I did feel that Episode 14 served as a bit of plot padding but I have to admit that the payoff in Episode 15 almost makes it all worth it. And in hindsight, the fandom’s complaints about last episode seem sillier and more petty considering that the resolution was just right around the corner.
When this show started, I was sympathetic towards Ichigo feeling friendzoned but now I think her arc got the resolution it deserved. After going to such lengths separating Hiro from Zero Two, it seems like karma that she’s the one that helps bring the two together again. And while it’s confusing as to how Hiro can finally pilot Delphinium with Ichigo (seriously, how?), that scene perfectly accentuates said karma. Ichigo finally gets to link with Hiro but the consequence is sifting through all of the latter’s memories of Zero Two. In the end, she has to accept that Hiro’s heart belongs to someone else. I’ll give Darling credit, it let Ichigo admit defeat in just one episode.
Ichigo’s heartbreak aside, this episode was a superb resolution to Hiro and Zero Two’s current relationship situation. Both Yuto Uemura and Haruka Tomatsu did a great job selling this scene together and the characters’ declaration of love in the midst of the action is cheesy but satisfying. There’s some interesting juxtaposition going on as well. Inserted in this triumphant scene is the OP, “Kiss of Death” which, from my understanding, is a song about loving one another in the face of fear, insanity, and death. It’s a fitting song given the hardships our two leads have faced together so far. Towards the end of the scene, both characters narrate about the jian, an actually mythological bird that only has one wing and needs another member of its species to fly. It’s actually a callback to a similar narration Hiro gave in Episode 1. I would’ve preferred it if there was some visuals to go along with this episode’s speech (Episode 1’s had visuals) but the jian is a perfect analogy to the unity our leads share. And finally, I couldn’t help but notice that Strelizia has a much redder appearance now. I wonder if this represents how Zero Two looked like when she was a child and how Hiro accepts her for who she is.
The only big issue I have with this episode is that like some of the episodes before it, it raises more questions than answers them. As heart pumping as the action is, what exactly is this Grand Crevasse that various squads are fighting for? Why does Papa covet it so much to the point that they’ll expend soldiers and civilians for it? Later in the episode, we find out that klaxosaur cores have something vaguely human in them. Are these monsters connected to humanity? What was that giant hand at the end of the episode? How come the Nines have the boys and girls switch positions when using their FranXX and is the viewer supposed to find that weird given that Squad 13 find the Nines a peculiarity in general? Are they connected to Zero Two because you do see the boys spouting horns like her.
It’s a little frustrating because truth be told, this mythology is pretty interesting. It’s just that Darling has developed this bad habit of developing a backlog of mysteries that would make Lost jealous. For the record, I’m still wondering where Naomi is, what the deal is with those happiness machines, and how Hiro controlled his tumor in the first place (that was nine episodes ago by the way). Surely, this show will start investigating soon though. After all, Hiro seems to have regained his old childhood desire to see the outside world. With our own leading man invested, hopefully the rest of the squad will follow suit.
- Give some brownie points for Gorou for stepping out and making Ichigo take Hiro to Zero Two. I got to give the writers credit for not bringing up his feelings for Ichigo too. Instead, Gorou just recognizes the need for more firepower and that Hiro and Zero Two really deserve to make up. Guess we can still count on Gorou to be levelheaded.
- So Delphinium actually has a flower thing on its head…why though? I guess it fits with the FranXX names being based on flora but what an odd thing to include in the mecha’s schematics. Who designed these mechs anyway?
- That old lady Zorome met made a cameo. I bet Zorome forgot about her though and no, I’m not letting go of the fact that Zorome freaking forgot such an encounter (what an idiot).
- You know, this show’s soundtrack sounds a bit like Hiroyuki Sawano’s work. I’ve been feeling that way for a while now and while the composer of Darling isn’t Sawano, I wonder if some inspiration was taken.
- I have a soft spot for action scenes where giant robots fight amidst an urban and populated environment so seeing the FranXX fight in the plantation was cool. It’s also a nice change of scenery after seeing them fight in wastelands all the time.
Thanks for reading!
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