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"In a name, there's power. While we were still young, when all we had was code numbers, you could say we lacked individuality. The one who gave us names was the young Hiro. At that time, you were a guidepost to us. But that's in the past. Right now, I don't expect anything from you." —Mitsuru

Fighting Puppet is the third episode of DARLING in the FRANXX.

Synopsis

With Hiro still unable to pilot, Zero Two is forced to pilot with Mitsuru when parasites come into danger.

Plot

As children, 016 gives himself the name Hiro and 015 the name Ichigo. Mitsuru stands with his ball. Other children begin asking for names as well. Though they wait for their parents, they never return to them. Mitsuru shyly asks for a name too. Hiro smiles back at him.

In the Plantation's inner city, Hiro comes out from being scanned to find Ichigo. He asks if anything's wrong and he says that they didn't find anything. She enthusiastically says that she's happy to hear that. Hiro is about to say something else when he is interrupted by Nana calling her and she runs away.

Nana says that Hiro is the first sample that piloted with Zero Two and taken so little damage. Hachi says that he failed to common connect with Delphinium, but was compatible with Strelizia, even though he was unconscious. They wonder is it's because of the special specimen.

At Cerasus, Goro asks if something happened between Hiro and Ichigo in the cockpit since she was acting weird after the mock battle. Hiro says that she seemed mad when she ran into him earlier as well. Goro says that she always gets too worked up when it comes to him. Since there aren't many with codes in the teens, Hiro, and Ichigo are basically siblings. Goro says that they've always been together with him at their side. He says that it was a miracle that all three of them got assigned from the special class to there. Hiro agrees that they are like siblings.

He asks Goro, since he's her partner, to tell Ichigo that it wasn't her fault. Goro agrees but asks what he's going to do. He says he'll ask if he can ride with Zero Two again. Goro asks if he's heard about the rumors that her partner can only ride with her three times without dying. Hiro says that it is just a rumor. Goro asks if he saw what happened to her last partner, but Hiro interrupts to say that if Zero Two is the only one he can ride with, then he has to ride with her. Since their entire purpose is to pilot the FRANXX and that was the reason they were born.

Inside, Futoshi asks what happened with Hiro becoming a parasite. Ikuno says he could only connect for a bit at the start, so she doesn't like his chances. Zorome says that there's no way he'll get in. Mitsuru says that he doesn't know about the ones who only managed a draw against that, either. Zorome says that it was Miku's fault for randomly falling over. Miku angrily asks if he remember what he said when that happened.

Kokoro warns them not to fight because it will affect their numbers. Ikuno says that she doesn't think Papa will accept a parasite who can't pilot. Futoshi agrees and says that so many kids disappeared from the Garden due to that.

Miku says that Ichigo is no better. She says that she's too biased towards Hiro when she's supposed to be their leader. She says she doesn't understand how Goro's putting up with her as her partner. Ichigo asks what Goro has to do with it. Goro also walks in and asks what they're talking about. Annoyed, Ichigo says that, if Hiro becomes a parasite, he'll be a great help. Miku says that he might not even. Ichigo says that he still has a chance, and Miku disagrees. She says that he couldn't get it done with her, so I think it's over for him. She says that he piloted Strelizia, even if he was unconscious, and saved them, so she still believed in him.

Mitsuru says that he understands why she wants to stick up for him, but he was only taken along for the ride. Ichigo yells that they don't know that. Mitsuru says that Hiro was special, even among the double digits, and they were all certain that he'd be their leader. But in reality, he couldn't become a parasite and he isn't what he used to be. He says that they should cut their losses because he doesn't want to see the pathetic side of Hiro anymore.

Hiro practises fighting alone as Zero Two watches from the ceiling. After he leaves, he finds her leaning against a pillar, seeming to be asleep. He walks over and stares at her horns. She calls him a pervert and to stop staring. He is taken back and apologizes. She says it's fine, since Dr. FRANXX says that parasites are better off being a little pervy. He asks how that makes him a pervert. Zero Two stands and says that she was tired of waiting for him and begins walking, telling him to follow. He asks to where.

In a hallway, Zero Two walks through a scanner but Hiro is stopped. He says that children have restrictions on where they can go and almost all of that area is off-limits to them. Zero Two shows her hand which says "S Rank" on it. She walks back and leads him forward, allowing them both to cross.

She brings him to a balcony and he asks how she knew about it. She says that all the plantations have similar designs. Hiro says that he's never set foot in the city before, only ever the Birdcage and a few other facilities. He looks over at her and she asks why he's staring again. He smiles and says that he's trying to think up a name for her, since he's really good at it. She says she's fine with "Zero Two." He asks if it doesn't feel lame to go by a code name.

Zero Two hops over the railing and balances across thin path. She says that, once they die, they'll only be a statistic and it won't matter what they were called. She says in that lifeless city, there are no skies or oceans. It's isolated on a one-way street to nowhere, a dead end of life. Hiro says that it isn't safe and to come back as he extends his hand. She turns and asks if he wants to run away together. She says she can get him out of there. She does flips back to the balcony and says she's just kidding.

