「独りとヒトリ」 (Hitori to Hitori)
“Alone and Lonesome”

The name of the game in episode one, and while it’s a lot to take in, it’s done fairly well, mostly by showing it and not explaining. No reason is given for the Plantations, nor the attacking klaxosaur, and explanations are not yet necessary. Ditto to smaller elements, with my favorite being the holograms or “Papa” (ugh creepy) and the others, a great way to show—something. That they’re a long ways off, or too old to move, or are worried for their lives, or don’t trust others to protect them. It’s an intriguing element, and I like it.

In fact, only two pieces of exposition were done badly: the meaning of the word “parasite,” which really needed to be explained immediately because I kept wondering if they were talking about all humans, a subset of humans, a certain occupation, or maybe the kid actually thought a pile of clothes were an organic creature (I wouldn’t put it past Trigger); and whose fault it was that main character Code:016 “Hiro” (Uemura Yuuto) and former partner Code:703 “Naomi” (Koshimizu Ami) failed their sync test. I’m 85% sure it was Hiro’s fault from how everybody was acting, but the dialogue during the sync test plus the fact that they were letting him stay if he wanted made it ambiguous. Still, the rest was done well, and for a sci-fi show chocked full of so many concepts, that ain’t bad.

Speaking of Naomi, this series has some issues with women so far. Naomi was flagrantly stuffed in a fridge (trope!) so that Hiro could get his heroic resolve, and her “sacrifice” was blunted by how she didn’t mean to save Hiro from being on the transport that was crushed, she was basically only forcing him to spend one more transport’s worth of loading time thinking about whether he should really leave, which ain’t nothing, but it means she didn’t even get a heroic sacrifice. She just died, a victim to the end. I was also hoping that Code:002 “Zero Two” (Tomatsu Haruka) would be more fun, but she mostly came across as a dangerous female sort of fetish object—though since she isn’t dead, she has room to recover. Honestly I put that one down mostly to the weird pacing during the lake scene, in that it had the same pacing as the rest of the episode, all mysterious/alien/languid, which works better for a sci-fi melodrama (and I do not mean melodrama in a negative sense; I love me some good melodrama, and c’mon, so do you) than it does for ecchi hinjinks. Which probably just means the ecchi hijinks should have been axed or severely shortened, because the pacing was pretty nice throughout the rest.

Oh, and also on women, there was that time Dr. Franxx (Horiuchi Kenyuu) groped Nana’s (Inoue Marina) butt, and it was a punchline. Maybe that was meant to further convey the less than ideal society that these children pilots find themselves in, but I doubt it.

Speaking of the pilots, I’m looking forward to getting to know the other pilots more. I love me a big cast, and care has obviously been put into making each of them unique characters, which just don’t know what makes most of ’em tick yet. That ain’t a complaint, the writers were wise to thinly characterize them here, in favor of focusing on Zero Two and Hiro. I’m just excited to know them more.

Which is partially because Hiro isn’t ringing my bell so far. I started out optimistic—I actually liked the parable of the Jian they used in the opening, because it showed the difference between Zero Two (she thinks the Jian’s way of life is beautiful) and Hiro (he thinks they’re pitiful), even if it was a touch pretentious—but then he was sputtering and grabbing pantsu by accident and unable to make up his mind, and I understand it all, he just doesn’t have enough personality to connect with me so far. I don’t dislike him, though, if his interactions with Zero Two elicit changes (for the more interesting) in him, no water under the bridge. They had a lot to get through in this episode. I’m just more on board with Zero Two, even if she is more subdued than she seemed in the trailers, because “Pilot with monster blood who accidentally kills all her partners” has got some legs as far as character concepts go. Though I could really do without them calling the pilots “pistils” and “stamens”. It feels icky.

Other than that, the visuals were of course fantastic, no surprise, even if some of Trigger’s visual tics are becoming too predictable, see: stars, sparkling or otherwise. This was a decent first episode, I’m not sold yet but it’s got promise. I’m hoping it begins to ramp up now that the stage is set, so we can find out what this story is really about. Because the girl with monster blood and the boy who isn’t afraid of her horns—which are the parts of their dynamic I found most intriguing, and my favorite part of Hiro by far—are only part of the cast, and I want to learn about the rest, as well as what’s going on in this blasted world.

