The good news is that Zero Two can still be saved. For now, anyways. Yay. The bad news is that Hiro will have to go up into space to get her mind back. Welp. At first, Zero Two keeps wandering away from her room and looking up to the sky. Also, mysterious cuts and bleeding wounds would appear on her body out of nowhere, and Hiro can’t figure out what’s happening to his beloved. Only when they finally touch horns (his are blue like the klaxosaurs) does he finally understand: Zero Two is still up there. She’s still fighting with the rest of her brethren. Unfortunately, every damage that Strelizia suffers is transferred onto Zero Two’s body, but we know this already. We know that the pistil mind and body is one and the same with the FRANXX. Nevertheless, Zero Two has inherited the duties of the Princess, and she’s making sure that VIRM can never return to threaten the planet ever again. That’s what I assume, anyways. I don’t know for sure why her mind remains trapped in Strelizia, but that’s my theory for now. After all, it’s a nice way for our heroine’s character arc to conclude. After fighting for herself all series long — murdering both humans and klaxosaurs alike just to find her darling — Zero Two will now fight for the fate of the entire planet.
Naturally, Hiro isn’t going to abandon Zero Two, and why would he?. It should surprise no one that he’s going to blast off into space to get his darling back. Maybe he can’t get her back. Maybe they’ll both die up there. But either way, they’ll be together, and much to the rest of Squad 13’s chagrin, Hiro wouldn’t have it any other way. I don’t think he’d trade the lives of his friends for Zero Two, but he certainly isn’t content to live out the rest of his life without her. He’d gladly die for her, because… well, take it straight from the horse’s mouth: “If Zero two won’t smile for me, I might as well be dead.” You can’t get any simpler than that. His motives aren’t hard to understand at all. Hiro and Zero Two made a promise to each other, and more importantly, he’s always been this way. Since the very start of the series, he has always been useless without Zero Two. He can’t “fly” without his counterpart, so it’s no wonder that he would recklessly charge into a battle without a real plan. As a result, it surprises me that Goro is so shocked by Hiro’s decision. Well, I kinda am and I’m kinda not.
I don’t think Goro really wanted to get on Hiro’s case. I think he’s just stressed out. I don’t agree with resorting to violence, but everyone is on edge. I can forgive Goro a bit for punching Hiro. After all, everything is falling apart around them. They’re running low on food, so they’re trying to grow vegetables with their own hands. It’s back to rustic living. Unfortunately, the planet has turned into a barren wasteland. There are consequences to depleting Earth’s natural resources (hint hint), so despite the kids’ best efforts, all of their crops are dying. And before, they’re running low on power and drinkable water. Hell, they’re still depending on magma energy. What choice have they got? It’s not like they can just build a nuclear power plant out of nowhere. It’s not like they can just erect a bunch of windmills and hope for the best. These kids are in for a rough time. It’s enough to make Goro and Ichigo wonder if they’ve made a mistake in choosing freedom. Sure, being exploited by Papa sucked, but this sucks too. Don’t worry, though. Goro and Ichigo don’t actually want to go back to the way things were. Like I said, they’re just stressed.
In the end, those two remain confident that everything will work out. It’ll have to, because it is confirmed that Kokoro is pregnant. Not only that, color is fading from Ikuno’s hair. I don’t know if that’s an omen or not, but it’s enough to make anyone uneasy. Even Ichigo, who has been so tough up until this point, is losing strength. Last but not least, the new Nana sucks. She still insists on following Papa’s orders. That’s how bad it is. Luckily, things start to pick up for the kids in the second half of the episode. First, Hachi has brought the old Nana back. Even though the woman is still lost and confused about the current situation, Dr. Franxx apparently has the utmost confidence in her to handle everything. He knew he would die relatively soon one day, so he left instructions for Hachi and a message for Nana. At the very least, even though these kids have lost their Papa, they still have their Mama. Second, Hachi and Goro discover that Mistilteinn is still intact. Since its soil is still good enough for planting crops, our kids will just have to make a long trek back to their home. We also can’t forget the fish swimming in the compound’s various rivers and streams. Hopefully, there are enough resources for everyone and not just Squad 13.
Basically, having taking some tough blows, things are finally looking up for the kids. There’s a tiny glimmer of hope that they’ll make it, and this lifts everyone’s spirits. This is why it’s so hard for him to understand Hiro’s motives right off the bat. It’s like, “Dude, we’re barely going to make it, and now you want to fuck off into space? To Mars? C’mon, we need you.” But once the wave of anger and confusion subsided, the team decided that they couldn’t just let Hiro go alone. Most of the gang will go up there with him. Plus, they sort of owe it to Zero Two. I mean, without her, VIRM would’ve blown up the planet. Without her, they’d still be slaves to Papa. So yeah, Hiro’s decision is obvious, but the rest of Squad 13 also have an obligation to fulfill. Obviously, a pregnant woman can’t fight, so Kokoro will stay behind on Earth. And likewise, Mitsuru has to take responsibility for his actions, so he needs to stay behind as well. But to replace them, we have the Nines. They are copies of Zero Two, but they’re imperfect copies. Their bodies can’t hold up with just food alone. They need “maintenance,” whatever that is. All we need to know for now is that they want to fight as well. Papa abandoned them, so they may as well help Hiro take it to VIRM and maybe save their sister.
