Follow TV Tropes

Following

Anime / DARLING in the FRANXX

Go To

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/ff85f210_b1c6_4d18_881c_0941a6ad3bd5.jpeg
Clockwise from the top: Zero Two, Ikuno, Kokoro, Miku, Ichigo, Hiro, Goro, Zorome, Futoshi, Mitsuru.

Zero Two: I've found you, my darling.

The story is set in the distant future. The world is ruined, and humanity establishes mobile fort cities called "plantations". Pilots produced inside Plantation live in Mistilteinn, also known as the "birdcage." Children living there know nothing of the outside world or the freedom of the sky. Their lives consist of battling to carry out missions. Their enemies are mysterious giant lifeforms known as klaxosaur, and the children pilot machines called Franxx to face off against them. For the children, riding the Franxx proves their existence.

A boy named Hiro is called Code:016, and he was once known as a prodigy. However, he has fallen behind, and his existence seems unnecessary. Not piloting a Franxx is the same as ceasing to exist. One day, a mysterious girl with horns on her head known as "Zero Two" appears before him.

DARLING in the FRANXX is a 24-episode Humongous Mecha anime series directed by Atsushi Nishigori, with mech designs by Shigeto Koyama (of Star Driver fame) and is a co-production between Studio Trigger and A-1 Pictures. Best characterized as a Coming-of-Age Story and Teen Drama in the Super Robot genre, it premiered on January 13, 2018 and concluded July 7. A manga adaptation by Kentaro Yabuki (Black Cat, To Love-Ru) is in simultaneous production for Shueisha's Shonen Jump+ website; the second tankoubon volume was released in May 2018. There's also an official Yonkoma by mato that is much more humorous then its anime counterpart. It's viewable in both their official Twitter and Shonen Jump+ website.

The series is licensed by Crunchyroll and Funimation, the latter giving the series a simuldub.


Darling In The Franxx contains examples of:

  • Accidental Pervert:
    • As he is looking for a wounded bird, Hiro comes across some discarded clothes. He picks one at random... and it just happens to be the underwear of the girl Skinny Dipping in the lake in front of him.
    • All the boys in episode 8. The first time thanks to a klaxosaur with a nudifier liquid, the second thanks to Zero Two trolling them by tricking the boys into trying to take a bath at the same time as the girls.
  • Ace Custom: All the Franxx of Squad 13. Justified in that the entire plantation seems to be some sort of experiment, though not much more is known as of Episode 15.
  • Adam and Eve Plot: Defied. Once a food supply is established, hundreds of former Parasites are brought out of stasis to join the population. Considering the Professor was responsible for them being there, hidden from APE, he probably made sure there was enough genetic variance for a stable population.
  • Advanced Ancient Humans: The klaxosaurs! Late in the series it's revealed that they're the remnants of an ancient race of Ultraterrestrials and/or Human Aliens, Klaxo sapiens, who won a Pyrrhic Victory against an Alien Invasion millions of years ago, and retreated underground in anticipation of VIRM's return. Some became Energy Beings (and are being harvested as magma energy), while others became the klaxosaurs. Only their leader, the Klaxosaur Princess, remains humanoid.
  • After the End: It's implied early on with remarks that klaxosaurs first appeared when humans began harvesting magma from beneath the earth for power. Later confirmed in episode 7 when Squad 13 discovers the ruins of a pre-apocalyptic town.
  • Alien Blood: Klaxosaurs gush bright blue blood when their cores are destroyed. In episode 1, a girl with red skin who resembles Zero Two bleeds blue blood from her finger, but Zero Two herself is shown to bleed normal red blood later in the episode. Episode 13 confirms Zero Two is the red-skinned girl, who became "more human" through unknown means.
  • Almost Kiss: Zero Two pulls Hiro to her in episode 7, but then just licks his cheek. Zorome later asks Hiro what a kiss is, and tries to do it to him when he misunderstands the context of a kiss.
  • Animal Motifs: There are roughly three examples, the Birds and the Bees... and Bears
    • Birds: The young parasites are compared to nestlings huddled together in their dark nest dreaming of one day being able to see the sky; the cooperation between male and female pilots operating Franxx is compared to a myth of a species of bird where males and females have only one wing and thus can only fly together; and parasites who are unable to pilot are compared to birds unable to fly, doomed to an early death because, "where would a flightless bird go?"
