FranXX 23, Hisone finale

franxx23-1Darling in the FranXX 23, while being a big space-battle episode, does a better job when it focuses on humanity in the future. I say “humanity” because the show makes a point that the Children, some of whom are fighting in space, some (Mitsuru and Kokoro) staying on Earth, are basically it, as far as humanity is concerned. Those strange other people have probably all died, apart from people involved in the battle like Nana and Hatchi. Those two talk about what the children will do next, surprised at their own concern and desire to keep guiding them. They’ve found their future role (so they probably won’t die next episode). Mitsuru has found, even with his memories gone, that his future lies with Kokoro, who at first resists and then accepts it. The Alphas have nothing but battle, so they happily die in a blaze of glory, helping Hiro reach Strelizia Apus, where he and 02 have their own stylized, storybook argument, before 02 happily accepts him. The other children have more choices for their future, but first they’ll finish the battle.

franxx23-2The battle, meanwhile, looks pretty. Lots and lots of spaceships and super-rays and explosions, but I could never really connect to it, even with the sacrifices and acts of bravery it takes to get Hiro to Strelizia. Sometimes enemy ships would land on Strelizia and do … whatever, and get blown away. I never got the impression that Strelizia was in trouble. I only began to worry when the two living beings who are suppose to run it won’t agree, so it wouldn’t turn on. When it did, it was fun but ludicrous. Streliza turns into a sexy, armored, live 02 in space! Flowing hair and all! Almost as weird is when the wormhole appears (the klaxasaurs seemed to have figured this all out) and Hiro/02 (the latter’s giant head saying the words–in space!) say, “Well, gotta go to the bad guys’ home and end the war. Bye bye!” leading all the characters (and myself) wondering what the hell’s up. The episode ends. The voice-over suggests that they haven’t returned yet. What is the finale going to give us? Will we see the battle? Will it be 24 minutes of the remaining children farming? I have no idea.

Hisone to Masotan finishes in grand style, confusing though it be.


Make up your mind.

The girls learn that Hitatsu, the massive dragon, needs a sacrifice as part of the ritual, and that means Natsume, who gamely goes through the motions but you know her heart isn’t in it, and that’s important. The pilots are stunned by the inhumanity and you-know-who decides to put a stop to it. Interestingly, Masotan has no qualms about delivering her to Natsume (I thought he might refuse, but maybe he’s on the girls’ side), whereupon Hisone and Natsume get into a quarrel about Okonogi. And so Mitatsu isn’t lulled to sleep, so it’s all ruined. Er, except it’s not. Apparently the pilots, with Sada, come up with an alternate plan, which also almost fails (stupid torpedoes), so they release Mitatsu’s binds, or something, and it’s Hisone, of all people, who stays (well, with Masotan) to do the final thing, after announcing that she’d be back. Months later, Okonogi goes to the new island and there are Hisone and Masotan! What they were doing for three months isn’t explained. So the ritual really seems to be kind of a sham. I suppose Mitatsu needed a guide to his new resting place, but the sacrifices were, apparently, completely unnecessary …

hisonemasotan12-3Well, good for them for figuring that out. I’d hate to see anyone actually die. However, it does make the romance angle, and the decisions of what or who to love, or to love at all, a little confusing. We see Natsume, later, as just a high school girl, figuring out her career path in a scene mirroring the series’ first scene. She makes no mention of Okonogi. Happy to see Hoshino and Zaito clear the air … I guess in the end everyone ends up with what they want, more or less. Except Hisone and Masotan are still a team, so where does that lead Okonogi? At the end, Masotan swallows him, so he’s with Hisone inside, so does that mean Masotan’s accepted the current relationship? Or was it all the cell phones he had with him?

hisonemasotan12-4Yes, a messy ending that ignored the situation and the decisions the characters would have to make. Or rather, the characters ignored the situation and made their own ending. I always cheer when characters ignore or reject what fate tells them to do, but here there was no setup for that, no suggestion that there were alternatives. … It really doesn’t matter whether or not the ending was satisfactory. This was a terrific series from beginning to almost-end. It managed to work in serious issues of love and duty but kept the tone so light that I was chuckling throughout. It had a cartoonish look to it that belied the depth of the characters and the sophisticated art and animation. I found myself liking all the characters, even the unpleasant ones, though I wish Ririko had had more to do. And finally, the dragons managed to be both formidable and cute. Ah, I’m sorry this show is over.

