It always feels weird to me to seen anime end during the first week or so of a new season. Since this is the time for the new anime to shine, it just feels awkward for the old stuff to stay a bit longer. That feeling seems even more pronounced in Darling in the FranXX’s case since this show has already overstayed its welcome for the past five episodes. Honestly, I looked at the show like it’s a vestigial organ in my watch list. Yeah, it’s there but it’s also just waiting for itself to be painfully removed.
I don’t have too many positive things to say about the finale. As someone who thought Darling devolved into complete garbage in its last few episodes, there was nothing that this one episode could do to change my mind. I suppose it’s a serviceable ending since you do see Hiro and Zero Two put an end to VIRM’s villainy and everyone else successfully rebuild civilization on Earth. The dichotomy is maybe a bit strange tonally. One moment, you see giant Zero Two enduring hits from aliens and the next, you see Mitsuru and Kokoro become parents. I know these are the events left to depict but the sequencing is still strange.
Considering how much this show has aped shit from Trigger’s Gainax legacy, I think I would’ve preferred it if it just directly ripped off Gurren Lagann‘s final battle. You know, where (spoiler alert), everyone gathers their energies to form the biggest robot of all time to beat up the bad guy? It probably wouldn’t have made sense here but considering that you have Strelizia doing the Gainax pose and the finishing move seen in Gurren Lagann‘s finale, you’d think Darling would’ve gone there. Instead, you have everyone on Earth praying around Zero Two’s human body and giving energy to Hiro Spirit Bomb style. God, that scene looked corny as hell and the fact that Hiro’s friends just have faith that their plan will work feels cheap. There’s also the fact that Darling once again just tosses in yet another thing these people can apparently do at the last minute.
It’s sickening just how perfect this resolution is. VIRM is successfully defeated and even though they vow to return, they never did so that threat ultimately goes nowhere. The Klaxosaurs return and their magma energy somehow restores Earth back to its former glory. I’m well aware that this show established magma as this magical substance but just because it says that, doesn’t mean it’s intelligible. It’s magma for fuck’s sake. While I’m at it, I love how everyone just agrees to no longer use magma and convert to renewable energies. It’s almost feels like the show is preaching to the choir about how we use energy without recognizing why a full switch to renewable sources has never happened in real life. And really? Everyone agrees to be mortal? No one’s tempted to mix magma with their biology again? No way that was unanimously resolved?
Regarding the characters themselves, I’m mixed over their respective endings. Considering how nonsensical the last few episodes got, it never dawned on me until now that Kokoro being a teenage mom is really messed up. Like, did this show really present teen pregnancy as a perfectly okay thing? That’s not something to encourage, Darling! Even if that wasn’t the intent, it was still just plain weird seeing Kokoro and Mitsuru refer to each other as parents while they’re still wearing their school uniforms. I’m glad that this story thread ends on a happy note but the implications behind it do get really uncomfortable when you start to think about it.
I’m cool with Gorou and Ichigo hooking up since I was hoping for that to happen. I won’t lie, Gorou becoming a trench coat wearing adventurer was a sight to behold. Zorome and Miku becoming teachers is just dumb. No way are these two possibly qualified to educate children. Futoshi became a baker because of course he did. This show couldn’t bother to think of a more creative fate for the fat character. That mustache of his is Roy Mustang-level goofy too. Ikuno’s ending is probably the most insulting. You remember Naomi? Apparently, she’s also a lesbian and the show just pairs her and Ikuno together at the last minute. That might honestly be the most half-assed thing Darling has ever done which is saying something. Like no, giving her a lover for one scene doesn’t fix how poorly executed her entire arc was.
Since I did have a soft spot for Hiro and Zero Two, I was a little less annoyed with their fates. Watching their souls float in space was whatever to me since I already saw the loli princess astral project a while back. Having the two reincarnate though is baffling since that was never established in any way before. At the very least, I would’ve preferred it the two weren’t reincarnated as normal humans. Part of Hiro and Zero Two’s arc was them accepting each other regardless if they’re human or not. But like I said, I wasn’t too bothered with this scene. Maybe, it’s the fact that Darling has done sillier things already but I don’t mind the idea thematically. It does sort of fit with their resolve and the whole jian analogy. In the end, these two truly are inseparable.
Do I hate Darling in the FranXX? It’s hard to say right now. I don’t deny that this show had its moments. The setup proved was genuinely intriguing and some of the episodes involving Hiro and Zero Two are among the best anime episodes I’ve seen this year. It’s a shame then that the last handful of episodes went out of its way to tear it all down. If you happen to like the whole show, then kudos to you. That’s perfectly fine. But man oh man, was I disappointed in this show. It was intriguing enough to hook me in and frustrating enough to make me regret feeling that way.
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For more Darling in the FranXX posts, check out the show’s archive page!
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