DARLING in the FRANXX Ep. 17: Forbidden love

Puberty finally runs wild, and Mitsuru and Kokoro are the first victims. Who’s next? For this week’s episode, I’ll just stick to my notes and observations. There’s a lot to cover and sift through. I couldn’t find one topic to focus on, so that’s why I’m going with the scatterbrain approach for now. Anyways…

— Girl, why do you need to sharpen your horns? Are you gonna headbutt anyone?

— Oh lord, this is so cheesy. I almost wish they still hated each other.

— The Nines pay the kids a visit, but only some of them. Where are the ones with the facemask? How come they don’t get to tag along?

— These kids still love Papa too much. Miku melts as soon as she hears that Papa is still worried about them, but actions speak louder than words. Where has Papa been if he cares so damn much? Then again, she’s just a kid so I guess you can’t hold it against her.

— Ugh, the Nines want to move in. I gotta say… I don’t particularly care for them. I don’t find them interesting as characters, and Nine Alpha is especially annoying with his fake-ass demeanor. It’s bizarre to me that no one sees through it. Maybe Zero-Two does, but no one else seems to say anything about it.

— All of the survivors have been gathered into one place? A camp? A… death camp?! Nah, I’m just kidding. I know DitF fans have been kinda on edge lately, i.e. “Is that a death flag? Is that a death flag?” I dunno, I’m starting to feel… a little weary, I suppose?

— With Miku’s prematurely graying hair in last week’s episode, I get the feeling that these kids are supposed to die young. Well, I think the show’s been hinting at this theory right from the start, but we just never had any evidence to support it until now.

— Hmm, the Nines make it seem like Nana and Hachi are the bad guys. But why? Aren’t those two on Papa’s side as well? Maybe not. Maybe Dr. Franxx has gone rogue, and Nana is just caught up in the mess. It sure seems like the Nines are here to gather information on the situation so that they can report back to Papa.

— Nine Alpha calls Squad 13 hopelessly imperfect. Does it matter? Who is perfect? Surely not his smiling ass.

— Also, he wants to know how long Zero-Two is going to keep pretending to be human. Again, does it matter? I guess a distinction has to be made. She will never be biologically human, so there’s that. But being human as a mindset is a separate thing entirely. And according to this anime, being human as a mindset seems to entail working together, forming a community, being sentimental, so on and so forth. There’s no reason why she can’t be human in that case.

— So Zero-Two predictably rejects the name that Papa had given her. She obviously has issues with Papa, which we’ve known for a while now. This is just the latest example to add to the bucket, and as such, this is precisely why I don’t understand her reticence to speak up about Papa to the other kids. At the very least, she should talk to Hiro. Yo, this is what I know about Papa and the adults, and this is why I don’t trust them. I understand that the other kids — especially Zorome and Miku — would flip out if you talk badly about Papa, but if you can’t confide in your darling, then is he really your darling? Communicate, communicate, communicate. But of course, it’s not that she can’t communicate. It’s more that she conveniently won’t, because this is a lazy form of storytelling. You create drama by continually keeping characters in the dark. They don’t share information with each other as much as they should.

— Oh dear, Hiro has horns now. Do the other kids know about this? Does… Ichigo know?

— Zero-Two thinks that his transformation might be due to him ingesting her blood from way back when. She seems dejected at the fact that she may have “drastically altered [Hiro’s] destiny,” but it’s probably not a bad thing. Maybe salvation for these kids lie in becoming half-klaxosaur as well. Assuming that their lives are horribly finite, maybe they need to embrace the dino-blood to continue living. Just speculation. Still, Zero-Two opened the episode with a short monologue about how everything eventually comes to an end. Some just sooner than later. Maybe she’s talking about the kids’ short lives, maybe she’s not. Shrug.

— So coooooooorny. Ugh, my cynical heart can’t take it. Nah, it’s sweet. I’m just… I dunno, it’s just a little too innocent for me.

— Well, at least they kissed.

— The guy is just happy to share something with her, but Zero-Two would still rather be more like Hiro. After all they’ve been through, I would’ve hoped that she’d get over her issues about being biracial just a little, but maybe not. Maybe she still wishes to be human.

— Zero-Two finally tells Hiro that Papa had convinced her to kill klaxosaurs if she wanted to become human. This… this is what I want. More of this, please. The girl isn’t outright telling Hiro that “PAPA IZ BAD, ADULTZ ARE BAD,” but it’s a start. She’s seen so much and experienced so much. As such, she needs to tell at least Hiro what she knows. You cannot act without information. All these kids have been doing for the past two episodes is sit on their asses and understandably so, because they have no clue what they’re up against. Zero-Two (and maybe Hiro too) is the only one with some semblance of an idea that Papa is up to no good, so she needs to cough up the deets.

