DARLING in the FRANXX Ep. 19: The truth behind everything

I hope you’re prepared to learn more about Dr. Franxx than you ever wished to know. 

— Dr. Franxx isn’t happy that the sages screwed with Kokoro and Mitsuru’s memories. He even mutters to himself, “They don’t hesitate to use forceful means to achieve their ends. But I’m no different.” I wonder if the years have made him soft. Maybe he regrets what he’s done. He still has some semblance of humanity in him. On the other hand, I don’t think you can say the same about the sages.

— 2025 AD? Oh boy, here we go…

— Not surprisingly, Dr. Franxx looked normal back then. God, I want immortality too, but it’s gotta be a drag to live so long.

— APE, a.k.a Papa and the sages, was a thing back then, too. The story never explains how they came about… just how they rose to power.

— Well, this is no surprise: one of Dr. Franxx’s primary research topics was cloning.

— Oh come on, they wore those stupid masks back then too? Well, at least we now know they used to be human. Can’t say if they still are, though. I mean, when the princess of the klaxosaurs killed one of them, it looked like he was hollow on the inside. And if Nine Alpha is to be believed, It’s also interesting how they seem to have something against women even though there’s a woman in their ranks. But maybe she’s since discarded her gender.

— Magma as an energy source is pretty out there… not sure I love this giant exposition dump. I wish the writers could’ve given us bits and pieces of this information throughout the course of the series instead.

This lady seems too nice to be one of those APE jerks. Something bad’s gonna happen to her. I just know it. After all, she doesn’t exist in any form in the present. Plus, it looks like APE never goes anywhere without their stupid masks. I wonder why. What do they have against their actual faces?

— Apparently, magma energy can even help humans achieve immortality. Seriously. Who knew molten rock could be so amazing? I really wanna know how the writers came up with this idea. Humanity didn’t stumble upon some mystery element with special features. Humanity didn’t tap into dark matter and/or energy. Nope, it’s goddamn magma. “Look, the solution to all of our problems have been right beneath our noses this entire time!”

— So how would magma energy even make someone immortal? You just stick them in a bath, and infuse the liquid around them with magical magma powers?

— He was just Dr. Frank back then. I just find that funny: “Ahem, it’s now spelled ‘F-R-A-N-X-X,’ if you don’t mind.”

— So humanity can no longer reproduce if it becomes immortal. Our minds and bodies are fragile or something. He then starts getting all philosophical on us, though: “More than anything, it strips us of all beauty.” Eh.

— Immortality to Dr. Franxx seems to imply stagnancy, and I can see where he’s coming from. There’s no point in reaching that “next step” in our evolution if reproduction is impossible. These adults are only immortal in the sense that their cells are not programmed to die. They can still, however, lose their lives to an outside threat, i.e. the klaxosaurs. So if humanity can’t adapt to new threats and have to resort to cloning, it is always in danger of being wiped out by any random catastrophic event. This is kinda Biology 101. Genetic variation is important.

— You bet your ass I’d choose to be immortal over having kids. I’m not immortal now and I still don’t want kids.

Makes sense.

— We already have something like this in one country.

— Desertification must have led to great amounts of human migration since those skyscrapers are in ruins. Not surprisingly, mining for magma energy destroys the environment.

— Y’know, this is kinda like a smorgasbord of 21st century problems. Class divides are bad! Fracking is bad! Low reproduction rates are bad! Technology that extends our lifespans is bad! None of this is untrue, and I’ve said in the past, I don’t mind a lack of subtlety. The heavy-handedness here doesn’t bother me. But what I do mind is getting all of this moralizing in the first third of one episode. Like I’ve said, I wish they could’ve spread this out. Instead, DARLING in the FRANXX ends up wielding its message like a cudgel. It’s like when you hang out with that one passionate uncle who likes to talk about what he’s read in the news. You only ever see him during the holidays, so when he rants, he rants about everything.

— Anyways, back to the kids… Futoshi is mad at Kokoro. Because she’s lost her memories, she thinks she’s supposed to be partnered up with him. I can see why he’s mad. Yeah, he wants to be with her, but not like this. I gotta give the kid props. I don’t really like him as a character, but he could’ve easily deluded himself into thinking that this was his golden opportunity to lay his claim to Kokoro’s heart (no pun intended). But he knows better.

Harsh. But to be fair, he only got close to her because she reached out to him when he was at his lowest. She reached out to him when nobody else would. And he was at his lowest thanks to his distraught feelings for Hiro at the time. That’s not gonna happen again.

— I find it strange that she would still wear that tacky ring even though it no longer holds any sentimental value to her.

— Oh no, more flashbacks.

Karina did her hair and got all dressed up for him, and he was completely unaware of her feelings. In these stories, they always have some poor woman falling in love with an emotionally unavailable mad scientist. It’s a pretty tired trope.

