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NinjaSushiMaster

  • Joined Oct 4, 2018
  • 20 / M

DARLING in the FRANXX

Jan 5, 2022

I had initially watched up to episode 18 on my first go at this anime and dropped it immediately after I saw what they did to my boy Futoshi. I picked it back up on a whim and was pleasantly surprised and almost blown away at the writing that I hadn't recognized the first time I had watched it. I will start by saying that this show, for me personally, was the type of show that is good on the first watch, but excellent on the second. For starters, the strongest aspect of this show has definitely got to be the characters. These incredibly written and dynamic characters had me feel all types of ways, at the beginning I hoped they would suffer because of how badly they treated Hiro, but as the episodes began to pile I grew to love them. They seemed more real than your typical character especially with their dialogue, motives, and actions. Plus this isn't an anime filled to the brim with cliches like slipping and gripping, in fact no actions seemed out of place and not a single episode diverted from the plot. Each character has their own arc and the writing surprised me with its symbolism and foreshadowing. The romance is also a really enjoyable part of the show, I loved watching the scenes with Hiro and Zero Two because it wasn't filled with tropes, their relationship was established in the first few episodes, but the joy of watching it was the isolated scenes they shared where they just talked.

The pacing was excellent and it kept my eyes glued to the screen, I couldn't believe I hadn't noticed how they had set up some of the plot points until my second watch and was blown away at how well they paced the story. The first 15 episodes were incredible and in my personal opinion, a masterpiece. These episodes were solely focused on the characters and their own growth with a lot of teen drama and heartbreak. You truly got to understand these characters, their relationships, the motives behind their actions and behaviors and it made them much more transparent. However, the later episodes felt rushed and were mainly focused on the plot rather than the characters, which is all well and good, but it all seemed to jump out of nowhere. From the excellent writing and pacing of the first 15 episodes to where the stakes sky rocket every episode topped off with a rushed climax. There were at least 3 to 5 setting changes for the remaining 9 episodes which is bizarre considering they stayed in the same place for the first 15. I definitely think that if they had more episodes or at least more time, that the anime would have been a lot better. If I were to rate the first 15 episodes I would rate a 10/10 while the remaining 9 would be a 7/10 or 8/10.

[SPOILERS BELOW]

I think the biggest issue was the main plot point direction and its completion. The main driving force for Hiro was his inability to pilot the Franxx and his sense of belonging, that's what the story was centered around for the first dozen episodes. The entire anime is centered around Hiro and Zero Two and their connection to one another with very well written and beautiful contrasts. The anime referances the Jian bird which cannot fly on its own, but needs to lean on one another in order to fly. And flightless birds have nowhere to go. Hiro didn't belong with the others because he couldn't pilot a Franxx and this made him feel just like the flightless bird. Until Zero Two appears. Another pilot who is equally alone, not because she couldn't pilot the Franxx, but because she could. Siphoning the life out of her partner and killing them in the process. Because of this she's had to go through hundreds of partners. As you watch the show you'll see a whole bunch of contrasts between the two. Hiro COULDN'T pilot the Franxx while Zero Two COULD, but kills her partners. Zero Two WANTED to be human in order to be with Hiro, but Hiro ALLOWED himself to be a monster in order to be with Zero Two. Zero Two couldn't FORGET her memories in the garden while Hiro couldn't REMEMBER his memories in the garden. The highlight of the show, even foreshadowed by the picture book, was the self discovery and reuinification of Hiro and Zero Two, but as episode 15 finished this premise was fulfilled. Now they had to scrounge up a whole nother main plot out of thin air. I think that's why the later episodes were so bizarre and all over the place. It comes at you like a freight train those last 9 episodes, the VIRM, the Apus, the Klaxo's true origin, and the Klaxo princess. These plot points came without warning and without preparation and because of this they leave less of an impression on you. Which is a shame because there were a lot of good scenes and character growth in those last 9 episodes, but the main plot just wasn't as compelling as it could have been.

9.2/10 story
9/10 animation
9.6/10 sound
9.8/10 characters
9.6/10 overall
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