DARLING in the FRANXX Episode 24 [FINAL]
After all the shit we gone through in the last couple of episodes, the finale was a beautiful one. It even managed to make me tear up how all of my babies were able to find happiness. But at the same time, it was also a bittersweet end for Zero Two and Hiro, who were never going to return to Earth, at least not within their friends’ remaining lifespans, nor as their former selves. We knew this was going to happen, but it still sad, even for someone like myself who didn’t really care for the two that much.
Back on Earth, their friends however were able to finish the unfinished picture book, making sure that the two of them would be able to find their happy ending. And sure enough, after deceasing in battle against the VIRMS (who ultimately remain), the two are later reincarnated and meet again as children under the sakura tree that was left behind after Zero Two’s body shattered on Earth. But my favourite part had to be just seeing how Squad 13 grown up, how those who survived have collectively ditched the VIRM’s way of life and return to the traditional lifestyle that helped enable the planet to become healthy once more.
Kokoro had a successful childbirth, she and Mitsuru named their (adorable) daughter Ai, and later on had three more children. Futoshi ended up marrying someone outside of the circle, has two kids of his own, Ikuno seems to have been paired up with Naomi, and together, the two of them have played a major role of filling the void of science that Dr. Franxx has left behind. Thanks to Ikuno’s research, she was able to figure out a way to slow down a Parasite’s accelerated aging process, which played a big role in keeping her alive for this long as well. Goro and Ichigo ended up together, having a child of their own. Goro’s job however involves traveling the world for more knowledge, (I squealed when he kissed her, I didn’t realize how badly I needed that), but he’s making sure he’s back on time to be there for their childbirth. Oh and Hachi even confessed to Nana in his own way. He says he doesn’t have emotions, but I beg to differ. He obviously loves her. God I wanted to see those two kiss so bad!!!!
DARLING in the FRANXX started off as a weird show that either completely turned people off, or reeled people in. But it’s TRIGGER, what do you expect? They are always going to push the boundaries and do something crazy. And their collaboration with A-1 Pictures was no exception. But this is also why TRIGGER’s shows are always a hit or miss for me, and this is one of the first besides Little Witch Academia I have watched, let alone cover.
And I liked this show a lot. All I wanted was the characters to get out alive and have a happy ending, for most part that’s exactly what ended up happening (with the exception of our main couple). But while this show had a strong start, the story made me very hopeful for the future… until we reached the mid-point of the series. It was around then when they started to rush relationships (ie: Kokoro x Mitsuru, a great couple, but had a terribly rushed storyline), and seemingly thrown everything out the window when they decided to drop of the bomb of the Alien Invaders called VIRM, threatening to blow up the planet. I think a lot of us can agree it was then when the story started to go downhill. It was frustrating to see how a lot of things were ignored, new discoveries but never properly followed up on nor explained or even used! Repetitive conflicts that should have already resolved and more. But among them all, here are some of my biggest criticisms that come to mind:
The Neglected Trio: Miku, Zorome and Futoshi were the three most neglected characters. It frustrated me that Miku and Futoshi were left on the sidelines while Zorome was lucky enough to get one episode. It can be argued that Ikuno should be included, but she was always a quiet character, but otherwise had a solid presence (even more so than Miku and Futoshi) that was enough to foreshadow and eventually confirm that she loved Ichigo. It is probably worth to also include the Nines, who proved to be a group of fascinating characters that were quickly killed off as soon as they started to fight for themselves.
The Cardboard Cut-Out Hero: Hiro’s character was unbelievably bland, and there was absolutely nothing about him that made me like him, nor feel attached to him whatsoever. Whenever he was on screen, he bored me out of my mind. Of course he wasn’t a perfect character, he had his flaws and his weaknesses, but I was just not able to connect with him.
Zero Two: She’s an interesting case. She is a cute girl, and is hands down the most popular character of the entire show, yet I just couldn’t bring myself to care about her either. There were a number of times when I felt the writers gave her a jail-free pass for some of the horrible things she has done to Squad 13, the time where Hiro apologized on her behalf was one of the most noticeable ones that irked me. They could have allowed her to do it, but the decided not to. Yes, Zero Two undergone the most dramatic character development, but it’s cop outs like these that watered down the impact.
Missed Opportunity: I said it before and I will say it again, it frustrated the hell out of me to see after all this time, the build up to Squad 13 rebelling against Papa (VIRM) didn’t happen. Instead they had VIRM abandon them first, effectively discarding them before they had the chance to revolt. I really wanted to see them do it, especially after how long it took them to finally get it in their heads that VIRM didn’t give a damn about them, and they were merely disposable tools.
Rushed Pregnancy: It is such a shame that Mitsuru’s and Kokoro’s relationship didn’t really get the time to flourish properly before they banged. They are such a great couple, that it saddened me they hardly gotten any air time after their memories were wiped. Unlike Zero Two and Hiro, I found them to be a lot more interesting, and invested in what was going to become of them. What sucks is that was pretty much the sole purpose of their roles in this show: to be one of the firsts to “organically” have a child, paving a path of hope for the future generations.
In the end, DARLING in the FRANXX is a story that revolved around understanding what makes them Human. Under VIRM’s guidance, Humanity destroyed the planet by extracting Magma, abandoned their lifestyles to live in pods of “Paradise”, and more or less abandoned and forgotten what it means to be Human. The Parasites who were born and bred for the sake of serving as pilots of the FRANXX, were wired to obey orders as the perfect soldiers. Love, friendships and free-will was never part of the equation, and anyone who dared to question or defy the order would undergo emotional indoctrination. Dr. FRANXX however wanted to challenge VIRM’s ways by drawing out their new potential, by carefully picking out certain Parasites to undergo his experiment of empowering them with the ability to make their own decisions and rediscover what it means to be “Human” again. His final experiment with Squad 13 is ultimately a success, as they played crucial role of being able to make critical decisions for themselves when all order is loss. They end up being the guides to the survivors, teaching them what they have learned in order to return to the traditional way of life, that has been long forgotten.