espressOH! – Darling in the FranXX Episode 01

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Mecha plus sci-fi anime. Sigh. Never really a fan of said genres except for noteworthy ones like Neon Genesis Evangelion and Gundam series (or Gundam 00 to be exact). Darling in the Franxx is notably one of the most hyped anime this season or if you want to stretch that statement, of this year is fairly acceptable too. It is co-produced by Studio Trigger (Kill la Kill, Little Witch Academia) and A-1 Pictures (Fairy Tail, Anohana, Idolmaster series, Saekano, Swort Art Online, Your Lie in April, and Erased just to name a few of their plethora of acclaimed and popular works), with that in mind one might assume that this anime is going to be one of ‘it’ this year. All the talks going around about the show genuinely got me into watching the first episode and.. you know, it’s not that bad. The character development, the premise, and its world building will definitely reminds you of EVA series but this anime looks to me that it is standing on its own. If you are asking for absolute originality, you might as well just stop watching anime because that’s not how it works in showbiz world in this age.

The plot summary goes like this (taken from Anime News Network):

“In the distant future the land is ruined and humanity establishes the mobile fort city Plantation. Pilots produced inside Plantation live in Mistilteinn, also know as the “birdcage.” Children live there knowing nothing of the outside world or the freedom of the sky. Their lives consist of battling to carry out missions. Their enemies are mysterious giant lifeforms known as Kyōryū, and the children pilot robots called Franxx to face off against them. For the children, riding the Franxx proves their existence. A boy named Hiro is called Code:016, and he was once known as a prodigy. However, he has fallen behind, and his existence seems unnecessary. Not piloting a Franxx is the same as ceasing to exist. One day, a mysterious girl known as “Zero Two” appears before him. Two horns grow out of her head.”

At first glance, the superficially complex plot seems to be a cliché story in the making or at least en route (many anime with such robust plots ended up being horrendous) but Darling in the Franxx is not of the same case. The show doesn’t feel like a carbon copy of other mecha/sci-fi anime out there, and if it does, then the studios did a great job of masking the carbon smell from me. About the opening track, the song (titled KISS OF DEATH) itself is not bad of course (the singers are Mika Nakashima and Hyde from L’Arc-en-Ciel for god sake!) but their choice of song for the opening is very disappointing. Luckily, the ending track perfectly fits the bill. Performed by the voice actresses of the show [Zero Two (Haruka Tomatsu), Ichigo (Kana Ichinose), Miku (Nanami Yamashita), Kokoro (Saori Hayami), and Ikuno (Shizuka Ishigami)] themselves, along with the clip, is an instant classic to me. The beat still reverberates in my head after finishing the first episode. Torikago (the title of the ending track) will bring you back to the golden age of anime.

My verdict so far is that Darling in the Franxx is a must watch anime. The visuals are great and vibrant. The soundtracks elevate the story telling to new heights. Voice acting is on point. Only downside so far is that the opening song is out-of-place for me. Nevertheless, give this show a go!

p/s: Zero Two is hot. The Franxx looks wacky. And I know that there’s no opening song in this episode but it’s worth mentioning. Shush!



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