— Look, don’t get me wrong. I still like the show, and I still look forward to it every Saturday. But at this current juncture, I also want the characters to start taking control of their fates. I’m getting a little burnt out, I guess, with the lack of action. Not action as in fighting action, but action as in taking positive steps towards their future. They’re still just waiting on something to happen to them as opposed to seizing their fates by the horns.

— Oh god, Hiro’s a shit artist. It’s fine. I’m a shit artist, too. I can’t draw at all. There’s something weird with my nerves. I can’t even draw a straight line if I wanted to.

— You should eat it.

This guy clearly has a female voice actor. Is he really a guy though? Maybe I’ve been presumptuous. Maybe I’ve assumed his or her gender. I’m not being snarky; I legitimately don’t know. Maybe the Nines are actually biologically androgynous. Maybe they are perfect compared to Squad 13 precisely because they are an amalgamation of both sexes. As such, you can swap their roles around as necessary. After all, we’ve already seen Nine Alpha serve as a pistil. Other than him, no other male has been a pistil before.

— The guy (or girl) tells Kokoro not to tell anyone about their exploration, and she just agrees? These kids are way too trusting.

— Oh no, Nine Alpha is not pleased about Kokoro’s contraband.

— Why does this look like a shot straight out of a horror movie about dolls? Plus, does she really just sit there and play with her doll like that? God, I know I come from a world full of distractions, but I’d be so bored living in that dormitory. Ain’t got a single computer to play with.

Bad touch, bad touch! You guys haven’t learned about the birds and the bees yet!

— I bet you she never caressed Futoshi like that either. So this is the character development that her voice actress was referring to in the SP episode.

— C’mon, are you telling me that this is the first time she’s been curious about a boy’s body? After all these years, this is the first time?!

— Plus, you might want to do this in a place that doesn’t have glass walls.

— I think it’s silly to place the burden of hope on our offspring. I get what Kokoro is saying; we can live forever through our kids. But I dunno, it feels like a selfish sentiment. I don’t want to create life just so that it can carry my legacy.

Zorome has such a way with words. He accuses them of trying to imitate Hiro and Zero-Two, but those two haven’t done anything remotely sexual. Not really, anyways. They just innocently kiss. I don’t recall Zero-Two ever trying to strip the guy. They don’t even make out.

— I find it weird to get water from the same place that you would bathe in. I know you can sanitize the water, but still… maybe I’m squeamish about nothing.

— Mitsuru is trying to talk to Hiro about Kokoro, but the latter brings up his broken promise out of nowhere. Bro, I know you’re the hero of the story, but it doesn’t always have to be about you. Nah, I’m not being serious. I just find this funny.

— Damn, that was fast. I guess she’s always treated him warmly. Ikuno is cold to everyone but Ichigo, and the other kids are just friendly with Mitsuru at best. Kokoro is the only person to really reach out to the guy when he was obviously having issues earlier on in the story.

— Zorome is amusingly childish: “All I did was ask if a boy and a girl getting all clingy was the cool thing to do?” You can imagine him following up with, “Like, should do it too? Hey, Miku!”

— Still, it’s kinda shitty to have your private matters revealed to the entire team. Futoshi’s going to whine now, I’m sure.

— God, give it a rest, man.

— Oh man, look at Nine Alpha’s facade fade away.

Run for the hills, Mitsuru.

— It would make sense for Papa to ban the act of baby-making. You don’t want the lower classes to procreate too much. You need their warm bodies to exploit, but at the same time, they might overthrow you if their population becomes too big. Of course, in our world, you can’t prevent people from procreating. It just happens, and then people start whining about how there’s “too much diversity.” For something as life-changing as the process of childbirth, it is also shockingly easy. You just stick this fleshy bit into this fleshy place over here, and voila. You don’t even have to be good at sex to have kids. In this world, however, slaves can be created. As a result, it’s best if said slaves never realize that they can seize control of their own futures by procreating and thus establishing their own society. They should remain as kids forever, because kids are always dependent on their parents.

— About the boy and girl thing, she’s not wrong with regards to procreation and specifically procreation. The anime isn’t saying that love can’t exist between a boy and a boy, or a girl and a girl. Clearly, it does. Ikuno cares for Ichigo, after all. Just because Ichigo doesn’t reciprocate those feelings doesn’t suddenly render them null and void. But if you want to procreate, it’s a different story. Sure, we can get into stuff like artificial insemination, but then we’d just be losing sight of the forest for the trees.