One more of Natsume, because I love this screenshot.
And one more of Futomomo, my favorite dragon.


FranXX 22, Hisone 11, Steins;Gate 12

You know, if I were the Earth, I’d consider rejecting you too.

Darling in the FranXX 22, post Grande Crevasse battle, has the kids trying to prepare for the next stage in their lives, or so they think. So they dutifully plant vegetables, which die because there’s no life in the earth anymore. Meanwhile, everyone learns what we already knew–that Kokoro is pregnant, and she’s given choices, neither of them having to do with actually having a baby. Other team members get sick from the pressure or overwork. The Nines are pitiful possibly because they can’t get the nutrients they need, but they’ve lost their reason for existence. And 02 is a zombie who keeps getting mysterious cuts on her arms, until Hiro, not at 100% either as you can imagine, realizes it’s because she’s still in Strelizia, up in space, and the cuts wounds from battle (he learns this from a mind-meld from when their horns touch–something I figured they would have figured out before). But there’s hope. One of the plantations is still intact and it has good soil, but by now Hiro has made his decision. He’s going to ride a Klaxosaur that somehow will respond to human orders up into space, up to Mars, to reach Hiro, as they promised. The others … well, it’s an interesting question.

franxx22-2They use the proverb “You can’t swim in the same river twice” several times. You can take that as a metaphor for them to turn their blades into plowshares, but for all of them to decide to go up with Hiro, to return to the fight, seems to reject this notion. Battle is all the Nines ever knew, it’s all they think they’re good for, so they’re fine with going up (never thought I’d see that asshole Alpha on the same side as our guys, but anime loves to redeem villains). But the others are now fully-human adults who have seen other things of the world. Hiro, of course, has no choice but to join 02, but the others? Because they can’t abandon their friend, who has always, as Goro points out with a fist to the jaw, gone his own way? Because eking out a living on Earth isn’t appealing to them? Because the battle isn’t over? Maybe the latter, but the people doing the fighting were never doing it for them. Why should they care? And what about those frozen people, the ones without abilities. Quite possibly our heroes will die or get transformed in space and they’ll be unfrozen and sent to Mistilteinn to start a farm …

hisonemasotan11-1Hisone to Masotan is getting near the climax, too, and while episode 11 is the grandest episode of the lot, the major story-point, well, up until the very end, is an internal realization and decision by Hisone. She’s quit the SDF and returned to her parents’ house where she mopes and remembers Kakiyasu almost physically throwing her off the base. Meanwhile, the ritual has begun, Sada flying Masotan, and it’s going swimmingly. I figured Hisone would have a turnaround at some point, and it comes. She realizes that while she had found a lot of people to love (that she turned her back on), but it was because of Masotan, and she must protect that which is most precious.

hisonemasotan11-2Great, I thought, but the ritual has begun, Masotan is a long way away, how on earth could she even get up there? But at this point the show throws us a curveball, as Sada remembers a lost love of her own–how she lost it is the episode’s last story-point, and Masotan freaks out. How Hisone manages to meet up with Kakiyasu et al., in a nice, wet scene of apologies and forgiveness, then actually get back in Masotan’s stomach, is absolutely ridiculous but effective and fun. And cheerworthy. As provincial as I am, I should point out that there is a bridge like that in Toyama–it’s on the way to Takaoka.

When this show started, I never thought the yogurt lady would play such a key role.