    • Bees: The Plantations' society is divided into strict societal roles, with Papa and the other adults acting like queen bees while the parasites act as soldiers defending the hive/plantation. Their tech and power is fueled by magma, which is colored a honey gold color. The interior city of the plantation is all golden buildings. Gold hexagonal shapes like honeycomb are frequently used, in in interior hallways, in the mission control computer screens and cockpit screens of the Franxx. It also ties into the parasites' designation as stamens and pistils, and all the Franxx being named after flowers.
    • Bears: Relatedly, the klaxosaurs are giant beasts trying to steal the plantations' magma like bears do to honey bee hives. Zero Two, being part klaxosaur, also seems to have a fondness for covering her food in either honey or syrup. She also first met Hiro while she was catching fish with her teeth.
  • Applied Phlebotinum: Magma energy: an orange, magma-like substance mined from deep below ground that provides power, anti-Klaxosaur weaponry, and immortality.
  • Artistic License – Geology: Magma is literally just rock that has melted from the Earth's internal heat, and once it's on the surface it's called lava. The concept of "magma energy" is basically just technobabble for whatever powers the series' machines and bears little resemblance to actual volcanology (beyond apparently being extracted from underground). Justified in Episode 20, where it is revealed to not actually be magma, but instead derived from klaxosaurs who "returned to energy".
  • Attack Its Weak Point: The klaxosaur can only be killed by striking and extracting their cores.
  • Babies Ever After: and how! At the end pretty much everyone outside of Hiro and Zero Two has lots of children. Mitsuru and Kokoro are at their fourth baby. Well, they do have to repopulate the Earth after all...
  • Barbie Doll Anatomy: In the animé, no nipples are shown.
  • Batman Cold Open: Some of the episode start with a brief Franxx fight before moving onto more talky pursuits, particular episode 8 and 10.
  • Beach Episode: Episode 7, where Squad 13 gets a much deserved break from fighting klaxosaurs and are allowed to go to the beach.
  • Beta Couple: Mitsuru and Kokoro as of Episode 17.
  • Big Brother Is Watching: Nana and Hachi were watching the entire time that the Parasites were left alone after the Plantation was abandoned.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Hiro and Zero Two pull this off in Episode 4: After deploying Strelizia against orders, they proceed to assist the other four Franxx who were pinned down by the klaxosaur.
    • Ichigo diving in a Klaxosaur by herself to save Goro in Episode 9.
  • The Big Damn Kiss: In the very first episode no less. Zero Two pulls Hiro into one hell of a kiss, signifying their unison as Hiro offers to co-pilot Strelizia with her. Later, in Episode 15, Hiro initiates one with Zero Two after they cleared up their misunderstandings and apologized for their mistakes. That kiss cements their Official Couple status and triggers Strelizia's red transformation.
  • Birds of a Feather: Hiro and Zero Two. Both have a desire to fight for their own self worth and they don't fear death. But the biggest is that they both fought against their oppressive world all alone.
  • Bittersweet Ending: After a seemingly endless struggle, the threat of VIRM has finally been extinguished, with the Klaxosaurs returning to the Earth to pass it on to humanity. However, Hiro and Zero Two had to sacrifice their lives to ensure their friends will live on to building a better world than the one they lived in before. Though it's shown centuries later after the epilogue that Hiro and Zero Two have reincarnated on Earth, with the two of them meeting once again.
  • Black Widow: Zero Two is known as the "partner killer" for a reason. (She is also specifically compared, at one point, to a vampire who sucks the blood of her partners until they have nothing left to give, killing them.) Notably, it seems to be unintentional on her part.
  • Blue And Orange Contrast: Used to distinguish our protagonists and antagonists. The inner-city areas of the Plantations are white on the ouside and very orange inside due-to the lava-based power systems, while the Klaxxosaurs are black with glowing blue highlights.
  • Break the Haughty: Zorome and Mitsuru are hit with this hard in episode 3, though for opposite reasons. Zorome bragging instead of finishing a klaxosaur gets Miku badly hurt, invoking My God, What Have I Done? from him. Mitsuru casually abandoning his partner and then bragging how much better Zero Two is for him and how much better he is for Zero Two than Hiro invokes I Am Not Left-Handed from her, getting Mitsuru badly hurt.