Random thoughts:

  • A small detail that was really nice: the guns actually did something to the klaxosaur. Don’t you hate it when the soldiers in an anime shoot the big monster, even though they know that only the special mechas / magical girls / singing super sentai idols can defeat them? It snaps me out of immersions, but that didn’t happen here. They tripped the beast. Good! It’s not much, but at least they had good reason to be firing. Details like that matter.
  • Another small detail, of a different kind. Little touches like that bring the world alive.

My SECOND novel, Freelance Heroics, is available now! (Now in print!) (Also available: Firesign #1 Wage Slave Rebellion.) Sign up for my email list for updates. At stephenwgee.com, the latest post: The Last Jedi SUPER SPOILERY Review.

ED Sequence:


    1. Worldwidedepp
    1. Franxx had it’s mechs designed by the same dude who did mech designs for Star Driver and Captain Earth.

      The characters however are done by the dude who did character designs for Your Name

      1. The way the pilots are raised reminds a lot to Evangelion but here it´s lot more creeppy, they don´t get the ilusion of free will Shinji and the rest of those bastards had, they just flatly tell them they were born to be a weapon, it completely strips them of their humanity right of the bat when in Evangelion the idea was just floating subtly over their heads. Just how desperate are humans to threat children this way?.

    1. The third Evangelion Rebuild movie almost threw into depression, man… This series sure as hell it´s not going to be sunshine and rainbows but I expect it doesn´t turn its audience suicidal!.

  1. @Darling in the FranXX

    Strong impression it made.. Yes. You can see here and there the handwriting of Trigger (mostly Gurren Lagann + Kill la Kill) and some other inspirations from other Animes (the cockpit bootup remind a bit of Evangelion). But yes.. First impression had “power”. now i need more Episodes to see if this Power is back up with good story building. One Pillar of this Anime made an strong impact

    Episdoe 1/3 passed.. with “Powerful” Trigger Style handwriting.. but also soft lines

    Also the “white cape” of the female Pilots, looks like an Weeding cloth, right? Also in my past i only can compare this Pair to driven an “robot” only with Simoun.. but there its not quite the same.. I have an other Anime in mind “Chrome Shelled Regios” that would explain a bit their world here.. lets see what this Anime have still in his pockets

    Btw, did his first ex-partner survive or did she got crushed?.Also in the last seconds of the episode, they say she has these Monster blood in her veins… Perhaps she is some kind of hybrid. Perhaps that the base of “player killer” rumor

    1. Seems like the Female Pilots are the Mecha’s Body where the Male Pilots can control the Body… That would explain the Weeding Cap Dress and the female Mecha that an Male use it to the maximum.. But i bet “Strelizia” is an Interface Prototype one, also the more direct controls of “Zero Two”

      I do hope the power of these Pilot bonds are not to create the “energy” of some climax..

      Also.. ywll at me that i am old. But you remember the “Nintendo Love Tester”? Perhaps the Main male was not compatible to all others

      1. The Rider is not afraid to use the raw Power of this bonding (That is still a mystery for me). But i can see some undertone “thoughts” of some fans already. Doujinshi are already born to the light

  2. Finally, mecha anime is saved. AOTS candidate for me. The character and mecha design are fantastic, animation delivers and Zero Two has a strong presence. I’m so happy we’re getting a two-cour 2D mecha show. The Klaxosaur’s tail looks like a mix of Reshiram and Zekrom’s tails.

      1. Also I hope they give an explanation about why it was a tiger thingy at the start, must have something to do with sycro of the pilots but details like that matter in this kind of story.

      2. The impression I got was that, when her copilot was knocked out of commission (or because he wasn’t a good fit—still some confusion there), she could only use a partial form. Actually, maybe it’s the latter, since Dr. Franxx seemed surprised when the true form came out, and Hiro was of the impression that she couldn’t pilot the machine at all without a copilot.

