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Darling in the FRANXX – Episode 17 (Review)

By: Mithrandiel

Miss my review last week? You can find it here!

HERE BE SPOILERS!

Summary

The children of Squad 13 are continuing their survival mission in the destroyed remnants of their former home when they are visited suddenly by The Nines. They’re informed that Papa had been watching them the whole time, and that the time has come for them to prepare to head out for their next mission.

They suddenly request accommodations and there’s an immediate tension in the air as Papa’s special forces come crashing in on the happy life they were beginning to create for themselves.

Nine-Alpha (the blonde kid with the snarky attitude) comments on Zero Two’s recent attempts at “playing at being human”, attempting to remind her that her place isn’t with the kids of Squad 13, but instead among the elites.

He constantly refers to her as “Iota”, the number 9 in the Greek alphabet, and most likely her official squad name. Zero Two corrects him, reminding him of her name – a precious name that her Darling gave her, and leaves.

In the scene that follows between Zero Two and Hiro, a startling revelation is made: Hiro’s growing horns!

There are a number of theories as to why the horns are growing, the two that they guess are because he piloted with her and that he ingested her blood when he was a kid. Regardless, the Blue Oni theory has essentially come to pass.

The main source of drama in this episode revolves around Kokoro’s growing interest in babies, and more specifically, how they are made. Mitsuru’s feelings for Kokoro continue to grow and mature, but when she makes an aggressive move against him in the garden, he’s taken by surprise and rejects her advances.

Oh, and Zorome walks in on them in a compromising position, so that definitely didn’t help.

As the episode goes on, the baby book that she found in the city ruins all those episodes ago finally comes around to bite her in the ass, as it’s revealed that talk of reproduction, let alone attempting to reproduce, is strictly prohibited by Papa.

Humans have “discarded their need to reproduce”, as she’s so casually informed by Alpha. He calls her disgusting, and things escalate until their caretakers, Nana and Hachi, make a sudden return and essentially break up the conflict.

While being lectured by Nana, Kokoro continues to press on why they have reproductive organs if they aren’t allowed to use them, resulting in bombshell #2 of the episode: reproductive organs are necessary to pilot FRANXX, and only children have them. When Kokoro follows up that astounding revelation with a question as to why they still have emotions, Nana collapses to the floor, grasping her head, and Kokoro is dismissed.

Of course, everyone’s favorite jerk is waiting in the doorway as the Alpha calls out Nana’s episode as “relapsing into puberty”, a serious problem by the sounds of it.

While all this is happening back at the house, two members of the council approach the recently revealed Princess of the Klaxosaurs to formally request her surrender following their victory at the Gran Crevasse.

She doesn’t take kindly to this, and in response one of the members attempts to assassinate her directly. He fails. Spectacularly. Her pets then devour the remaining emissaries as she looks down on them with disgust, revealing the suits to be empty and dismissing them as “Human Wannabes”.

Whhaaatttt’s that about?!

As night falls on the house, Mitsuru and Kokoro end up consummating their relationship, Mitsuru consoling her after she was so thoroughly raked over the coals, and letting her know that it isn’t stupid or bad to want what she wants.

Hiro and Zero Two also share a tender moment.

The episode ends with a couple members of Papa’s council reflecting on the poorly received offer of surrender. Promising annihilation, they comment that the Klaxosaurs will “feel the pain of having their earth scorched by their own creation.”

Creation? What’s going on here?!

Annndddd that’s the end of the episode.

Review

A lot of stuff happening this week, and all executed really well to boot!

To start, the sudden arrival of the Nines really helped to establish a dichotomy of the types of “children” this dystopian society normally produces vs. the haphazard, almost “Bad News Bears” level of childhood/adolescence that Squad 13 represents. The Nines are supposed to be perfect, or damn near close to it, but you find yourself much more in tune with the struggles and desires of Squad 13, because they are essentially capturing what it means to be human. With the revelations that spilled forth from this episode, going back and watching it again really allows you to see how much of a chasm is formed between the two squads.

So, the conversation is beginning to shift towards what constitutes “humanity”. From a distance, it appears that Papa’s society is one that leaned upon science to remove “unnecessary” hindrances from mankind such as emotion, puberty, and the biological process of reproduction. On the other hand, it appears that the Klaxosaurs may be far less bestial than we originally thought, with the reveal of a pod-like amber core that seemed to house a human inside of it a couple episodes ago, and the Princess of the Klaxosaurs dismissing Papa’s council-members as “Human Wannabes”.

In any case, we’re beginning to see some signals as to which direction the story is headed, but ultimately, nothing is a sure thing when it comes to TRIGGER plot-lines.

The character development this episode was also solid, with Mitsuru finally coming around to not being such a cagey douchebag. After a brief heart-to-heart with Hiro, he realizes something important:

And it’s with this lens that he moves forward, seeming visibly uncomfortable as Alpha called her out in front of the group, and of course ultimately having sex with her at the end of the episode.

I’m actually very interested to see where this goes in the coming episodes because so much of piloting the FRANXX is laden with sexual innuendo and the importance of a “connection” with your partner. Hiro and Zero Two no doubt have the strongest “bond” among all the pairs there, but now that Mitsuru and Kokoro have “done the business”, I’m interested to see if their FRANXX will perform differently in the battles to come. Maybe not – but the thought crossed my mind.

Of course, Zero Two also continues her slow pace into humanity as well, providing fans of this season’s Best Girl with plenty of endearing screenshots and scenes to melt even the stoniest of hearts.

This week’s episode seemed like a moving contradiction: it felt slow and fast at the same time. There were moments for quiet introspection and character development while also laying on some pretty earth-shattering revelations hard and fast. Overall, a solid episode that helped push the narrative forward and complicate some previous assumptions on where the story was headed. Looking forward to seeing how this shakes out next week!

Episode 18 is here! Don’t worry, so is my review!

Darling in the FRANXX (Episode 17)

Darling in the FRANXX (Episode 17)
9.1

Story

9.5 /10

Animation

9.0 /10

Characters

9.0 /10

Pacing

9.0 /10

What Works

  • Some great reveals this episode that complicate the broader storyline
  • Zero Two just keeps getting better each episode
  • Mitsuru finally coming around and being a decent guy

What Hurts

  • Alpha is a dick

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