Episode 7 – “Shooting Star Moratorium”
The writers have yet to strike a consistent tone. The artistic heights of episode five now seem a faint memory–a nagging reminder of the show’s oft-squandered potential. Instead, the seventh episode takes the low road, compensating for its lack of substance with fanservice and yawn-inducing exposition. The haphazard staff assignments so far have given birth to a Frankenstein monster–a never-ending game of thematic hopscotch. We’ve seen humorous sex allegory (episodes one through four), a dark, cerebral horror flick (episode five), a ho-hum take on an Evangelion episode (episode six), and now a slice-of-life harem filler.
Just when you thought the show had reached its fanservice limits, DarliFra returns with an obligatory rendition of the “bouncy beach party” trope. Somehow, Goro blushes at the sight of Ichigo’s bikini-clad body, despite daily mounting her buttocks while she wears a skin-tight pilot suit. Meanwhile, Hiro and Zero Two splash and play, jubilant now that the rumors circulating about the horned one’s STDs have proven false (thankfully, Hiro’s blue discharge only left a small discolored patch on his pec). The Stamens marinate in their own horniness, obsessing over their partners’ bodies and anticipating with baited breath their next virtual copulation simulation in their respective FranXX cockpits.
Besides the T and A, nothing of real interest transpires in “Shooting Star Moratorium.” Well, not true–Nishigori drops some riveting plot-bombs:
- To the audience’s utter shock, Papa confirms that Zero Two and Hiro can remain partners.
- Zero Two has difficulty concealing her psychopathy (no, the audience hasn’t forgotten her demonic transformation in episode five).
- Oceans and saltiness—hardcore symbolistic possibilities.
- That blonde boy still exists.
- Papa lets the Parasites play on a beach with limited supervision despite the fact that they need security clearance badges just to stand on the roof of their own prison.
- The APE Geezers have a mission statement: to lead Zero Two to the Grand Crevasse (most likely a giant vagina).
- Hiro once had a personality (back in his star naming days).
Ichigo’s character, once again, downticks in likability. Not only does she demonstrate her willingness to worship Hiro despite his unrequited love, she has lost all feminist potential. In fact, it seems that the more generic and soulless Hiro acts, the more spellbound Ichigo becomes. Her character’s only glimmer of hope lies in the nascent affection she shares with Ikuno.
The episode does, however, highlight the dark side of DarliFra’s sex metaphors–the Parasites reenact intercourse but never actually engage in it. They imitate the act of reproduction but know nothing of romance. The writers hinted at the Parasites’ naivete from the beginning, yet this episode reveals that not only do the 13s have an immature understanding of intimacy, but Papa ensures that they live in ignorance—hypnotizing them to the belief that their utility in the world of adults requires an embracing of repression. Only Zero Two, so far, has demonstrated awareness of their controlled state. She eyes the spread of food with suspicion rather than delight. The setup for inevitable Parasite tragedy provides this episode’s only sliver of interest.
Despite some narrative breadcrumbs, “Shooting Star Moratorium” leaves one bored, numb, and brimming with dread at the prospect of seventeen more slogging episodes of wasted possibilities. Unlike the series’ other action-break episode, seven’s exposition worms by with eye-watering tedium and no eye-candy to ease the pain. Yet this reviewer soldiers on, hoping beyond all hope that Trigger and A1 left some gas in the tank.
And, please remember:
~ Don’t Shoot the Messenger