Holy s**t... I never imagined I could get this invested in a mecha series. I guess I needed Darling in the FranXX
to remind me not to judge a book by its cover - or, as it were, an anime by its genre tag. I need to admit it: I was letting my own preconceptions (or perhaps even 'pride') get the better of me when I said I wasn't hooked by episode 2. Because the truth is I went into every episode giddy with anticipation. Gushfest incoming.
One (very subjective) negative out of the way first: This show did not convert me into a mecha fan. The action scenes still didn't do much for me. And... That's it. I have nothing bad to say about Darling in the FranXX
, at least nothing of significance.
Where to even start... I was completely taken aback by how there are feels all over this series. I was crying by the end of episode 6. FranXX
knew exactly how to sell me on the relationship of the two leads right off the bat. And from there, it just sucked me in and made me appreciate everything around it. The different characters in the main group, the worldbuilding - it all came together beautifully.
One thing I almost appreciate more than anything else: The show struck the perfect balance between revealing too much and too little. Hitting the viewer on the nose with every bit of info isn't usually the best way to go about it, but what I dislike even more is being vague and cryptic, withholding information from me as the viewer so I have to speculate and possibly never find adequate answers. With Darling in the FranXX
, I felt like (almost) every time the action of a character or some detail about their world raised a question, I could formulate a hypothesis right away, and usually was given a hint as to whether I was right or wrong shortly after. That's a way of storytelling I can wholeheartedly get behind.
Some random thoughts:
- I think the studio did an awesome job portraying the different personalities among the main group and their relationships. The focus was always on Hiro and Zero-Two, but they all got time to shine. By the end, the anime had manged to endear every one of them to me.
- The worldbuilding reminded me a bit of From the New World
(in terms of how much I liked it), with a twist or two reminiscent of Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet
. When the exposition episode came around telling us the full backstory of their society, I was 100% hooked - because I already cared about the characters living in that world so much, and because it wasn't a pure info dump; rather, I had already learned a good portion of it throughout the series. This episode just served to fill in the gaps.
- I almost feel blasphemous saying this, but Zero-Two is a character even more fascinating to watch than Yuno Gasai. Her backstory, her resulting attitude, her gradual shift over the course of the series, her relationship with Hiro - it all works out beautifully.
- The motherhood subplot was so freaking touching. It also fit her character to a T. The first moment the anime showed her vomiting... Instant realization, then tears in my eyes.
To be completely honest, I don't think I really noticed the deus ex machina you alluded to, fragoff. Or was it simply the reveal of who the true villains were? If so, I don't think "deus ex machina" would be the right term at all. The only scene I can think of that reeked strongly of plot convenience was (if I remember correctly) at the end of episode 21.
Ludicrous plot twists aside, the ending of Darling in the FranXX
was absolutely perfect in my book. Surely the writers could've somehow twisted it to be completely sugar-sweet. And usually, I'm all about sugar-sweet endings. But what we got here was so much more fitting, and still incredibly beautiful. Sure gave my tear ducts a workout.
Curiously, I have one particular question that was left open:
So, there you guys have it. BlueSpark being completely enthralled by a mecha series. Though to be fair, the mecha action was only a small part wedged in between excellent romance, drama, and worldbuilding. It might not quite make it into my top 10%, but if not, it's dangerously close.
Suddenly, it looks like Made in Abyss has some pretty big shoes to fill, fragoff
. I don't think I want to watch those 2 shows back to back, though. I'm emotionally drained and need something fluffy now. Maybe it's time for my rewatch of K-On!