  3. https://randomc.net/image/Darling%20in%20the%20Franxx/Darling%20in%20the%20Franxx%20-%2001%20-%20Large%2002.jpg

    Got a strong TTGL vibe from this shot. Reminds me of gunmen and the perspective is similar to the last episode of TTGL Parallel Works where Lord Genome stands up against a backdrop of tall,foreboding buildings. The color palette and style reminded me of Kill a Kill even though I never finished watching that.

    And finally, the mech at the end reminded me of Star Driver. It’s fun recognising these connections without knowing the studio and artists involved prior to watching the series.

    As for the episode, intriguing opening. I like melodrama and a sense of impending doom too but anime pulls it off well far too rarely. It’ll likely end up as another forgettable series but hey, I can still enjoy the ride while it lasts.

  4. Thanks for making good mention of the blatant poor treatment on the female cast. I know the whole episode has been generic, but the treatment was so bad that, other than the graphics, art, and music, this was such a regression in anime. I really hope the male protag will be better than the trope he seemed to be stuck in already. I was looking forward to this because I really wanted a shiny new mecha anime. I hope the characters and plot don’t end up as trash.

    The female protag is the best out of the episode so far.

  5. Yeah, I really liked this first episode.
    So much reminded me of past classics and the Gainax/Trigger fanservice (not only the lake scene, but the female suits as well for example ) doesn’t hurt either.
    As for Star Driver, really have to catch up on that one.

  6. I don’t think Naomi necessarily died – that was TOO off-screen IMHO, for a character that has potential to stir further conflict. No corpse, no death. And I think it was her who failed the test. The way the thing was framed, I think the idea is that it was mostly her fault, and she was angry at Hiro for letting himself be dragged down with her when he had the chance to stay. Basically, she wanted to push him to let her go.

    1. Given that the klaxosaurs evidently attack without warning from beneath the surface, you’d think those transport sphere things would be sitting ducks. There is obviously air transportation available, so why not use it if it’s safer? Either a failed Parasite isn’t even worth an air ticket, or the spheres are safer than they look.

      1. I don’t think that was likely, but it’s a possibility I hadn’t considered. Zero Two said she could smell the klaxosaur, so maybe the klaxosaurs can in some way sniff out Parasites.

      2. I think the transport pod was just a formality to send the failure one to their death, that cocona? girl said that the one that sent home never really gets home(zero survival rate).
        A baits were also a likely guess, to test zero two and her previous partner on live combat.

    2. Evolution isn’t proven.

      Lining up fossils from an extinct animal, and another animal that lived in a later time period, isn’t proof that one evolved into the other.

      How and why would an asexually reproducing organism develop male/female sexual organs and reproduction, despite being at least 50% less efficient? And it’s not like these creatures were aware of any possible benefits to sexual reproduction, even if they were, they could not collectively just decide to develop something like male/female sexual organs. (scientists today can’t answer this question)

      The horseshoe crab has not changed for 400 million years. Humans were fish 400 million years ago. How/why could fish turn into humans in that same time period, while the horseshoe crab did not change?

      How would an animal grow wings? Or ears? Would it spend thousands of years growing useless stubs until they were finally wings? How would the biological function of hearing come about by accident? This doesn’t happen by accident.

      Albert Einstein believed in creationism. He spent his life studying what God created. You’re just a fucking underage edgy fedora-wearing atheist.

  7. I think you are viewing things too strongly through a ‘are they female’ lens if you think what happened to Naomi was because she was female instead of because she was the MC’s previous partner.

    1. Oh, yes, it certainly happened because she was the main character’s previous partner. (Just like wives, mothers, daughters, and girlfriends are so often killed, mutilated, or kidnapped to motivate the main male character.) Once a pattern does not make. Three times, it does. Or two, depending on yer opinion of Zero Two, but it’s still worth pointing out. A strong showing from the other female characters next episode would show that it was some first episode wonk—and I wouldn’t be surprised if that happens! The other pilots are showing signs of personality. Such is the flaw inherent in weekly blogging. But I calls ’em as I sees ’em when I sees ’em, and if it makes someone consider events in a light they didn’t beforehand, that’ll be good, even if it ends up that you’re correct.

