Darling in the Franxx is being among the most popular topics in anime community recently. The show so far is praised for its compelling dramatic story between characters. It is not simply about giant mechas fighting with monsters, it is also about character development which is always interesting to watch. However, fans are going wild due to the drama in the episode 14. Many are enraged; some even threatened the author for allowing such “blasphemy” happened. So what is this drama about? Why people are mad about this new development? Let’s try and find out!
Darling in the Franxx is the new anime series of Winter 2018 season. It tells a story of a far future when humanity is in danger due to monsters called as Klaxosaurs. Human have to seek refuge in the sanctuary called Plantations. In this city, children are paired (one boy and one girl) to control massive mechas known as the “Franxx”. And so, they are taught for the sole reason to fight for humanity’s survival, without knowing the outside world.
Hiro, once revered as a skillful child, lost his confidence due to an aptitude test failure. He was depressed for very long time until one day he met a girl Franxx pilot called Zero Two. In order to save his friends in an incident, Hiro decided to become Zero Two partner and miraculously enough, they successfully control the Franxx and saved the day. Since then, Hiro and Zero Two became a duo; however, a dark future is also looming ahead of them…
How good is Darling in the Franxx so far?
Honestly speaking, Darling in the Franxx looked quite boring for us since we thought it was just another typical “mecha-fighting anime”. We expected lots of flashy mecha combats and true, the anime has fair share of awesome looking fight with the giant robots. But, what we did not expect was the interesting character development throughout the series. The cast, including main protagonist Hiro, Zero Two, and other members in Hiro’s team, has compelling personalities, especially the trio Hiro, Zero Two, and Ichigo.
Now objective speaking, the story of Darling in the Franxx was not exactly excellent in our opinions. There are certain times in the series which we felt like fillers rather than serving as concrete story development. The plots were not exactly innovating or unique. Still, the mysteries and character development throughout the show did make us feel curious to stick with it. Now back to the trio we mentioned Hiro, Zero Two, and Ichigo, these 3 characters are probably the most significant. Plus, with the recent drama in episode 14, we will focus mostly on them.
2. Thought on Darling in the Franxx Characters
For those who have not caught up with the recent development, basically the drama is about love affair between Hiro, Zero Two, and Ichigo (though there are actually more to this). After the incidents from episode 12 and 13, Hiro was badly hurt due to Zero Two’s unstablilty. We know that Hiro and Zero Two knew each other since they were younger. It explained why Zero Two had so deep obsession with Hiro and how she acted as she was throughout previous episodes. The only problem is: Zero Two is not a pure human. She is actually a human-klaxosaur hybrid.
In such intense situation, Ichigo declared straightforward that Zero Two must stay away from Hiro due to what happened to Hiro and the team. Of course, Zero Two could not simply accept that. Her want to meet Hiro made her hurt Hiro’s friends, only to let Hiro witness her violent acts. At the end of episode 14 (which is obviously the main reason why many fans went wild), Zero Two agreed that her presence was dangerous to the team and she left. And while Hiro was crying out of pain, Ichigo suddenly hugged Hiro and kissed him, claiming that she loves him.
As we mentioned, there are more details to the episode 14; however, we only sum-up its main point. So if you already checked out forums and discussions about the episode, you will clearly see a great hate-train on Ichigo. Many people blamed Ichigo as condemned her as “Bitchigo”, which is quite… cruel if we think deeper about all this drama. Therefore, we will try to explain the mindset and mental state of the 3 main characters here to see a bigger picture.
Starting with Zero Two, she is arguably the most popular female character in this Winter 2018 season. Since the beginning, we knew that Zero Two was infamous due to what happened to her former pilot partners. All of her former partners died, hence why she had the nickname “Partner Killer”. When Hiro agreed to become her partner, we also saw he had painful symptom, indicating something really bad happened to his health. Throughout her time with Hiro’s team, Zero Two showed herself to be somewhat ignorant to everyone around her, except for Hiro. She did not care much about other teammates, although she did learn to communicate with the others. That said, Zero Two had a huge mental instability and this is what makes the team more and more worrying. Turned out, she was a human-klaxosaur hybrid, which explained why she had 2 horns on her head and her unstable mind.
Nonetheless, most of fans like Zero Two, especially after episode 13. People shipped Zero Two and Hiro so hard; they expected the duo to be an official couple (which is more likely to be the real). That said, there is a dangerous problem in this relationship between Zero Two and Hiro, which we will discuss in Hiro’s section.
