Darling in the Franxx (First Impression: Episode 1 – 2)

Director: Nishigori, Atsushi

Genre: Mecha, Sci – Fi

Episodes: 24

Production Studios: Trigger & A-1 Pictures

 

Introduction

Darling in the Franxx was announced back in 2017 as one of the three other anime that Studio Trigger would be releasing in 2018. Studio Trigger is known as the minds behind great titles such as Kill la Kill and Little Witch Academia, both of which had cult followings of their own, especially Kill la Kill. Besides being produced by one of my favourite production studio, the director is also someone who had a hand in many awesome shows like Gurren Lagann and Evangelion. As such, I was sure Darling in the Franxx would be a show to watch out for this Winter 2018 season!

After watching just 2 episodes, did it live up to my expectation, or was I deeply disappointed just like when I got a Magikarp after walking 5KM in Pokemon GO?

Thoughts

If I were asked to describe this anime in just one sentence, I would say this anime is the illegitimate love child between Evangelion and Pacific Rim. There’s the edgy atmosphere, mysterious organisation, with an equally mysterious force of evil trying to destroy and kill humanity from Evangelion and the dual mecha pilot concept from Pacific Rim.

The dual pilot mode in this anime is …. weird and kinky to say the least

Some of these similarities between Darling in the Franxx and the mentioned titles are uncanny. The monster bursts into a sea of mysterious liquid after its core gets destroyed just like the Angels in Evangelion. It is also implied that the dual piloting mecha involves being connected with the partner where they share memories or feelings between each other just like in Pacific Rim. However, that’s not to say it’s a bad thing, these remix of concepts between similar titles in the mecha genre could make for a great overall concept, which is definitely the case here.

It’s got quite a lot going for it at this point. The plot, while still quite mysterious at this point, is definitely intriguing. They also have some good characters with the potential for more depth, especially the female protagonist, zero-two who is just an enigma right now. The action sequence is smooth and epic as expected from Studio Trigger. The studio seems to be going all out with their creativity as well, utilising letter boxing to make some scenes even more cinematic than normal, and these scenes shift back and forth, pushing us as the viewer to view all the scenes in a different light. 

At this point, Darling in the Franxx has all the ingredients to be anime of the season or even anime of the year.  

Part of the amazing visuals this anime has to showcase.

A shift from cinematic back to normal.

The one thing I’m afraid of is that the anime will just spiral out of control when they try to make the plot too convoluted when it doesn’t have to be, breaking the anime towards the end as they try to tie up all loose ends with just a few episodes left to spare. I’ve seen this happened one too many times and it always breaks my heart to see an anime end with a rushed ending.

It certainly looks as if the anime is trying to introduce a very philosophical plot line, especially with the heavy tone during some of the scenes. Let’s just hope the anime carries this momentum all the way to the end and not drop the ball, but knowing studio Trigger, I firmly believe they will give a solid conclusive ending.

Another thing that borderlines as a nitpick at this point, is that I’m not a fan of the character designs, they are really bland and uninteresting to look at. Everyone’s uniform looks exactly the same, there is nothing that differentiates them, the character’s clothing is usually a great place to show some character, maybe they don’t tuck in their shirt to show their rebellious nature or the character pins a brooch on the shirt, signifying something or just to put some flair to the design.

Will this character be my new waifu? Only time will tell.

Verdict

Darling in the Franxx is just what I expect Studio Trigger to deliver. It has a strong first episode, showing just a taste of what the anime could be like with awesome action and an intriguing plot. This could be the next big mecha anime to hit, just like Evangelion or Gurren Lagann and is definitely worth keeping an eye out for. You should definitely watch this if you’re a fan of mecha anime or Studio Trigger’s previous work. It has everything both those groups of people could ask for.


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