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Darling in The Franxx (2018, A1 Pictures / Trigger)

Anime Reviews

Darling in The Franxx (2018, A1 Pictures / Trigger)


Worth A Watch

Humans are threatened by a mysterious alien species known as the Klaxosaurs and has begun living in mobile fortresses known as "Plantations" while extracting large amounts of magma from deep within the Earth to use as energy. As a countermeasure against the Klaxosaurs, large mechanical humanoid weapons known as "Franxx" have been employed. Piloting these Franxx are young "parasite" pilots who work together as partners - the male acting as the "stamen" who performs the control while the female "pistil" provides the connection, allowing their minds to connect and the weapons to reveal their true forms.

Cheery, whimsical "002" Zero Two is a pistil born with Klaxosaur blood and horns. Not many of her partners last long before they die so she is known as the "Partner Killer". One day while looking for a place to swim, she meets "016" Hiro who had just lost his ability to pilot fails to qualify as a parasite. Seeing how he wasn't bothered by her horns like others were, she takes an immediate liking to him and decides to stay at the same base. Just as the latest Franxx startup ritual for Squad 13 goes under way, they are attacked. Watching his ex-partner get sent away and get caught up in the attack, Hiro is frustrated how powerless he is and how he's lost a place in the world. Just then, the Franxx Zero Two was piloting "Strelizia" crashes nearby and seeing it as a chance to redeem himself, he decides to become her new partner. As the two spend more time together they begin to discover the mutual support they've sought after.

So this is an original show as part of a collaboration between A-1 Pictures (now branched off as CloverWorks) and Trigger, not based of any Manga or light novel as Anime usually are. Art style is very Trigger-like including the mechas which will probably remind you of Star Driver. It actually feels a bit like Evangelion too such as the mecha cockpit design, pilot suits, raining alien blood and underground city... Sometimes you'll even think, "Isn't this that scene...?" Except all with your usual Trigger silliness so it's not so serious.

Characters are full of energy and personality so there's plenty of hilarious scenes. Some are fairly much your cliche Anime character but, others can be quite different such as Zero Two who enjoys licking people's cheeks to find out what they "taste" like or causing mischief to liven things up. You've also got your multiple romances except the team has never known what falling in love with someone means. You watch the new make-shift group of friends grow and support each other as they learn more about the outside world as well as the harsh realities they never thought they'd have to face. It's got great character development which ends up being the main driving factor behind the show. The world setting isn't too bad for a sci-fi action show which is nothing too deep but enough for a bit of mystery which, gradually gets revealed as to what's the story behind Zero Two and how the world got to its current state. No loose ends.

And as with Trigger shows, it's not shy of using its female characters for fan service such as your usual nudity, groping and bathing scenes. That said, it does do in a natural way mostly rather than awkward moments.

It's nice to see how the studio keeps the ending animation flexible, quite often changing it to adapt with whatever way the story's progressing. Interestingly enough, some staff who were involved with the Steins;gate game also worked on this show - huke the character designer, did the concept design for 001 while Naotaka Hayashi from Mages, wrote the script here too. Even Khara Studio who produced the Evangelion Rebuild movies was involved, responsible for the 3D graphics. The show's director Atsushi Nishigori is also best known for his character designs for the classic Gurren Lagann but who also worked on key art for Evangelion 2.0 and 3.0 so, perhaps that explains why there are so many resemblances to Evangelion. Some people have said it actually resembles Gurren Lagann too and it does at some point as the two species battle it out but overall, I think this show has the better start and direction.

There was a lot of hype for this show, especially around Zero Two and Hiro but that wasn't the reason why I watched this. I watched it knowing nothing about the show other than there was romance in it and it was a Trigger show and, I enjoy their shows for the silly fun action titles they usually produce. Darling in The Franxx is kind of half silly, half serious. If you like a mecha action show with strong supernatural romance, friendship and don't mind that a large part of its designs and some direction resemble the classic Evangelion, you might like this. It has its cute moments... and dramatic ones.

Darling in The Franxx

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