The episode has by now hit us with despair and triumph, but we got the final plot point, and it’s an interesting one. While Hisone has realized how important Masotan is to her, there’s still her interest in Okonogi to contend with. The situation looked impossible before, now it’s maybe impossible again. Can someone bear to let whoever it is get sacrificed? I’m not sure who it’s going to be … by the ragged clothing it’s suggested that it will be that girl whose name I can’t remember, but I get the feeling Okonogi will intervene, or Hisone. Either way, it’s a sad, primitive way to do things, and I for one would object to anyone going. I wonder if the people in the belly of the giant dragon feel the same way? Well, we’ll find out next week, even if I think it can’t possibly top this episode.hisonemasotan11-4

This is a lovely little scene, even if Mayuri doesn’t know what’s going on.

Steins;Gate 0 had a mid-way arc-closer last week, so I figured something big would happen this week. Looks like we’ll have to wait until next week, because episode 12 turned to the more personal story of Kagari and her lost memories, and the question of whether it’s better if she gets them back or not, considering the hell she’ll remember. But the issue is presented gently, in the form of a song that Mayuri in the future taught the young Kagari, that causes a fainting spell when Mayuri sings it again. We spend most of the time with Rintarou and the girls going from character to character trying to find the origin of the song. One person heard it from another, just about every girl in the cast except Maho, who’s not around. Rintarou thinks it might be a telephone game, and it would indeed have been fun, if a pointless exercise, to discover that no one invented it–someone heard it from the past, or the future, from someone else who heard it from the same people. It all finishes with a bit of plot at the end. Kagari discovers at least part of her memories, happy ones, but at the same time, some bad people have spotted her. Well, overall a sweet way to spend an episode, but I suppose it couldn’t last.

FranXX21, Hisone 10, Comic Girls 11

Our heroes are, understandably, at a loss as to who they should fight.

Darling in the FranXX 21 is a big, grand, heroic episode where everyone makes dramatic decisions and sacrifices, sometimes more than once. Naturally, little of it makes any sense. We start with the ongoing fight, and the bad guys announcing again that they’re going to set off the Klaxosaur bomb thing and blow everything up, like, in an hour or so, enough time for several things to happen. 02 manages to crawl back where Franxx and that other guy is, while muttering about how little time they have, and she gets an IV or two. Then the gang, disobeying orders that no one should take seriously anyway, since they’re actually from the bad guys’, burst in, giving 02 and Franxx transportation and defense to get to where Strelizia is. Meanwhile, Hiro and the Princess are doing the contrasting “We’re doomed” “No, we’re not, I’ll fight for life until I’m dead!” routine. The rescuers do their heroic last actions and speeches, getting 02 and Franxx to the gate that won’t open until Franxx gives up his arm to open it, a klaxosaur appears and lets 02 ride it to where Strelizia stands immobilized by tentacles or something. Okay, in anime terms, this part is pretty normal. We may not know quite what’s going on, but we can follow the characters’ desires.

I hope this isn’t the overriding theme of the series.

Things get out-and-out weird when 02 gets to Strelizia’s cockpit and finds Hiro apparently dead. She kisses him and then they’re both in an enchanted garden and have the grateful reunification that, I suppose, the show needs them to have. This inspires the nearly-dead princess to give her very last effort. Before, she had been talking about how the klaxosaurs had, out of a necessity not explained to us, they evolved alone and unable to procreate. Now she sees 02, her despised clone, kissing the random variable boy, and decides maybe solitude isn’t the way for everyone. Time’s up, but 02 grows a new set of horns, Strelizia bursts out of the Crevasse in its new Strelizia-Apata form. The bad guys, pissed that the bomb didn’t go off, grab some super-lance and run off, shouting that they would return. So I guess the good guys won, but what was with that garden? Is 02 now dead? (nah!) And what are they going to do in the remain episodes? I think there are three more … Okay, I’m going to stop here. It was confusing as hell, but fun to watch in that “everyone does the heroic thing, even the morally ambiguous guys” way.

