In the distant future, the land is ruined by monsters called Klaxosaur and humanity lives in a fortress city called Plantation. Pilots produced inside Plantation live in Mistilteinn, also know as the “birdcage.” One of them is a boy named Hiro, who is called Code:016. Once known as a prodigy, he has fallen behind, and his existence seems unnecessary. His life changed when a mysterious girl with two horns, known as “Zero Two”, appears.


Dany Muhammad (The Indonesian Anime Times)

In the early part of DARLING in the FRANXX, the two main characters, Hiro and Zero Two, uses a Chinese mythical bird, the Jian bird, as an allegory of their condition. It is a bird that only has one eye and one wing. To be able to fly, they must first find a partner to complement each other, before finally able to fly.

What interesting from that point of view is, while both of them has a desire to find partner, they have different motive. The robots in DARLING in the FRANXX, which are called FRANXX, have to be piloted by a pair of boy and a girl. For Hiro, his desire to find partner is caused by his insecurity. He can’t pilot FRANXX, so he feels he has no reason to live in the birdcage, which makes him empathizing with the Jian bird who has to live a harsh life before it can find its partner. Zero Two, on the other hand, is fascinated by the Jian bird’s idea of living in a pair. As a pilot herself, she is a special soldier who has Klaxosaur blood in her body, which is probably why all her partners lost their lives after piloting FRANXX with her. For her, having a partner is a necessity, thus she admired the beauty of it.

Other than introducing the thematic idea, the first half of the story also builds its world and the characters’ backstory. The pilot, who lives in plantation and isolated from the outside world, only has one purpose to life: fighting Klaxosaurs with FRANXX. If they fail, the have to leave, and nobody knows what happened after that. The uncertainty of the situation also makes their position in danger, which is why Hiro’s insecurity becomes understandable.

The latter half of the episode is where the action starts. One of the notable thing is that the robots are largely still hand-drawn instead of made with CG. While animating action scenes with CG is not always a bad thing, It is fresh to see robot fights that mostly still animated hand-drawn. The fight animation feels more loose. The robot designs, which actually looks like a normal human (they have expressive faces) also helps.

As a collaboration project between studio TRIGGER and A-1 Pictures, DARLING in the FRANXX‘s first episode definitely does not disappoint. It captures the more “wild” animation of TRIGGER. This anime also has a thematic idea that gives more depth into the story. Interested in action anime? DARLING in the FRANXX is recommended.

Facts and Figures

Source material Original Work
Casts Aoi Ichikawa as Mitsuru
Haruka Tomatsu as Zero Two
Hiroshi Gotō as Futoshi
Kana Ichinose as Ichigo
Katsuyuki Konishi as Hachi
Kenyuu Horiuchi as Dr. Franxx
Marina Inoue as Nana
Mutsumi Tamura as Zorome
Nanami Yamashita as Miku
Saori Hayami as Kokoro
Shizuka Ishikawa as Ikuno
Yuichiro Umehara as Goro
Yūto Uemura as Hiro
Director Atsushi Nishigori (Idolm@ster)
Scenario Atsushi Nishigori (Idolm@ster), Naotaka Hayashi (Steins;Gate)
Character Design Masayoshi Tanaka (Anohana)
Opening Song Kiss of Death” by Mika Nakashima & Hyde
Ending Song Not yet announced
Studio TRIGGER, A-1 Pictures
Official Site
Twitter @DARLI_FRA
Broadcast Date 13 January 2018 (1430 GMT, 2130 WIT, 2330 JST)

Screenshots and Trailer

“If you don’t have partners, find them. If you can’t, take them by force” ©DARLING in the FRANXX Production Committee
“I want you to be my darling” ©DARLING in the FRANXX Production Committee
“where does a bird that never fly goes to?” ©DARLING in the FRANXX Production Committee
Failed pilot has to leave the plantation ©DARLING in the FRANXX Production Committee
The one who can fly will face danger ©DARLING in the FRANXX Production Committee

The Indonesian Anime Times

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