In episode 14, there is not much to discuss here since we already have an overall understanding about Zero Two’s problem. The fact showed that Zero Two’s unstable mind can bring great to harm to those around her. Even other member of the team had to agree on this. However, they agreed to let Zero Two join them since they believed that would be the best for humanity. The violent acts done by Zero Two were cruel, but understandable. Since her background was expanded quite a lot in episode 13, many fans “sympathized” with her. But what about Ichigo then?
Our blue-hair girl is probably the poorest character at the moment. And before someone may insult us for saying this, let’s look at her background a bit:
We know that Ichigo knew Hiro, along with other teammates since we were very young. During that time, Hiro was famous among the children due to his talent and heroism. Naturally, Ichigo also respected Hiro a great deal, to a point that she clearly fell in love with Hiro. This was proven back in the episode 2 when she was obviously jealous with Zero Two. Some people may argue that this was due to the rumor about Zero Two, but personally, we do not think that is the only reason. But back to her story, throughout the previous episodes, we know that Ichigo was appointed to be the leader of the team. She takes responsibility to look after all other members. That said, she has a vital problem despite being a leader: Being too emotional.
Throughout the previous episodes, Ichigo showed that she could be easily affected by her emotion, especially in the events related to Hiro. As we mentioned, Ichigo showed jealousy right at the first time Zero Two arrived at their dome. Not only in this episode, most of the time Ichigo easily got too emotional. She readily kissed Hiro with the belief that it would make them compatible. And in the episode 14, her kissing act was no different. She acted according to her emotional in order to work things out. This was established since the beginning of the series but many people seemed to ignore this notion. Therefore, the biggest problem of Ichigo character is her uncontrollable emotion, but that’s what makes her character interesting and different.
Furthermore, by now we obviously saw what happened to Hiro and the team. From the team’s perspective, they feared and actually witnessed what happened to Hiro when he was with Zero Two. They saw the danger, yet, they still decided to let Zero Two in their team since that would be the most rational decision. On the other hand, Ichigo still acted emotionally, but not entirely nonsensical. If we look at the context, her actions were understandable. Long before episode 14, she learned from Nine Alpha that Zero Two might attempt to suck all of humanity from Hiro. She did not fully believe this at first but that was really what happened to Hiro. With all the terrible events happened, it is impossible to force Ichigo thinking otherwise. It is logical for Ichigo to separate Zero Two from Hiro. Therefore, we believe it will be extremely unfair if we just blame Ichigo for everything happened.
Finally, we have Hiro – the one main protagonist which seems kind of… useless. Not everyone blamed Hiro for his “uselessness”, but there are some fans who are quite irritated with his characteristic. But again, we have to consider the context of this character.
In this manga-anime world, Hiro was not the first “useless” characters. In fact, there are a number of similar characters existed before him, notably Ken Kaneki from Tokyo Ghoul. Why they are similar you may ask? Well, the answer is: Self-pity. Let’s look at Hiro’s background:
When he was younger, he was described as a talented and heroic figure among his friends. He was highly respected and also, he believed in his power and hoped to protect his friends. We also knew that around this time, Hiro met Zero Two. They became friends and interesting enough, Hiro contracted with Zero Two’s blood. But back to this heroism characteristic. While this belief gave Hiro strength, what would happen if Hiro no longer have power to protect his ideology? We already knew this by now, he always fell depressed, pitying himself for being unable to do anything. This exactly feeling bound him into an unending chain of depression, a psychological curse. It also explained why Hiro readily became partner with Zero Two despite knowing the danger. This exact heroism and self-pity were extremely dangerous to him since he DID NOT care about himself anymore. He did not have confident in himself. And more tragic, he could only become useful when he partnered with Zero Two.
This kind of characteristic is also similar to Ken Kaneki. Ken was once a human, a timid college student. But when he became a half-ghoul, it pushed him into a whole world of misery. Ken was a self-pitying character. He openly admitted that he just wanted to be meaningful for somebody. That mean: if he was alone, he would be nobody, useless, unwanted man. Sound familiar? It is also Hiro’s mental problem – he only finds himself meaningful when he was with Zero Two. His meaning of life is now stuck with her. If she was not there, he would also become meaningless… or “useless“.
