Series Review: Darling in the FranXX – Episode 8

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Episode 8 – “Boys x Girls”

The hip-hoppin’, klaxosaur stompin’ action barrels ahead without foreplay. This time the klaxos throw down the gauntlet–can the Stamens control their erections as clothes-eating-splooge rains down on their Pistils? It appears the writers have given up on disguising their fanservice in metaphors and pseudo-seriousness, opting to shore up the solid foundation of immaturity constructed during last week’s “beach episode.”

1
“Aw shucks, not another acid bukkake!”

The battle sequences, once climactic spectacles, have settled into a rote, formulaic groove. Every klaxosaur sports the same cobalt/neon blue color scheme and Strelizia never fails to lunge her lance through each baddie’s core as the other FranXX uselessly bumble about.

Meanwhile, the Pistils (showering for the camera) express their disgust at the boys’ behavior: “How dare they ogle our bodies like that? This whole ‘physical attraction thing’ needs to stop!” According to Dr. Voyeur, all the Squad 13 Parasites have hit puberty simultaneously, meaning the once pure and wholesome act of piloting a FranXX has taken a turn for the perverted.

3
“Darling, why does the ball always pops when I do this?”

The writers abandon any attempts at pursuing their long-neglected allegorical ambitions and instead attempt to morph the show into a mecha-inflected harem comedy. The current iteration of the show (focused on the 13s’ unwitting participation in the latest season of Dystopian Big Brother) strives to heighten the sexual tension between the characters and troll cheap thrills from the audience. Instead of last week’s mind-numbingly boring “exposition,” the production switches gears to no plot development whatsoever. At this point, the prospects for a long-term narrative trajectory remain muddy.

4
“Hey, Mitsuru-kun, do you think the stamens and pistils in these flowers symbolize anything?”

Even Zero Two, once a semi-interesting character, now wallows in a swamp of pointlessness–transformed into some Machiavellian love doctor bent on awakening the Parasites’ inner perv. The writers attempt to sell the idea that Zero Two’s frivolous fanservice-baiting antics somehow make her more human. Our “normal girl” drums up the manic pixie act again, swaying like a child before dropping the bomb “you’re all going to die sooner or later.” In other words, “Yeah, loosen up, Parasites–get naked, embarrass yourselves, drop the whole ‘dignity’ act. Life’s short!”

6
How to have fun before you die.

Nishigori and his drooling cadre of otaku-scribes double down on the heteronormative gender roles and misogyny this week. Hiro makes the noble claim (over a soft piano melody) that the Pistils, frail and generally inferior to men, need the Stamens’ protection. The bros vehemently agree and make a covenant to never ogle again. Meanwhile, Kokoro delivers an impassioned defense of the Stamens’ behavior, insisting that tolerating their subjectification creates “the future, hope, and stuff.” Miku, the only character making logical choices (i.e. demanding respect), gets chastised for not conforming to the enablers’ groupthink.

5
Tip #69 in Papa’s Big Book of Social Skills: Before starting a conversation with someone, lick them on the neck.

In a nutshell: Visuals? Repetitive. Plot? Non-existent. Characters? Perfunctory. The show’s last dying light, Zero Two, threatens to burn out–unable to ward off the wave of mediocrity drowning the show. Ultimately, the horned one’s utter lack of depth in these past few episodes reveals a larger problem–the writers have run out of ideas. Papa help us.

Rating: D

And, please remember:

~ Don’t Shoot the Messenger

 

 

 

All screenshots and promotional images are the property of A1 Pictures, Trigger, and Funimation. The AniMessenger does not claim ownership.
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11 comments

  1. I found this episode significantly more fun than last week. There’s still some real plot issues (as in they haven’t really addressed the plot for a bit) but I felt there were more ideas scattered about this week to be built on, should they ever get around to it. Hardly an endorsement of the show, I know, but I actually did have fun this week whereas last week I was most wondering why I was bothering.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for your perspective! You’re right–it was more fun than last week. However, I’m disappointed that the show is building off its beach-themed frivolity rather than the brooding atmosphere of episode five or any of its sci-fi themes.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Agreed. The sci-fi themes this show introduced in the early episodes could have been really built on and given us something that felt fresh and was really interesting and thought provoking. Instead we’re getting a more run of the mill team/coming of age story with a sci-fi background. Maybe the balance will work itself out, maybe not.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I honestly never thought this show has any strong allegories in the first place. The show has just maintained it’s teenagers hitting puberty and just happen to pilot giant robots thing. This was yet another episode that emphasized it in a different way that didn’t redo anything. It’s just incredibly obvious in what is doing to be anything else. There are some things that foreshadow something deep and dark that will play into the show later, but eh.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I think I hated this episode more than any other so far. It’s interesting how people can have so many different opinions on the same episode, while still sharing a similar opinion on the show as a whole. I wanted to blog about this episode but I’m far too angry after watching it, the review would just be all caps and swearing. I honestly wish I could just drop the show and never watch it again but that goes against my own reviewing rules!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m hoping the series gets serious again… soon! Because the longer it goes on like this, the more I lose confidence in its ability to tell a story with any sort of depth.
    I can handle short and simple if it’s bombastic enough like Devilman Crybaby, but this… this might end up just being a mess!
    Hope I’m wrong though.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, I’m with you on that–the production feels derailed. The writers sure have a knack for slice-of-life comedy (and fanservice) though. Should’ve saved that for a different show and kept plugging away at the Eva-cloning!

      Like

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