  • Breather Episode:
    • In Episode 7, Squad 13 get to take a break from fighting klaxosaurs by spending some time at the beach.
    • Episode 16 focuses on the squad adapting to a new way of life, with a little navel-gazing to go along with it.
  • Call-Back: At the end of Episode 19, when Hiro meets Zero Two sitting on the floor, he stares at her horns and Zero Two responds by saying "Darling, you pervert.", just like their encounter back in Episode 3.
    • Similarly, when he offers his hand to help her up, he says "Let's go, Zero Two" in the same way he did after he'd come up with her name back when they first met, as seen in Episode 13.
    • In Episode 23 Nine Alpha, who's piloting with Hiro, tells him he puts too much strain on his partner and no ordinary Pistil could handle him. The same thing Code:081 had told Hiro about Zero Two and her Stamens back in Episode 1 when he met her at the lake.
  • Call-Forward: Many in episode 13, mainly dealing with how Zero Two's personality and quirks came to be.
  • Character Narrator: Certain parts of the story are narrated by the members of Squad 13, though Hiro gets the lion's share of it.
  • Cherry Blossoms: In the second half, it plays an important part of both Hiro's and Zero Two's love and restarting their relationship. In the last episode after both Hiro and Zero Two sacrifice themselves to stop VIRM, a cherry blossom sprung out where Zero Two's body was at and acts as both a symbolic representation of both Hiro and Zero Two love and humanity's prosperity.
  • Childhood Friend Romance: The relationship between Hiro and Zero Two is revealed to be this. Flashbacks show Zero Two and Hiro's Meet Cute that blossomed into Puppy Love and a Childhood Marriage Promise, before Zero Two was taken away by APE to be the subject of Coldblooded Torture to study her Klaxosaur physiology and Hiro was struck with Laser-Guided Amnesia.
  • Child Soldiers: Played disturbingly straight as it is made very clear that the children, who are called 'parasites' by the adults, are seen little more than as potential pilots to field against the klaxosaurs.
  • Cosmic Horror Story: It is ultimately revealed by the Klaxosaur Princess that an alien race called Virm once attacked the Earth centuries ago and were driven off by the klaxosaurs. However, several of them disguised themselves as humans and formed APE to manipulate humanity into exterminating the klaxosaurs for a chance to destroy the world again.
  • Crapsaccharine World: Inside the plantations, it is shown that the adults live very comfortable lives, but have basically sacrificed all forms of human interaction and individuality, only pairing up for pragmatic purposes such as breeding. This is not even considering that this is a society that actively uses Child Soldiers to fight giant monsters that are a constant threat to the plantations.
  • Cult of Personality: Papa, the leader of the plantations is seen as an almost god-like figure by the parasites (at the very least), to the point of saying prayers to him prior to meals.
  • Cyber Cyclops: The Franxx belonging to Code:196 Ikuno & Code:326 Mitsuru, 'Chlorophytum' possesses one eye on the left side of its face.
  • Darker and Edgier: The anime is without a doubt the darkest series that Studio Trigger has produced since Kill la Kill and Ninja Slayer, almost reaching Evangelion's darker tone by the end of the first episode alone, which is jarring compared to their typical fare, especially in comparison to their previous production.
  • A Day in the Limelight: While the early episodes focus mostly on Hiro, the other pilots get episodes that focus heavily on them, such as Zorome in episode 10. And in some cases, it focuses on their interactions with their partner, such as Goro and Ichigo in episode 9.
  • Deflector Shields: The Klaxosaur Mothership uses one to deflect a VIRM laser in Episode 23.
  • Denser and Wackier: The official four-manga is more comical in nature. Even the more dramatic and serious moments from the anime are played for laughs.
  • Diabolus ex Machina: With a handful of episodes left, APE are suddenly revealed to be aliens, the Klaxosaur Princess posthumously leads Squadron 13 to both a convenient spaceship and a convenient warp gate to the VIRM homeworld, and Zero Two has her soul ripped from her body and put into Strelitzia. This is all clunky setup for Hiro and Zero to carry out a Suicide Mission which (though your mileage may vary) doesn't really fit the overall narrative or tone of the show and ends with their souls reincarnating a thousand years hence, despite the show not dabbling in the metaphysics of the afterlife at all.
