Darling in the Franxx Episode 1 Review: Alone and Lonesome

After we posted news about teaser pictures, cast introductions and promotion videos, which were sadly blocked for some countries, the first episode of winter 2018 anime Darling in the Franxx finally aired in Japan just before midnight on 13 January 2018.
You can watch Darling in the Franxx legally on the online streaming website Crunchyroll.

Japanese title: 独りとヒトリ (Hitori to hitori)

Episode 01: Alone and Lonesome

Zero Two, code 002, is a girl with two red horns growing out of her head. She arrives at Plantation 13 called ‘Mist Dean’ with Dr. Franxx and her pretty damaged-looking partner. As soon as they set foot in this ‘city’, Zero Two sneakily leaves her group in order to take a bath in a lake she mistook for a sea. The lake is hidden in a forest where Hiro (code 016) is lying in the grass. He then follows an injured bird that flew against the glass of the dome they’re in and arrives at the lake. Hiro finds some clothes at the lake and is looking for their owner, when he suddenly sees a naked girl with horns and is more shocked about her being naked than having horns. She asks him to be her ‘Darling’.
When Hiro tries to leave the plantation with his partner Naomi, because they failed the tests to operate a Franxx, she pushes him back and leaves alone. Suddenly a Kyouryuu appears and destroys the ‘plant’ Naomi boarded. Zero Two is fighting the Kyouryuu with her partner but as he is injured they can’t win. Zero Two is trying to fight the enemy alone, but Hiro joins her. She kisses him and the robot transforms into Franxx Strelitzia. Together they destroy the Kyouryuu and save the ‘city’ for now.

Terms and Co.

Codes
The characters’ names are mostly not real names, but strangely pronounced numbers. In the Japanese language there is a big variety of counter words. Each type of thing, person, animal, etc. have their own way of counting. When just counting up some people use hi, fu and mi (kun’yomi= original Japanese reading) instead of ichi, ni, san (on’yomi= based on Chinese reading) for 1, 2, 3. These two counter words are the basic ones. Here is a list of both variations.

No. on’yomi kun’yomi
1 ichi hi
2 ni fu
3 san mi
4 yon/shi yo
5 go itsu
6 roku mu
7 nana/shichi nana
8 hachi ya
9 kyuu/ku kokonoko
10 juu tou

 

Now that we know how these numbers can be pronounced we’ll try see how to read 016. This is the code for the main character. His name is a mix of both readings. We skip the 0 and only use ‘hi’ for 1 and normally need roku or mu but in this case they shortened it to ‘ro’ which results in: Hiro
If you’re watching Detective Conan, you may have come across of some of Conan victims or criminals using these number codes. For example Conan or rather Shin’ichi used the code 4869 for his phone, which is the number for the word *shi-ya-ro-ku*, which is how you write Sherlock in Japanese, and is also the name of the poison Apoptoxin 4869.

Franxx
Franxx are the mech robots, which can only be operated by a duo of one male and one female person.

Parasite
The term Parasite is standing for the young adults which are trained at Plantation 13 (and at other places? So war we’ve only heard and seen one) to operate the Franxx.

Kyoryuu
These are the mysterious mechanical (?) monsters which the Franxx and their Parasites are trying to defeat. In the subtitles they are referred as ‘Klaxosaur’

Plant
A ‘plant’ is a vehicle that is transporting people on ground.

Characters and Franxx

Zero Two
She is a mysterious girl that has horns growing out of her head. Her code is 002. People are calling her a ‘teammate killer’ and are spreading rumors about how she kills her partners after riding a Franxx three times. Zero Two seems to be mostly raised like a boy, because of the way she is talking. She is using boku, instead of watashi, which is a Japanese pronoun to refer to oneself commonly used by young boys. You can take a look at this article to learn more about pronouns and their meanings:

Watashi? Boku? Ore-sama? Japanese Pronouns in Anime

Zero Two seems to be pretty tough on the outside but I feel that there is something deeper going on on the inside. The way she is being treated by Dr. Franxx and his group mates does look like she is a hostage or just a ‘thing’ they need in order to protect the human race. We get to know that she is not a human person, but is said to have Kyouryuu blood in her veins and is called a pistil.

Strelitzia
Zero Two and her wounded partner are the parasites that ride the Franxx called Strelitzia. The name Strelitzia could be taken from the flower with the same name. The common name of this flower is ‘bird of paradise flower’ and is native to South Africa. In South Africa they also call it ‘crane flower’. Zero Two’s Franxx and the flower do share some colors and shapes. The blue horn in the middle of the Franxx’s forehead and the orange long ‘hair’ are similar to Strelitzia reginae (Strelitzia, bird of paradise, crane lily) and Strelitzia juncea (African desert banana).

Highlights

The way how she jumps out of the water with a fish in her mouth, I was speechless and so was Hiro. I like her character, how she just stands there naked, not even a bit ashamed.
Dr. Franxx is a little perverted.

My what-is-going-on? moments

So in the beginning we see a red skinned and white haired ‘thing’ walking barefoot through snow, blue blood flowing out of its finger and then a bunch of Kyouryuu. Could this be Zero Two in her past before she changed, or is this just a dream she has? If it’s her, how did she change her skin color to look ‘normal’?
Why did Strelitzia transform into a female robot in a similar way like magical girls, for example Sailor Moon? Like how she/it first changes the entire form and then adds some details like skirt, hair and big breasts.
What happened between Naomi and Hiro? Why does she want him to stay at the city? Just my thought, but could there be a connection with the orphans and Kyouryuus, because the first one appears just at the same place where Naomi is.
What happens to parasites that failed the tests? When the kids were talking about Hiro they mentioned that they didn’t hear any news about parasites who returned safely. Would Naomi (code 703) have died anyways before getting smashed by a Kyouryuu?
Last but not least, what are Kyouryuu? When Strelitzia killed the one that attacked them she first sucked a liquid into a glass tank and then we see a marble like ball being stabbed by Strelitzia’s lance.

At the end

This is my first Trigger anime and I liked it so far. Darling in the Franxx has got mecha, action, no boy-girl relationships (except Zero Two and Hiro) and some pervy moments. I hope the next episode reveals more about Hiro’s and Zero Two’s past and explain what Kyouryuu really are.

Darling in the Franxx

Winter 2018 | Anime Info | Simulcast

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