Did someone in the staff give up on this story? I really have to ask because this and the last episode have the quite the gull to pull such ludicrous plot twists and expect no one to question it. It’s actually reminding me a lot of Guilty Crown and how that show completely lost its mind during its final stretch. And while I would argue that Darling in the FranXX had a much stronger set-up (and a better pink-haired heroine, no offense Inori), I get the feeling that it’ll screw up a lot harder with how things are going right now.
For sake of my own sanity, I’m going to break down each of the episode’s twists one by one.
1. Magma is Made out of Klaxosaurs
It’s basically fossil fuel created out of their remains. Frankly, I think this is too easy of a justification for its effects but it’s at least something. It still perplexes me on its own though. The klaxosaurs are using their own remains to power its monsters/technology? that’s really peculiar.
2. The FranXX are based on the Klaxosaurs
This I can actually buy into. It makes sense since both the FranXX and the klaxosaur require magma and why klaxosaur cores look like they contain human fetuses (they also use a female/male piloting system of all sorts). The only problem is that this creates a logistical issue with Dr. FranXX’s narration last episode. If Dr. FranXX knew klaxosaurs requires male and female pilots, why did it not occur to him before testing that machinery based on their design would likely need a similar system? And if he knew all this, why did he neglect to mention this in the narration where he’s supposed to explain everything? It’s not like he’s an unreliable narrator. The script was deliberately designed this way just so this twist could even work.
3. The Klaxosaurs are the Good Guys the Whole Time and the Real Bad Guys is an alien race called VIRM
Now, this twist actually hurts my brain. I’m wondering if this is a callback to Gurren Lagann revealing a bit final baddie during its final stretch. Maybe it is except the big difference is that Gurren Lagann did a little bit of foreshadowing and had a slightly longer arc to let the final threat sink in properly. On top of that, it also set its absurd tone from the very start. Darling in the FranXX meanwhile has taken itself far more seriously for most of its run so saying that it was aliens the whole time at the 20th episode (out of 24!) feels so last minute, so out of left field, and so stupid. I can’t believe that this is the big answer this show had in store.
4. Papa and his second in command were members of VIRM the whole time!
This might technically explain why they don’t look human once unmasked and why they have to wear the masks in the first place. Well, some of them. I guess some of the council members are humans who were tricked by Papa but like the two that got killed in Ep. 17 were aliens. Who knows. The point is that this twist is still really dumb.
It’s still hilarious to me that they showed up at political and industrial meetings wearing those stinking masks. Really? No human being that ran into APE found it a teensy bit odd? If you’re a human member, why conceal your identity? And if you’re secretly a part of an advanced alien species, how come you don’t have the technology to actually look human? What’s next? Water kills them? Actually, that would at least explain why they wanted the world be nothing but sand.
More importantly, revealing that the big evil dictators are aliens and their lackeys were just their pawns feels so fucking cheap. It’s like the staff didn’t want to add any complexity to these characters at all. Why do they hold such little regard towards Parasites and the world they’ve ruined? Oh, just make the big boss an alien. That’ll totally satisfy the audience. Even if it was planned from the start, it still makes you feel like an idiot for wondering what drives them to be such apathetic individuals. All the mystique this show associated with these characters? Wasted.
Twists aside, I found myself just not caring about what was going on in this episode. There’s a scene where Squad 13 has a verbal stalemate with the Nines but who even cares anymore? It’s clear that there’s nothing interesting about the latter. They’re just artoonish bully characters pretending like they have a sound counterpoint to our heroes’ optimisms. There’s also progress with Kokoro and Mitsuru which I figured was going to happen anyway. It seems like the two really did bang because Kokoro seems to showing signs that she’s pregnant. You’d think APE would’ve checked to see if the girl went through her plan but then again, these guys suck at this part of their job so I’m not even surprised.
I personally haven’t cared all that much about the Klaxosaur Princess but it did amuse me how she kidnaps Hiro all for herself during this episode. I know this creates a suspenseful moment for Zero Two but when I think about it, the scene is like having your identical twin sister trying to steal your boyfriend. I can’t help but wonder if this scene has been memed. Also, does Strelizia have like a color setting or something? How else do you explain it turning blue when Princess takes over? On a serous note, Zero Two is finally finding out her origins so I hope this show explores her connection to the Klaxosaurs in greater detail. At this point, it’s really the only thing that I think this show can address in a satisfying manner.
Thanks for reading!
For more Darling in the FranXX posts, check out the show’s archive page!