This show was so close to being perfect for me it's agnozing how frustrating it is. I have a really hard time supporting shows with high sexualization of women or that contain crimes against women (i.e. Future Diary).
First off, the positive notes:
Now the negative:
Have you always dreamt about being a mech pilot who was suddenly forced into a romantic relationship with a hawt waifu because the power of love would make your mech the strongest one possible? Well fear not, the time has finally come for you to watch:
Eureka 7 DARLING in le FRANXX
(The X stands for nude scenes because nothing is more romantic than nude 2d waifus)
With the most generic MC possible, a harem of waifus who want his dick over that ripped 6'4 blonde guy, because our MC is such a niceguyTM, and an entire arsenal of plot armor asspulls, Darling in the Franxx crowns itsself as AOTS for many weebs who want to see their same beta ass fantasy wrapped in a slightly different jacket for the gazilionth time.
In this universe, MCmcGeneric is a weak soyboy without any powers. That is, until his destined waifu arrives, and he unlocks his inner SSJ9. Being suicidal he quickly realizes he'll never get laid, he shall throw his life away with passion for the people abusing him, because that's how the Japs do it.
In this very originally written story we find a pattern of the cast getting themselves into an emotional argument, lowering their fighting powers, however just when they are about to be crushed, or super amazing plot armor asspull heroes show up with le strelizia of doom and straight up wipe everything because that's never been done before. (wow strelizia omg le ebin lance so quick)
Hiro: A generic loser soyboy for you to insert your own persona into, so you can relate.
Zero Two: A girl who has more airtime being naked than clothed, but is somehow still the most loyal waifu you could possibly find. You guessed it: she's an alien
And a bunch of other sexually frustrated angsty teens who don't really matter
Because nothing is more relevant to weebs than wanting to get laid as a virgin teenager.
If you throw your entire budget at the fight scenes, be sure to sexualize the girls as much as possible even in normal scenes, and the weebs won't notice.
OP singer sounds like a tranny so
I couldn't find a single original character in the entire series. It's like trying to find Waldo but he's simply not there.
Just stick to Hentai.
~Why is Darling in the FranXX more than waifu wars and ecchiness?~
Yes, this anime is leaving so many different opinions in the anime community. It launched so many new memes and divided the world into two best-girl-teams and left us with questions how do those robots even work.
But regardless nobody really talks about its meaning beyond waifu wars and ecchi scenes. Because those scenes are really flashy it is difficult to see deeper meaning of this original anime. Its story is set up in the future, where people left the surface because of klaxosaurs - some kind of monsters which kill people. We meet main characters who are living in a big building which not only has houses but also environment similar to one humanity left behind. Therefore main heroes don’t know the beauty of the nature we are very familiar with.
What is more it seems like they don’t know much about human relationships. They don’t know kissing, love, romantic relationships and many more. It seems they were born for one purpose only - for killing klaxosaurs and defending adults which once lived on the surface. After seeing 7th episode of this anime it was clear to me - this anime has promissing post-apocalyptic story which is bringing me so many questions: Is it like that in the whole world or only in Japan? Who are the children fighting against klaxosaurs? Are they part of experiment (If that is true the ending will maybe be closer to Kiznaiver - original anime from same anime studio)? What is the whole point behind not telling them what we are being taught as children (for example: about kissing)? Why is half kloxosaur fighting against klaxosaurs? And who is Hiro (the lead character)? Why is he so different than other adolescents?
And if we are already talking about Hiro his story is in my opinion very psychological. He is different than others and he seems to know more than his friends. Because he talks about stars and rain and even names his team mates (they are given code names by adults) I imagine him living on the surface before, but I could be wrong. In adition he is an unique boy who is very friendly to others but when he grows up he for some reason can’t pilot his robot. This leaves him with emotional problems, stress and inability to control Franxx - robot. Since they don’t know counsuling this only leads to him training as hard as he can but doesn’t leave good results with his piloting. Somehow he losts purpose in life - because the only purpose of this adolescents is piloting Franxx and fighting those monsters.
He could be seen as an example of anyone of us who suddenly lost purpose in life or is in very difficult emotional and stressful stage of their lives (for example: ending school and starting a job). And so he clings on the only person he can give him purpose he is searching for - Zero Two. She has kloxosaur’s blood and acts very differently than other girls. I persume she is far older than those adolescents, because she has a lower code name and has seen the humanity before it got almost extinct. She is the one who is leaving Hiro with many philosophical questions about life and humanity and gives him purpose again. But for what prize?
So if I summarise my thoughts, Darling in the FranXX sure is centered on relationships and romance but it is more than that. It shows us what could our world be in the future. Apocalypse might not happen because of sudden appearance of monsters but because we are destroying our environment. We also could leave the surface of the Earth and run away in order to survive. And whoever comes after our time could forget what we knew, saw and did and like main characters in this anime be suprised by stars, sea, old buildings and an old book about having a baby (which was in my opinion the best symbolic object shown in the 7th episode).
So overall its has a very good post-apocalyptic story but it's sadly hiddend behind the relationships which some find exaggerated or meaningless.
