Darling in the FranXX – Ep. 16

So after Master Hand paid a visit last episode, everyone in Squad 13 find themselves on their own. Power and water is limited and the higher ups are providing little to no contact and only drop supplies on occasion. The team is thus left to scavenge for supplies themselves. It’s a pretty good episode with a fair share of characters bonding together and it’s an appropriate detour to take after the intense battle our heroes just went through. Still, there is a bit of a meandering air to this episode. With so much to address and increasingly less time left, I admit that it’s a risky trade-off dedicating this episode to character development over so much needed plot progression.

In fact, I think this episode only added to the list of things Darling in the FranXX aims to address. Unbeknownst to our heroes, this situation they’re currently in is part of an experiment led by Dr. FranXX. What exactly is this experiment? Who knows. It’s suggested that Nana went through this experiment before. Does mean she was part of a squad, possibly the previous Squad 13? Who knows. What exactly is Papa doing with Grand Crevasse? Why is Miku’s hair turning white an apparently important detail? Who is that mysterious girl at the end of the episode? Who knows. Good grief, this show really is giving Lost a run for its money.

Like I said before, this episode involves the team bonding together over their experience. Was the character development at least good in this episode? Well, kind of.

I’ve never really been a fan of Futoshi mainly because his character is entirely comprised of him being infatuated with Kokoro and him being portly. And big surprise, his role in this episode involves food. I’ll give the show credit for surprising me with the reveal that Futoshi’s so-called diet is actually him developing an eating disorder but it seems to be  surface-level commentary at best. Eating disorder is a legitimately real issue for teenagers so having Futoshi more or less say, “Okay, I get it. I’ll eat again” feels really shallow. I’m pretty sure getting over an eating disorder is that easy either.

There’s also the fact that it’s Zorome of all people who calls Futoshi out on this. Really? Not once in this show did I ever think that this kid was that perceptive. You’re not fooling me, Darling!

Mitsuru and Kokoro got a fair amount of attention this episode. It seems that Mitsuru has gotten over his grudge towards Hiro (perhaps realizing it was unfair for the latter) but now, the boy is left wondering what drives him now. As if in response, Kokoro kisses him but that only makes things even more confusing for both of them. I actually found myself comparing this moment to how Hiro and Zero Two’s relationship began. Like Hiro, Mitsuru finds himself in need of a new purpose and like Zero Two, Kokoro offers or wants to fulfill that niche. Overall, this relationship has progressed quite nicely and I’m curious to see where it goes from here.

Also, Mitsuru got the usual “haircut which symbolizes a change in resolve” treatment. I joke a little but honestly, he does look way better with shorter hair.

Finally, we have Zero Two who shined in this episode but let’s face it, this is Zero Two we’re talking about. Of course she’d be the best part of the episode. I was a little stunned to see her fit so well in the group now, to the point that she’s following the rules quite meticulously and even eating the food normally. Even more surprising how everyone welcomes her back in to the team (Ichigo particularly took a 180). Still, it’s a nice development after seeing Zero Two alienated for so long. Now that she’s with Hiro, her one and true darling, it seems that Zero Two has lost the obsession with becoming human and can clearly garner the friendships of the other characters now that she’s given the chance. Hopefully this is a permanent change in the team dynamic and if something bad does happen to Zero Two, it won’t just be Hiro who’s there for her.

OP 2: “Kiss of Death” by Mika Nakashima x Hyde…again

It’s a slightly different rendition but it’s pretty much the same song. Not that I’m complaining though; I’ve been really digging “Kiss of Death” and I’ve been listening to it a lot lately. As for this OP itself, I like how it emphasizes the color blue a lot. It’s a nice contrast to the previous OP’s use of red and it fits with how much more loving and intimate Hiro and Zero Two’s relationship has become.

ED 5: “Escape” by XX:me

More of the girls in school uniforms. I guess it’s symbolic of something?


Thanks for reading!

Darling in the FranXX is officially available on Crunchyroll & Funimation.

For more Darling in the FranXX posts, check out the show’s archive page!

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