A controversial series that I personally file as this generation’s Evangelion, Darling In The Franxx throws us into a battle for the fate of humanity, where mankind must fight back against the destructive klaxosaurs. Really? That’s what you went with? Klaxosaurs? I thought this was supposed to be serious, not some kind of joke. Anyway, they also pilot these special mechs that look like mecha-waifus and that’s gonna be a first for any anime in my book. However, they just look like giant mecha anime characters and don’t really feel like mechs as in Gundam or even Evangelion. The Klaxosaur designs are also very weak, they feel like uninspired rip-offs of Evangelion’s angels and are done in CGI. To be honest, aside from the first few episodes, I spent most of the first disc chatting on discord with my phone in hand to take an occasional glance at the screen every now and again. Also, it was getting readily apparent that there was something different about Zero 02 and even I figured out that she was a fucking klaxosaur before long. I watched a few of the episodes subtitled, but I grew tired of the Japanese voice actors saying “Darling! Darling!” over and over again. I resumed the rest of the series in dub and can say that this is one of the few times I preferred dub to sub because they at least used a more mature sounding voice actor for Zero 02 who didn’t sound like some wound-up school girl. Mech battles are pretty much rule of law for the first half of the series, and that’s all well and good but there was very little to digest unless you like mech battles. I can take or leave them for the most part, especially if the enemy isn’t really all that thrilling or unique. This coming from a sentai fan, I’ve seen a lot of giant robot battles that are hit and miss, respectively.
It wasn’t about until the middle of the series (I want to say episode 15) that the story actually started to progress a little and interestingly enough, it was through the back story that we discover Zero 02 was an experiment. We later learn that all of the other characters were given names by the protagonist, including Ichigo who considers him a love interest. However, our young protagonist had his heart set on a little Klaxosaur girl and a children’s fairytale book that soon becomes a major part of the story, up until its end. The most controversial thing about this story for NPCs (in those days still known as social justice warriors) mainly concerned around the fact that mechs could only be piloted by a man and a woman. Peculiarly enough, this position is also quite sexually suggestive. I’m sure this upset a lot of people who take the point of being attracted to the same-sex as something of a political pulpit for their ideologies. In any case, a bizarre scene is thrown in around the time of the wedding where a female character confesses her love for Ichigo and says that she hates the whole fucking system. Now, I do not know if this add-on is Funimation’s doing and am not sure what the subtitles would have stated as I did not watch it with them (foolishly, I might add as Funi likes to butcher things) but I found the scene a bit forced.Especially since Ichigo still considered herself pretty well devoted to our hero.
In the denouement, we see that humanity disrupted the klaxosaurs by using magma for energy which allowed them to become immortal. We find out that all of the kids are disposable clones and that Zero 02 is a clone of the klaxosaur queen. The klaxosaur queen is reluctant at first, but she finally reveals a completely new enemy in a twist like that of Shayamalan, the Vurm. Who in the hell are the Vurm? Well, we needed a super baddie to unite both the humans and Klaxosaur against and these righteous aliens who want to cleanse the planet and bring universal harmony seemed to fit the bill. The kids end up becoming the generation that brings the planet back to life by growing crops in one of the only domed areas where the soil is still suitable for such a task. It works as Zero 02 becomes so human that she loses herself to outer space. But of course, we can’t have the hero get too friendly with her because then he’ll become a Klaxosaur too. That being said, he’s already growing horns by now and no one rightly gives a damn. The adults decided to let the children age and start families – massive families. They are trying to repopulate the planet after all, and while Zero 02 and our hero are fighting the Vurm in their native area of the universe, the planet has already undergone massive changes. The silliest thing about this anime is that we expect the Vurm to be completely defeated, but they only run off vowing to return as they always do. Someone needs to just break the masks and stop this shit completely. I’m sure they’re worthless without the masks anyway and could be easily stomped into space dust. Both Zero 02 and the hero die, which upset so many people that they now hate the series. I personally thought it ended well though, because our loving space couple decided to come back millions of years from now after humanity fixed their shit, so the Klaxosaurs won’t get upset and the vurm hopefully are still licking their wounds. We see two familiar looking children at the very end of the anime and it looks as if the two had been reincarnated to fall in love again.
Darling In The Franxx isn’t perfect, but it’s much better than I’ve seen from the genre in a while. I was engaged most of the way through and the character designs were so cool that I’ll be looking on Solaris Japan later to see if they have made any Nendoroid figures yet. I’ll add that the theme “Kiss Of Death” is also rather catchy, but I prefer the first iteration of it to the second, even though the second OP is more appealing in terms of imagery. The show was interesting enough for me to consider Zero 02 a waifu and I’ve bought a figurine of her for my shelf. I’m quite pleased with it, but still felt there were a few cheap plot elements like the unexpected reveal of the Vurm that caused me to chuckle just a bit.