… and coming to a stupid solution

Hisone to Masotan 10 is no weirder than any of the other episodes. It’s very simple, everyone tries to help get Ei and Hisone straightened out. Ei’s problem was handled easily, though at the cost of some heartbreak for her and for Zaito. All he needed to do was act like a sexist jerk around her, which he reluctantly does, for the good of the mission! Poor guy, for once I feel sorry for him. On the other hand, it means we’re treated to Ei in full fury mode, which is her best. Unfortunately, Hisone’s problems aren’t so easy to fix, partly because she’s the main character and so we want her to have her cake and eat it, too. Quitting the air force won’t help at all, of course. What was Ikushima thinking, getting Nao to pilot Masotan and letting Hisone see it? The last thing she needs to think is that she can be replaced.

Kaos receives some good news for a change.

Comic Girls 11 is predictable from start to finish. Not that that’s a problem if it’s executed well, and it mostly is. The dorm closing did not come as a surprise, in fact, when the episode starts they are already preparing to leave. The main issue is whether Kaos-chan will manage to get a manuscript accepted before the dorm, and the show, closes. Of course she will–the world isn’t THAT cruel to Kaos. So we have a first half of the girls going through old files and manuscripts left behind by previous tenants, with Kaos discovering a Gannbate! message on a wall. This fires her up, and she winds up submitting four manuscripts. We all know that it will be the fourth (her worst) one that will interest Mayu; the only question is what will the manga be about. I should have expected it–it seems to be more or less about four girls doing comics. But it does bring up an important lesson for creative types: sometimes you do your best work when you’re tired, so that stuff gets past your inner defenses. Again, most of this is predictable, but it’s made effective mostly by Kaos-chans frequent anxiety attacks. In fact, that carries the episode, which was quieter and more introspective than usual.

Steins;Gate 0 9, FranXX 20

Oh, great, more weirdness to unravel …

Steins;Gate 0 9 has the show dropping in more clues, and like the first season, I’m starting to be overwhelmed. No surprise that Rintarou finds himself back in the “real” world, in the hospital after having collapsed. I’m trying to remember if he’d ever collapsed after any of his other timeline jumps. No matter … He spends a lot of time talking to people about what the hell’s going on, until an educated guess by Tennouji leads Rintarou on a speculative scramble that would be nuts in our world, but is probably spot-on in the fictional one, that’s the way this show works sometimes. And it’s … DURPA! Now, if DURPA is anything like our DARPA, I don’t think Rintarou, Maho, or anyone would do their research on the Internet, DARPA having invented it and all.

Suzuha’s getting a tad desperate.

Meanwhile, to stir the wondrous weirdness further, Fubuki collapsed at the same time Rintarou did and had a dream about the Alpha Line. And Suzuha, after trying to get Rintarou to go back in time to prevent the impending WWIII at gunpoint, talks with her loving and perverted dad about how Rintarou will eventually come around and do what needs to be done. But then they say there’s only enough fuel for the time machine to travel back six months, not nearly enough. Not that it matters. Rintarou is dead-set against using the time machine again, intending to save the world without it instead. This seems to me to be impossible–both the American and the Russian forces are too big and too distant. Kurisu’s research might give a clue, but there isn’t any unless it’s in Amadeus’s head. Daru’s optimism aside, I can’t see how any more research is going to save the world. Sooner or later, Rintarou’s going to get in that time machine again.

franxx20-1Speaking of overwhelming, Darling in the FranXX 20 decided to go batshit insane on us. Our gang and the jerks who pull their strings are sent to fight off to defend the base while Strelizia is sent to go down and reactivate the klaxosaur’s big weapon, the Star Entity. Naturally things go a bit wrong. The Princess bursts in, we learn from Franxx that she’s called 001, she catches up to Strelizia, yanks 02 from the cockpit, and forces Hiro to drive with her to somewhere so she can set up the ultimate defense against the alien invaders, two of whom, by the way, turn out to be on that asshole committee who runs everything. But they set up a self-defense mechanism so now that the Princess is neutralized, the world is going to blow up, and all the energy will be sucked into the invaders, called WIRM by the way. Oh, and 02 is still alive, though bloodied, and pissed as hell. But what can she do about it?

She might actually be kind of a good guy.

