It’s been a while. I should catch up here as I have in anime. Lets talk #DARLINGintheFRANXX The latest anime from the guys who brought you Gurren Laggan & Kill La Kill. They also worked with Evangelion which shows in this weird ass Mech anime about kids paired up to pilot them, birds (lots of birds), bee’s and flowery sexual innuendo that hides a peculiar theme.
The main point of the show is a surprisingly good commentary on adults not properly educating kids on sexuality before they hit puberty. It took me a while to figure out the obsession this show had with sexual imagery without featuring the usual fanservice (aside from the manga and first episode) but when I figured it out, I was hooked by it and wanted to see where things go. The main cast is bunch of kids too ignorant to know about relationships and the results are the main plot points for the characters. Confusion towards sexual orientation, “experimenting” without realizing the consequences, forcing people into relationships, not being honest with a partner, cheating on a partner even. It’s all there. Told from the perspective of teenagers just hitting puberty and the repressive adults trying to cover it all up in this bizarre cult like post-apocalyptic world.
But, all that is wrapped around a very confusing plot about a human race so sanitized they have machines to experience pleasure (yes, porn machines), children seem to be harvested as soldiers and the government has become a full-fledged cult led by “Papa” who people even have to pray to. Why? I don’t know. I’m 15 episodes deep into this 24 episode show and the show is just now starting to give us glimpses into how corrupt the government is. All we know is that the world is mostly Mad-Maxed with giant creatures running around. We don’t even have a main antagonist even though the main point is how the kids have to fight these vague monsters called “Klaxosaurs”. Which may or may not have human origins as the government collects “magma energy” for unknown purposes using villages on wheel (holy shit, now there’s a sci-fi concept that we can reach). The world here is very poorly explained.
The main character is a boy called Hiro (clever fucks) who starts out depressed because he can’t pilot a robot (dubbed Franxx). He’s incompatible with his partner. As in, he’s sexually repressed. But along comes deuteragonist and love interest Zero-Two (Jesus Christ these are very on the nose names). A monster girl with horns who is part Klaxosaur. She was tortured for experiments growing up and has a reputation for killing pilots. But has a special interest in our…… Hiro (get it?). They form a bond but she’s very very dominant and possesive. The story shows how she learns to accept the feelings of other people through Hiro’s support, revealing her history with him and how it seems to spur a sense of independence and discovery in the kids as they also become sexually liberated and curious.
Is it good? Its somewhat interesting. The takes on sexual education are actually very interesting and pikes your interest as you remember your parents trying to shield you from naughty stuff growing up and makes you reflect on it. But that’s about it. The characters are very archetyped and their only real growth comes from the relationship to their partners. They barely feel unique outside of a character named Zorome’s desire to be someone’s son, two characters who seem to be conflicted about their sexual orientation and Ichigo, the girl everyone seems to harp on about being domineering towards childhood crush Hiro because of her ignorance (as in the theme of this show). The show tells you she’s not wrong to be worried about the monster girl, but she’s also not handling the situation rationally. The plot about giant creatures and cultist “papa’s” isn’t going to grasp you. The characters probably won’t. The underlying theme’s are the shows only highlight. If that fails for you, that’s all it has. But it is worth a look if you’re interested in that social commentary.
Lets hope those last few episodes offer more interesting story developments.