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Darling in the Franxx

There might be some times in your life where you feel like you don't belong. Perhaps the first time most people experience feeling outcast (and downcast) is when they are teens, which is why so many anime series often begin with a broody teenage protagonist's wistful monologue. This time, I am referring to Darling in the Franxx!

A sci-fi anime, the series takes place in a post-apocalyptic future where humanity has burrowed underground, having been driven to endangerment by giant beasts known as klaxosaurs. Habitats known as Plantation were established, where children are bred to be partnered in boy-girl pairs (Stamen-Pistil) called Parasites and pilot giant mecha known as Franxx. Hiro, initially viewed as a prodigy, becomes unable to pilot a Franxx after failing one of his tests, resulting in emotional stress and finallyy making him lose any desire he had in life. Hiro encounters 02, an infamous Franxx pilot with red horns on her head. She takes a liking to Hiro and after her partner is killed, she convinces Hiro to become her new partner, or "darling" as she calls him.

As the title suggests, Darling in the Franxx is about Hiro, the "Darling", riding in the Franxx, as he embarks on the journey of being part of a Parasite pair with an unorthodox partner. And as the Stamen-Pistil naming implies, the series is full of analogy to growth, puberty, and male-female relationships. 

Already established as the anime to watch this season, the series does fall prey to some common tropes, especially when it came to character design, which definitely lowered the excitement level for me. The first episode started the series off with a bang, with death, nudity, and the changing heart of an emo teen. However, while the story has been predictable enough so far, it seems promising enough for me to overlook it's current lack of complexity and look forward to further development of the plot.

For many, the most compelling reason to watch Darling in the Franxx is 02. Shrouded in mystery, and really cute to boot, 02 is more knowledgable about the world outside Plantations than the other Parasites and clearly has her own agenda. Watching everyone manoeuvre around her is quite interesting. I am also looking forward to seeing the Parasites, who still single-mindedly trust in the adults and "Papa" that they live and fight and die for, change as they interact with 02.

For me, Darling in the Franxx is reminiscent of NGE, but with less biblical references and more Stockholm Syndrome (perhaps the Stamen-Pistil thing might be social commentary, but I'm not into anime to over-contemplate things). Either way, I have a nagging feeling that these first 7 episodes are only the tip of the iceberg.

Written by Nana

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