Note: Review copy supplied by Manga Entertainment.
Title: Darling In The FRANXX Part Tne
Anime Studio: Studio Trigger/ CloverWorks
Publisher: Manga Entertainment
Genre: Mecha / Sci-Fi / Romance
Released: July 22nd, 2019
Extras: Episode 18 and 23 commentary , Playback Special 1 & 2, previews, textless OP and ED
In a battle against the klaxosaurs only the children, classified as parasites, are humanity’s hope in this dying world. Fighting in mechanised suits known as FRANXX, parasites are grouped up in male and female pairs to face the monstrous creatures. Hiro was once a prodigy FRANXX pilot. But when he gives up the fight, he meets Zero Two, the girl with the horns, and finds a new reason to keep going.
Originally releasing in January 2018, Darling in the FRANXX was simulcast on Crunchyroll. Manga Entertainment released the first half of the season in the UK back in May, and I rather enjoyed it. Part Two is out on the 22nd of July, and I’ve been waiting patiently to see how the story ended. Once again, the series did not leave me disappointed.
Darling in the FRANXX Part Two shifts the focus of the series from a fairly equal mix of action and interaction to mostly trying to create an emotional kick. And boy is it successful in that. We get to see the full back story for Zero Two and Hiro, both in terms of their initial meeting and in learning how Zero Two came to be. Even with the underlying intent of the adults involved in this era of their lives being one of survival, the scenes can be quite harrowing. The whole arc comes across as quite tragic and builds up to a heart-wrenching finale to close out their story. Meanwhile, the supporting cast, while not given near as much time for development, also get to learn and grow as they go along. Of them, Ichigo was perhaps the most well rounded, moving from acting on her own wants to being able to forge a future once the fighting is done.
We get to learn a little more about the klaxosaurs too and get to spend some time with the klaxosaur princess. She herself is well designed and is suitably scary in what she can achieve. The way she is intertwined with the story also allows the role of protagonist to shift to the VIRM in a relatively logical manner. Speaking of the VIRM, I loved the Borg-like quality to their want to assimilate other beings into their own hive mind. They were also useful tools to bring the question of what a utopia is for the characters, and whether the collected consciousness offered is really what they would want it to be.
This all being said, the action does remain prominent, but I felt like it was better placed this time around. All the stunning visuals and awesome soundtrack moments remain in place, but the way the story has progressed makes them feel more important. These are no longer cool scenes that fit within the world, but rather battles that hold real consequences for the world at large. On top of that, the odd fan service moments that littered the first half of the season are barely present. That is a visual alteration that I personally thought was very welcome.
Now, while the release improves upon the first one in many ways, it’s not perfect. There are some things that are not given as much time as I would have liked. For one, the VIRM arc is rushed into play part way through, and though interesting protagonists, more could have been done with them prior to now. It does work, but it could have been fleshed out, and more clear hints perhaps left through the story. The shift in story style will also likely not sit as well with some viewers, though those with a preference for emotional moments will feel a little more at home.
Overall, Darling in the FRANXX Part Two is a strong release that makes a real effort to better the first half. Balancing dark themes, stylish action, and an emotion-driven story that reaches a satisfying (and beautiful) conclusion, it’s a definite winner. This gets a solid 4.5 out of 5.