At the end of the day, the original Princess and the rest of the klaxosaurs know that they can’t let VIRM get away. That happened last time, and the consequences were dire. VIRM came back, enslaved humanity, and wrecked the planet. With the kids barely able to survive in their brave new world, it would be easy for VIRM to return once more and finish the job. The klaxosaurs have to end this war once and for all, and they have to do it now. They have nothing left to lose anyways. The last of the klaxo sapiens is dead, and their civilization is bust. They may as well give it their all and make sure VIRM never returns. The Princess even tells Hiro this. Even without Papa, the kids’ mission is still the same: you fight or you die. That’s why it doesn’t make sense for the able-bodied children to sit back and do nothing either. They can’t just leave their fates in the hands of others. Most of all, this series can’t end without a big blow out fight, and last week’s conclusion just doesn’t cut it. Even though DARLING in the FRANXX has focused far more on character drama than being a mecha, it still has the genre trappings of the latter. So c’mon, how can this not end in space?
Misc. notes & observations:
— Everyday, more and more klaxosaurs leave for space. I gotta hand it to them, man. They’re really dedicated to this cause. Screw VIRM. They’re such shitty villains that they don’t really deserve mercy. But seriously, I’m still a bit let down by that reveal. Sure, it’s not going to ruin my enjoyment of the show, but it was still lame.
— “Say, ‘Ahh’?” Dude, why are you feeding her like a baby?
— The food looks as bad as ever.
— And Kokoro is as pregnant as ever.
— I know the new Nana has been brainwashed, but seriously, does she not understand the current situation? Like, at all? Yeah, she can’t act without Papa’s approval, but what Papa? C’mon, lady, Papa is gone! He’s fucked off! Either you do something to survive or you die.
— Plus, I don’t know why Goro is even bothering to ask the new Nana for her permission at all. All the adults have ever done is use and exploit them. Just forget her and what she has to say. Take over the facility and take charge. But at the end of the day, these children still can’t do anything without the adults. More importantly, they’re not ready to become adults themselves.
— I’m curious about the rest of the adult humans… you know, the ones living in those gilded cities of nothing. Surely, they’re still around, right? And what are their thoughts on the current situation? Do they care at all or have their minds been too drugged out to feel anything?
— This is apparently one gnarly ball of VIRM soldiers.
— Here are Kokoro’s vitals if anyone cares. It’s interesting to see that their code name is really just one small part of one long string. Her full codename is actually “FP40-T3NL-556.”
— The new Nana tells the girl that she could just abort the baby, but I doubt that’s going to happen.
— Congratulations to our newest and only dad! Mitsuru gets to be a real papa!
— What’s sad is how everyone continues to look to Hiro for guidance. Even though Ichigo is their leader, he has always kind of maintained his position as their emotional leader. Unfortunately, Hiro has his own shit to deal with, and ultimately, these kids need to grow up without him. They can’t always turn to him forever. When we become adults, we blaze our own paths in life and go our separate ways. As depressing as it might sound, rarely do groups of friends stay together forever.
— They’re doing a bang up job with the skies in this week’s episode. Even if the planet is barren, it still has some pretty horizons to look at.
— Whatever they did to the old Nana, it initially confined her to a wheelchair. Luckily, we’ll see her get out of it later on. It does take the woman a while get her groove back, but she’s the only one who truly cares about these children. Hell, she’s the only adult who seemingly still has the ability to empathize.
— If anything, they still have a huge repository of knowledge. They’ll just have to tap into it somehow.
— Nana wants to know why Hachi didn’t just leave her behind. All he can do is give her a look. He can’t say anything. Maybe he does feel something for her, but it’s buried so deep within him that the thoughts can’t come out. Oh well. Baby steps. For now, however, he fills the stereotypical role of the emotionally unavailable father.
— Hachi and Nana also stumble upon a storage room full of “defunct” children. The ones that aren’t good enough to become Parasites are sent here. That’s right, Naomi is still alive and kick–… well, not exactly kickin’, but she’s still present and accounted for. I’m sure she’d love to see Hiro again.
— No one can really blame Mitsuru for failing to give Kokoro proper support. After all, they’ve both had their memories erased. Still, she definitely needs someone.
— Again, someone rushes to Hiro for guidance, but his mind is elsewhere. He’s worried about Zero Two and only Zero Two. This time, however, we get a clue about where those mysterious cuts are coming from. Yup, up there.
— It turns out Zero Two never finished the storybook. She left out the ending to the fairy tale, because she couldn’t bear to see it come to fruition. Well, it happened anyways, and Hiro will now have to draw the rest of the story. What else can the prince do but go and look for his beloved? Japanese stories are obsessed with fate and how one’s destiny can rarely ever be altered, but he still has a chance to subvert that.
— But speaking of the fairy tale, I kinda wish we knew more about the person who was so kind to Zero Two back then. I guess she was just an adult who happened to still have her heart.
— Hiro won’t have a FRANXX to pilot, but it’s not like he has a partner to fly with anyway. All he can do is rely on a klaxosaur spaceship that he knows nothing about.
— After all the drama in the first half of the series, Ichigo doesn’t have the heart to voice her objections. Of course she doesn’t want him to go on this suicide mission, but maybe she feels as though she doesn’t even have the right to say anything. After all, if it had been her in Zero Two’s place, she would want Hiro to go after her, wouldn’t she? Hiro already chose Zero Two long ago, so there’s no point arguing about it.
— Ah, it’s the drama-free club… kinda. Honestly, Miku and Zorome got off easy. They don’t really have the emotional issues that the others are going through.
— As for Goro and Ichigo, their relationship hasn’t really made any progress since he confessed to her, but they’re still in this together. If they survive the series’ conclusion, maybe Ichigo will finally decide to lean on Goro a little more. It wouldn’t hurt him to be a little more assertive either. I mean, he’s just going to confess once and that’s it?
— Man, the Nines kinda look like ugly vampires now. Plus, there’s only three of them left? What happened to the long-haired ones that are always wearing face masks? I know of them died, but what about the others?