  • Distant Finale: and how. The last scene is over 1000 years after Hiro and Zero Two warped out.
  • "Do It Yourself" Theme Tune: XX:me, the unit that performs the ending themes, consists of the voice actresses of the main female cast. A variation of this is used in Episode 13, where Haruka Tomatsu (Zero Two) solos the ending theme.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?:
    • The act of piloting a Franxx is a pretty clear parallel to sex, what with the positions of the pilots, and Hiro's inability to pilot one in most situations is treated as if he has a case of The Loins Sleep Tonight, complete with him attempting to motivate himself to pilot by kissing his copilot. Another character even explicitly tells her stamen to "Get it up!" at one point when they can't move their Franxx. Referring to the male pilot as a "stamen" and the female pilot as a "pistil" is another example, these being the sexual organs of flowers. Additionally, piloting a Franxx requires both parasites to deeply trust each other, which makes the metaphor specifically "sex in a loving relationship".
    • Ikuno's desire to pilot with Ichigo, but their inability to get the Franxx to move, reads as a bi/lesbian girl trying to start a relationship with another girl but failing due to Incompatible Orientation, which is reinforced by the third end credits having a shot of them Almost Kissing. The 4koma series even has her wishing they could pilot the same way the first Pretty Cures transformed, alluding to Nagisa and Honoka's own couple-like dynamic. Episode 18 confirms that Ikuno has feelings for Ichigo; it's unclear whether Ichigo returns them.
    • In Episode 15, the loving reunion between Hiro and Zero Two is followed by the two flying into battle screaming each other's names. Zero Two in particular is very happy to be riding with her Darling.
    • The Nines stand in for nearly all nontraditional relationships: Stamen girls with Pistil boys, the Zeta triplets as artificial clones, sex without love, LGBT (two girls can pilot without problem, the Nines have no biological sex), and childfree couples, though in Alpha's case it crosses over with being disgusted with the idea of making them.
    • Strelizia True Apus' appearance looks like Zero Two in a wedding dress with the Klaxosaur bomb being a flower bouquet.
  • Domed Hometown: The various plantations are these.
  • Don't Look at Me!: In Episode 15, Zero Two says this to Hiro when they reunite inside Strelizia's cockpit, since she considers herself a monster after all of her previous actions.
  • Downer Beginning: Zig-Zagged. The series starts with Hiro musing on his uselessness as a Stamen and his inability to pilot, alongside with his longtime partner Naomi being Released to Elsewhere. However, episode 2 is arguably his Darkest Hour, with him feeling like a complete failure due to being unable to reinstate his parasite licence, before recovering for a while with Zero-Two's aid...Which brought with it the threat of death due to Zero-Two's cursed nature.
  • Doom Magnet: Zero Two is considered one, being labelled as a "partner killer".
  • Dr. Fakenstein: Doctor Franxx, alleged creator of the eponymous Mecha.
  • Dug Too Deep: The klaxosaurs first appeared when people started drilling into the crust to harvest magma for power and immortality. It's revealed in Dr. Franxx's episode 19 Day in the Limelight that, even before that, the extraction of magma energy had led to rapid desertification worldwide.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: Episodes 23 and 24 will bring you tears of joy. Hiro and Zero Two merge with Strelizia True Apus, and after a two-year journey through deep space, they reach the VIRM homeworld and deliver a klaxosaur bomb, winning the war at the cost of their bodies. The humans back home rebuild Earth and civilization, with Goro and Ichigo finally getting together and thousands of Human Popsicles of failed and former parasites being brought out of cryogenic suspension, swearing off magma energy forever. Seemingly many decades later, Hiro's and Zero Two's souls make it back to Earth and are reincarnated.
  • Empty Eyes: The Nines, and all adults except Dr. Franxx, have a glassy-eyed look without pupils. Dr. Franxx has a pupil, but no shine in his eye. This contrasts with the more alive eyes of the main cast.
  • Evolving Credits: From Episode 12 onwards, Futoshi and Mitsuru swap their positions in the opening sequence to reflect them swapping their partners in the previous episode.
  • Evolving Music: The opening sequence for Episode 16 onwards uses the second verse and chorus of "KISS OF DEATH" instead of the first.
