Darling in the FranXX – 11 – As Partners Swap, Dread Looms

We’ve had Hiro episodes, Ichigo episodes, a Gorou and a Zorome episode, and now, before the halfway-point of DFX arrives, we get an episode centered on three of the “secondary” parasites: chiefly Mitsuru, but also Ikuno, Kokoro, and Futoshi, elevating them beyond the one/two notes they each played: Cool & Distant (Mitsuru) Passive & Doubful (Ikuno), Kind & Gentle (Kokoro), and Always Eating (Futoshi).

Mitsuru is having issues again. His performance scores are dipping. He dreams of when he and Hiro were kids, when he looked up to him. But at some point Hiro “betrayed” him, leaving him to adopt his “no one needs anyone” attitude that is now getting him in trouble, since he actually does need others, and others need him.

Meanwhile, Futoshi x Kokoro are adorably lovey-dovey as usual, but ever since finding the pamphlet on child-rearing, Kokoro has been less enthusiastic by their routine. Still, when Futoshi asks if she’ll promise to be his partner forever, she agrees all too causally for it to not bite her in the ass later.

Eventually Mitsuru hits his breaking point, and we learn his troubles may also be a result of the fact he received an “Elixir Injection” when he was little to enhance his parasite abilities. He was the only child to survive such an injection. However, some drugs and bed rest get him out of the woods, and he immediately wants to get back in a FranXX.

Hachi and Nana gather everyone to propose an elective partner shuffle, and those who volunteer shock everyone. First, Ikuno requests a pistil-pistil partnership with Ichigo, to determine if it’s viable in case they lose a stamen in battle. She no doubt also wants to prove to herself that she’s not bogging down Chlorophytum.

Even more surprising is Kokoro, who requests Mitsuru as her stamen. When Futoshi protests and reaches out to her, Kokoro’s look is all you need to know to conclude his clinginess has clearly lost its luster with her. He’s just…too much. Zorome’s idea of why she left mirrors that…and he also says Futoshi could stand to lose some weight.

The results of the initial partner shuffle tests are interesting: Ichigo and Ikuno’s connection times out without any success, confirming Ichigo’s belief a boy is needed…but Ikuno isn’t so sure Ichigo’s attitude and unwillingness to embrace a pistil as her stamen didn’t affect the test. Mitsuru and Kokoro fare much better, reaching the minimum acceptable parasite level and keeping it stable in Genista.

Futoshi acts the way you’d expect someone like him to act after getting dumped by his dream girl: like a whiny little bitch. Mitsurudoesn’t like the hassle Kokoro’s “betrayal” caused, but Hiro, at least, can appreciate Futoshi’s feelings, which he describes as a tightness in the heart that’s now started to hurt.

Mitsuruand Kokoro bump into each other in the conservatory once more, with Kokoro wondering why humans stopped having children, and Mitsuru offering his usual “we don’t need others to live.” Before Kokoro can challenge Mitsuru’s attitude, an alert sounds: a Gutenberg-class Klaxosaur is approaching.

Zero Two charges in but her assault only demonstrates that this is a modular Klaxosaur, and any pieces cut off will turn into smaller Klaxosaurs, with the remaining mass closing any gaps. Hiro tugs on the reins and defers to Ichigo for a plan, but it’s Kokoro who suggests close-range projectile fire.

She and Mitsuru take Genista in, but when Hiro offers encouragement, Mitsuru shuts down. Just when Genista is about to get stomped on, Futoshi and Ikuno fly to their aid in Chlorophytum.

Still, Mitsuru doesn’t see the point in continuing. He’ll never measure up, after all. He placed his hopes in Hiro, getting him to promise to pilot a FranXX with him, only for Hiro to later completely forget that promise. In turn, Mitsuru doesn’t see himself as anyone to be relied on; he’ll only let everyone down.

Kokoro hears him, but to dwell on something like that for so long isn’t any way to live. People hurt each other all the time, but that doesn’t cause them to stop interacting with each other. Kokoro admits she’s not the kind, gentle girl everyone sees her as; after all, she betrayed Futoshi and broke a promise in the blink of an eye.

