Episode two delves more into the specifics of piloting and sets up Hiro’s need for Zero Two as he remains unable to pilot without her.
Though the Klax attack stopped the previous startup ritual for the new parasites, the ceremony is picked back up the next day with fewer attendees. The aftermath of Hiro and Zero Two’s bonding has lead to more questions than answers for the kids, like “what is kissing?” It’s possible that the kissing ups the sync ratio, more so than doing Twister or playing piano.
Ichigo stops Hiro in front of their abandoned-looking home. We learn that Naomi survived the Klax attack, and the threads of Ichigo’s hate for Zero Two are sewn. Ichigo mentions, not for the last time, that Zero Two isn’t a part of their team and Hiro shouldn’t pilot with someone from another team. It’s strange that she would say this considering it’s not possible for Hiro to pilot with anyone else on the team… well, maybe not so strange as selfish. Ichigo will continuously prove her selfishness through this entire episode with a care in the world in Hiro’s direction.
Hiro doesn’t seem upset with Ichigo’s opinion on Zero Two, though he does stand his ground. This is his last chance to actually pilot, and he doesn’t care about the rumors of Zero Two’s partners’ death if it means he can get back in the robot. Without piloting, Hiro feels dead and useless, though Ichigo understands this idea, she still feels jealousy toward Zero Two.
Speaking of Zero Two, she absolutely loves honey and pours it on everything.
She causes quite the ruckus in the parasite’s mess hall, and we learn the level of sheltered these kids are through them not understanding what the word “darling” means. Ichigo has a vague clue, but does’t attempt to enlighten anyone on her ideas. Acutally, it’s possible she doesn’t even understand her own feelings for Hiro.
Nana, who you’ll recognize from Zero Two’s unique character troupe in episode one, is the Parasite Handler for the 13 Plantation Corps a.k.a these kids. She mentions that Zero Two won’t be working with them at all which causes Hiro to have a little conniption begging to pilot with Zero Two agin. According to Nana, Papa, will be giving Hiro orders at a later date, and fails to explain if he is Zero Two’s new partner.
Zero Two and Nana leave the kids to ponder, and head to an elevator in the home that leads down to below the surface of the planet. We hear some interesting tech-babble where Plantation 13 is requesting “kissing” with another plantation due to low fuel reserves from the Klax attack. Kissing is likely a joining of plantations to share resources, but I wonder how it’s done and how exactly these cites are mobile.
We pop into a chamber with SEELE-like leaders talking about current events including Zero Two’s stay in Plantation 13 and piloting with Hiro. There isn’t much here right now, but since these guys seem important- I’m not sure this is the last we will be seeing of this room.
Moving into the second half of the show we are shows more detail on the parasite suits. They have a skin-tight underwear underneath the suit which is melded onto them like a parasite itself. A spinal column is attached to the back, then shoes and an interfacing helmet are attached. The suits are almost a second skin giving the impression that syncing with the FRANXX is a person experience, before we get to the big reveal of piloting.
The boys sit in a chair behind the girls who are laying down as if riding a bull (almost), and two handles unclip from their hips for the boys to handle. I’m thinking that the spinal attachment on the girls’ suits is accessing their nerves in some why, and that’s what causes pain or discomfort when being handled. It’s oddly sexual for a group of kids that don’t understand sex, but that’s probably why they are sheltered so much.
We are also given some crucial information about how the boys and girls work together. Men are stamens who have initiative with it comes to handling (movement, etc), and it’s up to the pistil, the women, to keep up with the movements. If the partners are out of sync for any reason the FRANXX will not operate property.
However, though this piloting is a mess in itself, the most interesting aspect is the communication between FRANXX. The men communicate using their own faces, but the women seemingly become one with the FRANXX and use the FRANXX faces to communicate in chatter. The girls are far more connected with the FRANXX than the boys which can explain the beast mode that Zero Two’s FRANXX experiences when she is fully piloting.
With this information, I now understand why Ichigo would be unsatisfied with her lot in life. Even not knowing what sex is, Ichigo can comprehend the basic idea of her urges at this age. Knowing that Hiro was handling Zero Two bothers her on a cellular level. Furthermore, Ichigo is also severely bothered by the fact that she isn’t Hiro’s partner at all, though I do believe she would have accepted Naomi in some small way.
After another startup is complete, Zorome begins to pick at Hiro partly because he doesn’t believe Hiro piloted a FRANXX and partly from jealousy that if Hiro did- he was a far better pilot than Zorome. The perfect chance for these kids to duke it out appears when Nana announces that Papa is allowing Hiro a chance to be a parasite again. However, since Zero Two’s, Strelizia, isn’t authorized for use at this time- Ichigo is the lucky girl to be Hiro’s pistil. Zorome jumps on the chance to fight the pair, and so the stage is set.
Hiro and Ichigo are able to join minds in the FRANXX at a 100% sync for e brief moment, then it all stops. Ichigo is upset and confused, blaming herself for the problem, but then Hiro mentions the kiss. He wonders if the kiss helped the sync, and after a minute, Ichigo agrees to a kiss.
Hiro feels nothing. It’s really terrible, but he feels nothing from the kiss and Ichigo becomes upset as she realizes that this isn’t her fault. Zorome lays into Hiro and Ichigo’s robot, and Ichigo takes control of the FRANXX herself since Hiro is useless. After some time, Zorome beings to figuratively hit on Ichigo causing his partner to fall out of sync. Both robots fall into a slump and out of commission. The test was a failure, and I feel far more pity for Ichigo at this point.
I have a couple theories about how Hiro was able to pilot with Zero Two but not with other girls, and though I’m sure how concrete they really are.
First, Zero Two mentioned that she would be able to unlock the latent ability in Hiro. So, it’s possible that Hiro can’t pilot normally, but this latent ability Zero Two is able to access is supremely powerful. She does have Klax blood which may account for something in triggering a reaction from whatever makes parasites able to pilot. This is the most basic theory, and the most obvious which is why I hope it’s not the correct one. The story won’t be missing anything if this is the answer, but it’s relatively plain.
My second idea is that Hiro is a pistil not a stamen. When Zero Two took him into her FRANXX, she switched places with him and he became the pistil and she the stamen. I do understand that FRANXX maintained a feminine appearance while Hiro and Zero Two were piloting together, but that may just come down to programming. Since Hiro is unable to pilot with the other girls, this is my wild and crazy explanation that I truly hope is correct. How much would a boy pistil turn the FRANXX world on its head?
This episode made me really connect with Ichigo, a person I thought I would hate until the show ended. I’m very interested in seeing how this world works and how these kids fit in to the whole scheme. Going forward, I hope to see more about these mobile cities and how they move.