Darling in the FRANXX was something of a phenomenon when it arrived in January of 2018. With Studio TRIGGER lending its brand recognition to the series, and FRANXX being the first real mech-centric series the studio had piloted (heh) since the iconic Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, there was a hefty burden of expectation for the series – one that it largely shouldered with the help of its strikingly unique female lead – Zero Two.
After Kim Kardashian cited the pink-haired protagonist as her “inspo” for her hair style, the show caught a brief swim in the mainstream, and gave the series some excess momentum near the first season’s end.
We reviewed the series extensively, week by week, but readers…you may have noticed that we didn’t review the final two episodes. That is largely because that, like The Notebook, I would rather forego the final segment in order to preserve my fond memories of the broader series.
Those fond memories were re-kindled when Funimation was kind enough to send over the limited edition box set of the blu-ray release for Darling in the FRANXX – season 1.
Let’s dive in, shall we?
The set consists of episodes 1-12, an artbook, a set of art cards and a replica of Zero Two’s prized (yet thoroughly creepy) storybook from her troubled childhood.
We’ll start with the blu-rays. The added content for the set goes a bit beyond a single episode of audio commentary, as there’s actually a separate commentary video for the culminating episode of the set – episode 12. The extras have become so predictable that any “icing” is welcomed, including the additional commentary.
The artbook includes some great insights into the design of the various characters and mechs, as well as some gorgeous full-page pieces. The covers and binding are a sturdy material as well.
Art cards are always an interesting add – I can definitely see fans adorning their walls with these miniaturized portraits of their husbands/waifus, but beyond that…the benefit is largely lost on me. That being said – with crisp colors, unique poses, and being printed on great quality materials, these are everything you’d want from a set of art cards.
The coolest part of the set for me, however, was the storybook.
For the uninitiated, this is essentially a Grimm-style fairy tale about a beast-like Princess from the forest who saves the life of a handsome young prince, and wishes to become human in order to be with him. The witch, in true Ursula fashion, grants her wish with a condition – she would need to kill the one she loved most in order to become a human forever. The prince and princess enjoy a happy life for a time, but eventually the witch comes to claim her due and the princess opts to spare her beloved, disappearing forever.
What a happy story~
Throughout the series, many allusions are made to the struggles that Zero Two has with her background and identity, along with her relationship with Hiro. As the story within the series unfolds, so too does the story of The Beast and the Prince.
Now, the story is in Japanese, so unless you speak the language, you’ll mainly be appreciating the re-creation of the art in storybook form. There are many translations and summaries of the story online you can refer to as well.
Overall, the Darling in the FRANXX limited edition set is lovely, and chock-full of awesome extras that any fan of the series would enjoy. If you’re unfamiliar with the series, I would strongly recommend this set because the show doesn’t properly fly off the rails until the final episodes…something I’ll gladly go into more detail about when part 2 comes out.
You can pick it up from the Funimation shop here!