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Winter 2018 First Impressions #28 - Darling in the FranXX


Mars Terra

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Darling in the FranXX is a original anime by studios A-1 Picture and Trigger. The story is set in the distant future. The land is ruined, and humanity establishes the mobile fort city Plantation. Children pilot robots called Franxx to face off against them, their enemies are mysterious giant lifeforms known as Kyouryuu.
The show opens with a beautifully written and captivating scene, explaining the jian bird and how such a creature needs to rely on another member of it's species to survive. This helps to set up the premise, where two pilots, male and female, must work together to pilot their Franxx. However, this beauty is quickly undermined by the first actual dialogue, spoken by 002, complaining about not having bathed in a while, which only comes off as a joke and destroys the atmosphere. So 002 is one of two pilots arriving at Plantation 13 in order to attend the graduation ceremony of several cadets.
One of these cadets is Hiro, who has failed the testing needed in order to graduate. While grieving, he wanders around a preserved forest and stumbles across 002, who snuck off while those accompanying her weren't looking and is now taking a bath inside a lake. He stares for a bit due to the horns that are growing out of her head before covering his eyes, then, upon opening them again, believes her to be drowning and rushes in to save her only to find she went under to catch a fish and catches him off guard. Even though she's naked in front of him, she doesn't seem to care in the least and even pokes fun at him for being embarrassed about it himself. She even tackles him and licks him. And you know that when Hiro says "my first-ever look at a naked female body left me transfixed, unable to take my eyes off her" in retrospect, that it's not love that draws these two together, but that's as far as they're allowed to take it as 002's accompanying party arrives to retrieve her.
Naomi, who is Hiro's partner, or was before they failed the exam, is unable to stay at the base while Hiro is for some reason, not that it matters if he is or isn't since he decided to leave and go back to the orphanage they once came from. This implies that his feelings for her are romantic and so it's a bit strange when tossed together with his monologue earlier. While this is happening, the graduation ceremony is taking place and also they have a quick flashback explaining what happened during the test. All of this happening at the same time creates confusion as to when each event takes place and is something that could of been explained earlier either before or during his grieving.
After Naomi boards a plant, a mode of transportation, alone, a kyouryuu shows up shortly after and right below it, her plant is then buried under rubber. This scene doesn't emphasize the emotion that Hiro should be feeling for the friend he seemed to care so much about. She didn't have much screen time before being killed but her death deserved a bit more time before jumping to the kyouryuu heading straight for Plantation 13.
Even though it hits the platform he was on, Hiro somehow survives this even though I know that this monster is supposed to be much more powerful. But I must give this scene praise for at least being incredibly well animated, as a fight scene should. 002 and her partner scoop in and attack the giant lifeform before being knocked back, causing her partner to die since he had wounds already from before, and 002 to be bleeding all over. This is where they agree to work together as she decides that Hiro is as dead as she is inside. Then the robot oddly enough morphs because apparently that's just how they work, then they takes down the kyouryuu and save the base.
The other cadets were characters as well, but none of them received a particularly large amount of establishment, however they do seem to have their own stories and they will likely receive character development somewhere down the line. The way this show is set up allows for a equal amount of male and female characters and because of that I can assume that this won't turn into a harem down the road. I can see that they were going for, but the adult content in this show fails to be as tactful as it wants to be, perhaps if there were more build-up to it then it would of worked a lot better. The action is superb though, but what else do you expect from Trigger? So not terrible, but it hasn't done anything to impress me yet either, so for now I can only say it's good for what it is. That's it for now, please be sure to check out my look at Miira no Kaikata. Thank you for reading, and have yourself a wonderful day.

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