Since last weeks episode I have been looking forward to this weekend, for a chance to watch ‘Darling in The FranXX’ once again. I went in with a ton of excitement and optimism, and the episode did not disappoint. So let’s get right into it.
We were graced with an amazing opening theme of the series. The music choice and visuals really set the tone for next 11 episodes of the first half of the series. But after its initial airing, episode 2 has been the talk of ani-twitter and anime fans in general. For good as well as bad reasons. Let’s start with the good.
As always, Trigger & A-1 delivered breath-taking animation. Everything ran as smooth if not even smoother than last weeks episode. We also saw the main character, Hiro, receive a bit more character development. My initial impressions of him were that he was weak and sort of a pushover. Not really sure of what it was that he wanted to do. But after going through the experience with 02 and her FranXX Strelitzia, he seems to have become a new person. He is a lot more vocal and blunt about what he wants. Stating multiple times throughout the episode that he wants to pilot with 02 again. He wants to show everyone, including loud mouth Zorome, that he can actually pilot.
The side characters from last week were officially revealed as we learned their respective names, pairings and FranXX names as well. The person that caught my eye the most though was a character name Ichigo, the leader of the Parasites. She is very strong-willed, poised and clearly has feelings for Hiro. We see it when 02 sits next to Hiro during lunch and calls him darling, as well as when she tells her to stay away from Hiro later on in the episode. But it becomes crystal clear during the problematic segment that has some viewers in a fuss. Which brings us to the negative.
The way that a FranXX is piloted is by the Pistil and the Stamen. Which happens to be the female and male reproductive organs of a flower. Each FranXX is named after a flower as well. But the Pistil is in a very sexual position. On her stomach, back arched with her back area fully visible and accessible to the Stamen. Now, the Stamen sits behind the Pistil and grabs hold of the braces that eject from the Pistil’s waist. The pair then connects. You can tell the connection is in sync when the Pistil lets out a sigh of pleasure or relief, emulating the sensation of sex, or an orgasm.
The issue that some seem to have with this involves the topic or sexual agency. In the previous episode it is clear that 02 is completely aware of her sexual prowess, as she projects it on to Hiro multiple times. She also kisses him to invoke his “hidden power” while they pilot Strelitzia. The Parasites themselves are completely unaware of things like sex, kisses etc but they do feel attraction. In this episode it is very clear that Ichigo is attracted to Hiro, she goes out of her way to help him. She herself believes that she can bring out Hiro’s “hidden power” just like 02 did. This is implying that Ichigo believes that she can turn Hiro on and please him just as much or even better than 02 ever could.
But during the mock battle with Zorome and Miku, Delphinium (Ichigo’s FranXX), stops working. Implying that Hiro lost his attraction or trust in Ichigo. The anime was subtly telling us that Hiro basically couldn’t get it up with Ichigo like he could with 02. This leads Ichigo to ask what 02 did differently, which leads to the ‘KISS’. Like I stated before none of these kids know anything about sex or kissing. Which is why Ichigo was so confused while Hiro was explaining it to her. She does end up kissing him in hopes that she can turn him back on essentially, but nothing happens.
After feeling what she thought was shame and rejection, Ichigo attempts to pilot Delphinium alone, which is extremely dangerous and deadly. After the mock battle was declared over Hiro attempts to apologize, while the only thing Ichigo could say through her tears was “You weren’t that good”… I can see where some viewers would be upset by this. By having the over sexualized girl steal the main character away from the clueless, inexperienced girl with the crush, it could very well end up being problematic. By forcing the concept of sex upon these characters it could make the series hard to watch for some.
But it is only the second episode of the series. Kill La Kill had a lot of the same over sexualized themes and many people thought they could predict exactly how it was going to end. They couldn’t have been more wrong as we received an ending that no one could have imagined the series to go for. It ended up being a very enjoyable anime to watch. I’m sure DITF will follow the same path, people just have to keep an open mind and give the series time to breathe and grow on its own. Overall I’m really enjoying this anime. From the animation all the way down to the soundtrack. I’m very interested to see where the characters and story goes from here.
Until next week.