DARLING in the FRANXX (ダーリン・イン・ザ・フランキス, Dārin In Za Furankisu), also known as DARLI FRA (ダリフラ, Dari Fura) for short, is a 2018 Japanese science fiction anime television series created by Code: 000, co-produced by Trigger, A-1 Pictures and its subsidiary CloverWorks, which premiered on January 13, 2018. A manga adaptation by Kentaro Yabuki and another caricature began serialization on January 14, 2018.
In a post-apocalyptic future, humanity has been under constant threat and driven to endangerment by giant beasts known as klaxosaurs, which are sub-divided into at least four categories based in their size: ‘Conrad’, ‘Mohorovicic’, ‘Gutenberg’, and ‘Lehmann’. Inthe 21st century, the progress of human civilization accelerated by ground-breaking discoveries in mining technology, allowing extraction of magma energy for a low-cost and all-encompassing energy source. Scientists who contributed to this discovery formed APE, an internationalized organization that gained large influence over politics and the global economy. After discovering human mortality, much of humanity opted to become immortal but at the cost of their reproductive systems. The magma energy drilling eventually led to the sudden emergence of the klaxosaurs, which began attacking the drilling facilities and led to a large mass of casualties
Pushed to the break of extinction, APE led remnants of humanity to abandon Earth’s surface for the relatively safe mobile fortress-cities called Plantations. The adults live in these cities and have become immortal due to receiving injections of magma energy but at the cost of their reproductive systems. The adults live peaceful and uneventful lives within the Plantations but procreation and relationships have become obsolete. To defend the Plantations, humanoid military weapons called FRANXX were created but required a male and female pilot who retained their reproductive functions. Because all of humanity lost those functions in exchange for immortality, there were was a need for fertile children and through genetic cloning, children were born. The children, referred to as ‘parasites’, are educated only for piloting the FRANXX in boy-girl pairs and are kept in isolation throughout their childhoods, and placed in environments called ‘Birdcages’, which emulate that of an bygone era, so they can develop the emotional responses needed to pilot the FRANXX.
After a century of warfare against the klaxosaurs, a parasite named Hiro, who is initially viewed as a prodigy, fails his capacity test and is deemed unfit to pilot, making him lose interest in life. While skipping out on his class's graduation ceremony, Hiro encounters Zero Two, an infamous FRANXX pilot with a dark past in which hat partners die after riding with her and who is actually a human-klaxosaur hybrid, leaving her with red horns on her head. After her partner is killed in a klaxosaur attack, Hiro says to Zero Two that he'll help her pilot her robot to defeat the klaxosaur. After they succeed, Zero Two announces she has found her ‘darling’.
"I found you, my darling!"
Darling in the Franxx works on a wide variety of themes. On of the most prelevant themes that covers real world issues are war and military use of children, which outlines the upbringing of the characters and shapes their initial perspective of how the world they know operates. The series also focuses on the physical and emotional transition of childhood to adulthood. This includes themes of interpersonal matters, such as the children naturally discovering love, friendship, and forming a family unit for the sake of survival. Identity and protection also play an important role for the children as they begin to questions the origins of their existence and finding their true destiny, and resolving to fight for it when they realize they are disposable in the eyes of their affirmed leader. Other prominent real life matters such as family and commitment are shown with Kokoro and Mitsuru. Self-sacrifice is one of the most notable themes in the series, as Hiro and Zero Two chose to give up their lives to ensure their friends would be freed from further warfare and live happier lives.
Setting and Terminology
the series takes place a century since humanity’s war with the klaxosaurs began in 2037. As a result of magma energy being drilled from Earth’s core for the use of increasing human civilization and technology, the planet’s surface has been left in complete ruins and the remnants of humanity reside in the Plantations. Inside the Plantations are two sections; the low section is of a city for the adults that glow in the color gold and the top section is the residence for the children assigned to protect the plantation. Several other facilities exist for the training of the children across the planet. The APE council reside in an aerial facility called Cosmos over Earth’s atmosphere. The klaxosaurs reside within Earth’s core and have many physical manifestations.
- Conrad-class is smaller than a FRANXX and is usually not a threat. They are fast and rely on strength in numbers and can merge to form a larger klaxosaur form.
- Mohorovic-class is medium sized and is considered dangerous to the Plantations if left unattended but likewise is harmless if dealt with.
- Gutenberg-class is large and intimidating to look at. It consists of a variety of weapons that is a threat to the Plantations. A joint operation is required to combat against it.
- Lehmann-class is almost as large as a plantation and is the most dangerous of the klaxosaurs. They are capable of withstanding explosions and military weapons used by the plantations and FRANXX. A seasoned FRANXX unit and powerful military units are required to combat against it.
FRANXX are biomechanical military units designed by Dr. Franxx to combat against the klaxosaurs. They were created from klaxosaur skeletal remains dug up from Earth’s core and have been fitted with armor and control systems. FRANXX are operated by male and female pairs and must require a strong mental connection and network of trust between the pilots to function.
Parasites are children who were born to become pilots for the FRANXX. They spend their entire childhood undergoing training and tests at the Garden and given code numbers before they will be discharged and assigned to a plantation based on their capacity and aptitude results. They will be assigned into boy-girl pairs to pilot a FRANXX and reside in a bygone environment to help them develop the emotional responses required. These children grow up knowing nothing besides warfare and are prohibited from forming relationships beyond professionalism or else they will be subjected to punishment.
VIRM is an alien species that has existed as long as humanity and klaxosaurs. It’s home planet resides near the end of the universe and will take two years to reach. The VIRM is an energy consuming species that relies on absorbing the souls of its victims. After being defeated by Klaxosaurs several eons prior, some VIRM survived and went on to become forming APE and introducing the FRANXX and parasite system by disguising themselves as humans.
