With his friends’ help (and Nine Alpha’s sacrifice), Hiro eventually makes his way to Zero Two. Cue the same ol’ “I’m a monster and you’re not” drama. Luckily, Trigger and CloverWorks aren’t dumb enough not to go through an extended song-and-dance about this very topic again. Hiro simply has to reaffirm his love for Zero Two, and as a result, their relationship is quickly and thankfully back to normal. Kinda. The girl is now literally a gigantic mecha, but I mean, what man hasn’t fantasized about death by snoo snoo? He can even brag about how his girlfriend has the largest T&A in the entire universe. Unfortunately, Hiro didn’t come up here to drag the klaxosaurs’ MVP away from the battle. In fact, Strelizia can’t even operate anywhere close to its greatest potential without a stamen. It’s a wonder why Zero Two even bothered to leave without Hiro in the first place. But I’ll talk about this later in the notes below. Point is, Hiro and Zero Two have to go away for now. They’re going to keep fighting, and the rest of Squad 13 doesn’t get to join them. The teamwork ends here, because Hiro’s friends can no longer accompany him. Hell, they went as far as they could. They literally went into space for the guy. But leaving the solar system is apparently where we’ll draw the line. We hate to admit it, but friends grow apart all the time. And we don’t stop liking each other either. It’s just life, man. Life eventually sends us all in different directions, and there’s really nothing that we can do about it. Not without sacrificing some happiness, of course.
Our power couple have to make sure VIRM never threatens the peace again — anyone’s peace, for that matter — so they’re going to bring the fight directly to those conformist assholes. With the spaceship serving as a giant bomb, too. This means, however, taking a warp gate that will send both of them far, far away from home. At the very least, they won’t be in the solar system anymore. More importantly, they’ll be far, far away from their friends. Will they ever come home? Will they even survive? Probably. After all, we still have one entire episode left. There’s no way we’re getting nothing but a peaceful time skip in next week’s episode. At the very least, something big and grandiose is going to have to happen. Otherwise, humanity will be screwed. Sure, the kids can retreat to Mistilteinn for now, but that tiny patch of fertile land cannot sustain an entire civilization. We also have way too many loose ends to tie up. For instance, one of the previous episodes made a big fucking deal about a certain giant spear, but we have yet to see it again. And didn’t VIRM say something about how the Star Child is too dangerous to exist? Too dangerous for the entire universe? Well, all I’m saying is that we have 24 minutes of plot left. As much as we want to joke about it, Hiro mounting Zero Two again is nowhere close to the series’ climax. Hold onto your butts, ’cause the story’s going to pull a lot out of its ass in next week’s finale.
Misc. notes & observations:
— Kind of a cool moment.
— Kokoro tells Mitsuru that he didn’t have to stay with her. He could’ve found another partner. He replies, however, that he wants to take responsibility. This must have been the wrong answer, because he’ll insist later that it isn’t about taking responsibility. Hm.
— At first, I really wondered what they were going to do with Zero Two’s human body if Hiro and the actual Zero Two are blasting off on their space journey, but the anime eventually takes care of this minor plot point. Good for them, too. One less mouth to feed. Plus, there’s the awkward matter of someone having to bathe and clean the girl’s body.
— Another shot I kinda like.
— So most of the kids manage to find replicas of their FRANXXs on the spaceship? They just happen to be black? The klaxosaurs had this all planned out? They just knew that these exact parasites would want to join the fight? The show really, really glosses over this, and I don’t exactly buy it. Luckily, I like the show enough that I don’t really care.
— The Nines, of course, still have to pilot their old, shitty FRANXXs. Y’know, the ones that look exactly alike, because they are all clones of Zero Two. And for some reason, the Nines are all interchangable, i.e. Nine Alpha can operate as both a stamen or a pistil. So how come the Nines are all boys if they’re all clones of Zero Two? I mean, even if you say that they’re androgynous-looking — and I’d disagree about that — why do they nevertheless deviate so much from the girl? Then again, remember when the Nines confronted the kids about Kokoro’s desire to have children? They were super misogynist about it, so maybe whoever created the Nines just really hated women so much that they made sure Zero Two’s clones resembled the opposite sex.
— Hachi and Nana are astonished the spaceship’s controls are “so similar.” So Hachi goes, “Perhaps klaxo sapiens weren’t all that different from humans.” What a coincidence, huh? Two intelligent species developed on the same planet in almost the exact same way. Maybe there’s a stronger causal link between the two civilizations, but it’s not as if DitF has the time to explore this concept. As a result, it’s yet another plot point that the series has to gloss over. Would I watch 40-50 episodes of DitF? I think I would. Obviously, I can’t speak for everybody.
— Oh Nana, you know you have empathy.
— Unfortunately, the animation isn’t too hot when things start getting kinetic. When the frame rate isn’t incredibly choppy, the “camera” often zooms way out, so we can’t exactly see the FRANXXs in action. This shot here is about the best that we can get from this episode.
— So when the kids get to the battlefield, they find Strelizia mostly motionless. Remember, the giant mecha can fire a massive fuck-off laser from its horn, but for some reason, it isn’t doing so. Nine Alpha speculates that Strelizia can’t really show off what it can do without a stamen. More importantly, Zero Two can’t fight without Hiro. So what was the point of leaving him behind? Could they really have won this war without Streliza operating at full capacity? So if she was likely to lose anyways, then VIRM would just return one day to fuck Earth up again. She’s not really protecting Hiro by ditching him. Sure, sure, she wanted to protect him and his humanity, and emotions aren’t always logical. But I dunno, as much as I like the show, this drama felt a little unnecessary. It’s like the time Ichigo kept Zero Two and Hiro apart just for the two lovebirds to reconcile in the very next episode. This just happened again, didn’t it? But instead of Ichigo, it’s Zero Two breaking her own promise to Hiro. After all they’ve been through, after fate’s numerous attempts to pull them apart, she still runs away from the guy just for them to reconcile in the very next episode!