  • Fantastic Racism: Miku, Ichigo, and a member of the Nines have referred to Two Zero's nonhuman genetics in less-than-complimentary terms.
  • Fatal Family Photo: Hiro keeps the photo they all took together at the wedding with him through the warpgate. With the same results as always with this trope.
  • Fembot: The Franxx all have feminine designs complete with breasts, Robot Hair, and even a Sailor Fuku like projection on Strezilla.
  • Five-Man Band: The individual FRANXX mecha:
  • Floral Theme Naming: All of the Franxx are named after flowers, with the male pilots called stamens and the female pilots called pistils. Locations are also named after plants: Plantation 13 is nicknamed Cerasus, the home of its parasites is Mistilteinn, Plantation 26 is Chrysanthemum and APE HQ is Cosmos. The place parasites are gathering after the Gran Crevasse battle is named the Bird's Nest.
    • Takes a darker turn with the reference to "pruning" in episode 11.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • In the opening's introduction screens Kokoro and Mitsuru are the only two pilots who are glancing to their sides and towards their own partners (while everyone else is looking towards the camera). However, the way the shots transition between one another can also make it look like they aren't actually looking at their partners, but at each other. After they pair up in episode 11 the opening is updated to have them in the same shot.
    • Ikuno's orientation starts being hinted at in episode 4, with further hints along the way until her final confession in 18.
    • The Lyrics to Strelizia's theme song "Vanquish", first heard in episode 1, actually summarizes episode 13. The song is in English, but in an etherial choral style, making it hard to notice if you didn't know ahead of time.
  • Forgotten First Meeting: Strongly implied with the old lady that Zorome talks to during episode 10. He starts tearing up suddenly, but doesn't know why. Some quick Flash Back scenes are shown of when he was still young, implying that the lady may have been a caretaker for him, if not a relative possibly his mother, since both of them have purple eyes. For her part, the lady claims this is their first time meeting, and her dialogue is a bit vague at times. But she also implies she may have taken care of him before, but had to part ways with him while he was still very young.
    • Hiro and Zero Two met in the Garden when they were kids. Episode 13 explores it extensively.
  • Four Is Death: Hiro's locker number, as seen in Episode 2, is number 4. And Plantation 26 Squad seems to be assigned to 4th United Company during their last sortie in Episode 15.
  • Get a Hold of Yourself, Man!: Goro does this to Ichigo when the latter has a Heroic B.S.O.D. in Episode 6.
  • Ghost Town: The children discover one while exploring a tunnel with lots of overgrowth near the beach. Kokoro finds a pamphlet discussing babies when she wanders into an abandoned clinic.
  • Godiva Hair: In the anime this is often employed to hide the nipples of the girls when they are naked. The manga adaptation doesn't bother with it.
  • Godzilla Threshold: Any time HQ is willing to send Zero Two out into the field, despite knowing the danger it risks her partner, is this.
  • Goroawase Number: The children's "names" derive from their numerical designations. A flashback shows this was Hiro's doing, as he preferred it to only calling each other by numbers.
  • Gilded Cage: The kids themselves only have limited access to the plantations and instead stay on certain levels. Just about all of their needs are met so long as they do what they're asked.
  • Half-Human Hybrid: Zero Two is revealed to be part klaxosaur by the end of the first episode.
  • Horned Humanoid: Zero Two has a pair of small red horns on the top of her head and the headband she wears connects to them for an unknown purpose. They probably come from her klaxosaur blood.
  • Hotter and Sexier: The manga is noticeably more fanservice-heavy, naked breasts and all. Which shouldn't be surprising when Yabuki Kentarou is the one in charge of it.
  • I Am Not Left-Handed: A variation: when allowed to ride Strelizia with Zero Two in Episode 3, Mitsuru glorifies in the Power High it brings, despite the clear toll it's taking on his body and mind. That's when Zero Two declares that she can go all-out now. Cue Oh, Crap! from Mitsuru.
  • Immortal Procreation Clause: The magma energy infusion process that grants humanity their immortality also rendered them infertile and caused a massive population explosion that had to be reined in with legislative means.
  • Irony: In Episode 13, we learn that Zero Two met a little boy when she was a little girl. She thinks killing enough klaxosaurs will make her a human and let her stay with that boy, and she doesn't care how many partners she has to kill in the process to do it. We learn this during a flashback while she's killing her current partner, Hiro, who happens to be the boy in question.
