Hello, it’s Vincent here and I’ve got to be honest with you. I’m tired of hearing people talk trash about Darling in the Franxx, or perhaps even worse, tell me how the first sixteen episodes are perfection and then it all goes downhill from there into straight GAR-BAGE.
If you’re with me, then enjoy! If not, then buckle up, because this is going to be a bumpy ride. Oh, and of course, there’s spoilers, so only keep reading if you’ve seen the show!
The Animation and Music
You might be wondering, “why are we starting with the animation and music? No one is complaining about the that!” If so, then good. My idea is to start off with the easiest aspects of the show to agree upon before diving deeper into the more difficult subjects.
I mean can anyone seriously say this show is animated poorly? It might not be their preferred style, but you’d have a hard time convincing many people that this looks poor.
And don’t even get me started on the music. The entire official soundtrack is just amazing from beginning to end.
”Kiss of Death” is making waves among fans and disgruntled fans alike.
The song is captivating and gives off the emotion of this deadly but attractive presence that Zero Two brings.
You can watch a video by PhenomSage that wonderful breaks down the second opening and much of the symbolism it has. It gives a great perspective of how meticulously well designed the intro is. It’s almost as if the intro is so well done with its details, symbolism, and design, then this show would be as well.
You still here? Good! Before I just spout about how well these characters are written, let’s try and come up with some common ground we can agree upon.
I believe that while not in all cases, a three dimensional character is usually a good sign of a good character. If a character is two dimensional, they are far less believable and don’t leave any sort of impression on the viewer. Furthermore, they can be very one note and predictable.
So, how can we say for certain which characters are three dimensional in Darling?
While, there’s many different criteria, I like to follow these rules:
1. What’s this character’s main characteristics?
2. Do they ever differ from those characteristics?
3. Does this character have a goal?
4. Does this character challenge their beliefs?
You can take any main character from Darling in the Franxx and apply this to them and end up realizing that Kokoro or even Zorome are complex three dimensional characters.
Let’s take Futoshi for example, since he gets picked on by critics as being one of the more lackluster and “useless” characters in the series.
1. What’s this character’s main characteristics? Hungry, happy, and a good friend.
2. Do they ever differ from those characteristics? Futoshi gets angered by events that transpire throughout the series, even causing him to explode with anger and tears.
3. Does this character have a goal? Futoshi wants to be friends with everyone, wants to see them happy, and wants to Kokoro to be happy and taken care of.
4. Does this character challenge their beliefs? Futoshi’s beliefs are most challenged when the happy life he once envisioned with Kokoro begins to leave his grasp. Will he accept this? Will he accept Mitsuro as her new partner?
Futoshi is arguably the least three dimensional character of squad 13, yet he has a great bit of characteristics and challenges for him throughout this short series. After all, not every character can get several episodes dedicated to them. The time we spent with each character seemed well done, as it further developed those characters, the story, or both.
If you ask me, the weakest characters in the show are the 9’s. I couldn’t tell you any of their names aside from Alpha (did we learn them?) and Alpha, I only remembered because of the last moment we had with them.
Overall though, their inclusion was a net positive in my opinion. Having a little redemption for them thrown in at the end, also having some rivals to pit up against Zero Two and Squad 13 as a whole, was nice to see. Not every antagonist can be your main antagonist. So, let’s move on to the final and most important part.
Welcome to arguably the most subjective section. How am I supposed to convince anyone to like a story that they didn’t enjoy? Well, to be honest, I can’t.
However, I can address some main concerns I’ve seen.
Darling Should Be About Kids and Robots
Kotaku thinks that’s what this anime is about and because it has a deeper meaning then that, it misses its landing? Nope, sorry. Just because you didn’t know it was going to have more than kids and giant robots didn’t mean that we all missed the bigger picture.
I’m personally very thankful the show was more than that or else it wouldn’t have been a favorite of mine.
Many hate how Ikuno was treated in the show. Many think her story was shafted because more important world shattering events were taking place.
I honestly don’t know why this is even an issue. Many characters in many shows don’t have the happiest of endings. Ikuno on the other hand seemed happy getting her internal struggles off her chest, and where her relation went after the fact. Not to mention it seemed that her and Naomi had something going as well. I didn’t need to see more, because it already showed the arc from beginning to end, and I understand that journey. What more would there be to see?
I can’t remember where I read it, but someone said the show had been setting itself up for a rebellion arc and then turned it to fighting VIRN. While, a rebellion arc seemed like it could work and be obvious, that’s part of the issue, is it would have been obvious.
Now of course, you don’t want to do twists just for the sake of doing twists, that’s not good writing. And honestly, this twist does seem rather sudden. What makes it better however, is our characters acknowledge how crazy and sudden this twist is. This tells me the writer is self aware and meant to do this. Not only that, but you’re meant to be left in the dark during this as the characters are.
Comprising It’s “Third Time” Rule
This article talks about how the show compromised itself. Stating that it’s bad writing to set limits in your show and then to break them. The writer goes on to explain that, since Hiro broke the “three times” limit that it made the whole situation moot.
However, this isn’t true. Through this, we see tension rise among squad 13, we see how Zero Two handles the death of everyone she’s piloted with and we know that Hiro is going to be special in some way. I mean honestly, did you think he was going to die from that?
Luckily, unlike most anime. This actually seemed planned from the beginning and they explained why he’s the only one that can be Zero Two’s. It’s because he also have Klaxosaur blood. He has her Klaxosaur blood. Which all came from him wanting to help her and save her as a child.
They even had story relevant reasons explaining his amnesia, instead of just giving him amnesia like many other anime do.
That’s All For Today Darling
Well, I’m spent and I’m done rambling. Let me know your thoughts on Darling, whether they be good or bad! Is there a certain subject, you’d like me to write about, let me know!
Also, I have a Darling in the Franxx podcast called Hello Darling. New episodes release every Saturday night! I also have a newsletter, where I share free games, audio, and exclusives. You can subscribe for free here.