Miss my review of episode 15? You can find it here!
A month has passed since the battle for the Gran Crevasse led to Hiro and Zero Two’s emotional reunion, and the devastation of Plantation #13. In that time, the adults have all apparently abandoned the kids, largely left to their own devices while they figure out what their next move is. Rations are regularly delivered, but the caretakers are no longer around, resulting in a Lord of the Flies type situation, though I would say a bit more cordial than the book.
Zero Two is an entirely new person in this episode. Given the chance to connect with the squad in the month since the incident, she’s on good terms with everyone, and is downright chipper when helping perform the daily chores and maintenance.
Meanwhile, some of the other kids have their own conflicts/drama that they are struggling through. Mitsuru continues to be torn regarding Hiro’s long-forgotten promise. On the one hand, he realizes that Hiro’s erased memories means he couldn’t be held responsible for remembering their promise. Yet, he still appears to harbor feelings for Hiro that are freshly dashed when Zero Two returned to his life.
During an all-house meeting, the mood turns somber when they realize that essential resources like fresh water and food may be more sparse than they thought. Zero Two proposes that they practice cooking their own food, so that in the event they have to make due, they already have experience. After some discussion, the rest of the group agrees.
The result is a group dinner with the pilots of Squad 13. Zero Two, Goro and Hiro go down to the river to catch some fish first, while the rest stay behind to prepare the fire and other dishes for the meal.
The spirit behind the dinner is one of camaraderie and self-sufficiency, but it kicks off on an odd foot as Zorome begins to eat right away without saying the usual prayer to Papa.
Asserting that they did all the work for themselves, Zorome wonders aloud why they should be thanking Papa at all. Compounding Zorome’s emotional state is Futoshi’s continued insistence that he’s “on a diet”. After Futoshi’s food falls on the ground, Zorome calls him out in front of the whole group.
What follows is the group realizing that when they were regularly battling Klaxosaurs, their lives were in danger every day. After the battle at the Gran Crevasse, the realization that going back into battle again could mean their death put them all on edge in their own ways. Everyone takes turns essentially confessing their hesitation in combat and how the thought made them uncomfortable. Tears are shed, hugs are given…and in the end Hiro takes his position once again as the Cheerleader. He tells the group that he knows that as long as they’re together, they can work through anything.
The episode concludes with Hiro and Zero Two hanging out at night (not like that). Hiro notices that Zero Two has essentially re-illustrated and created the picture book from her childhood days, much to his amazement. She reflects on her mistaken thoughts on what it meant to be “human”, and the two share an embrace.
Just then, a growl is heard in the distance as Zero Two snaps to attention. In a subterranean setting, we see what looks like a large dinosaur-like creature, and a mysterious, familiar looking girl.
What’s all this?! Too bad we don’t find out…that’s what next week is for!
Following the climactic and emotionally-taxing episode 15, this is precisely the type of episode we needed. The slow, slice-of-life approach helped to deepen character relationships once again: something we haven’t seen since the beach episode a couple months ago.
That being said, the story elements that were dropped in the early minutes seemed more like a throwaway than anything else.
Still, once things were settled back on the house, it was interesting to see this episode take on a “day in the life” approach. Zero Two being at the center of it all, managing the chores and keeping people on task, was precisely the sort of double-take that we needed to understand that the reunion was for real.
The squad as a whole appears to have become more cohesive, but the episode only really slows down for a handful of them. Mitsuru has a couple of moments: first the decision to cut his hair, and then his approval of Zero Two’s fishing idea. Hiro is pleasantly surprised by Mitsuru’s cooperation, and we begin to see some early hints of healing between the two.
Zorome’s dilemma was certainly the most dramatic, and it’s in this episode that I began to see a lot more similarities between Darling in the FRANXX and Kiznaiver. Each member of the group has their own lens/approach, and Zorome’s biggest trait, for better or for worse, is that he wears his heart on his shoulder. It’s not hard to guess how he’s feeling, and while others like Goro may be more reserved, Zorome’s not afraid to lash out and ask the questions that everyone else is thinking. This is captured perfectly following his confrontation with Futoshi:
Why, indeed. The entire group sort of reflects on this quietly, and this leads to the broader conversation surrounding their fears of death and the ways that they all reacted to this constant pressure.
While the character building and drama was great, there were definitely a few scenes that were a bit more shoddily animated than fans may be used to. Makes sense in a slower-paced episode like this one, but it’s still a bit jarring to see.
Looking forward to seeing how Trigger takes the show forward, especially with the reveal of this mysterious girl at the end of the episode. Until next time!
Things are getting freaky over in episode 17 – check out my latest review!
Darling in the FRANXX - Episode 16
- Zero Two's smiles are at maximum PROTECT level
- Slice of Life elements help to further bolster the squad's relationship - first time since the beach episode
- Zorome's emotional outburst is a great turning point for the group
- Though a purposefully slower episode, certain scenes drag a bit
- The vaguely spooky chats by the Council of Old Men is annoying...
- Slower, slice of life episode results in some less-than-optimal animation