DARLING in the FRANXX Episode 13: The Beast and The Prince
Hands down, the best episode to date. They gave us a full breakdown of the life of a Parasite, how they were raised, and the story of how Zero Two and Hiro had met, the tale of the Beast the Prince (can we all take a moment to appreciate how they featured it in the ED so we could actually read it? The art was absolutely stunning, and the story was freaking fantastic!), the promise under the mistletoe tree, to be each other’s Darling.
PROTECT ZERO TWO AT ALL COST! ; A ; SHE IS SO PRECIOUS!!!! I melted when she immediately thought of Hiro as her Prince. It hurts my hear to know, Zero Two has always remembered, but Hiro had lost his memories, and forgot about it. HOW DARE THOSE ADULTS TORTURE HER LIKE THAT!!!!!!
Up until this point, I wasn’t entirely convinced with why the children looked up to Hiro, but this episode did an excellent job of explaining what made Hiro unique, and most certainly changed my opinion on Hiro’s character, for the better.
Hiro wasn’t like the other children, he was able to develop a mind of his own, give himself a name (later give others a name thanks to Ichigo’s encouragement), question the things or actions that would not be answered, and mustered up the courage and strength within him to take action. And it Zero Two’s suffering was what gave him the drive to do just that.
But who would have thought Zero Two is the name Hiro had given to her in the first place! Better yet, the story of how they met just makes me love the two of them together even more. Hiro is undoubtedly her prince, and she is the beast who desires to be human after seeing the two of them have different coloured blood. The odds are she was promised to become Human under the condition she killed all the Klaxosaurs. The device she wears on her head is likely to also enable her “Human Form”.
“She ripped off her wings to become human. They fell in love and got married, but tragedy strikes, she woke up to pain and found her body turning into a beast. Using magic comes at a price, now it’s time to lose yourself and turn into an ugly monster the witch of the forest says. But if you kill the person you love most, you will be freed from the curse, and return to the beast you originally were. But in the end, she she didn’t kill him, she spared him and fled.” – The story of The Beast and The Prince
But here’s the thing, as I mentioned last week: At the end of the day, Hiro doesn’t care what she is. He simply loves her for who she is. The main reason why “Prince and the Beast” has a tragic end is because the beast didn’t have enough faith or confidence that the Prince would still love her as a hideous monster. As long he loves her for who she is, there would be no need for her to revert to sacrifice him in order to revert to her former self. And that, is the key to their happy ending, one Hiro can most certainly accomplish since he had fallen in love with her twice.
This brings about the next phase of their journey. The Prince has finally been “awakened”. The one who questioned the order, threatens to shake everything up and ruin APE’s plans. Hiro is one of the children who has witnessed the horrible things APE does to children, especially the likes of Zero Two (torturing her, who was just a child, by having her serve as their Lab Rat. This also explains why Zero Two hates going into examinations). And there is no doubt in my mind, Hiro is not going to go down quietly, but he knows better that he will need to be extra cautious, he knows from his past experience, if granted permission: they will kill him. He was lucky the first time because Dr. Franxx sees him as a unique specimen, but I don’t know if the geezer is willing to take that chance again.
However the biggest question of all is how he and Zero Two will proceed. The last thing they want to do is let the adults know they remember, because they might just try to make them forget all over again, or see him has too big of a threat, and eliminate him for once and for all. The most troubling part is the race against time. Dr. Franxx and the other top dogs will surely want to examine Hiro after having almost being consumed by Zero Two. They may actually have to decide right here, right now what to do. Opening up to the squad may not even be an option.
But if they are given the chance to: Will Hiro take it? Is he willing to open up to the rest of the squad about the things he had witnessed, and the adults’ scary side? Does he trust them enough to share all of that what he had forgotten? Will he tell Mitsuru he finally remembered their promise, and properly explain to him what happened (Zero Two can even vouch for him).
Hiro is everything APE higher-ups fears: An individual who is capable of thinking outside of the box, questioning orders, and have the charisma and ability to lead and motivate others to join his cause. Even though Hiro had lost his memories, ironically the most recent and dramatic impact he had left on the time was his dynamic and relationship with Zero Two. The feelings of love, jealousy, and developing relationships and better friendships between boys and girls, and the things they have accidentally discover, and the things they dare to question… all of these things are contributing to the individuality of each member of the unit.
The two characters besides Hiro and Zero two who are forging their own minds and are quickly becoming more critical thinkers are actually Goro and Kokoro. Goro has been doing this a lot more quietly, as he too was suspicious of the “lab test” they had to undergo, where as Kokoro is finding the courage to share her suspicions, by sharing her questions with the others. I think Ichigo has an inkling of suspicions herself, similarly to Goro, but isn’t quite there yet.
During the backstory Hiro and Zero Two, there is one particular individual that stood out to me. When Zero Two was imprisoned in a room, a blue figure glob thing she perceived as a “stand in mother” who come in and take care of her. On the last day, she gave Zero Two a gift, a picture book of “The Beast and the Prince”, that remains her most cherished gift to this day.
The first thing that occurred to me is how this woman looks similar to a Klaxosaur. On the final day, when she given her the gift, her body crumbled and disappeared. After that Zero Two was taken away by APE. It is a curious thing to think who and what the caretaker was, and I wonder if she has anything to do with how Zero Two attained this unique form.
The last point I wanted to make was the few times we saw a fluttering, glowing feather. The first time was when Hiro saw Zero Two fighting to get her picture book back, the second time was when he broke her out, and the third was when they made their promise under the mistletoe tree. Perhaps it was supposed to be a sign that these two were fated to be each other’s wings.