FranXX 7, Evergarden 7-8, Slow Start 8

The inevitable beach episode.

Darling in the FranXX 7 is, of all things, a beach episode. Well, they do more than that. They introduce that blond kid and apparently he’s going to be surveillance, but what he’s surveying is unclear, 02 and Hiro of course, but I think he ought to keep an eye on these other kids as well. Ichigo is still pining for Hiro, and the suggestion comes out that the person you kiss might not actually be the one you love. Even 02, earlier talking about being together forever, seems to get this. Meanwhile, the rest of the boys work out their frustrated and unrecognized adolescent yearnings, asking Hiro what a kiss is, ogle the girls, etc, while the girls seem oblivious, apart from 02 and Ichigo. Mitsuru and Ikuno, meanwhile, display the mutual indifference that makes you wonder how they manage to pilot their Franxx at all. God only knows what’s going on in Kokoro and Futoshi’s heads.

What passes for plot in this episode comes when they discover a way off their secluded beach and discover an abandoned city (you know, the plantation runners really do a shit job with keeping an eye on the kids, or maybe it’s intentional). They are astonished and confused, and Kokoro finds “Your New Baby” guide (maybe THAT’S what going on in her head) while Ichigo finds a poster showing, gasp, kissing. Apart from that, they mostly reject this fascinating old town in favor of their shut-in, restrictive existence, but I’m sure they’ll playing with this metaphor again in the future, when adolescence gets the better of them. So nothing much this week, really, just some plot-seed sowing, but that’s what I expected after the craziness of episode 6.

It looked like in episode 7, Violet Evergarden would follow the same dull but beautiful-looking path where a quick-learning automation touches the hearts of the humans she works for, and for almost the entire episode that’s what happens. Oh, there is the concept of “living with my sin,” written by a drunken playwright Oscar Webster, our troubled person of the week, a line she reads early on, somehow touching her, but it’s forgotten in Oscar’s story. He wants to write a final play to celebrate his dead daughter, and Violet looks a little too much like her. But they talk through it, Violet commits a miracle (an amazing scene, combining the story with KyoAni’s matchless animation), and the story wraps up with a scene of Violet becoming overcome by her murderous past. Or so I thought.

I was hardly prepared for Violet finally learning the truth about Gilbert’s death, it was slipped in so suddenly and without buildup, and now we finally have the story you might argue should have started in episode 1. I myself think they were waiting too long. Every time Gilbert didn’t tell her when he had the chance he looked weaker and weaker. But now that we know I wonder if the delay wasn’t necessary. Week by week Violet had subtly displayed more emotion, both in her actions and her voice. Maybe the show was waiting for her to gain enough knowledge of her own self (with that reprise of the “burning up inside” line that she now accepts, and this was before she learned about Gilbert) so that she could react to the knowledge the way a human might, with disbelief and guilt that she had survived him. On the other hand, how would she have reacted had she not had all of these encounters before? Well, whatever, I just hope the show doesn’t cop out and bring Gilbert back to life.

Meanwhile the next episode appears, so here we go. And so goes Violet, into the flashbacks, where we watch her grow from a cute, biting thing that can’t speak into a merciless, puppy-eyed instrument of murder, while Gilbert, the only one she pays attention to, gives a lot of guilty, pained looks, tries to connect to her on a more human level, and probably falls for her. And of course Violet has always been devoted to Gilbert even if she didn’t understand what the feeling was. It’s completely predictable, but as usual the animation and art are so good that I didn’t care. However, they left out the last “I love you bit,” so we got no clue as to the nature of his … disappearance. When not in flashbacks, the episode had Violet running around looking for Gilbert–her natural, human, healing process beginning to work, but still in the denial stage

I have almost no idea why Hana is saying this.

It appears I missed an episode of Slow Start. No matter. The point of this show is not its story arc. In episode 8 Hana tries to overcome her crippling shyness, well, Eiko and the others do, by introducing her to a number of her classmates, who politely come on, act eccentric for about a minute, and leave again, making me wonder if we’ll ever see them again apart from a line or two. I think my favorite was Sachi, the latest to be sucked into Eiko’s web of … whatever she’s got going for her that she seems oblivious to. Sachi gets too close then runs in a panic, and we learn a little about salmon, too. Elsewhere the girls buy swimsuits with the usual swimsuit-buying bits these shows have. And again, an incredibly odd line will just pop out, for no reason.

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