  • Kaiju: The klaxosaurs.
  • Kiss of Death: The title of the opening song references Zero Two's reputation which is completely true. She causes any stamen who pilots with her to die by draining the life from them. Hiro is the one exception.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: This is done twice in the story, first to Hiro and Zero Two as children after they meet and run away together, then in Episode 18 to Kokoro and Mitsuru to remove their memories of becoming an Official Couple.
  • Latex Space Suit: Taken to the point where the pilot suits are literally painted on by a machine rather than donned in a conventional manner.
  • Last of Their Kind: By the end of episode 24, Nami and Hachi are the last of the immortal adults.
  • Locked Out of the Loop: Hints are given throughout the show that there's more to the children than meets the eye, such as why they're called parasites, and are normally unable to enter the underground city. Even the other team they worked with in a previous episode hints that the children are unaware of their special situation and will likely not reach adulthood as Zorome constantly claims.
  • Living Is More Than Surviving: Zero Two hates the plantations, which she calls a "lifeless city." Episode 10 elaborates that most adults live bland and stagnant lives, getting their physical needs provided but their emotional needs basically nonexistent—void of any names, emotions, passions, companionship, socializing, or even simple pleasures like eating or dreaming.
  • Loophole Abuse: In episode 8, the girls tape off half of the dorm after they got mad at the boys when their uniforms melted and the boys gave them pervy looks. Unfortunately they forgot to include the dining hall, so the boys immediately tape the girls section out of it. They also bathe outside because the bathrooms were on the girl's end, meaning they will see the boys in towels when they come back to the dorm and can't do anything about it.
  • Love Dodecahedron: By episode 7, the series' relationships are becoming quite the headache. Goro and Ikuno have feelings for Ichigo, who loves Hiro, who loves Zero Two, who reciprocates, while Miku and Zorome may have unadmitted feelings for each other. And theres a seperate Love Triangle between Mitsuru, Kokoro, and Futoshi. What makes it a headache is that outside of Zero Two these kids have about zero understanding of romantic feelings and relationships due to their upbringing, and thus have no idea how to act on these feelings. However, by episode 11, the various triangles are working themselves out.
  • A Mech by Any Other Name: They're all called 'Franxx'. Named after Dr. Franxx, their apparent creator.
  • Mythical Motifs:
    • Jian. It's a mythical bird with only one head and wing and it needs a male and female to fly and live. Because of that it's also associated with romance. The motif is represented by the Parasites piloting the Franxx which takes a male and female to pilot.
    • Phoenix: Episode 24 gives this to Hiro and Zero Two who sacrifice themselves to stop VIRM and are reincarnated later on and with the Jian in their picture book looking more like a Phoenix in appearance.
  • Naked First Impression: Between Hiro and Zero Two, the latter being naked.
  • Never Was This Universe: Like Code Geass and its Sakuradite, after Episode 19 establishes How We Got Here starting 20 Minutes into the Future, Episode 20 establishes an ancient war between Ultraterrestrials and an Alien Invasion, as well as showing that "magma energy" is Human Resources instead of a "mere" currently-undiscovered fuel.
  • Nipple and Dimed: The anime never shows the nipples of the girls, while the Hotter and Sexier manga adaptation does it all the time.
  • Not Helping Your Case: Hiro in episode 8 trying to console the girls, embarrassed at Clothing Damage to themselves, by repeating one of Zero Two's earlier lines to him that a pilot is "better off being a little pervy".
  • The Nudifier: Episode 8 starts with the group fighting a klaxosaur that releases a liquid that is completely harmless to the Franxx, but melts the uniforms of the girls.
  • Obstructive Bureaucrat: In episode 3, Nana denies Hiro's request to join Zero Two in rescuing the others by piloting Strelizia as clearance hadn't been made, even though the audience has been led to believe he would be the best person for the job.
  • The Omni Scient Council Of Vagueness: The leaders of APE sit in a circle and are only seen talking about the main cast and how they are an experimental team.
  • Official Couple: Hiro and Zero Two as of the ending of episode 15.