Darling in the FranXX is a fine example of what modern anime have become and why they are throwaway trash. They are doing nothing but reusing older ideas, instead of having new ones. And on top of that, they don’t even do a good job at rehashing the same ideas. They are not trying to improve or refine them. They just make them more creepy, sexual, and edgy.
They also ride on the name of who made them, instead of how good they are on their own, and do their best to keep you interested with how absurd they are by constantly making up memes and crazy situations, without actually caring about the quality of the script or good characterization.
The show does its best to make hate everything from the very beginning. You get the scene where they establish the main character, and all you get is a bland self-insert who recited emo poetry and there is an injured bird that symbolizes something. First impressions are crucial for getting to like a character, and instead of giving you an interesting personality, or a cool design, or a sad backdrop, they throw in stolen quotes and symbolism, which have nothing to do with him as a person you are supposed to like for being a person.
This is all nothing but pretentious overthinking replacing characterization. How can you still care after that? Same thing with the main female character. The establishing scene is about her being naked and crazy. What is there to care about her after that, besides the doujin you will look for when you want to masturbate?
The funny part is that the majority of modern anime fans are fine with this trash, because they gave up on expecting to watch something good. Most of the community was calling this abomination the best title of the year, just so they can be part of the seasonal hype, write essays about symbolism, make theories about what might happen, only to lose interest as soon as it’s over, so they can move to the next trash that is about to come out.
But until that happens, they will be kept preoccupied with two seasons of boring one-dimensional characters, each one defined by type rather than an interesting personality, as they spend their time trying to understand sex. Just by this set-up, you know this is bad from the get-go, since everything is defined by numbers and percentages instead of, you know, personalities.
The characters have nothing to do outside of piloting waifubots by doing doggy style sex. This gets old very fast, since you don’t give a shit about action scenes that involve awful mecha designs and sex metaphors. Plus, the characters have no backdrop story since they haven’t done anything interesting in their whole lives. Their social interaction is limited to talking to equally flat people like themselves. Also, there are so many of them it becomes a snorefest to tolerate an episode dedicated to each of them; especially when you know only the main two characters matter in the story. Most others don’t contribute to the plot in any way; they are just there to waste episodes on sexual innuendos.
It could have been a decent watch if it stayed that way and didn’t try to have a plot or deeper meanings, but it did and it backfired horribly. For most of the episodes, there were no explanations for why they are fighting monsters or why the world looks like a huge desert. The writers were constantly teasing an answer to all that, and to the most part did nothing to prepare the audience for it, since most of the episodes were wasted on the sexual frustrations of inept waifubot pilots. All the emphasis was placed on vapid love triangles, cheating, cuckholding, and shameless references to older mecha. That became the only thing the audience of this abomination was caring for.
Evidence for how little thought was placed into the making of a cast, can be found when observing what happens to them once they manage to resolve the conflict they were written with during their inception. The single trait that was defining them ceases to exist, and they become black pieces of paper, since whatever specs of personality they had was defined by their conflict. Essentially, the moment their emotional baggage is lifted, they stop having a personality.
Eventually the explanations for the mystery arrived in a rushed and retarded way, completely changing the atmosphere of the show, and as if by magic made everybody to realize the show was crap all along, despite that being obvious from the very beginning. After that, everybody was calling it a trainwreck and left them wondering how did Trigger, the savior of anime, ruined the potentially best anime of the year (lol).
Some tried to defend this horseshit by saying previous Trigger and Gainax series were also becoming bizarre as time went on, and that it’s unfair to hate Darling when it was constantly reusing ideas from them. Those defenders are of course idiots who don’t see how said older anime had far fewer characters, with far more personality and backdrop stories, and had much smoother transitions by not wasting as many episodes on worthless characters, thus being left with enough duration to work things through a lot better.
But hey, this is a modern anime, so who gives a shit about any of that? The point is to forget it the moment is over and move to the next trainwreck.
This review is based on the first 9 episodes. Slight spoilers ahead.
Darling in the Franxx is a mecha series brought to you by A-1 Pictures and Studio Trigger. I honestly could write an entire review's worth of commentary and jokes just from this, so I'll leave it at me telling you I could, so you know. Anyway, Darling in the Franxx is more accurately described as a post-apocalyptic, ecchi, slice of life, romance anime with mechs. Not that this is necessarily a bad thing, rather it's important that expectations are set. If you're going to get Studio Triggered over some ecchi or fan service, this isn't the anime for you. If you came looking for mechs all day every day, you might be in for disappointment. For me, I came in with no expectations, only a desire to enjoy the ride, and with that I give Darling in the Franxx an Overall 8/10.
Okay, so the story, this is actually going to be the most difficult part for me to convey. Darling in the Franxx is about children who pilot mechs in male & female pairs to fight these things called Klaxosaurs. Beyond that, it's difficult to really say what exactly the story is about, it has left things a mystery to the viewers. Furthermore, anything that I do reveal would be both a spoiler, and something that could deteriorate your enjoyment of the series. This is because part of the enjoyment of the series is trying to piece together what you think is going on. It's like the Dark Souls of anime, a little more straightforward but the same enjoyment of figuring out the story bit by bit is there. This also means the show needs really good world building, which it has. I won't go into detail about, see Mother's Basement's video on world building in anime if you wish.
