Darling in the FRANXX Episode 16

“Days of our Lives”

Saturdays at 12:00 pm EST on Crunchyroll

In the aftermath of the battle for Gran Crevasse, Squad 13 is mysteriously placed under an isolated house arrest.

Gee’s Thoughts

It’s natural for the show to give us a breather the week (or two considering last week’s recap/behind the scenes episode) after a big climax like 15’s. Unfortunately, in a very FRANXX-like manner, episode 16 only serves to mystify its viewers and induce some severe eye-rolling. So after the kids’ dorm is narrowly spared the wrath of the mysteriously humanoid Klaxosaur from last week, they’re commanded to remain on standby and are forbidden to leave the premises. While this isn’t the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard, it makes FRANXX’s overarching narrative all the more confounding that we’re just going to pretend as if none of the big “reveals” last week ever happened. So what, we’re just not going to address the weirdly humanoid shapes coming out of Klaxosaurs or what that big hand was? No? We’re just gonna have more of FRANXX’s trademark bad character development, now with ugly haircuts? I found myself howling with laughter that culmination Mitsuru’s “character development” was getting the generic anime protagonist haircut. As if the show was trying to make us consider him the big #2 of the group when that’s patently impossible when nobody even cares about the primary protagonist.

The rest of the episode is equally confusing just because so little of note happens. The kids decide to hunt and cook their own food, leading to what I’m guessing is supposed to be some feelgood moment of camaraderie, except then we learn that Futoshi has developed a self-destructive eating disorder? And you know, rather than maybe try to address the heart of this issue, perhaps by building up the poor kid’s self esteem and reassuring him that he’s a valued member of the group, the big “heartfelt” moment of the scene is the rest of the kids telling him that he’s always going to be the ugly fatty of the group, so he might as well keep eating anyway. Considering the show itself seemed to have already written him off as a noncharacter, it’s all the more mystifying that they would suddenly draw attention back to him, only to then pull back again and wrap it up in perhaps the absolute worst possible way imaginable. Am I the only one here who thinks this is fucking crazy? It is astounding how badly this show is written at times, even by the already rock bottom expectations I have for it.

This isn’t even getting to the elephant in the room, which is Zero-Two’s bizarrely drastic character turn in the span of a single episode. We here on the blog have complained multiple times about how inconsistent her characterization is, but this week really takes the cake. Turns out all you needed to “tame” the savage woman was the power of milquetoast love. Thank goodness Zero-Two has been domesticated and turned into a “proper” woman and member of the team. I think back to Violet Evergarden’s infamously poor character development of its titular character, and it doesn’t even come close to how clumsily handled Zero-Two is on a week to week basis.

Also I guess there’s some weird subplot about everyone coming down with a mysterious sickness and it’s turning people’s hair white or something? And the leader of the Klaxosaurs is a little girl? I don’t fucking know, and I don’t really fucking care at this point. Wake me up when something cool actually happens to this show again, because it certainly isn’t going to save itself with its writing.

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