There are other surprises, too, like the franxx being basically klaxosaurs themselves, meaning they’re using klaxosaurs to fight klaxosaurs. No wonder the princess is so pissed off. She’s being attacked by basically debased clones of her own kind. The battles are fun to watch, but confusing since everything is on a much bigger scale now, and the people we’ve been following are basically afterthoughts now. I hope the world doesn’t get blow’d up, but really the thing that is most interesting to me is 02 and her identity. That punk alpha kid insults her genetics again, and the princess considers her one of those debased clones I mentioned before. She’s neither human nor klaxosaur, finding no support except through her now-accepting teammates, and of course, Hiro, mostly Hiro. Before the battle they make a vow that if they are separated, one of them will find their way to the other. This is also the last line of the episode, spoken by 02, as she wipes blood from her mouth. And while it looks like she is powerless now, her determination to save the one person who loves her makes her declaration powerful.


Steins 0 7, FranXX 19

Nakase, Maho, and Nae showing the same faces I did while watching this episode.

With episode 7, Steins;Gate 0 decides to stop pussyfooting around and instead drop a few plot bombs on us. I expected Braun to interfere with Kagari’s abduction and, with Suzuha, drive off the attackers, though not demanding an explanation right away doesn’t seem like him, especially since he daughter was in danger, but I figure they wanted to have that more intimate scene where he agrees to help–fewer people. What I did NOT expect was that Daru’s future wife, maybe, was in charge of the abduction, something they don’t play up yet, though at the time I wondered why the show spent so much time with the helmet woman blocking Suzuha’s kick.

steinsgate07-2We get a lot of scenes of people just wondering what the hell is going on, especially Yuka, who’s not in the loop and frustrated about it. Chances are the show is setting him up for some future events. As for this episode, near the end, the surprises and clues begin to snowball. The gang all speculate about what the “K-6205,” and while coming up with Kochel numbers seems a bit farfetched, it gave me (and Rintarou) a few delicious moments of realization. Kochel … Mozart … Amadeus! Aha! Amadeus-Kurisu phoning with a “save me!” message right after that knocked me sideways, and then of course the whammy at the end, with a time-shift and the real, living Kurisu coming out from behind the curtain. Actually, I’m a little disappointed by that. I was getting into the story in the timeline they were already in. Now it’s almost as if they’re starting over with a new one.

franxx19-1Darling in the FranXX 19 has a couple of big plot points, but on the whole it gave us a lot of information we pretty much could have guessed. It’s mostly a flashback episode, interspersed with the present-day kids deciding what to do next. In the flashbacks we see Werner as a young, brilliant, hot-headed genius who’s suddenly employed by APE, supposedly unpolitical scientists, who proceed to revolutionize “magma energy” and brings in immortality (for the rich) with it. Due to their wise and benign guidance, much of earth becomes a desert wasteland, mankind is sterile, immortal, and passionless, and then the klaxosaurs show up. I appreciate, in the context of the show, how they depict the scientists as inhumane monsters who don’t give a shit about humanity, but concern themselves only with SCIENCE!

SHE is actually terrifying, but much cuter.

For me, the most interesting thing of all is Werner’s desire, after his wife dies testing an early FranXX, of creating a higher form of human, which somehow leads him to the first meeting with the Klaxosaur princess. Depicted throughout the episode as a moody scientist guy, looking at this princess he puts on the face of a man who’s been locked up for twenty years and is suddenly confronted by a beautiful woman, in other words, and the creators probably didn’t mean it like this, but it looks like insane lust. The look stays on his face even while the princess rips his arm off, and then we learn that he saved some of her hair, and this is certainly what they used to make 02. Now, I will point out that using the princess’s DNA was Papa’s idea, not his, he certainly didn’t seem to mind, and considering what he thinks of the princess, it makes his attitudes about 02 to be … creepy. Then again, the elders’ views towards the “children” have been creepy from the start … In actual plot news, Papa has agreed to “release” the children after their mission is over, whatever that means. Anyway, it looks like the last story arc is about to start.

