Thoughts & Feelings Column: Darling in the FRANXX – Episode Fifteen

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At the top of episode fifteen, we learn that the Gran Crevasse is a habitat that was destroyed by the Klax who now inhabit and swarm the area. Considering APE has been planning on coming back to this place for some time, I am wondering if this is where the Klax infestation on this world began. It could make sense that as a result of experiments of some sort, these creatures went rogue and began to destroy the habitat.

Moving on, Zero Two is featured, looking like wreck and a half. She has apparently devoured all her parasite partners on the way here, likely unable to control her terrible sorrow in losing Hiro. Seeing Zero Two alone strikes a cord with Hiro, but Ichigo reins him in with a hand squeeze that makes me want to punch her in the face. 

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This brief re-introduction leads us into the suicide mission that is the Gran Crevasse is without telling these kids the danger they are in. Hiro, left behind in a parallel situation as in episode one, where is he suck- unable to move forward and unsure what his role is.

4In the beginning of the battle, we see the Nines fighting just as well as you would expect from a set of elites. They are amazing, and we even have a bit of a “role reversal” where a male is pistil. It’s pretty obvious that they are some sort of test group, too, though I am not sure they share Klax blood like Zero Two does. However, if they do have some sort of connection with the Klax, that would explain their pastel hair.

During his bout, Goro notices a large circular hole in the habitat that looks man-made. Is it possible that this habitat was attacked by other humans in the past, maybe causing the Klax to be made or summoned in some way which caused destruction? Or, is it as simple as a relic of when APE has previously tried to take back the Gran Crevasse?

6Goro and Ichigo don’t have any time to think on this matter as the building beings to rumble, revealing a super-Klaxasaur surfacing like a mountain God from Godzilla. This seems to have caused Papa and his APE’s a bit of concern because they order Code 090 (leader of the squad that became friends with our main cast) to execute Order 32. Order 32 turns 090’s team into a suicide bomb squad.

Just before the best team of normal parasites rush to their forced deaths, the super-lax slows down and places his head into the plantation. It’s head splits open and smaller Klax begin to spill inside, colonizing and infecting the plantation. Zero Two then rushes into the scene to kill this new infestation of Klax, and we see her inside the robot, intricately connected through her now giant horns. She’s confused and scared as her lines between humanity, monster, and the machine become more blurred.

7We get whipped back to Hiro who is wandering and wondering who he is now and why he is now hesitating after all this time. Reaching some sort of epiphany, Hiro breaks out of the plantation in a training in a desperate attempt to meet up with Zero Two. He says all he wants to do with talk with her, which is just truly a maddening thing since you really shouldn’t be hold existential conversations in the battlefield no matter what Gundam says.

Hiro fails to make it to Zero Two who is fighting on a spire of sorts, and she, in her fury, does not see the small training unit on the field. Our saving grace ends up being Nice Guy Goro who forces Ichigo to stop fighting and let Hiro pilot; he knows that Ichigo is worried about both Hiro and Zero Two. After some short self reflection where Ichigo sees that none of Hiro’s memories are ever focused on her while she and Hiro sync in her FRANXX unit, she finally relents and helps out her friend.

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Zero Two struggles more and more with her mind becoming less able to manage human thought as seen through the scene breaks that are more reminiscent of the Shaft Monogatari series than Evangelion at this point in the way the thought cards are being presented. Ichigo has to attack and slap Zero Two before Hiro is able to enter the Strelizia.

10In the background of this scene, a Klax core breaks open by the rest of the team, and out of this core pops a tiny golden thing that looks very much like a fetus. Before this point, the kids have all been destroying the cores by stabbing, never seeing what was inside the core. The Klax are possibly incubation chambers for humans, or at least, some humanoid-like creatures like Zero Two: an evolution to humanity. The kids don’t fully realize that they may be killing people, but the fetal image is planted in their lizard brains now.

APE, giving up on the suicide bomber plans, causes parts of the currently occupied plantation to explode under the very cult-like image of releasing the people from their bodily prisons. The Nines all seems to have an idea of what Papa is doing, though, mentioning something about a needed sacrifice. The bombing only really worked to help kill some of the attacking Klaxosaurs, so I can’t help but wonder why we just didn’t have the kids go in and kill the monsters during some sort of clean up. More civilians would have survived the encounter, though, I’m not sure APE is concerned with delayed action that saves more lives. I’m also not sure how much they even care about their own population.

13Back with Hiro and Zero Two, the two are unable to connect properly with Zero Two suffering in her own mind prison. Hiro asks to see where her head is at and her memories flood his brain. We see memories where Dr. Franxx says he doesn’t expect Hiro to be effective after ingesting Zero Two’s blood, where Zero Two is forced to forget Hiro and her time with him over and over, and finally, memories where Zero Two holds onto little ideas and totems to help her keep bits of the day she spent with Hiro.

After the memories finish paying, Hiro is able to break Zero Two out of her space as they cry about living on and working through their lives together going forward. The Strelizia makes a cool as heck transformation into a pure red robot after Hiro and Zero Two manage to sync again. They manage to destroy the super-Klax and help clean up the field bringing their perfected sync rates past that winged version during Hiro’s revelation episode.

15After the Nines and the Strelizia destroy the Gran Crevasse plantation, the APE leaders talk about how the door was been opened. That’s good. That’s not ominous, and it certainly didn’t cause the giant hand living inside the Gran Crevasse to surface out of the pit and smash the kid’s home plantation. Our heroes all survive, but the civilians are all likely dead after this impact.

I did really like this episode, but I do wonder how significant it was since we already had a similar revelation episode earlier in the show that yielded similar results. After Hiro and Zero Two got wings, we assumed the kids were in perfect harmony only to be shown that was not the case a short while later. This previous experience does make me nervous, but I hope we’ve reached the last of our character-centric epiphanies and can more forward with some good ‘ol plot thread round up, namely that bit about the fetus.

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Read about episode sixteen!

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