowning. He not only discovers that she isn’t drowning but she’s beautiful and alluring and gets embarrassed about her nudity. After they separate, they meet again conveniently in a dire circumstance and their kiss powers up the FRANXX. The design of the FRANXX is what stands out the most in the series; The shape is not curated like a male unlike every other mecha anime I’ve encountered.
The design and a few small emotional reactions from the cast to Hiro’s new partnership made me stick around. The next batch of episodes ease up almost entirely on cliches and is beginning to put together a story I may turn out to love. Although I can’t deny hearing Zero-Two say ‘Darling’ so often has grown annoying and the way characters guide FRANXX are a bit sexual and even slightly sexist in nature. The opening and closing songs are so catchy and well produced that I constantly think about them.
Episode 3 is the most visually appealing thus far as the parasites in their FRANXX battle monsters the vast majority of the screen time and the motivations of some characters are becoming easier to catch in Episode 4.
Darling in the FRANXX is ongoing into the spring from the Winter season of anime but I’ll be covering the former until I’m caught up. This title is available to stream on Crunchyroll with subtitles and in English on Funimation. Both subbed and dubbed versions are available on VRV.
Rating: 8 out of 10