— Unfortunately, I do think that this sort of sentiment is selfish, especially when you consider how difficult these kids’ lives are. I wouldn’t want to condemn a child to this existence.

— Nine Alpha: “Humans have evolved and cast their reproductive functions aside in the process. Reject that, and we’ll all have to go back to conforming to one gender.” Huh Is he talking about women? Is he saying that women suck? Ikuno walks up and slaps him, but no really, is he really saying that women suck because childbirth compels us to conform to them? His “logic” just doesn’t even make sense to me.

— God, I hate this fucking trope. Nine Alpha looks down on Ikuno’s emotional outburst, because emotions are oh-so-unnecessary. Humanity has, like, totally transcended emotions, because logic ownz. They make it sound like it’s so logical to cast aside emotions, but uh, every single psychologist out there would tell you that emotions are necessary to our survival. This is just one such article. I’m just saying… for such an advanced society to come to this conclusion is ridiculous. Very few educated people look down on emotions. Only those who are not well-rounded would fall into this trap.

— So to be clear, all of this nonsense about ignoring the kids is all thanks to Dr. Franxx’s orders. He’s acting against Papa’s wishes. Or at the very least, whatever he’s doing has not been officially sanctioned. Dr. Franxx isn’t a good guy either, though. No hero would ever torture a young child. Papa and Dr. Franxx are after two different goals, but neither of them can be trusted.

— According to Nana, reproductive organs are necessary for piloting the FRANXX. Why do you gotta design them like that, though? The mechas are artificially created, right? So it had to have been designed this way, right?

— When Kokoro brings up their emotions, Nana suddenly has a fit. Huh. After Kokoro runs out, Nine Alpha peeks into the room from the side and taunts the woman for possibly “[relapsing] into puberty.” Haha, what? In any case, she might get replaced as a result of this “relapse.”

— Hachi barely even reacts to any of this. Dude has transcended emotions.

— Oh, these two used to be parasites. They merely underwent “emotional indoctrination” to become what they are now. So the kids can grow up and get old. Well shit, there goes that theory.

— Naturally, as a scientist, Dr. Franxx is gathering data: “The development of humanity’s original reproductive instincts…” I dunno, it seems a little mundane for a experiment, but I guess I have to keep in mind that in this universe, this sort of knowledge has been lost to the annals of time.

— Continuing on with the puberty theme, this looks like a pimple. But it’s probably just a volcano like how a cigar is just a cigar (or is it?).

— I love elevators and elevator rides. It’s such an anime staple. Let’s proceed to discuss super important topics while we’re on this elevator.

— We’re finally getting a sneak peek at klaxosaur society. In fact, they apparently have great technology. They just happen to live underground. Hmmm, could it be? Are klaxosaurs really humans that escaped to the subterranean world in order to stave off extinction? I know a few commenters have made that suggestion, but I’m not too thrilled by this potential development.

— So humans and klaxosaurs have been at war for nearly a century, but after the arguably successful battle at the Gran Crevasse, the Sages believe that they are destined to win. As a result, representatives are meeting with the princess of the klaxosaurs in hopes of negotiating a favorable peace treaty.

— Oh dear, they pissed the princess off. She can scream her words directly into your mind. I know, I know, that sounds just like regular talking, but bear with it.

— I’m amused that this little dude thinks he can assassinate the princess right where she sits. Do you not see the giant-ass dragon-thing behind her? Plus, do you really think the most important person in the entire klaxosaur society would just let you walk up and kill her? I thought sages were supposed to spec highly into wisdom.

— Of course, she also has sick tentacle powers of her own as well as a pair of lizard bois to help her out.

Maybe you should’ve just sent an email.

— The Sages have no faces? They are just human wannabes? Who are the real humans then?

— Is this just another waifu that the internet is going to meme about?!

— Sex education is so lacking these days.

— Zero-Two says that she can’t give birth. Hm. Would make sense. It’s like how most mules are infertile. Am I calling Zero-Two a mule? Maybe. On a more serious note, Hiro seems a bit despondent afterwards.

— Ikuno, too, is a bit shaken by everything that has unfolded. Like Zero-Two, she wouldn’t be able to leave her mark on the future if she truly loves Ichigo and only Ichigo, but at the same time, the heart wants what it wants. Maybe we’ll soon get an episode which will wrap up her character arc.

