What’s the show? Darling in the FranXX, Episode 24.
Well here we are, the end of Darling in the FranXX… this is kind of a hard one to talk about.
Oh? How so? It’s always hard to talk about a season finale of something this big… no not just season but series, this is a pretty definitive ending—all things considered. Also… I’m going to have to talk about some of the criticisms I saw of the show on Twitter, because well… I have some ~opinions~ on what’s been levelled against this finale.
Oh boy… one of those reviews, huh? I’m going to try and keep the ranting to a minimum okay? I know nobody likes to read a rant, if you want to know my brief and concise thoughts on the finale though, here they are: it was great, pretty much what I wanted and more or less what I expected.
Fair enough, so should we talk about what happened in the episode first? Okay, so giant Zero Two and Hiro inside her are floating through deep space, having a grand ol’ time reading each other’s thoughts and periodically blowing up enemy alien spaceships. Meanwhile on Earth, some time has passed and the gang is getting ready for the birth of Kokoro‘s baby. The episode cuts back and forth between deep space and Earth, with the passing of time increasing each cut.
How much time we talking? At first days, then weeks, then months, then a couple of years. In space; they reach the alien hub, but Hiro succumbs to the negative influence of the VIRM. Back on Earth, Kokoro’s and Mitsuru’s baby Ai (whose a toddler now) is touching the petrified Zero Two statue and begins saying “Darling” despite never having learnt that world. The gang surmise that Zero Two is trying to reach out to them for help. So they all hold hands and send their thoughts and prayers to space… and yeah on paper that sounds incredibly lame…
You said it, not me! Anyway, the power of friendship knows no bounds and Hiro hears their voices and comes back out of the void—or wherever he was—and he and Zero Two ‘connect’ once more and defeat the evil aliens with the bomb the klaxosaurs provided. Boom! The aliens are defeated but of course in such a blast there’s no surviving it for our two young lovers. And their souls drift through space…
Wow, didn’t expect them to kill the two main characters of the show! It was kind of the only way they could go about it without it seeming contrived, and yet there’s still people out there who thought this ending was “convenient”.
Oh boy… here we go, rant mode enabled… No, I’m not going to rant, I’m just going to say that in-universe this ending made sense. Having statue version Zero Two on Earth being able to hear everyone was established—in so far that there was a connection between Zero Two’s mind in Strelizia and her body on Earth, we saw her flesh body take damage Earth-side while it was being attacked in space. Also, of course Hiro’s going to here it, he’s inside her! The two have been sharing a brain for years at this point!
Easy with the exclamation marks chief. If that’s all people are saying then what’s the big deal? That’s people who already didn’t care for the show complaining some more about an ending they don’t care about. There’s more.
Okay, go on. So back to the episode itself, we have a time-lapse of the tree that sprouted from the crumbled Zero Two statue (just go with it) hundreds of years pass as the tree grows large and new cities grow larger behind it. It’s an honestly gorgeous scene that had me shedding a few tears! Then as the drifting souls of Hiro and Zero Two return to Earth we see two familiar looking small children meet each other under the tree.
Okay? And… And I think that’s a beautiful way to end this series, with the same message of hope for the future that was always an undercurrent (and later—the entire plot) of the series. Some people had issue with this idea of “souls” or “reincarnation” as being too cheesy or too ~mystical~ but most Japanese ideologies concerning the idea of the soul revolve around some kind of reincarnation mythos. This isn’t religious symbolism suddenly appearing in a science-oriented show, this is more rooted in Japanese culture—the way nearly every Slice of Life series has characters visiting a shrine for New Years, it’s not an explicitly religious tradition like if a character in a Western show went to church, it’s just a part of life. That’s not to say everyone in Japan believes in reincarnation but there’s something hopeful about the idea of a soul living beyond its physical limitations and something sweetly romantic about two souls finding one another again in a different time.
Hmm, sounds like you’ve just got an opinion that happens to be different from other people’s, doesn’t make yours any more valid… I, uh… well yeah, fine! Where do you get off being the voice of reason?
That’s literally my job here. Right.
So was there anything else you wanted to add? The more I think about this ending the sadder it is—on a very small scale though, because ultimately it’s a happy ending, the world continues, no more bad aliens, things are more or less ‘good’. But I can’t help but think about the Plantation 13 gang waiting for Hiro and Zero Two to return home for the rest of their lives, and then dying of old age—not really knowing what happened. I mean I’m sure they made their peace with the assumption that they perished, but still, I feel sad for Ichigo.
Uh-huh, well when you’re done feeling sad, want to wrap up this review? Cracking the whip today, aren’t we? I’ll save my overall feelings for the show as a whole for an inevitable (but probably long way off) full-season review. Speaking strictly on the finale though, I’m more or less happy with what we got! I knew we’d have something of a time-skip in this episode but I never thought it would be as long into the future as it was here! Also, small thing but I’m glad Ikuno got a girlfriend in the form of the returned Naomi, it was subtle and I wish they’d shared an on-screen kiss but it made me happy nonetheless! All in all, while ridiculous at times and borderline nonsensical, I thoroughly enjoyed the finale of Darling in the FranXX.
Previous Darling in the FranXX Reviews:
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Categories: Spring 2018 Anime