Series Review: Darling in the FranXX – Episode 15

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Episode 15 – “Jian”

Episode fifteen finally answers the question eating away at the AniMessenger’s soul–“What is the Gran Crevasse?” The answer? A slithering hell-hole of cobalt/blue klaxxo-debauchery.

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Our nymphomaniacal show embarks on a quest to loosen up its gender roles via its new FranXX pairings. Right off the bat we witness Plantation 9’s Female Stamen/Male Pistil duo, though same-sex partnerships remain enigmatic–a potentially redemptive inclusion, especially after the shameful treatment of Ichigo/Ikuno (and the gradual desecration of our blue-haired side-girl in general).

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The departure from Plantation 13 towards the Mighty Vag, wait, “Gran Crevasse” tosses viewers a much-needed oxygen mask. The glimpse into APE’s decision-making process and the experiences of the non-13 children/monsters raise the dystopian stakes. The episode simultaneously humanizes Dr. FranXX and dehumanizes the APE-men who sit in their poorly designed throne room and order the decimation of entire population centers. Clearly, these oligarchs have never watched anime before–wait a couple minutes and the OP FranXX will slice that Mega-Guten-Lehmen-Burgerhausen-Saurus down to size.

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Goro once again agrees to Hiro’s cuckolding, allowing the Jian to ride Ichigo all the way to Zero Two, promptly switch saddles, and mount The Horned One instead. Meanwhile, Ichigo enters Hiro’s brainworld–a land of floating Zero Two GIFs: his Darling bleeding everywhere, taking Hiro’s virginity, etc. Ichigo, eternally slow-on-the-uptake, sheds tears as she realizes that, yes, in fact Hiro likes Zero Two more than her.

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DarliFra’s never looked better. The klaxxosaur swarms, FranXX beatdowns, Hiro’s training unit gambit, Delphinium’s showdown with beast mode Strelizia, and Hiro’s kaleidoscopic reunion with his Darling crank up the visual fidelity, snapping the show out of its subdued aesthetic groove. Delphinium’s odd hairstyle and Strelizia’s red-faced-power-up-Mk. 2-mode successfully adrenalize viewers. Add in some well-timed musical interludes and the show’s kinetic energy sends the audience happily floating down the AniFlash river.

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Successes aside, the A1/Trigger staff rush Hiro and Zero Two’s latest reunion. Within the course of twenty minutes Hiro storms the battlefield then hitches a ride into his lover’s cockpit to snap Zero Two out of the beastly stupor she’s fostered for several episodes. To resolve their much-hyped dysfunction, Hiro simply grabs her by the horns and performs a Vulcan mind-meld. When administered correctly, the tusk-voodoo will de-beast even the stubbornest mongrels–anti-climactic to the nth degree.

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While Jian and Jianette’s passionate rendezvous warms The AniMessenger’s stone cold heart, its melodramatic application cools it down again. Instead of relying on real-time character dynamics to repair their relationship, DarliFra dips back into Zero Two’s book-eating past. Regardless, a gradual, complicated negotiation of feelings and intentions between the premier pair would have left more of an impression than the two’s ecstatic glossing over of past mistakes and frantic declaration of love.

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Now that the Darling couple have acknowledged that A) Hiro’s not fodder and B) Zero Two’s not a monster, we can all move on with our lives. The writers, saving us from any true conflict between our protagonist couple, must now fill the remaining nine episodes with mundane, marital bliss. Of course, DarliFra repeatedly defies expectations (both positively and negatively), so a reviewer can only hold his breath and brace himself for the inevitable and voluptuous FranXX carnage to come.

Also–Hringhorni.

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Rating: B

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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15 comments

  1. I was so ready for this episode-
    Then zero two and hiro got back together. FML! YOU HAD ONE JOB!
    I kinda thought it was a chance to deconstruct that idea of the Jian. If they could learn to live without each other, their relationship would surely be better. They are both broken people, but if it were to end here, they’d just be glazing over that broken-ness with promises of blind love. I personally hate that.
    Seriously! I feel like it’s a massive missed opportunity to develop both protagonists- but nah, Zero Two just turns into an animal that has to be saved.
    And none of Hiro’s friends actually ended up trying to protect Hiro. Freakin’ enablers!
    This episode committed one of my cardinal sins in storytelling too- “We understand you, so we won’t stop you.”
    FML!