— So where were the environmental groups? Surely, APE must have faced their opposition. Yes, we’ve been told that the group wielded an incredible amount of economic and political influence across the entire globe, but you can’t convince me that there weren’t any protesters or perhaps even eco-terrorists.

— And what about the religious groups. Even if it’s true that people gradually trend towards secularism over time, there’s no way the whole immortality business would’ve gone down without a hitch. It’s just hard to imagine that such gargantuan social changes never faced any sort of massive resistance.

— Ah, the very first time humanity ever saw klaxosaur. They’re attracted to the magma mines, because the excessive mining is hurting the planet. This almost reminds me of the Weapons in Final Fantasy VII. When the planet was in danger, behemoths awakened to protect it. Sounds like the same damn scenario here. Of course, FF7 didn’t have a sexy loli princess leading the charge, but that could always change with the remake…

— As an aside, if the sages love magma so much, they really should’ve developed space-faring technology. Io, one of Jupiter’s moons, is just sitting there, ripe for the taking.

— We see a scene in which Dr. Franxx ditched Karina for research purposes. She should’ve known what she was getting into. People don’t instantly change in their adulthood. He’s been this way for decades, so he’s likely going to stay this way for the rest of his life.

— Y’know… the Weapons in the Final Fantasy series are also biomechanical.

— All klaxosaurs are female? Then again, every core has a child within it. So all klaxosaurs are pregnant… in a way. And you kill them by killing their babies. Yeesh.

— Why are nerds always so scared of women?

How sad. I doubt she ever got to have that child she always wanted either.

— So all klaxosaurs are female, and all anti-klaxosaur weapons are also female. How fun.

— So you can’t pilot a FRANXX if you are infertile. This means that our kids can have babies. Hmm. Anyways, since Karina is one of the few people left on this planet who won’t sign up for immortality, it makes sense that she’d volunteer to be a test subject. Boy, wouldn’t it be cliche if this very experiment resulted in her death?

lol yep

— She was only 44 when she died. What a shame. Karina could’ve been happy if she hadn’t tied her heart down to Dr. Franxx. She’s a bit old to start having kids, but technology at that point might have been able to negate any sort of birth defects.

— It’s not a curse, dude. You just suck.

— So male-female pairings help to alleviate the stress of piloting a FRANXX. Eh, that’s kinda lame. I was hoping for a better explanation. After all, if stress is the primary problem, why can’t same-sex partners perform the same function? I was hoping instead that Dr. Franxx was just that obsessed with rediscovering human reproduction, and as a result, the mechas were specifically designed to encourage opposite sex relationships at all costs. Because if we think about it, the Nines don’t have to go through this same nonsense. It’s only Dr. Franxx who still sees reproduction as this amazing accomplishment for humanity.

— One of the most important things to learn as kids is realizing that adults aren’t infallible. Everyone has their reasons, but reasons can be bad, too.

— These kids are too nice. They’re not angry enough: “I’m thinking of directly asking Papa to return Mitsuru and Kokoro to normal.” How calm of Hiro.

— Oh hey, it’s Hachi and Nana.

— What? The adults living within the plantations eventually forgot about the klaxosaurs? But didn’t that old lady praise Zorome for fighting to protect adults like her?

— So the leader of the klaxosaurs back then was a queen? But the leader is a princess now? Maybe the one that we see now is a descendant… who looks exactly like her ancestor.

— Dr. Franxx neglected Karina, but he’s enthralled by this basic anime waifu. Typical of a otaku.

— Honestly, she kinda looks like early Lady Gaga.

Gross. It sounds like he’s getting an orgasm just from her licking his hand.

This explains a lot.

— We still don’t know where Zero-Two came from, so there’s probably yet another exposition-laden episode in our future.

— The sages tell Hiro that it’s impossible to recover Mitsuru and Kokoro’s lost memories, but… that’s not true. Zero-Two didn’t lose her memories. They were just locked away deep inside her. I think the same was true with Hiro as well.

— “It’ll go on your permanent record!” Even in a dystopian anime future, adults use this sort of thing as a threat against children.

— Zorome wants to know how many more klaxosaurs they need to kill to become adults. The sages have no answer. The kid starts to cry: “Do we really only exist to pilot FRANXX and die?” Yep.

— There’s still the whole mystery with that giant klaxosaur hand. Like, why did it emerge just to save these kids from death back in episode 15? If I recall correctly, they were about to die to a self-destructing klaxosaur, right? If the giant hand hadn’t intervened, Hiro’s teammates wouldn’t be alive. But afterwards, we’ve all but forgotten about the giant hand.

