After drawing flak from the vast corners of the community, Darling in the FRANXX has received so much criticism for its story and characters. It became such a hot topic to the point of alleged reports involving fans sending threats to members of the production for creating a point in this show’s story in which many will never accept. For this individual, I would like to put my finger into this show – why anger coming from its fans is a testament to how effective it is as a show.
Let me just put it out there that Darling in the FRANXX has been a great show so far, in terms of entertainment value and the way it gets people compelled to sympathize for each character. The people behind this show deserve every praise for creating such a great story while still at its fourteenth episode, as of this article. It is somewhat sad to hear that fans would go as so far as to threaten these good, hardworking people just for something as simple as a hated character.
Here I thought that the Emilia and Rem waifu wars of Re:Zero were hilariously bad but damn, this whole fuss about hating a certain character to the point of allegedly sending death threats to the voice actress is kind of too much. However, on the plus side, this uproar has actually directed much well-deserved attention to a good show like Darling in the FRANXX.
Anyways, if you have not watched Darling in the FRANXX, I highly recommend as it is a very entertaining show and your viewing experience is kind of necessary to understand the stuff I am saying in this article. Don’t continue if you want to avoid spoilers.
This article will divided into several parts which talk about the different aspects on how Darling in the FRANXX has been a good show thus far and although the fuss is somehow warranted, it is actually crucial in the story which the show is trying to tell.
A common premise, a unique method of storytelling
Darling in the FRANXX is set in a world where humans have basically abandoned the Earth’s surface and are under the refugee of mobile cities dubbed as “plantations.” This is due to the widespread population of dangerous alien entities called “klaxosaurs” which have rendered the surface uninhabitable.
In order to fend off attacking klaxosaurs from these plantations, a secret project is set up that indoctrinates and educates all young children to become obedient defenders of these golden, mobile cities. These children have been taught that their entire existence is dedicated to protecting “Papa” and the “adults” living in these plantations and nothing else.
This is a common premise for anime: a harsh world where humans are on the brink of extinction, children are being used as weapons and the whole system is just a big piece of fucked-up things anyone can come up with.
You can see this scenario being re-used and re-purposed in shows like Zankyou no Terror, Akuma no Riddle, Puella Magi Madoka Magica, Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei and I can go on-and-on with this list.
But unlike those shows where they focus on how fucked-up everything is and how innocent, naive children are force to kill things, at the cost of innocent people, Darling in the FRANXX uses the most obvious yet tricky elements in storywriting: time and emotions.
The show exceeds everything else at creating an almost-flawless drama to be paired with a show about big mechs. It factors the elements of time, memories, adolescence and emotions – things that, if applied in the right way, can ultimately create a compelling set of characters whose interactions will certainly get the audience to care about these people.
You don’t talk about the midichlorians. They’re just there.
A good thing about this show is that it does not give a fuck about what the audience wants because, let’s be honest here, the audience never knows what it wants.
Similar to how the Star Wars franchise never explained the technicalities of the Force, Darling in the FRANXX does the same thing by keeping you in the dark about the entire world it is set upon and that is crucial to keep an audience interested. People will always ask why such technology exists in that world? What’s the purpose of this object? Why is the main character special?
It never answers does frequently asked questions by the fans. Thus, everyone is left to speculation for the consequences of each act the characters do which concerns the technology and the world, in general.
You don’t know why there are specialized mechs for the main character’s squad except for the only reason in which they are a “test unit” composed of “highly specialized” parasites. We will probably never know why the mechs require a female and male partner other than the analogy of the Jian bird being presented constantly within the show where a bird cannot fly with one wing.
These things entices the community to speculate, to engage, to understand why things are such and why our characters are such. It’s pretty common but depends on what kind of story the anime is. For Darling in the FRANXX, this kind of approach to world building suits the fantasy that is its story.
These are growing kids who have been taught to only fight and nothing else.
The main characters introduced in this show are mere teenagers who have been educated and indoctrinated for the rest of their childhood that the world’s surface has been rendered uninhabitable, the entirety of the human population has taken up residence in mobile cities, and that “Papa” and the “adults” count on them for protection.
Unlike other squads of kids who became mech pilots, the squad in which our main characters are a part of have been deemed different. They are more expressive, more boisterous, full of hope, childishness and freedom – hence why they are deemed a “specialized squad.”
As the story progresses, these children are given close attention into how they grow. It was entertaining to see Hiro, the main character, being presented the idea of a “kiss” by the main female lead, Zero Two, for the first time. It was a small yet important detail that these children were never taught to be normal human beings but rather, soldiers.
As time went by in this story, each character discovered the concepts of “love,” of “embarrassment,” and self-awareness for their different genders, of “copulation” and probably many more to come. It was kind of sad and fucked-up to see them refer to these desires and feelings as “this weird feeling” which they could not explain.
I believe this is why Darling in the FRANXX is such a hyped and beloved series despite not yet at its end episode due to the audience relating to the characters being presented in the show. Otakus are mostly deemed as young adults and we are still in that state of development where we try to understand our own emotions and the people around us.
That similarity between the audience and the main characters actually drive us to be compelled for the completion of their goals and desires in the story which is the very reason why we were so pissed off with Ichigo cucking our main man, Hiro, from meeting Zero Two.
Ichigo, despite the hate, is a noteworthy character
At the start of the series, I adored Ichigo for her position among the main cast. She had everything but the one thing she really wanted to have and that would be our main guy, Hiro.
Seriously, she was a squad leader, a pilot with the highest aptitude among the squad members and was respected by everyone but the one thing she could never have was a special relationship between Hiro.
Ichigo is noteworthy because her struggles, as far as the show’s story is concerned, has been valid and worthy of audience sympathy. But the one thing that the fans were not pleased, including myself, was her sudden confession at a crucial time for relationship development between Hiro and Zero Two.
That monologue and memory diving between these two characters when they were in a pinch an episode before the fourteenth was basically getting us to cheer on for Zero Two finally getting the chance to meet her darling which was the very same person she was trying to manipulate and use to achieve her goals. But that’s just monologue and interactions exclusive to both Zero Two and Hiro.
Ichigo does not know of Zero Two’s struggle nor does she know how Hiro factors into those very struggles. But what she does understand is that Zero Two is a monster capable of causing the death of her beloved Hiro and that would, in a writer’s perspective, would scare her as a character in that scenario. Remember what I said in the earliest parts of this article? This show does not tell a story to provide fanservice for the audience.
It is a show that will tell its story – even if you don’t like the details.
That’s where Darling in the FRANXX shines and grabs its audience. It does not listen to what you say you want because you don’t know what you want. But on the contrary, this show actually knows what you want even if you don’t willingly like it.
This is a show about misunderstanding.
At its core, Darling in the FRANXX has become a show about misunderstandings existing between the various characters and entities within the show’s story. It is a wonderful display of how the people behind the production of this show actually understand their characters and the relationships existing between them in the most realistic way the anime medium can allow.
It is a roller coaster ride and that is why it’s such a great show. I am excited on next episode’s developments. Will Zero Two and Hiro get back together? Will Ichigo be neglected? Is this show heading for a tragic ending? Who knows?
On a personal note, I never had an interest on this show until the fuss about Ichigo came along. I’m pretty glad episode 14 turned out the way it is since I wouldn’t have been able to discover and get into this series as I would have now.
What do you think about Darling in the Franxx? Who do you think is best girl? Share your opinions on the comments below!
Thank you for reading this over 1,700 word-essay. It means a lot.