— So ideally, what should have happened? Maybe they should’ve talked about it, then come to a mutual decision to leave Earth together. Then when the rest of Squad 13 go up into space to get Hiro and Zero Two back, they learn that those two have to go far, far away. Essentially, we’re getting the same desired result, but without Zero Two having to undo parts of her character development by breaking her promise.
— I can’t say I’m too impressed by this mass of VIRM units.
— Hiro’s about to reunite with Zero Two when this giant boy gets in the way. As a result, Nine Alpha forcibly ejects Hiro from the cockpit and self-destructs his FRANXX in order to prevent the enemy from interfering. Again, in a longer series, we could’ve explored the Nines and their conflicts a little better. Why are they so determined to help their sister Iota now? Don’t they want to reunite with Papa? We can all kinda infer the answers to these questions, but that’s my point: once again, the show glosses over something important. Unfortunately, they go from being Papa’s devoted children to going kamikaze in battle. It’s a lost opportunity to explore the mindset of both a clone and a child that has been abandoned by their father.
— Also, this line is just like… c’mon, you don’t have enough character development to say that.
— You really gotta love a girl if you don’t mind her being a mass of tentacles.
— Let’s hope this doesn’t inspire any vore doujins.
— So in Zero Two’s mind, Hiro finds the girl living in her favorite fairy tale. I kinda like that. We don’t stay here very long, however, so we don’t really get to explore what the rest of the world is like. Besides, could you really stomach the thought of Hiro chasing after the girl for an entire episode in a dream world? Had they not been pulled apart multiples time already, I probably wouldn’t mind that. But at this point, I just want the writers to make up their minds already. Either these two should stay together by now or just be torn apart from good. Then again, that’s why you’re often warned not to hook up with crazy. There are these hot-and-cold relationships out there. There are on-and-off couples all the time, and it’s usually because both individuals are a little unstable. I guess you could say the same about Hiro and Zero Two.
— No point telling the guy to remain a human. It’s already too late for that.
— The rest of the Nines soon follow their leader into their deaths. I don’t think we get to see their demise onscreen, but I doubt anyone could escape from this sticky situation. Again, the Nines’ character development simply never went anywhere.
— Hachi and Nana accompanied the kids all the way into space, but in the end, they really didn’t do much of anything. We just don’t have time for them, I suppose. All we really got was Nana talking about how she wants to mamoru the kids. Before you know it, they have to escape from the spaceship and hop onto an inelegant-looking escape pod. Anyways, I also thought the guy might bite it, but luckily, the woman convinces him not to give up (’cause he didn’t give up on her or something). These two should just kiss already. Plus, when Hachi returns to Earth, he’ll probably get to wear a gnarly eyepatch to cover up that injured eye.
— So VIRM just magically appears in the middle of space and starts talking to everyone. They don’t really have anything new to say either. Don’t resist it. Just become a hivemind with us, and enjoy a peaceful slumber. Essentially, they want the kids to grow up and conform like the adults. I think this is a big deal for Japan. For the longest time, the culture has always been about conformity and homogeneity. But the new generation is growing up, and they want to decide their own future. This culture clash often results in art that outsiders might find childish or corny. There’s no doubt that DitF is very childish and corny from a certain vantage point. Still, I like it all the same. A lot of it resonates with me even if these same themes have been better executed in other stories. I like the overall package. Over the course of the season, people have been chomping at the bit to call the show derivative (especially in relation to Neon Genesis Evangelion), but you don’t have to throw out the Rolls Royce and invent a whole new vehicle. You just want an updated model that reflects its time period.
— Yeah, Mitsuru and Kokoro have their own battles to fight! Like protecting Kokoro and her unborn baby from the rain. No, I get it. These two have their own personal conflict to tackle. I just find it funny, because I would never compare their melodrama to literally going up into space to battle an alien hivemind.
— Why does it look like Miku and Ichigo clones are standing back there?
— It cracked me up when I saw Hiro like this. I really wish he could’ve been immortalized as his own shitty drawing forever.
— Aaaaand they’re naked. Just another classic anime trope.
— So like… did Streliza’s body just turn into flesh for some reason? And Hiro still has to pilot her on the inside, which is not organic? Whatever, it’s anime.
— Finally, we get the giant, fuck-off laser. Where’s our spear, though?
— All of a sudden, stuff happens on both Phobos and Deimos, and a giant warp gate appears before the kids. The klaxosaurs thought of everything. They built the warp gate, they built a giant Star Child to do battle with VIRM one day, they even included FRANXXs on the spaceship for Squad 13. It would be hilarious, however, if they didn’t include the Genista, because — again — they just knew Kokoro and Mitsuru wouldn’t be going up into space. Hell, what didn’t they know? How to survive as a species, I guess.
— Zero Two promises her friends that she and Hiro will return one day. Unfortunately, she’s been known to break her promises!
— Back on Earth, Zero Two’s human body turns to stone, but it doesn’t shatter. It could’ve easily done so, because that’s a common trope in fiction. So even if Zero Two and Hiro do return, will she be stuck as a giant, space-faring mecha? Eh, probably not. If there’s a happy ending, I’m sure she’ll be human-like again. After all, it’s anime, so we can always pull some magical bullshit out of our ass.
— And if there isn’t a happy ending, crazy DitF fans can just riot and prove why it’s still embarrassing to admit that you’re an anime fan in public.