  • Official Couple Ordeal Syndrome:
    • And how. Not long after Hiro made a Childhood Marriage Promise with Zero Two, APE soldiers capture the two. Hiro gets hit with Laser-Guided Amnesia as punishment for their escape attempt, while Zero Two once again becomes a subject of Coldblooded Torture to study her Klaxosaur physiology. Because of Hiro's tampered memories, Zero Two has no idea he was her original Darling when they meet in Episode 1. Then, when they finally recover their memories in Episode 13, Zero Two gets reassigned to the Nines and Ichigo stops Hiro from chasing her. It's not until Episode 15 when they at long last reunite and make up for lost time.
    • In Episode 18, the Beta Couple (Kokoro and Mitsuru) get rocked with this as well. The couple have a wedding with the help of the other squad members. They are then captured by APE and the Nines to have their minds wiped. Zero Two remarks that the same thing happened to her and Hiro as children.
  • One True Love: The main symbol of the series is the Jian, a one-winged bird from Chinese mythology. In Chinese myths, a pair of Jian birds represents marriage since the two are inseparable and co-dependent on one another. Much like a Jian pair, Hiro and Zero Two are inseparable and serve as each other's wings. Back when they were children, Hiro tried to help Zero Two escape the APE facility where she was being tested on and tortured. Looking past Zero Two's inhuman appearance, Hiro became the only boy who admired and loved her for who she was Warts and All, and even promised to marry her while they were on the run. Their short time together as children made an impact on Zero Two and, as Episode 12 reveals, she spent much of her life looking to reunite with her original "darling", the boy she loved and missed. When she finds out Hiro was her "darling" all along in Episode 13, she becomes distraught over her actions up to that point before the two make up in Episode 15. Since then, the two have shown unconditional love for one another and know that their bond will help them overcome whatever obstacle fate throws at them.
  • Only One Name: All the characters have a single name based on a Goroawase Number. Not only are the names normally numbers, there aren't any family names since the very concept of "family" is a thing of the past in the show's setting.
  • Opposite-Sex Clone: Not in the anime itself, but in the 4-panel manga, Zero Two, who is a clone of 001, has an image spot of a male version of herself.
  • Out-of-Clothes Experience: Averted for most of the anime, except for a few scenes with Hiro and Zero Two. This does come into effect in the manga, when there are moments where the female pilots are shown nude from within their Franxxs.
  • Phlebotinum-Handling Requirements: Franxx cannot be piloted by just any pair - the duo, aside from being opposite genders with good mental sync, must also be naturally compatible. This is taken to an extreme with Zero Two and Strelizia: She can pilot Strelizia solo in a wolflike form in emergencies, but still requires a partner to unlock the Franxx's full combat power, and Hiro is to date her only partner to survive more than three sorties.
  • Plot-Based Voice Cancellation: Zorome talks to an old lady he accidentally falls in front of in episode 10. Before some guards arrive to escort him back, he asks her if she can be his family when he becomes an adult and moves into the city, but then cuts himself off and asks to be her friend instead. She refuses, but her answer is obscured by static before it can be heard.
  • Poor Communication Kills:
    • In episode 3, the group was told there was only one klaxosaur they needed to kill. There were dozens of them, which they weren't expecting. The only reason there wasn't a Total Party Wipe was because backup arrived.
    • In episode 14, both Hiro and Zero Two want to talk to each other after the former almost kill the latter and the two learned they met before. However, they are both stopped by Ichigo and the Plantation 13 Squad. After Ichigo and others finally decided to let Zero Two see Hiro, he isn't in the hospital room and Zero Two assume they tricked her and attacks them.
  • Pragmatic Adaptation: The manga freely rearranges how some events played out, mixing scenes and dialogues from different points of the anime. That way all the necessary scenes can be covered in the limited number of pages each chapter has without hurting the overall pacing.
  • Production Throwback:
    • Strelizia's Transformation Sequence in episodes 1 and 15 is very similar to ones of Ryuko Matoi's and Satsuki Kiryuin's transformation with their Kamuis in Kill la Kill.
    • Several to early Studio Trigger series When Supernatural Battles Became Commonplace, including a love triangle between a black-haired boy with lackluster powers and two girls with red and blue hair, the forthright and aggressive suitor calling the boy "darling" repeatedly while the passive suitor seethes with resentment, and Saori Hayami voicing a sweet, gentle girl with nearly the exact same hairstyle as Kokoro.
