This episode is a ton of fun. All the sexiness and frustration converge in the most satisfying use of the Strelizia to date. I still feel lukewarm on Hiro, himself, but I’ve grown to really like the characters around him, and this episode only solidifies what a great team these kids can be- with the help of the super-powered Strelizia, of course.
We begin by overhearing a conversation with the Seele-Like force in Darling in the FRANXX talking about topics such as Nines and Zero Two as the special specimen. They mention that she shouldn’t be interacting with tainted stamens (i.e. Mitsuru), and this brings up an interesting idea: are these kids bred? I’ve assumed until this point that Zero Two was bred in some way, or at least a Rei-Type clone, because she has Klaxosaur blood. But! Does this mean all parasites are bred specially? Or, is Seele-2 simply speaking generally about how their population is mating? It’s interesting to consider all the possibilities that their words can insinuate.
Back at the compound, Mitsuru is upset (rightly) with Zero Two, calling her a demon. He explains that when Zero Two fully synced with him- she was devouring his soul. Hiro, still ignoring the pleas of his comrades, wishes to continuing pursing Zero Two’s partnership. Though I may believe Hiro is a little small minded, he is not the only person with lofty dreams of piloting with Zero Two while knowing the consequences- there are many stamens who would love nothing more than to die with in service with Zero Two.
Again, I should mention that I feel like Hiro’s need to pilot, even at the cost of his own life, to feel useful in society is a comment on Japanese culture. Bringing up the idea that there are people than Hiro willing to die for their country only solidifies this point. Unfortunately, later in the episode when Hiro is able to pilot with Zero Two successfully- we are almost condoning this viewpoint, though Hiro is able to pilot without limitations or danger that we can see. It begs the question if this is a positive interpretation of the comment on society or not, and I think that it can go both ways, at the end of day.
Moving on, we get a look at the ruder side of our perfect girl, Zero Two, who acts high and mighty (though for good reason) and calls the squad Hiro is currently a part of “weak.” Zero Two is then informed that this squad of kids is an “irregular squad” who were chosen for their high aptitude. This is convoluted, but I understand what the creators are attempting to get across: every kid here is a special snowflake.
Zero Two is given a bombshell, and she is told she will have to return to the front lines and get a new partner (meaning not Hiro). I would love the see what the front lines look like because right now I am imagining something from Starship Troopers. Zero Two is rightly put off by this news, and she begins her tantrum that results in her cornering Hiro in the bathroom before another Klax attack.
The lead up to the Klax attack is the one thing I have been waiting for: the plantation kissing. I want to point out that we don’t see anything interesting just yet because the kissing is only in the set-up phases. The radiation from the beginning operation seems to attract the Klax, and we now have an additional clue about these strange creatures: not only do they consume fuel- they can smell it like a shark smells blood. As the time for the actual kissing approaches, it feels like we are going to have a mid-season big battle right around the corner.
This gigantic worm-like Klax begins its attack, and the kids head out. Zero Two and Hiro remain behind, per the status quo, ready to pilot just in case… because it’s episode four and it’s really about time.
Outside, our four FRANXX are able to take down the Klax without too much issue, though they are unable to locate the core. The tail of this Klax comes up to attack the kids, and they are forced to hold their position without offensive capabilities. Seeing the inevitable deaths, everyone gets somber. As this happens, a group of armed men come to take Zero Two back to the front lines. The confusion of a Klax attack matched with Zero Two’s return to active duty makes me wonder how much of the situation was orchestrated by the Seele-wannabes.
Again, we have that wide screen view as Zero Two tells Hiro goodbye. This almost romantic scene seems to finally give Hiro the real confidence to act on his emotions and get in the robot he’s been begging to pilot since day two. Hiro busts out of the observation room and chases Zero Two down, giving her a heartfelt speech about how she is no different than any human.
Zero Two is moved by Hiro’s words, happy he is finally acting for his own interests. Through sheer force, the two run for the Strelezia and go out to help Hiro’s friends. My prediction about Hiro being a stamen is completely wrong, but this normal setup is still a ton of fun. Zero Two and Hiro form a perfect partnership, Hiro retains his memory and consciousness this time, and Zero Two is able to use her power without much limit from what we can see. The Klax becomes easy pickings and the team busts through the monster to the core.
Now that Zero Two and Hiro have a successful piloting track on record, I wonder what is next for all parties considering this action was against regulation, and I am worried that this Seele-like organization, or at least Papa, will be rearing their head soon to challenge Zero Two and Hiro’s partnership. Here’s hoping they don’t, and everything works out just fine!