OP: 「KISS OF DEATH」by Mika Nakashima x Hyde
「繋がるということ」 (Tsunagaru to Iu Koto)
“What it means to connect”
What’s this, Pancakes covering episode two of big giant anthropomorphic (slightly) robots? You’re damn rights boys and girls. Stilts is out visiting with the family for the next couple of weeks so it falls to me to bear the duty of seeing just what a darling actually is. If this episode is anything to go by, I think I’m liking the definition Franxx has.
If Franxx’s opener wasn’t particularly spectacular, the follow up this week arguably did a great job of showing what to expect going forward. While we still are lacking in important details such as explaining just what a parasite is, who the enemy are/where they come from, and the comments about tainting Zero Two’s blood (not to mention who Papa is), our character cast received some significant attention more or less laying out the relationships going forward. Zorome for example is the quintessential “bully”, the hothead who tries building himself up over everyone else (mostly Hiro) in order to likely hide some serious concern about his own strength—guaranteed he and Hiro will come to a mutual understanding sooner or later. Gorou serves as the mediator, helping smooth over any emotional flare ups and keep everyone on track. And Miku as adorable
fan service comedic relief needs little introduction.
The important focus, however, rightfully lay on Ichigo and what will certainly be Franxx’s primary drama generator for a while. If the tart attitude wasn’t evidence enough, this girl will be the main competition to Zero Two for Hiro’s piloting prowess (read: romantic affections). Simply helping Hiro pilot a Franxx? Don’t kid yourself, little miss leader has a thing for Hiro and she’s determined to get him. Really determined. That jealous mindset is why Hiro’s lack of reaction to the kiss hurt her so badly, Ichigo wanted him to feel something, to know she has something on the horned enigma encroaching on her turf. It’s mostly a given Ichigo will lose to Zero Two at this stage considering Hiro and mock battle both, but what happens next is really interesting to consider. Will Ichigo go quietly into the good night and turn her anguish into positive team action? Or will she become something less, well, cooperative? Both are reasonable paths, and with so much unknown about Franxx’s story right now, guaranteed there will be a serious twist (*cough* Kamina) that throws a wrench into any expected development. After all, this is a Trigger show.
While this episode was largely about the main cast, particularly intriguing for me were the few story tidbits featured. Botany for example is likely to be Franxx’s main motif, if those casual mentions of pistil and stamen are anything to go by. As most plant species are capable of self-fertilization, this flavour also offers a visual explanation for the emphasis on connection and taking one’s partner into account: if half the plant (i.e. its reproductive system) fails, there is no future. The entire setup feels a lot like Simoun, where shared mental bonds are needed to even pilot the machines in question, with said bonds often formed through physical intimacy; I wouldn’t be surprised in the slightest if kissing and romantic relationships turn into a way to realize the true abilities of the parasites’ mecha. One way or another, you can be assured the piloting here is not as simple as connecting over a fine rearward view.
With Hiro’s mock battle ending poorly and Ichigo crushed by the weight of insurmountable competition, it’s truly a question just what to expect next in Franxx. Will Ichigo give up? Will Zorome finally win outright? Will Zero Two learn what proper table manners are? God only knows, but if it doesn’t involve best horned devil girl licking someone else for funsies I’ll be royally outraged. Don’t deny, you know you enjoyed it too.
Considering Hiro’s previous partner supposedly still lives, the unanswered elephant in the room is whether Franxx will actually kill off any of its characters later on. I’m personally betting it will, but the show is sure keeping this card annoyingly close to its chest.
ED: 「トリカゴ」 (Torikago) by XX:me (Kiss Me; キス・ミー)