— Well, they might not have been taught about sex, but Mitsuru and Kokoro sure figured it out real quick.

— One of the sages: “And now, they’ll feel the pain of having their earth scorched by their own creation.” The humans above surface were created by the klaxosaurs?!

— I like the pink hue to the planet, though.

6 thoughts on “DARLING in the FRANXX Ep. 17: Forbidden love

  1. sonicsenryaku

    Wow..Atsushi Nishigori is really trying to make his own Evangelion….you know except…it’s…uhmmm..it’s not as good. That aside, this was the first episode surprisingly enough where I wasn’t rolling my eyes as much throughout the episode. The confluence of the children’s drama under the oppressive interrogation of nine’s was illustrated decently well and it’s good to see Kokoro’s whole curiosity about sexual reproduction bear fruit. However, I once again find myself wishing there was much more to these characters; or better yet, that the conflicts each of these characters have been experiencing for the past 17 eps had been handled a bit more perspicaciously. Like dammit, is it too much to ask for a coming of age story to have characters that are well….3 dimensional?

    Kokoro’s growing desperation to procreate makes sense considering the gravity of the children’s situation beyond her just wanting to preserve her legacy through a child. She’s also just stressed and scared and as you already know, we tend to be more driven to having sex in such physiological states. Yea, a part of that is a self-preservation response to danger, but i can’t help but think that Kokoro’s emotional stress is provoking her body to yearn for some sexual release, which she just happens to also rationalize as needing to live on through the next generation. This is why we see Mitsuru and Kokoro embrace sex together (which i’m sure the internet is going to go wild about because anime as lowered the bar and the concept of sex in a series is just mind-blowing) during their emotional low

  2. Pia

    A confusing and really busy episode, Zero Two and Hiro getting some intimate time together is nice, but is also scary since you know everything can go south next week.
    I’m curious to see what will happen to Nana, she might get brainwashed or get replaced entirety?
    Also, Klaxosaur princess apperance isn’t doing it for me, her design screams anime waifu, I’m sure our heroes will find a way to redeem her or to join forces with her.

    Kokoro’s behaviour while genuine, it was kinda disturbing, her character changed a lot since she got child making book and this made me think that maybe everything she did from there onwards was for that purpouse, a new window of possibilites opened in front of her, that’s why she dumped her annoying
    partner Futoshi for a new one in Mitsuru at the first chance of swaping.

    I know she cares for Mitsuru but things are going way too fast, Mitsuru is barely acknowledging his feelings for her and she wants to have babies now just because she wants to keep her legacy alive or so she says, not because is something natural that should only happen in a loving couple that take the risk, her reasoning is indeed selfish but then again you can’t really blame her, she lives in a f*ck up future, so she doesn’t know any better.

    Now I fear for Mitsuru, I hate to think like this but Kokoro just passed her flag to him.

    There’s a lot of things happening with this anime, can’t wait for next week.

    1. Sean Post author

      Kokoro’s behaviour while genuine, it was kinda disturbing,

      Yeah, I call it selfish to have kids just to leave a legacy behind, but I was speaking generally. I’m merely criticizing people around me who want to have kids just to have kids.

      As for Kokoro specifically, I don’t think she masterminded anything. She’s undergoing puberty (like all of them), so she’s beginning to develop her own identity. When you’re young, you tend to go with the flow. She was paired with Futoshi, so she went with it and did her best to be the ideal partner. But teenagers are all about rebellion, and although she’s not really rebelling per se, she’s finally beginning to voice her needs and wants. Part of that was “breaking up” with Futoshi for her own reasons. Maybe she didn’t like how he fawned over her. Maybe she just didn’t like him in that way period. Either way, I don’t think these characters are underdeveloped in anyway. All we’ve done is spent time with them. I think their feelings are pretty clear and obvious.

  3. anonymous

    Well in a more advanced society people would manage their emotions better rather than making wild leaps of judgement and poor decisions. Most of the history of philosophy has been an attempt not to extinguish your emotions but to manage them and not let fleeting feelings misinform or control you.

  4. cawaii_cat

    Typical male perspective as we’re talking about puberty and baby making with no mention of periods. If they make a big deal out of all these little things (oh my gosh, the kids can make food by themselves!?!), seems like starting a period would be mentioned. Therefore, my hypothesis is that the kids are infertile.

  5. Pingback: Looking back at 2018 – Moe Sucks

Please refrain from posting spoilers or using derogatory language. Basically, don't be an asshole.

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.