As mentioned in my Midseason Report for Winter 2018, I am going to be keeping up with the Darling in the FranXX posts. Not sure if this is a permanent fixture on my blogging lineup but jotting down my thoughts on this show has been interesting to say the least so for now, I’ll give it a go.
I don’t know if I should be happy or disappointed that there’s no Butt Control seen in this episode. Say what you will but that weird little detail feels so integral to Darling‘s aesthetic and world that it seems weird to not see it. That said, this episode did feel a lot more subtle and restrained thanks to the lack of Butt Control and I have to admit that I got more interested in the story as a result.
Granted, Darling‘s worldbuilding is far from masterful. Calling the transfer of resources between two plantations “kissing” kind of makes sense but when you think about it, there’s far better names to use. I do, however, get what Trigger and A-1 are getting at here. For a mythos so hung up on sex, the characters themselves don’t really seem to pick up on it. It’s even more alarming because they’re teenagers and that time of life is when you first become sexually aware of things and romantically impulsive. No one seems to notice how naughty co-piloting doggy style looks, let alone know what kissing actually is. Now, I do think the sexual innuendos involves a lot of Trigger and A-1 having their cake and eating it too but it at least fits with the tone they’re going for.
Sex isn’t the only thing that seems rather off kilter. As you watch Squad 13 (our heroes) meet up with Squad 26, you realize that the characters we have been following are a bit atypical from the norm. In terms of character designs, the main cast look a lot more distinctive than their peers. Even the robots themselves fit this notion. I originally thought they looked weird but apparently, it’s not meant to look standard issue anyway. There’s also the fact that Plantation 13’s students call each other by their nicknames as opposed to their codenames. I didn’t think much about it but it does speak to the sense of free will these characters aim to possess, especially Hiro.
A lot sure revolves around Hiro, doesn’t it? Plantation 26 treat him as a strange one for being so individualistic and rivals such as Mitsuru and Zorome treat him like some sort of benchmark of power and skill they need to surpass. Gorou and Ichigo undoubtedly have the most personal affinities with Hiro. They are, after all, childhood friends of his though how much they get involved does vary. Once Gorou finds out about Hiro’s little chest mutation, he cautions his friend to give up on piloting but begrudgingly accepts that the latter is determined to pilot again. Conversely, I think Ichigo doesn’t really want Hiro to fight, as evident by how she tried in vain to coerce Zero Two into going “easy” on him.
It’s hard to pinpoint what’s driving Hiro in this story. Sometimes, I think it’s the product of being raised and indoctrinated under a military at such a young age. Other times, I think it’s because Hiro truly wants to be with his friends. Either way, he seems motivated to not be dead weight to anyone. A lot of people treat Hiro like he’s some sort of prodigy and while he clearly seems to be really skilled and powerful, it doesn’t seem like status is a priority in his mind. It’s simply finding some sort of use out of himself.
There’s also the matter with Zero Two. It’s tricky figuring out where she stands in all this. Publicly, she acts like she cares little for other people and can anyone really blame Ichigo for thinking that she’s treating Hiro like some sort of toy (no, not like that)? I’m not convinced that she holds Hiro in low regard though. She’s definitely curious about him since he’s the first person to treat her like a person and can handle her powers better than most. There is a hint of concern in how she asks Hiro if he truly wants to ride her a third time and I think she’s genuinely quite happy when he says that he does in spite of the risk.
Frankly, I’d be shocked if the show killed Hiro next episode. Sure, it’ll be his third time piloting Strelizia and it’s clear that Hiro is affected by Zero Two’s powers in some way. But I think this kid has enough plot armor to tank through it all. Still, that doesn’t make me any less curious as to what will happen in the next battle.
Thanks for reading!
For more Darling in the FranXX posts, check out the show’s archive page!