What It Means To Connect
Hey guys. Today I’m here to talk some more Darling in the Franxx. If you didn’t catch my first article, which went over the first episode “Alone and Lonesome”, click here to go check it out. Today I’m gonna talk about “What It Means To Connect”. As the name of the episode implies, we learn a lot about exactly that in this episode… what it means for a stamen and a pistil to connect. Yep, we’re using plant terminology and for the record, I think it’s pretty cool. Honestly, there is something that we need to just go ahead and get out of the way. When the director, Atsushi Nishigori, and the rest of his crew sat down to talk about this, the subject of course came up, and this is how it all went down (in my head).
Crew: “Nishigori… how much sexual innuendo do we need to put into this whole concept?”
**Nishigori, deep in thought for a few moments.**
Nishigori: “ALL of it!”
Here’s the thing. No one is confused about the “implications” of what’s happening between the partners piloting a Franxx. But there is so much more depth to what is happening, for those who want to pay attention to it. That’s what gets me about this anime; I enjoy fan service as much as the next guy, but it also needs to stand on its own. Darling in the Franxx stands on its own with glorious appeal. So, let’s talk about “What It Means To Connect”.
Hiro and Ichigo
We know that Hiro remembers nothing about piloting Strelizia when he fought alongside Zero Two. Ichigo also makes two things clear.
1. She has feelings for Hiro. She doesn’t say it outright… not yet, anyway. But it’s hardly necessary for her to say so, just look at this body language. And so, the love triangle begins.
2. Ichigo doesn’t want Hiro to have anything to do with Zero Two. She plays it off like it is purely out of her concern for his safety. That may be so, but she also feels uneasy about him connecting with another girl. She wants to be the one he connects with, as we see later on. Hiro’s response comes as no shock.
“If I can’t pilot, I’m as good as dead anyway”.
Let’s step away from the connecting theme for a moment to look at some other plot elements here. A valid point is brought up in the mess hall; no one is supposed to have single digit codes. So why does Zero Two have a single digit code? What do the codes mean? My only guess at the single digits right now is that the APE special forces parasites are designated with single digit codes.
But if so, then who, and where, is 001? And the rest of the possible single digit parasites? Later in the episode, double-digit parasites are referred to as “elites”. So for now, at least we can say that the lower the code number, the more esteemed the parasite? The coding scheme is an element that needs to be explained more at a later time, so I’ll be looking forward to that.
The Executive Council
What is the deal with the executive council? As the announcement for the kissing between Plantation 13 and 26 is announced, we get some dialogue hinting at concepts that we haven’t yet been made to understand. I don’t like this council and the way they do things. I don’t know who these individuals are but Papa (maybe?) mentions that Zero Two is being spoiled too much by Dr. Franxx. They go on to say that “it appears to be a rare sample without signs of physical aging.”
They are talking about Hiro. Has Hiro become the subject of some nasty experiment after successfully riding with Zero Two? Hiro is regarded as a “special specimen” and they say that if he is mixed with Zero Two, it will taint her blood. This doesn’t make sense right now. Her blood is already tainted with Klaxosaur blood, so how could Hiro taint her even more? Whatever the case, the guys on this council are nasty and they’re using these children for their own agenda. I smell a potential uprising against them in the future.
The Real Theme
Back to the mess hall. Zero Two affirms in front of all the parasites that Hiro did in fact pilot the Strelizia. Everyone is taken aback by the way she speaks with him and interacts with him. She’s treating him like a boyfriend or significant other, and the parasites are completely unfamiliar with the concept. Ichigo is also taken aback… once again, love triangle incoming.
The locker room scene with the girls is interesting. Though connecting in the Franxx, from what we have seen, is not akin to actual sex, the implications and innuendo are overwhelming.
Miku and Kokoro talk about being stirred up from the inside and how it felt weird at first.
Ichigo mentions how it put her at ease, how it felt like she had become one with someone.
It literally sounds like a group of girls telling the story of losing their virginity. In a way, they did in regard to the Franxx, wouldn’t you say? They’re finally pilots now. The kissing, the connecting, the male and female pairs.. The theme is overwhelming, and it’s not meant to be entirely sexual. We know this because the parasites don’t even understand the basis of a human relationship, nor the concept of attraction between a man and a woman, and sex.
The theme is this.
When a man and woman love each other and devote themselves to working as a team, any conflict can be overcome.
In the case of Darling in the Franxx, the conflict is with Klaxosaurs.. Which we still know so little about. So far the other parasites have not succeeded in this regard. Only Zero Two and Hiro have made a true connection, and the fact that it was effortless on Hiro’s behalf, considering he was unconscious and doesn’t recall the flight, and they were still able to overcome the klaxosaur, is very telling.
How much more will they be capable of when they consciously connect inside Strelizia?
An interesting note about the Franxx is that the female in the pair, the pistil, is the outside representation and embodiment of the Franxx. The Franxx carries the pistil’s characteristics and the female speaks for the Franxx also. The male in the pair, the stamen, has physical control of the Franxx. Delphinium is seen here telling Zorome to be careful and make sure the pistil is able to keep up.
Delphinium VS Argentea
This leads us into the climax of the episode, which allows me to drive home my point about what it means to connect.
Hiro is being considered for full promotion to parasite. A practice round in a real Franxx will ensue. Zero Two wants to be his partner but Ichigo steps in and takes that role instead.
So we have Hiro and Ichigo pitted against Zorome and Miku. Delphinium VS Argentea. Ichigo wants Hiro to focus on connecting and says that she will handle the rest. She only wants to prove to everyone that Hiro can pilot… and that he can do it with her, not only with Zero Two.
They are able to connect, and it looks so cool! Hiro feels like he is entering Ichigo’s mind and that they are becoming one. Wow. Unfortunately, the connection breaks quickly after getting hit by Argentea. Delphinium requests timeout for three minutes to recover. Hiro doesn’t know what to do, and so he falls back on the only thing he remembers from piloting with Zero Two… the kiss. After explaining what a kiss is to Ichigo, they attempt it.
Here’s the thing… it doesn’t work this time. It would seem that the battle is over, but it’s not. Zorome makes a comment about how he should take over for the pilot of Delphinium too. Miku becomes upset because it is the same to her as him hitting on another girl. As a result, their connection is broken and the Argentea immediately falls apart. Ichigo isn’t ready to give up either. In a fit of rage, she attempts to pilot the Delphinium alone.
It’s an unstable tactic, but it works just momentarily enough to bring the battle to a real close. Since both Franxx are inoperable, the mock battle is declared finished.
What It All Means
Let’s break it all down. Why didn’t the kiss between Ichigo and Hiro work? Because they aren’t compatible. Ichigo’s feelings for Hiro are unrequited. The trust and feelings between partners has a direct effect on the piloting of the Franxx. Should it be thrown out of whack, the Franxx system falls apart. This lends more credibility to the fact that the pistil stamen pair piloting a Franxx is an allusion to what a male and female couple can overcome together when they love and devote themselves to one another. This is why the Argentea’s connection was broken also. Their trust dissolved.
Why is piloting a Franxx alone declared to be dangerous? Because driving a relationship alone is dangerous. When only one person contributes to a relationship, it is bound to fall apart. In the case of combat in DITF, it falls apart sooner rather than later. And so we end this episode with a better understanding of what exactly it means to connect in a Franxx.
The connection between the pistil and stamen in a Franxx is the embodiment of every part of a human male female relationship.
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