Hachi says they received sortie orders from HQ. Nana tells them that the Klaxosaur won't be as big as the one they already saw. Hachi says it's a Conrad-class klaxosaur, a bit smaller than a FRANXX. He says that they're attracted by magma energy reactions and appear in their vicinity. He says, lately, they had been showing up deep in a Level 8 mine on the outskirts and wreaking havoc. Nana says that Strelizia won't be a part of the mission. Because they'll have to defend Plantation 13 by themselves eventually, it will show if they can handle fighting them in the future. Nana says that Ichigo and Goro will have field command.

Goro asks if the mock battle is bothering Ichigo. He tells her to switch gears, since they're going into actual combat. She says she knows and is about to say something, but stops herself and says that she'll do her best as leader and they fistbump.

In the FRANXX, Zorome is excited, but Miku tells him not to go crazy by himself again. All but Mitsuru and Ikuno connect. Hachi asks what's wrong, Mitsuru says that it doesn't look like Ikuno can do it. Ikuno says that he's nearly there and to wait for a second. Mitsuru seems annoyed and tells her not to bother. Hachi announces that Chlorophytum will stay behind.

The three head out to a big hole. They marvel at it and say that they use the pipes to extract magma reserves. Hachi tells them to head down to the 8th floor. He says that, in order to completely neutralize a Klaxosaur, they must extract its core, and shatter it using their customized magma-energy weapons. He tells them to defeat it and the three head in.

Nana asks if Ikuno is not feeling well. She says that that isn't it. Nana says that she has always been a bit unstable and they'll run test the next day to make sure. Mitsuru asks if it could be that they have compatibility issues. Smiling, Nana says that a lot of parasites experience that at first and it isn't grounds to split them up. Mitsuru seems disappointed.

Ichigo says that they have visual on klaxosaur and they're spreading out. They run to it and begin slashing it. Before Zorome can finish it, it attacks and knocks them over. Miku is electrocuted and passes out. Futoshi shoots and exposes its core. Ichigo stabs it.

Zorome tries to check on Miku, as does Ichigo. Many more suddenly fall from the ceiling, so they plan on fleeing. Nana says that they attracted more because they released their magma energy. Zero Two says that she should have sent her from the start. She says they'll die. Hiro is alarmed and tells her to sent himself and Zero Two to help. Hachi refuses and says that he isn't an official stamen, so he can't give permission to board a FRANXX. Zero Two says that the plantation squad is going to be wiped out again and to let her pilot with Hiro. She says she won't be allowed to sortie.

Mitsuru says that he could pilot with her. Nana says that Strelizia is no ordinary FRANXX, if he isn't used to its connect. Mitsuru says that, if Hiro could, there's no way he couldn't. Zero Two says that she wants to ride with Hiro, but he asks that she just go with him. As Mitsuru walks by, he tells Hiro not to come crying to him when he regrets his goody-two-shoes act later because he's going to prove that he can pilot Strelizia better than he did.

Miku wakes up and Zorome hugs her. They begin piloting again. Hachi tells them that Strelizia is about to help. Ichigo is bothered by this and causes them to fall. This lets the klaxosaur to get in, so they flee. Many follow and a very large one is about to bite Ichigo. Strelizia appears and kills some. Mitsuru tells them to get back and Hachi tells them to evacuate.

Panting, Mitsuru says that he feels like he can do anything. He says that he's amazed changing partners could make such a difference, and he knew he wasn't the problem. He says that he's just as good as Hiro. He tells Zero Two that he wouldn't mind becoming her official partner, to the dismay of Ikuno. Zero Two says that she should go all-out for a bit.

Hachi tells her to stop, as the others had already evacuated. The three FRANXX are surprised what happened. Zorome apologizes to Miku. She says that it doesn't matter if it was his fault, since they're partners. He begins crying. Goro asks what's wrong with Ichigo. She lies and says she got careless after she found that help was coming.

When they retrieve Streliza, Zero Two walks out and smiles and waves at Hiro. Mitsuru is gravely injured and unconscious. She says that he isn't suited to be her darling, only Hiro is.

Appearances

Gallery

References

DARLING in the FRANXX
PILOTS
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
APE Papa | Vice Chairman | Gorilla | Marmoset | Lemur | Baboon | Tarsier
Dr. FRANXX | Hachi | Nana
FRANXX Strelizia | Delphinium | Argentea | Genista | Chlorophytum | Standard | 9 Model
MEDIA
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
MUSIC KISS OF DEATH | Torikago | Manatsu no Setsuna | Beautiful World
Hitori | CÅGE | Vanquish | Escape
WORLD
LOCATIONS Cerasus | Garden | Chrysanthemum | Gran Crevasse | Cosmos
KEYWORD Klaxosaur | FRANXX