“These things happen”, she states, and complaining, blaming, and searing hatred can only go so far until they consume someone. With that, she attempts a solo connect with the FranXX, almost going into fatal Rampage Mode before Mitsuru pulls her out of her seat. In that moment, Kokoro needed someone, and Mitsuru was the only person who could save her.

Reckless as it was, it snapes Mitsuru out of it. The two reach maximum parasite level and blast a hole in the Klaxosaur big enough for Strelizia to access and pierce the core. The partner shuffle would seem to have been a success.

When Mitsuru emerges from Genista with Kokoro, he stands and takes Futoshi’s punch without complaint, promising he’ll take care of Kokoro from now on. Futoshi is enraged and distraught…but he’ll live.

As all that carrying-on as a result of partner-shuffling takes place, Zero Two, who continues to be mum on what’s troubling her, hugs Hiro from behind, assuring him they’ll always be together “until the day we die”, adding a touch more fuel to my theory that Zero Two might buy it before Hiro does.

Author: braverade

Hannah Brave is a staff writer for RABUJOI.

4 thoughts on “Darling in the FranXX – 11 – As Partners Swap, Dread Looms”

  1. Consider the fact that, in this world, boy + girl pairings are necessary for [em]survival[/em]. So. What would happen if a an extremely talented parasite was a homosexual?

    That’s what I got out of this episode. It may just be me, but that would be an extremely interesting twist, if it were to be explored.

    Please note, I’m not saying definitively that Michiru is gay, but it would be more interesting to the story if this is what this episode is implying.

    1. I have to admit I thought along those lines too. The episode did kind of vaguely steer in that direction. There’s no positive proof of course, but it would be an interesting area to explore.

      I do wonder though, is this partner shuffle going to be permanent? I feel pretty bad for Futoshi if that’s the case, but that’s teenage relationships for you. Although in the context of FranXX teenage melodrama can potentially have life threatening consequences lol, and I don’t been the School Days kind. What if Futoshi develops a lasting grudge and became unable to pilot? It makes me wonder how invested Kokoro was in their relationship though. I mean Futoshi was clearly head over heels. Kokoro seemed to like him too in the beginning. Did she just get tired of him? Or is helping Mitsuru the main thing on her mind?

  2. So this episode answered a question I had in mind before. Basically all the Franxx have alternate modes and not just Strelizia. And Strelizia was special beca not because of its alternate mode but because Zero Two is the only one (so far) who can use it for a longer period.

    And oookay, they were already blatant before with regards to Ikuno’s sexuality and they went all out in this ep. But I am rather surprised that it actually applies to MITSURU too. So, that’s why they are so incompatible as pilots, they both swing the other way.. And that actually throws an interesting light on his actions in ep 3. He wasn’t trying to best Hiro at all. He was actually trying to IMPRESS Hiro and get him to look at him (Mitsuru) more.

    1. Cliff/Kryto/Flame — Great comments as always.

      I fully agree there’s a homosexual subtext both in Ikuno’s desire to partner with another girl, and in Michiru’s long-standing grudge against the boy who scorned him. Not including that in my review was an oversight, but it was on my mind, particularly whenever Michiru woke up blushing.

      It also explains Ikuno’s frustration with Ichigo — they weren’t getting anywhere in a FranXX because…well, Ichigo just doesn’t swing that way. No doubt Michiru and Futoshi would be similarly incompatible.

      Finally, it casts an ultra-dark shadow on Hachi and Nana’s frustration with Michiru’s descent from effectiveness; they even openly consider culling him if he doesn’t improve. For me that was a sign that while their adult minders like all the squad members, their primary job is to make sure they keep fighting and killing klaxosaurs…otherwise, they’re out, like Naomi.

      I actually dug how the most “stable” partnership in the squad thus far, between Kokoro and Futoshi, is torn apart. I think part of it was Kokoro realizing she was not as enthusiastic about being with Futoshi “forver and ever” as he was, and his attempt to cement that future for them acted as a catalyst for her to get out of the partnership. An enthusiasm gap can often make the “less in-love” person feel stifled.

      Add in the fact she’s become obsessed with the concepts of childbirth and motherhood, and perhaps she just didn’t see Futoshi as the mate with whom she’d want to procreate.

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