Steins;Gate and Hisone 6, Franxx 18, Comic Girls 7

At least they had a nice New Year party before the goons burst in.

Steins;Gate 0  7 has bad guys busting into the lab while everyone’s there, but they haven’t killed anyone yet. It would be interesting if they killed Mayuri again, well, maybe not, as it would make Rintaro such a basket case that the story couldn’t move forward. Also, they burst in but don’t do anything except point guns and a taser at everyone. If there is going to be a shocking (not from the taser) moment it would have happened before the episode finished, to make the cliffhanger more exciting. My guess is that Yuugo the landlord is going to interfere somehow, since he spotted a guy staking out the place, and his daughter is up there. Well, we’ll find out. More interesting to me was everyone meeting the Amadeus Kurisu, and Rintaro’s comment that she is not Kurisu, and while Kagari might be the spitting image, she’s not Kurisu either. Maybe if they can get a third non-Kurisu, they can triangulate one. Meanwhile, I hope it isn’t long before those profs out themselves as SERN stooges. The show has made it too obvious for the viewer what they are. Besides, the blond guy gets on my nerves.

comicgirls7-1One of the best features of Comic Girls is Kaos freaking out about something or other. On the other hand, the things that freak her out don’t often feel real. In the second half she goes into the city alone, and after a lovely time in Akihabara, she’s stopped by a friendly policewoman who thought she was a lost little girl. This spirals downward until she’s hiding in a box in an alley, while I was tapping my toes waiting for her to snap out of it. It also bewilders me why she acts that way while at the same time working as a new manga artist who has to deal with constant rejection by her editor. Well, I don’t think about it too much and just enjoy the freakouts. This week the scary but kind Suzu has some more fun with her, but Kaos is getting used to it, besides, Suzu is a good teacher. Then there’s the whole issue of glasses. The show makes it clear that she needs them, but she doesn’t feel worthy of looking so mature. This fits right into the believability range for me, but they stretch that crisis out a bit too long.


Darling in the FranXX 18 decides not to follow up on the klaxosaur princess business but instead decides to make the squad’s lives even more miserable. Oh, there’s a bit near the end where the encased elders talk about how everything is mostly going to plan, but most of the episode is spent with Kokoro and Mitsuru’s wedding preparations, which we watch knowing full well that some shit was going to go down and ruin it. Everyone was too happy. So the Nines show up, not sure why, unless they’re Papa’s personal henchmen, though I suspect the show just wanted Alpha to be there to say smug lines so we can hate him more. Meanwhile, the pilots’ role in this society is becoming clearer and more depressing. I wonder when it’s going to backfire on the elders. As suggested by the brainwashed Kokoro’s interest in the Sakura at the end, and the fact that Hiro and 02’s altered memories didn’t stay altered, someone, somewhere is going to recall something. And, as the Ikuno/Ichigo scene points out, these kids have experienced a hell of a lot more and have more complex, adult emotions than any of the other Not sure what the kids will do with the memories when they return, though. They are, as they always have been, powerless.

hisone6-1I think we all figured out that the way for the Hisone to Masotan pilots to get off the island was for the dragons to be happy, and that mostly meant getting F2, I mean Ken-San, er, Norma happy too, which wasn’t going to happen while Eri was so grumpy and stubborn. How she loosens up at the end didn’t really work. She tells the others why she is so angry–she wanted to be a real F2 pilot and not a dragon pilot, she turns around when Norma is overheating and talks to her. Okay, I like the way her change of heart is not overt and melodramatic, but it doesn’t give us a chance to see the change-of-heart moment for ourselvs; she’s come around without us noticing. Oh, well, it was another good episode anyway. I like how the other three characters play off each other now. We can hopefully depend on the four characters to provide a backbone for the future weirdness, i.e., what the hell is up with that island, that weird dream all the girls had, and finally why was that one guy talking about a “ritual?”

Steins;Gate and Hisone 5, Comic Girls 6, FranXX 17

Not who you think, OR IS IT?!

