「ダーリン・イン・ザ・フランクス」 (Daarin in za Furankusu)
“Darling in the FranXX”
Well talk about an episode of (non-)surprises. Hiro almost losing it to the blue infection and pulling back in the nick of time? Check. Ichigo dropping from the Hiro love shock at the worst possible moment? Got that too. Superfluous secondary characters dying like flies in the name of super serious story developments? Err—we’re working on it ok! I’d give Franxx a break, when you’re throwing up pulpy mecha goodness this hard, a few mistakes can certainly be forgiven.
While everyone and their dilapidated cat knew what was going to happen this week, the results were still arguably surprising. Death for example was noticeably absent even in the face of all the teasers, with our new Franxx crew suffering immensely while still somehow surviving in the face of certain defeat. I’m not sure yet if Franxx will remain a tease throughout when it comes to its characters, but leaving these guys alive at the opportune moment does suggest this show isn’t going to use genre clichés just for the sake of it; for all its genericities, Franxx has a soul of originality quietly bubbling under the surface. Take Ichigo’s brief moment of breakdown, you’d typically expect the poor girl to lead to someone (and I’m not naming any names) perishing under the face of some well-executed skullf*cking, yet she somehow manages to pull herself together and give our featured duo the opening they need to show which monster does the thrusting here. For every par the course moment Franxx delivers, something else pops up which defies all expectations.
Probably the biggest eye opener in this regard was what happened to Hiro. We all knew he was going to suffer for example, and yet the kid not only survived in his original state, but seemingly pulled back before reaching the brink. It truly begs the question just what’s wrong with our lead parasite, for while noticeably stricken with a unique, yet mostly unknown ailment (*cough* klaxosaur DNA), he can seemingly control the state of infection when the moment calls for it. I’m guessing this ability won’t last forever—plot reasons demand it—but it does beg the question just what Franxx’s ultimate screw over will be. If the special specimen can thrive under the gentle guidance of some top quality rear end, how will later enemies push this aspect beyond the breaking point? Nothing good lasts forever obviously, but if Hiro can thwart the three riding rule no problem, what exactly will be the sticking point here? Will it be Zero Two? A distraught Ichigo? Hell Zorome the Great? For every answer Franxx provides another question or three arises, and while we are certainly still in early days plot-wise, a monster of the week setup can only last for so long. One way or another, we will need hints of the greater mystery before things get too complacent.
Thankfully, however, Franxx likely will not leave us hanging for long. We already have talk of Hiro helping Zero Two live for her wish (which most definitely involves freedom in some form) and one well-placed Zero Two-esque blondie dropping yet another naming scheme with Nine Iota that indicates we’ve only scratched the surface of the parasite rabbit hole. For everything our makeshift parasite squad has come through so far, it’s just the start of what will definitely prove to be one vicious and bloodstained ride. We may not have seen bloody death or plot-rupturing twist as of yet, but if Franxx continues along the same path, you can bet your sister the real fun has yet to begin.
After all, something tells me Zero Two isn’t even close to reaching her final monstrous form just yet.