— Hiro tells the sages that he’ll no longer see them as their Papa, but he’ll still obey them for the time being. He’ll still carry out the “next mission,” whatever the hell it is. He only demands that the sages set them free afterwards. Um, do you really think the sages are just gonna going to do that? I know, I know, they’re kids, so they’re naive. But there’s also eight of them (including Zero-Two). I wish one of them would at least be skeptical. I wish one of them would at least say, “We can’t trust Papa. He’s not just going to let us go freely. We should prepare ourselves for a fight.” ‘Cause look, they weren’t prepared whatsoever for the raid that took Kokoro and Mitsuru away, and there’s no reason to think that Papa and his ilk won’t pull the same stunt again.

— For now, the sages will placate Hiro and his team. They act as if they agree to the kids’ terms. But obviously, I don’t trust them, and I don’t think the kids should either. It’s frustrating to watch Hiro walk right into what looks to be an obvious trap.

— Plus, APE has it out for the princess of the klaxosaurs, so it’s possible that assassinating her will be involved in the kids’ next mission. I’d like to question whether or not they want to do this. It’s clear that the klaxosaurs aren’t the bad guys. I mean, it was clear from the start of the series, but now more than ever, it’s apparent that the klaxosaurs aren’t doing anything wrong.

— Zorome’s spirit has understandably been broken.

— Dr. Franxx: “Then show me whether you kids can become real humans or not.” What does that even mean? Why are they not already humans? They’re more humans than the rest of these sterile adults.

— See, where was this badass attitude during the meeting with Papa? He shouldn’t be directing this at Dr. Franxx and Dr. Franxx alone. Don’t get me wrong, ’cause the doctor is definitely a fuck. But I wish Hiro had more of a “fuck you” attitude after everything that he and his friends have been through. He’s such an obedient good boy despite everything.

— Man, Zero-Two was barely in this week’s episode at all.

— Dr. Franxx: “Zero Two, you would probably hate me if you knew.” You’re her father, aren’t you? Just admit it, you deadbeat fuck. ‘Cause who wouldn’t hate him as a father? He treated her even worse than a lab rat.

— Really? That’s how he got the queen’s DNA? Needless to say, they’re really setting Zero-Two to be some form of klaxosaur royalty. She’s already killed a ton of her own kind. She may even have to kill her own sister. Sadly, the other half of her probably came from Dr. Franxx.

This tiny fetus that he was staring at may very well had been Zero-Two back then.

— Wasn’t his primary research all about cloning? I’m surprised he didn’t try to clone Karina… then again, it never seemed as though he really loved her. He regretted her death, but that’s not the same as love.

— I considered that maybe the other half of Zero-Two might have come from Karina, but eh… maybe that’s too out there. Plus, someone as obsessed with the queen as Dr. Franxx probably would’ve wanted to use his own DNA for the other half.

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3 Replies to “DARLING in the FRANXX Ep. 19: The truth behind everything”

  1. “All klaxosaurs are female? Then again, every core has a child within it. So all klaxosaurs are pregnant… in a way. And you kill them by killing their babies. Yeesh.”

    wow i did not notice this. That’s pretty intense.

  2. You neglected to explore that Dr. Franxx is an atheist (he said it twice whenever someone likened his actions to playing God.) The series makes it an explicit point that atheists think differently and don’t follow the same morals as theists, and it’s fitting that the doctor alone questioned and resisted the desire for immortality, and intends to fight the totalitarian ideologies which became rooted in religion. (All parasites worship and love an ominipresent papa from birth just like modern monotheists love and follow God, and the council literally lives up in the sky and they even pray to papa in the story. ) Atheists are just better at freethinking, and aside from any nature loving mysticism involving the klauxosaurs, this is an anti-theist anime (set in a sci-fi universe.) Outgrowing papa is a right of passage in becoming an independent actor, aka “an adult.” The anime has so far taken the position that, “there can be no peace on Earth while men worship a tyrant in heaven.”

    Anti-theism aside, the episode would have been better if they hadn’t explained everything and gone with the fantasy, because some of the attempts at explanations were so far-fetched. You really think in 2025 that the media, government and population wouldn’t demand to see the faces under the masks of the most powerful people on Earth? Now they had better have a good scientific explanation for why an unknown ancient species could hide underground for so long, and then be awakened to come out of the Earth like Godzilla when humanity went too far. As it is, it’s too close to the old Japanese trope of a mystical primordial force appearing to save a desecrated Gaia, and fits uneasily in a sci-fi universe where atheist doctors protect deviants who can one day defy and destroy twisted cults of personality.

  3. RE: I find it strange that she would still wear that tacky ring even though it no longer holds any sentimental value to her.

    You misread the scene (IMNSHO). The “tacky rings” tell you about the APE “Scientists.”

    The arrogance of casually erasing memories and forced indoctrination through technological devices results in COMPLETE disregard for physical (or emotional) aspects of a situation…. This reinforces the scene about “Gee, that Princess is WHACKED IN THE HEAD … our subjugation and theft of their wealth and lives is a great deal because we’re so benevolent” (paraphrased).

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