I just finished Steins;Gate 0 5 and find I have little so say about it. Again, the plodding writing sometimes threatens to pull me out of things, but they threw in enough surprises, especially the doozy at the end, that it didn’t matter. And, to be fair, while I might gripe about the writing, this is one of those shows where time whizzes by; it’s over before I know it, or want it to be. Perhaps they’re doing a good job at dropping in surprises and ramping up the suspense to keep me interested. That last one boggled the mind: we have a Kurisu look-alike who has lost her memory who ALSO happens to be the missing Kagari, Now I have all sorts of questions, like what the hell was she doing as a guest at Ruka’s house? Who is the other guest? Add that to What prompted Maho’s panic attack? What is Moeka up to? Hell, just about everyone in the show, including that new professor character, is probably up to something, this show being what it is. Yeah, I might quibble, but I think I’m finally hooked again.

Some bonding.

I’m trying to figure out the SECRET MEANING in the Hisone to Masotan ED. I get that they added character voices when they were introduced, but in week 5 (and in week 3) they were singing in harmony. I guess it means the four girls have some found harmony with each other. And they have. At first, stuck in survival training on that island, they were dysfunctional, but then Hisone found water, Rinko made fire, and Mayumi found food, and they sat down and talked about how awful they are, while Liboshi, observing, talks about how connecting with the dragons brings something that is missing in the girls, or something like that. The only one left out of the bonding (and in the sweetest moment of the episode, we see the dragons playing together in the water–even they’re bonding, or remembering each other, as Liboshi says) is, of course, Eri, and I’m sure she’ll have her breakthrough and accept her dragon in a tearjerker scene next week. Another good episode, though the fanservice came as a surprise.

The show finds a new way to freak out Kaos.

Comic Girls 6 continues the trend of taking predictable story ideas and elevating them, slightly, by some clever lines and Kaos’s freakouts. She has plenty to freak about in the first half, when she meets a scary ghost-girl. We at home of course already knew that the mysterious thing was probably a schoolmate, or a former tenant, or a friend of somebody. Turns out to be a little of all three. Fuura, former tenant, second-year, etc. She has fun scaring poor Kaos through much of the story until the show gets soft and turns her into an awkward girl who isn’t used to social situations, just like Kaos. I liked her better when she was scary. But what was that bit with her hanging from a tree at the start? The second story, where the homeroom teacher turns out to be a major otaku and a huge fan of “Wing-V” Tsubasa doesn’t have the same sense of fun, apart from the girls pondering the penname “Wing-V.”

Making babies, she means.

Speaking of weird nicknames, Darling in the FranXX 17 has the kids in the Nines Squad pay our gang a little visit, and you know that won’t end well, especially with 9 Alpha, the smirking blonde brat going around saying suggestive things to anyone he knows will be bothered by it. What makes it interesting is that he probably doesn’t know everything himself, only what Papa told him, and we’ve see the parental figures in this show don’t want, or are afraid to tell the truth much of the time. I say “afraid to” because of Nana’s breakdown when Kokoro confronts her about making babies. Some adolescent emotions forcing their way through her unnaturally-erected defenses. All that training and therapy for naught.

Huh? Huh?

What it seems to boil down to is that humans don’t do it like they used to, and in fact they’re trained to not even think about it. The contrast between a seeming utopian world where emotions and love are cut out for the good of humanity isn’t exactly a new idea in science fiction, but how the creators work it out is what matters. They seem to be doing a good job; I wonder a little about the adults letting the kids hang out together like this and discovering the forbidden fruit by themselves. Being able to pilot a franxx is one thing, but making babies is a whole different matter. Maybe, as Dr. Franxx hints, it’s because the adults have lost this knowledge or ability, or some part of it. I am also intrigued by 9 Alpha’s claims that the old way of doing things limited people to two genders. I wonder what gender he considers himself. Well, lots to ponder, and I didn’t even touch on the Klaxosaur Princess, 02’s humanity or lack of it, and that whole part of the story, and how it will tie in with everything else, oh, and Hiro growing horns!