      1. Just like wives, mothers, daughters, and girlfriends are so often killed, mutilated, or kidnapped to motivate the main male character.)

        This is exactly what I meant. Naomi didn’t die to motivate Hiro, she died so that Hiro could partner with 02, just like how 02’s partner was discarded as trash (which I didn’t see you complain much about).

      2. As I pointed out when the term was coined. It is a indirect sexism, the females are not being killed because they are female they are being killed because most of the heroes are male. And men are killed and attacked at a much greater rate than women there is no greater violence against women there is a violence problem with men.
        So once female hero’s equal male hero’s, an equal number of both sexes will die because they are loved ones.

  8. I like the animation stile and they did a really good job in building the mystery around 002 (finally a character whose name I can remember). The introduction scene with the different takes on the Jian was also very nicely done. Overall I hope this show is more ambitious than your generic mecha show.

  9. Hahaha, I just laugh my ass off when they give a Kill la Kill-esque transformation on a robot.
    Really funny, Trigger. Now show me the real robot, the real GAR infused-Super robot one. That one isn’t the main robot,right?

    ……wait, that IS the robot. Crap, well…that’s going to get old fast. Now I get to relive the weird feeling of first discovering Valsione, every week….again.

    On another note, I first saw Zero Two practically trending among the artists on Twitter before watching and I must say, I get why that happened. She is one hell of a calculated move in the Waifu bait department. I can say that she got the potential for Waifu of the Year.

  10. Seems a bit more “wish-fullfilment” than I anticipated. I mean we have a loser pilot who unexpectedly runs into a dominatingly seductive female pilot who is clearly not human, and together they just happen to form the perfect franxx transformation. Hey, as long as they don’t have poorly-written villains, a tiny AI loli who calls him Daddy, and tentacle monster scientists, I am ALL for this! 😀 The other aspects of the anime are somewhat trope-ish, but I adore the visual style, and I await to see where they take this story in the next 23 episodes.

    1. Agreed, more of a wish fulfillment vibe than I expected, but that can still work just fine. It really depends on whether Hiro grows a personality in the next few episodes. Wish fulfillment can be fun, it just needs to be done well, like everything else. (Or they still might pivot, we’ll see.)

  11. I wonder how much A1 was involved in this, this screams Gainax/Trigger the whole episode (and i love it!).

    Very promising 1st episode, if they can maintain this quality through the 24 planned episodes, it’ll be a treat !

    1. Dunno, i think nobody so far (except for the Anime team and Manga-ka) knows how this bonding is working.. Why female and male? As i suggested. I do hope that “do it!” Climax has nothing to do with this

  12. -The tits arent Joysticks.
    -The boys pilot the girls with handles on their asses.
    -Maybe there is also a Dominatrix version where the boy is piloted and the joystick is the Dick, and the girls is held with the handles so to facilitate the girls Use of the Joystick with her genitalia.

    This series hold great potentials.

  13. Gosh, this show is fast-paced…So much details piled in that is not explained properly yet.

    example (not mine btw):

    I noticed that all the characters names are based off their code numbers. Makes sense because their code numbers basically define their existence.
    Code:016 – Hiro (hitotsu =1, roku = 6)

    Code:703 – Naomi (nana = 7, ‘o’ sound = 0, mitsu = 3)

    Code:015 – Ichigo (ichi = 1, go = 5)

    Code:056 – Goro (go = 5, roku = 6)

    And so forth.

    …and then there’s Code:002 – (‘o’ sound = 0, ‘ni sound = 2) that someone here got…

    OTOH, @Stilts – I see the interaction between Zero Two and Hiro more as the female MC finding her next boy-toy (the male MC) except we’re seeing this from the male MC’s perspective…

    1. Also her Red Pilot Uniform is not only for Show, because the other females are White and more “Weeding” ones..

      I bet with her the male has more an “bloody” honeymoon. Well an easter egg could be the “fight suit” from Kill Bill

      1. Well, i also “life” now in r/anime

        But i can separate Spoilers, minor spoilers (to raise curiosity) and play “dump”

        There on r/anime i can “speculate” to my heart content in the right threads of course..

