Darling in the FranXX – Ep. 1 (First Impressions)

Note: This review was originally part of a Lightning Round post.

Well…I am interested in Darling in the FranXX at least.

What had me curious about this anime was the fact that this is a collaborative effort between Trigger and A-1 Pictures. It just struck out to me as peculiar since Trigger is the imaginative spiritual successor to Gainax and A-1 Pictures is a studio who’s generally at the mercy of the quality of what they’re given. Judging from this premiere, I think it’s safe to say Darling inherited more of Trigger’s DNA than A-1’s (though that occasional faux widescreen effect did remind me of A-1’s Erased).

This show is definitely weird much like past Trigger/Gainax works but whether or not it’s a good kind of weird remains to be seen. Frankly, I think it’s really jarring just how serious this show takes itself for the most part only to then throw at me dinosaur monsters and a mech that grows a metal skirt and a pair of breasts upon transforming into its humanoid form. It’s like Darling has the more serious edge of Evangelion but also all the glorious stupidity of Gurren Lagann and I’m not yet convinced that the combination works here.

Beyond that, I just think the story seems generic once stripped off of its oddities. It’s a boy meets girl scenario revolving around our two protagonists, Hiro (Yuuto Uemura) and the mysterious Zero Two (Haruka Tomatsu). There’s some fancy terminology thrown and here there but you eventually get the gist of it. The Franxx (Franxxes?) are the robots and Parasites refer to the male and female pilots that pilot them. I kind of like the chemistry between Hiro and Zero Two but other than that, nothing else really stands out to me. There’s too many characters introduced here and a lot of them seem very based in tropes.

The visuals are neat at least; this is Trigger we’re talking about and whatever scenes A-1 worked on shows that these two studios can maintain visual continuity just fine. But obviously what will really carry this show is the story. I’m not sold on it but I do have a soft spot for Gainax/Trigger and there was enough weirdness to convince me to give this show a shot.

Thanks for reading!

Watch Darling in the FranXX on Crunchyroll, Funimation, and Hulu

Read My Darling in the FranXX Reviews

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