Hiro x Zero Two Relationship
So what about Hiro and Zero Two’s relationship? Here’s the thing: what Nine Alpha shared about Zero Two’s motive was actually true. At first she purposely wanted to drain all humanity from Hiro in order to fully become human. She did this just to be a human and finally meet the one she loved again. Ironically, Zero Two realized he was actually her long lost lover. This broke her apart, especially when Hiro said she was a monster. Despite being sympathizable, Zero Two obviously did more harm to people around her. Therefore once again, it is extremely unfair when we blamed Ichigo for everything, while showing “sympathy” only to Zero Two.
Back to Hiro x Zero Two relationship, at first glance their relationship looked beautiful. However, let’s look at reality here: this relationship is extremely abusive. Many people are probably mad when we saying this but again, let’s stay calm here. We know that this couple was friends since they were very young. But soon they were separated. Zero Two fell in love with her childhood friend and she did everything just to become human and be with her lover again. However, before the event in episode 12, it is safe to assume that she did not fully realize that Hiro was that childhood friend. Despite not intentionally abuse Hiro, her unstable mind constantly brought harm to Hiro and she did not do anything about this. Whereas Hiro had to depend on her if he wanted to become useful. This is an ideal toxic relationship and it already happened. No matter how sweet their relationship once was back in their childhood, their current situation was not that good.
In order for a relationship to be good for both sides, it must provide some values to each person. A good relationship should be a relationship where both people feel that they become better as a whole person when they are with each other. This used to be the case for Hiro and Zero Two when they were young. Hiro provided Zero Two comfort and hope in life, while Zero Two gave Hiro motivation to become stronger to protect others. But now, currently this relationship proved to be dangerous for both sides: Hiro’s physical condition is getting worse while his belief in life bound to Zero Two. If Zero Two was not with him, he was worthless. On the other hand, Zero Two made thing worst by harming everyone around her, not just Hiro. Of course, this was not her intention, but that was no excuse for her ignorance and the bad things happened. Ichigo, though her action might not be good, was not entirely at fault here. And Hiro, as indecisive as he might look, was not simply useless; he was just a depressed child.
3. Is It Hiro’s Fault? Zero Two’s Fault? Ichigo’s Fault? Or Someone else?
With all that said and done, we came to conclude that all parties have their own fault here, yet, understandable. Each person in this story has his/her own problem, both physically and mentally. Our aim here is not to put the blame onto any character, but rather, to provide a broader perspective about everything happened in Darling in the Franxx’s world.
Although the story established the children as mecha pilots – heroes of mankind, let’s not forget that all of them are children. They are teenagers with untreated psychological problems. Hiro suffers from self-pitying mentality. Ichigo has emotional problem and no one teach her about this properly. Zero Two, despite not fully human, is still a conscience entity and she suffered from various experiments. The children are not perfect (even us), they need to learn and to be learned. They should be forgiven at the right moment. And if we really need to blame all the wrong onto someone, we would say it must be the adults.
Here’s the thing: Right at the beginning, these children were forced to live without parents. They lived with each other since they were very young (like an orphanage). They were taught solely with one purpose: destroying Klaxosaurs and saving mankind. Considering this idea in our real world, this is too much for kids. No matter how intelligent or skillful they are, they are just kids. They need to learn about the society, family, relationship, and many other basic experiences in life. But in the world of Darling in the Franxx, these kids were pushed in a war which was not fully understood to begin with.
This is still our speculation; however, we believe that the children in this world is being manipulated by the adults. The adults might explain to the children about the world. But even so, who can guarantee that they spoke all the truth? Like what exactly are these Klaxosaurs? Where did they come from? Why children out of all people have to fight such cruel battles instead of adults? These children were mainly taught as instruments of war. They were not taught properly about how to be a normal human. Even the concept of love or kissing seems to be too unfamiliar with them. This is one of the concept in this series: a cruel world where children are manipulated and pushed to the war. No matter how cool the mechas look, no matter how heroic these children may be called, in the end they are still children. The mechas are simply “tank” or “airplane” while children – the pilots are soldiers. If this is in our real world, it will be violation to the rule of children protection.
This is probably one thing we like about Darling in the Franxx. Though it might not present clearly, this series actually depict a dystopian world where children of all people have to go into deadly battle. Can we forgive the children and teach what they need to know? Or we just push them further into the despair they’re already suffering?
But hey! That’s just our opinion. And what about you? What do you think about Darling in the Franxx so far? Feel free to share with us and for now, thank you and stay tune for more news in the future!
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