「ガーデン／始まりの庭」 (Gaaden/Hajimari no Niwa)
“The Garden Where It All Began”
With spring anime only one day away, there’s no better way to ring in the new season than with -15°C temperatures and a half a foot of fresh snow—err, the midseason special of Franxx. Yes, I’m definitely not salty about the weather outside at all. Really. Alright all Pancakes First World ProblemsTM aside, Franxx decided to leave winter behind with a storm all of its own. It may have been yet another showcase of the lack of action/progression/sultry Zero Two shenanigans (or whatever pet peeve have you) the series is revelling in right now, but this week made up for it by largely confirming all outstanding hypotheses whilst teasing a few others. Franxx may be slow, but it certainly is building towards one serious climax. Well, hopefully.
By far the most important idea confirmed this episode was that all parasites are klaxosaurs waiting to happen. This was easy to guess since the start (and unavoidable since learning of the injections), but it doesn’t remove the significance of it, especially when Hiro is himself supposedly ready to jump from (super)human to reptilian monstrosity. No parasite reaches adulthood simply because none (or at least few, see Nana and Hachi) can contain the “potential” of their blood; if they break there’s no going back. It’s nice seeing this detail finally laid out in the open, although it further exacerbates the frustration of not knowing why parasites are needed in the first place. What are the klaxosaurs after? Why are all regional plantations converging at the (in all likelihood) Grand Crevasse? Why the need for even more obedient parasites? The mechanics of the problem have arguably been answered given everything above, all that’s left is the reason for it.
Part of the explanation likely rests with Zero Two and the other intriguing development making itself known this week. While Zero Two’s transformation was well-teased previously given her exemplary dental display, we got the consequences of it in full this time as horns and attitude both revealed the (predictable) truth: this girl definitely isn’t as she appears. For better or worse Zero Two’s outburst(s) displayed a fearful inner voice, a pistil scared of her fate who has placed her hopes of survival (whether personally or with subtle encouragement) on becoming human. She knows she’s on a timer, which in part explains the tart attitude the past few weeks, and the pure rage on full display here. Hiro and that budding relationship? As described before nothing more than Zero Two’s latest tool to see this goal through, as made very apparent by that fodder remark. Supposedly draining the life out of over a hundred previous stamens in pursuit of humanity destroys any doubt pretty effectively.
This, however, is incredibly ironic now because the other side of Zero Two’s wish—meeting her original darling once again—is already in her grasp. I doubt there’s anyone who doesn’t realize Hiro already met Zero Two before and that he is that original darling, before split apart for whatever (plot) reason. Both—to Ichigo’s future chagrin—are the destined couple, Hiro the hero (heh) who will help save Zero Two from her fate and she the one who’ll bring an end to this Jurassic post-apocalypse. Pretty damn obvious where Franxx is heading with this, but as usual the what, how, and when (i.e. when are main couple going to realize their childhood friend status?) are left completely up in the air. With Zero Two basically doing what Kokoro avoided previously and going full berserker—this time with no pistil immediately able to stop her (notice the lack of synergetic connection)—it’s very likely someone is going to get a face full of the crazy pink hair, and not the enjoyable kind. Whether it finally results in a character death is anyone’s guess at this point, but when the dust settles there are going to need to be some tangible answers because quite a few parasites are also starting to question certain happenings.
Well, that is unless our newly revealed APE special forces squad Nines swoops in to save the day of course. Whenever a “unique” squad appears you can bet on some story-related movement occurring soon, and with the head blondie making a run for Ichigo guaranteed the drama shenanigans are just getting started. Franxx may be halfway over, but I don’t think we’ve seen the best it has to offer just yet.