So on a less tangible note than even that, let's address this alongside the story; the symbolism within the show and it's sexual themes. At a surface level most people can look at Darling in the Franxx and pick out the sexual metaphors and innuendos. Which can mean one of a few things, first potentially being that it's all for the ecchi and comedy of it, which is enjoyable in itself. The show doesn't need to be incredibly serious with some deep message, I personally truly believe in enjoying things for what they are, not chastising them for what they are not. On the other hand the show might actually have something to say, likely something about the nature of relationships or possibly something about the way we see sex. Still today a show like this will receive criticism for it's use of sexual themes, an attempt to suppress it and anything like it. Just the same that the adults of this world suppress the sexual growth of the children in this show by hiding away even the idea of love. I will address this at the end of this review a bit more.
I'm going to give the story 8/10 and I'm basing this on enjoyment more than any kind of intellectual writing. The story doesn't seem particularly complicated, but the delivery of it is well executed.
As for the tags I'm going to be adding what I think fits, instead of just using Anime Planet's tags. First, mecha gets 7/10, I'm not going to pretend to know what I'm looking for in a mecha anime, in fact, it's not something I particularly enjoy, so take this rating with a grain of salt. Sci Fi isn't some core theme to the show, but rather it simply is a sci fi so it gets a neutral 5/10. The show's characters all display some type of romance and the relationships of these characters are cute, I think it's worth 7/10 as they are compelling enough, yet not being the focus. Darling has gone down an obvious but still subtle route of ecchi all things considered, the show does it very well bolstered by it's great characters, and I think 9/10 is fair, as it accomplishes what it wants. Finally this anime is very much a slice of life between all the battles, and while it's enjoyable it actually falls on the weaker end of what it seems to be doing here, 6/10.
The animation of the series leaves me wanting more in all the best and worst ways. The art style is actually rather bleak in it's use of colors, even the ones that are typically more vibrant such as the pinks and reds 002 sports are more dull than you'd expect. The mechs and the fights on the other hand are incredibly colorful in contrast, making them even more visually appealing. The animation itself is also quite very good, with plenty of motion and life. Even more than that the fights features fun spectacles to watch. My only issue is that these fights are somewhat one dimensional and incredibly short lived. That said, many scenes outside of these fights are given a lot of care in their animation and is clearly where much work has gone. So having said that I give the animation an 8/10, it's really good but I feel like it's off balance as to where the animation effort goes.
Sound is a 7/10, the voice acting fits each character really well, the sound design is good but nothing too spectacular, and the OP/ED are some of my favorite in a while. Particularly the first ED "Torikago", a character song, I really enjoyed. Music overall is quite good in the series, again nothing too spectacular though.
So by now you've probably noticed my repeated mention of the characters in this show. Well this is for good reason, as the characters in this show are by far the strongest part of it. Starting with our protagonist and hero of the story, Hiro. He's fairly unique when it comes to protagonist, he's almost stereotypical, but at the same time he comes off incredibly realistic. To the viewer he might come off unremarkable, but seemingly to the other characters he's displayed a sort of charisma and creativity that has at least once earned their respect and friendship, even if now that is somewhat lost. This guy is likable, he's like a well executed version of what your average anime protagonist is attempting to be. Appearance wise he's rather plain, but his eyes have deep color that contrast against the bleak colors used by the show.
Then we have the female protagonist of the show, 002 a half human-Klaxosaur that is known as the partner killer. Those who pilot alongside her will die, after a small number of sorties at that. She's a very eccentric and lovable character with a distinct appearance given her hair-inspo giving pink hair, adorable little red horns, and emerald eyes. Describing her personality is difficult, she seems detached but playful, and the other children find her strange. Aside from this the adults especially seem to regard her with something between wariness and preferential treatment. She's distinct and a character that will probably find her way into many people's hearts, and hentai.
The rest of the children aren't slouches either though, they all have their unique personalities and quirks that will make you adore them or wanna punch them. Going through them all would take all day, but what I'll say is that while some are less fleshed out than the others, all these characters are well realized, and are stronger than many other anime's protagonist, let alone secondary characters. The other characters worth noting so far are the adults, who seem distant and are hard to get a real grasp on, by design I think. On the other hand, a character like Dr. Franxx seems to give a lot of promise to where the series may head in that aspect.
So yes, characters are incredibly strong, and right now, I feel like giving them a 9/10. I'd almost give them a 10/10 but I don't think that it isn't quite to that level. Truly Darling in the Franxx's selling point if you ask me.
Overall I've enjoyed Darling in the Franxx so far, it's a lot of fun, and it's not getting caught up in taking itself seriously. I think that the average viewer will get a fair bit of enjoyment out of this series. That said I can see other's being turned off from it for various reasons.
So as for going into more detail, I've decided this isn't the place for it. I'll edit this later with a link or something once I figure out how I should go about this.