Hringhorni is a powerful weapon kept in a secret location called Gran Crevasse. The APE refers to it as ‘Star Entity’ and it was built for the purpose of eliminating the klaxosaurs to extinction. It requires a klaxo sapien to operate it and Zero Two was created to do so on humanity’s behalf. It was also installed with a self-destruct bomb powerful enough to destroy the planet should the Klaxosaur Princess attempt to take control of it.
- Original Work: Code: 000
- Director: Atsushi Nishigori
- Assistant Director: Toshifumi Akai
- Series Composition: Atsushi Nishigori, Naotaka Hayashi
- Character Designer: Masayoshi Tanaka
- Chief Animation Director: Masayoshi Tanaka
- Mechanical Designer: Shigeto Koyama
- Action Supervisor: Masayoshi Tanaka
- Music: Asami Tachibana
- Opening Theme: Mika Nakashima x HYDE
- Animation Production: TRIGGER x A-1 Pictures x CloverWorks
List of Episodes
- Episode 01: Alone and Lonesome
- Episode 02: What it Means to Connect
- Episode 03: Fighting Puppet
- Episode 04: Flap Flap
- Episode 05: Your Thorn, My Badge
- Episode 06: DARLING in the FRANXX
- Episode 07: Shooting Star Moratorium
- Episode 08: Boys × Girls
- Episode 09: Triangle Bomb
- Episode 10: The City of Eternity
- Episode 11: Partner Shuffle
- Episode 12: The Garden Where It All Began
- Episode 13: The Beast and the Prince
- Episode 14: Punishment and Confession
- Episode 15: The Bird that Shares Wings
- Episode 16: Days of Our Lives
- Episode 17: Eden
- Episode 18: When the Sakura Blooms
- Episode 19: Inhumanity
- Episode 20: A New World
- Episode 21: For You, My Love
- Episode 22: Stargazers
- Episode 23: DARLING in the FRANXX
- Episode 24: Never Let Me Go
Licensing and Broadcast
The series was announced at Trigger’s Anime Expo 2017 panel in July 2017. The anime series premiered on Japanese television broadcast on January 13, 2018. The manga adaptation written by Kentaro Yabuki and a four-panel stop comic began the following day. The anime series in Japan was handled by CloverWorks and animated by Trigger. The English version was released on February 1, 2018, and handled by Funimation and the service partner Crunchyroll handled the simulcasting. Aniplus Asia handled distribution in Southeast Asia.
Darling in the Franxx has received positive acclaim from critics. Anime News Network gave the series a 7.4 out of ten, with a large percentage of viewers voting it as ‘very good’ and/or ‘excellent. Crunchyroll named it as one of the most highly anticipated and best animes to watch following its release in 2018. The creator, Atsushi Nishigori, said at Crunchyroll Expo in September 2018 that his direction was to create an anime about science fiction mecha and incoporate a group of dynamic like IDOLMASTER, but also with personal elements and conflicts of the characters, such as issues of military use of children and the transition from childhood to adulthood.
Darling in the Franxx has also been praised for its coming-of-age direction. Nishigori reported during an interview that his approach was to show different pairings and ways of life, as without gender, there would be no such thing as marriage and children. The issue of teen marriage and parenthood stirred controversy following episode 17, with some criticizing the series for downplaying the reality and hardships of such concepts. The Western reception has been mixed, particularly after episode 15, in which some critics called the plot ‘flawed’ and rushed to an easy ending. However, the ending has been well-received moreso by Japanese viewers. The quality of the animation and character designs were highly praised. The music was also highly praised, especially the opening theme song, Kiss of Death, and critics gave positive acclaim to the ending themes, which were sung by the female cast members.
The series, since it’s original Japanese debut, has won multiple awards. During the Anime 2018 Winter Awards, the series won Favorite Action or Adventure and Favorite Mecha or Sci-Fi. It won the Best Girl with Zero Two in first place. It won Favorite Supporting Female and Male Characters with Ichigo and Goro. The couplings of Zero Two/Hiro and Kokoro/Mitsuru have ranked in the top ten, with Kokoro and Mitsuru reaching fourth place. The series won multiple awards at the 2018 NewType Anime Awards, such as Best Mecha Design/Best Prop Design, and making it within the top ten choices for Best Male/Female Character, Best Theme Song, Best Soundtrack, Best Director, Best Screenplay, and Best Character Design.
DARLING in the FRANXX
|STAMEN||Hiro | Goro | Zorome | Futoshi | Mitsuru|
|PISTIL||Zero Two | Ichigo | Miku | Kokoro | Ikuno|
|OTHER||Naomi | Old Woman | 081 | 090 | 245 | 9'α | 9'β | 9'γ | 9'δ | 9'ε | 9'ζ | VIRM|
|APE||Papa | Vice Chairman | Gorilla | Marmoset | Lemur | Baboon | Tarsier|
Dr. FRANXX | Hachi | Nana
|FRANXX||Strelizia | Delphinium | Argentea | Genista | Chlorophytum | Standard | 9 Model|
|EPISODES||01 | 02 | 03 | 04 | 05 | 06 | 07 | 08 | 09 | 10 | 11 | 12|
13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24
|CHAPTERS||01 | 02 | 03 | 04 | 05 | 06 | 07 | 08 | 09 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20|
|MUSIC||KISS OF DEATH | Torikago | Manatsu no Setsuna | Beautiful World|
Hitori | CÅGE | Vanquish | Escape | Darling
|LOCATIONS||Cerasus | Garden | Chrysanthemum | Gran Crevasse | Cosmos|
|KEYWORD||Klaxosaur | FRANXX|