    2. @info600

      Yes, that wasn’t explained, but a Japanese viewer likely would have realized it immediately. It also isn’t terribly important for the first episode. All that matters is Zero Two mentioning that parasites don’t have names, and Naomi thanking Hiro for the name he gave her. That gets the important part across.

  14. Speaking of manhandling…0ni had blood inside her hood from her last partner that croaked. Really makes me wonder if she does have a different pilot position to get blood in there. It’s ALL his blood too, since we know her blood is blue.


      Two people properly piloting a franxx is like having sex.
      When Zero-Two doesn’t really fuck with her partner like that she goes kind of wildly, harming them even if she gets off, like girls who bite and scratch during sex(if you’ve never had sex a bitch like that just know it’s the most annoying thing)

      I think her attraction to hiro has her actually considering how her partner might feel, and making sure he feels good too.

      metaphorically of course

      1. I was learning more towards her being so absolutely feral inside the FranXX that it kills the people who try to control her because she doesn’t give a shit, but she’s fallen so hard for Hiro that she’s subconsciously trying not to hurt him.

  15. ep 02:

    Okay the 2nd Pillar of this Anime is save.. It’s these “Pilot control” and the “Mind playing” inside the fan

    Okay.. i was guessing that the Females are the Mecha Body, because the Mecha has an female touch.. But i did not expected to be that way.. and even the “training but shaped” 1 pilot little Mecha he use when an tram pass nearby

    Yes, they revived the ecchi from Kill la Kill “battle costume”.. and since there is no direct touching, i can say “Save!”…

    Now lets see the other Pillars of this Anime. We have: Power, and Ecchi.. lets hope for “Battle” next

    Jeeez.. you know how to tease

    1. also for the “Upcoming” Kaze on the Horizon

      Lucky that these female controls do not have an Overdrive Key Hole…

      What i mean with Key Hole? Remember “Ghost Busters”? I am the Key, and i am the Key Hole!

    2. to be that way… (to raise the curiosity)

      Well, the Mecha Cockpit designer like Racer Motorbikes a lot.. Because she is riding/piloting the Mecha as if she bends of the Tank of this bikes… as if she ride a bike…

      curios? then go watch it.. but, look around if you are alone in the room…

  16. Surprised everyone is making the connection to Star Driver mecha deisgns (which are frankly too obvious) but no one remarked about the Die Buster similarity (mecha designer also worked on Die Buster 2), Die Buster 2 was the first anime (aside from Giant Robo) that i saw which had robots with human big eyes, it was seen later in Captain Earth and now here, feels strange i’m the only one who drew the connection to Die Buster 2 (it seems to me not many action/mecha fans today know it, my advice is go watch Die Buster and then Die Buster 2, they are classical anime with fantastic stories and characters and some of the really epic fights, they both have people from Gainax working on them, most of them currently working in Trigger)

      1. oh, brother Google helped me

        Well in Gunster it was always an 1 Person cockpit, only the finale Bigger Mecha was made for 2 Pilots to travel into the center of Galaxy and it was an all female crew here (the only sexiness scene where when she rip her shirt apart to get an “energy Core” you see an glimpse of her boobies

        And Gunbuster 2 stay the same, an single Cockpit.. So there is the difference between Gunbuster and Darling

  17. Bloody Zero Two going off to fight reminds me of Rei but not mindless.
    Red suit and feisty attitude reminds me of Asuka.
    She also makes me think of Hinagiku from Combat Butler Hayate.

    Zero Two has a rather strong sense of duty.

    An artificial created girl I suppose.
    Maybe there could be more of her?

    The barren world reminds me of Gurren Lagann.
    The mecha designs struck me as Star Driver the very first time I seen them last year.

    Wonder will there be any intelligent enemies behind those dinosaurs?


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