Basically, Darling in the Franxx or DarliFra is a sci-fi anime that involves children piloting giant robots while grappling with internal crises, love triangles, adults who view them as tools, and, last but not the least, giant alien opponents. Sounds a lot like Neon Genesis Evangelion, right? Aside from that, it's other major claim to fame is spawning the most famous waifu of 2018 so far.
Which is pretty much why we decided to sample this series, to be honest. It's the perfect time to catch up though, because Darling recently concluded its 24-episode run just last July. No more of that painfully long wait in between eps! We've already posted up an initial review way back when it debuted in January, which tackles a lot of conceptual...issues. This will be more of a comparison: Will I have fun with it if I loved Evangelion?
Characters and plot
Darling in the Franxx focuses on Hiro, who pilots the titular Franxx mecha when he isn't busy being dramatic and clueless. It's a bleak post-apocalyptic world where giant monsters called Klaxosaurs threaten the few bastions of humanity. He's not alone though, since the Franxx's need a male and female pair to operate, we have a whole supporting cast in Squad 13.
The most important among them is Ichigo, his squad leader and childhood friend, who is secretly in love with him, and who he constantly ignores (of course) because of the hot, dangerous, half-monster Zero Two.
It's a whole bunch of stereotypes but everyone gets some pleasing character development! You can totally assign each dude's roles to each member of your barkada. Everyone is also way less depressed, so if that put you off Eva, you'll be better off here. It also tries to be mysterious such as calling their mobile city a "plantation" and naming the child pilots "parasites" but compared to the Angels and pseudo-religious imagery of NGE, it's not as compelling world-building—but the plot moves along briskly to make up for it.
Action and Art
Aside from Zero Two and her horns, pink hair, and giant debt to Asuka the character design is standard fare. The Franxxs have faces and it put us off at first but you quickly get used to it in a Megaman sort of way.
Definitely not the most bad-ass mecha and enemy design, but battle scenes have nice movement and crisp animation. The non-fighting portions are cleanly drawn as well, but it's not the most artistic anime overall—Evangelion easily tops it in terms of aesthetic.
This is it fam, while Evangelion had its share of fan service-y moments, DarliFra beats it hands-down. You have Zero Two acting like the flirty partner of your dreams, copious boob and butt shots of every member of Squad 13 (even the boys get dressing up scenes), and not-subtle-at-all dialogue all day.
It can be a bit distracting if you're an SJW, but the show would still have a plot if you cut out all the naughty bits anyway—but where's the fun in that?
Overall, Darling in the Franxx is fun—if you stop trying to compare it to Eva in your head while watching. If you want to relive that feeling when anime was novel and you could totally relate as an adolescent, then this is the kind of show that may trigger some of that old-school nostalgia. It is not a sneaky hentai because the pervy content is all up front anyway.