Darling in the FRANXX gets even more interesting, (and even sexist), the more I dive into the series. The characters are easy enough to get attached to and the mystery surrounding Zero-Two and her FRANXX only gets more intriguing with small hints.
Episode 5 throws the viewer a curveball as something seems to off with our protagonist Hiro. He has a high fever and is sluggish but puts on a smile, pressing forward so no one notices. That is until his roommate, Goro notices. Silently watching Hiro’s every move eventually pays off as he sees a deadly looking rash spreading from his chest due to piloting the FRANXX with Zero-Two. Alerting his partner Ichigo, (a girl with a crush on Hiro and went so far as to kiss him), later brings Zero-Two’s own mystery to the table once again. Her eyes glow red and her horns glow as she angrily speaks to Ichigo, warning her to back off and let Hiro make his own decision on partnering.
Episode 6 puts Squad 13 in a tense battle unlike any of the previous episodes. This battle eventually gets to a point where Hiro looks to be dead and Zero-Two quite literally looks like she’s about to transform into something as her eyes and horns glow like they did in the previous episode and she also grows fangs. Hiro eventually snaps out of his deathly state and helps destroy the enemies. At this point in the series, there’s no doubt in my mind that there’s something more to Zero-Two than what meets the eye.
Episode 7 is the kind of episode that happens in the middle of a series that’s alerts that eventually…things are going to break your heart or piss you off; The random filler episode. Squad 13 takes a break at the beach so the show takes a more comedic turn as well as tad romantic. Although it’s not really mandatory to watch this filler, it’s last few minutes give a little more enhancement to the rivalry between Ichigo and Zero-Two.
Episode 8 is another filler kind of episode but the kind that feels like a storm brewing as the clouds are coming in and the air smells different right before the raindrops fall. This episode also gives the most fanservice to the point of sexist. It’s already bad enough how the women sit inside the FRANXX but to make matters worse, an enemy’s goo conveniently drips through the slits in the mecha, coincidentally on only the girls inside the mecha, and the goo just so happens to make their clothes disintegrate.
I used to be a fan of fan service in my young anime fan days. For some reason, the random nudity made the anime more interesting but the older I got, the more I didn’t quite get it. Fan-service of a nude caliber hardly ever happens to guys and they could have at least made the goo fall on both the men and women piloting to avoid looking like misogynists but that’s just too much like right, I guess. Nothing is wrong with nudity in art or women in clothes of their choosing whether scantily clad or not but to be so blatantly there for the male viewer’s gaze is gross. Plus the fact that what was exposed was most likely their vagina since after the buttocks were exposed, the camera only shows the blushing and nose bleeds of the male pilots.
Darling in the FRANXX manages to still keep my attention even though now I’m viewing with a strong side eye after Episode 8. I’m really hoping I learn who or what Zero-Two really is in the episodes to come since she’s the most fascinating part of the whole series to me. She reminds me of a certain other anime character who I’ll discuss in comparison once/if her identity is fully addressed.
I could definitely use a break from her saying “Darling” to and in reference to Hiro all the damn time though.
Rating: 7 out of 10