Much like Evangelion took a brief break in the middle of it’s season before all hell broke loose, Darling in the FRANXX launches a similar approach with episodes seven and eight. However, looking at these relaxing trope-filled installments as just is a big mistake. There’s not only more clues to the world around these kids, but plenty of good character development that will prove important around the corner when the season comes to a close.
Let’s start with the blessing of episode seven’s beach episode.
Our opening scene mentions that this beach area wasn’t something the kids knew survived on the surface, and that they had never seen an ocean that was safe to swim in. What’s key here isn’t necessarily the mysterious surface safe area, though that’s certainly something to explore, is the ocean information. Not only does this mean the kids have seen or heard of oceans before, it means that all the oceans they know are not usable. The ocean, as we all know, is open water connecting continents. What would make this particular section of the ocean safe, but most others not? While it’s common (unfortunately) for sections of our current ocean to become polluted while not affecting the entire world, it’s strange that only one area of the ocean would be unaffected by whatever is happening here.
Combined with the idea that the kids are kept in the dark about so many things, my immediate reaction is that we are not being told something about this apocalypse after the magma energy crisis, and it’s possible that everything is really okay. I’m probably wrong, but this whole beach area, including the abandoned town on the cliff, has my trust level down for APE and all the adults.
Moving on, Ichigo talks about how she is happy that Zero Two and Hiro are partners, though she doesn’t trust or approve of Zero Two fully. I wonder how much of it is Ichigo’s selfishness and how much is stubbornness.
We also get a look at what APE has to say about Hiro, nothing positive and wishing he has shown his promise sooner, as well as talking about placing our dear squad under constant surveillance (which I believed they already were). They finish up by calling this breach resort the Grand Crevasse, and though it may be a red herring, I think we should remember the name of this place. It just seems so oddly important, not only for the story, but for Zero Two. She has always dreamed of swimming in the ocean, after all.
Our time away from the beach continues with a flashback after episode six’s battle where Hiro meets with the fantastic Dr. Franxx and that mysterious blonde boy. Though, the boy doesn’t allow himself to get introduced, he does say that he and Hiro will meet again. This encounter is meant to launch a few red flags, and the flag in my head is one where Hiro and this boy will have to fight each other.
Before we turn away to the Grande Crevasse’s safe haven, Dr. Franxx pulls Hiro aside to tell him not to allow Zero Two to consume his emotions, or he will be hurt in the end. Basically, don’t fall in love. I think this should be remembered, too, because we may later learn something a little Rei-like (See Rei from Evangelion) about Zero Two in the coming weeks.
Regardless, Zero Two finally looks truly happy to playing in the ocean. Some of the other team members talk about Hiro’s hierarchy changes recently, and Hiro educates the boys on kissing. These scenes help remind us that these people are really just sheltered kids. It seems silly, but it’s a big transition aide as they follow Mitsuru up the crevasse to a dead city.
During the walk, Hiro and Goro discuss their partners and end up talking about the different sides of love. Hiro talks about kisses and loving his partner openly, but Goro talks about liking Ichigo even though it hurts sometimes. Goro doesn’t realize his feelings for Ichigo right now, and that’s likely where this pain is coming from. When he finally does realize his love for her, I have to wonder how Ichigo will take it.
The kids finally make it to the dead city. It looks like a modern town, at least modern for today, but it’s completely overgrown from at least 10-20 years of abandonment, though possibly a century or more. There are also reddish stains in many areas, though I’m not sure if that’s a coloring choice or remnants of what we are to assume is blood.
Our exclamation point here is the abandoned mansion-like facility that resembles their current living quarters. It seems to be exactly what their home was based off of. So much so, one of the girls even notices this fact.
We follow Kokoro through the facility as she passes a window that says “reception and dispensary,” though she is unable to read the language. She picks up a book about childbirth before being ushered out of the building. My imagination is running wild with the possibilities here, and instead of just yelling at you about all the different things this could mean- let’s just say that this seems to have been a birthing facility. You can draw your own wild ideas on the implications that this brings to the table now. I’ve got five at least.
Outside, Zero Two eggs Ichigo on causing us to see a romantic rivalry that Hiro is continuously blind to. Zero Two then tells the rest of the team that there are towns like this all over the world. People simply abandoned their homes and moved underground. It’s scary to think that the entire world moved underground due to the Klax, especially when the surface seems to be habitable still in a lot of areas. How vital is this magma energy, and why can’t we go to natural energy to stave off the threat? Klax are only attracted to magma energy after all.
I forget how much these kids are spoiled, but them coming back to find a bar-b-que is frankly creepy and they don’t even realize it.
While the squad enjoys their meal, Hiro wonders why the world was abandoned and that maybe if humans never harvested magma energy in the first place- maybe the Klaxosaurs would have never shown up. Zorome then chimes in with the most brainwashed views of APE and Papa I have heard, yet. He beings to praise Papa and says that their duty as pilots is to fight for the goat cause of protecting the plantations, and follows up that they are lucky to be a part of this and that their work will give them Papa’s attention This is what all these kids believe and fight for. It actually hurt my heart to hear this because this is what Hiro once believed, too.
This is a hint that Hiro is now deviating from the the common thought, and we know that Zero Two already does. Maybe it’s this deviation from APE’s forced values that will cause him and the blonde boy to meet again.
Later, Hiro and Ichigo walk down the beach. Ichigo misses her opportunity, again, to tell Hiro about her feelings as he is distracted by shooting stars. Hiro will always be distracted by something far off, and I think Ichigo has finally realized that.
Overall, this is a solid interlude episode that satiates my need for plot development and ladies. It also allows our dear animators a bit of break since we don’t have any battles this go-around.
While I waited to have write-ups on both of these episodes at the same time, I ended up talking a little too much about seven, so please look forward to following the link below featuring episode eight!