    But the animation definitely made it less of a hard pill to swallow.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree! Even Ichigo gave up on her boy! I thought the remainder of the show would be primarily focused on the messy relationship between post-separation Zero Two and Hiro, but they walked all that back within the course of an episode. Good point about squandering an opportunity to promote individuality.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yep yep.
        That’s why I’ll be super salty if they stay like this and still attempt an anti-establishment message. The kids idolize Hiro just as much, if not more, than they do ‘Papa’.

        Just sayin’!

        Like

    2. They’ve been pushing this mythical bird motif since the first ep. I don’t think there was any indication along the way they planned on doing anything to deconstruct it.

      Oi! Don’t be callin’ my boy Goro an “enabler”, now. He’s just wants his homie Hiro to be happy. Now, whether or not Hiro is unhealthily obsessed with Zero Two is another question entirely; one to which I will simply reply “No comment.”
      We also have to remember that these kids have grown in a society that is virtually void of any emotional expression. I had a conversation with tcrow over on Crow’s World maybe a week or so ago, and we came the conclusion that just about every positive interaction our main cast of characters have had, has been in spite of their own societal norms and the adults around them. I don’t think it’s unrealistic that they would act so… immature, for lack of a better sounding word at the moment.

      “Even Ichigo gave up on her boy!”
      About time she did. I admire her fighting spirit, but there some fights you simply cannot win. She was condemned to failure the second she was identified as the childhood friend trope.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. True. My beef is that the show spent so much time building up the Ichigo/ZT/Hiro love triangle and the Hiro/ZT beast thing only to resolve both dynamics within the course of a single episode. Besides that, I’m giddy that Ichigo finally threw in the towel!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. *sighs*
        I get where you’re coming from…
        I was just hoping for something actually creative- I guess?
        If the entire thing is about liberation, which is my guess, I feel like it’s terribly shortsighted to value sexual liberation over personal liberation. Don’t embrace your problems as simple flaws, face them head on- regardless of the outcome you decide.
        Goro is a nice guy- but he’s an idiot who’s just acting nice. His self sacrificing nature might be the worst in the show- great for drama, but a terrible ideal.
        Sorry, I try to focus on themes and characters more than the world- their actions are justified, but what are they overcoming? I’d argue nothing. The only person so far to have actually overcome something is Ichigo! This is the most boring outcome for someone like me!
        (Though I guess for the people don’t want media to push your expectations, they must be feeling ecstatic about the current trajectory of Darling in the Franxx)

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Yea. but if Goro didn’t accept that Ichigo was way more into Hiro than him, he have would basically just been acting like another Ichigo, and I think we can all agree we don’t need two of them in the same series at the same time. They’re kind of foils in how they approach the same issues. I think that’s better than if they both handled their problems the same way.

        Like

      4. Yeah, like I said, justified but boring!
        But there are too many of ‘them’…
        Every character is an idiot who doesn’t care about consequences!
        They’re the only group that seems to have some individuality, and despite that, they are still so bland that they make Zero Two seem like waifu material by contrast alone!
        I’m not saying that Goro should act like Hiro- and I’m not saying he’s a bad character. Just a boring one that doesn’t inspire any thought.
        (Though that goes for everything but the setting… Everything feels like foreplay!)
        Maybe I’m trying to project intellectual ambition onto everything I watch…

        Liked by 1 person

  2. FranXX was a slow starter but it eventually sped up. I’m thinking maybe either they attempt to escape from the dystopian society they live in or they start an insurrection. Who knows? Maybe that is really Dr. FranXX’s plan all along.
    I’m amazed they put a bunch of adolescent kids together in an intimate, extremely high risk, and minimally supervised setting and they don’t get crazy sexual.

    Liked by 1 person

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