  • Reality Ensues: While the events of episode 8 have a fair dose of Rule of Funny, those kinds of childish fights are to be expected when you put a bunch of teenagers who are just entering puberty to live in the same house. Dr. Franxx drops a Lampshade Hanging on this matter when Nana and Hachi ask him for advice on how to deal with it.
    • In Episode 24, despite having used a warp gate to clear the heliosphere and presumably coasting at relativistic speeds, it still takes Hiro and Zero Two years to cross the void and reach the VIRM homeworld.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Hiro and Zero Two. In more ways than one. He's collected and Desperately Looking for a Purpose in Life while she's unruly and not fond of regulations or social norms. Their color patterns emphasize this even moreso when blue Tainted Veins start appearing on Hiro's chest after his second ride with her.
    • Done in an almost literal sense between Zero Two and the Klaxosaur Princess. The former is wild and passionate, whereas the latter is cold and calculating, and Zero Two is made partially from the Princess's DNA.
  • Reincarnation Romance: Episode 24 ends with Hiro and Zero Two, who sacrifice themselves to stop VIRM, being reborn centuries later and meeting each other again as kids with the strong implication they will restart their romance.
  • Rescue Romance: Episode 13 revealed that Hiro and Zero Two formed a Puppy Love version of this during their childhood. This later becomes the basis of their actual romance when they recover their memories and apologize for their mistakes in Episode 15.
  • Rewatch Bonus: Once you know her backstory in Episode 13, Zero Two's behavior in the earlier episodes takes on a whole new meaning, since every aspect of it relates back to something she experienced as a child.
  • Robot Girl: All the 'Franxx' are stylized and function more as giant robotic girls instead of giant robot mecha typical of the genre.
  • Romantic Spoonfeeding: Zero Two does this with Hiro in Episode 5 with one of her typical pieces of bread drenched in honey. The fact that he actually eats it shows how much he's come to trust her.
    • Futoshi and Kokoro, the one pair that seems to have the most well-adjusted relationship among the main cast, are shown following their lead not long after.
  • Rotating Protagonist: While the early episodes focus mostly on Hiro and Zero Two, after episode 6 each episode is narrated by a different character and the focus is successively put either on the group as a whole or on each individual pair, while the two mains take a backseat.
  • Ruins of the Modern Age: The kids stumble upon the ruins of an old town during their vacation on the beach in episode 7. Of particular note are the ruined dormitory that's suspiciously similar to their own dormitory in Plantation 13, as well as the book on raising an infant that Kokoro finds in it.
  • Sand Worm: The klaxosaur from Episode 4.
  • Screw Your Ultimatum!: The Klaxosaur Princess in episode 17. A party of adults led by two of Papa's group tries to threaten her into surrendering. Her nonverbal refusal is a Brown Note to the negotiator. The other one attacks her, and she impales him with Combat Tentacles and slaughters the rest of them.
  • Shameless Fanservice Girl: Hiro is actually more concerned about having accidentally seen Zero Two naked than Zero Two herself.
  • Ship Sinking: The Hiro/Ichigo ship gets torpedoed in Episode 15. When Ichigo synchronizes with Hiro, she quickly discovers that Hiro solely thinks about Zero Two and thus will never have space in his heart for anyone else.
  • Sickeningly Sweethearts: Zorome describes Futoshi and Kokoro like this, and while they're not exactly over the top (and don't even seem to be necessarily together) they seem to have the most uncomplicated and "sweet" relationship in the main cast. In Episode 5 they actually seem to start picking up Hiro and Zero Two's romantic behavior, with Kokoro handfeeding Futoshi at breakfast.
    • Episode 11 shows a rapid, gut-punch breakdown of their relationship.
  • Skinny Dipping: Hiro first meets Zero Two when she is swimming naked in a lake.
  • Space Battle: The final battle against VIRM is basically this.
  • Spent Shells Shower:
    • Downplayed when Strelizia kills the klaxosaur with her weapon and a single shell is ejected into the air and falls onto the ground with a heavy thud.
    • Played straight with Chlorophytum when she fires her Arm Cannons.
  • Super Robot: The Franxx are clearly this, with teenagers being able to pilot them mostly with a mix of The Power of Love and Hot-Blooded willpower. Speaking of willpower, the main mecha seems to spontaneously grow stronger whenever its pilot overcomes a personal dilemma.
  • Their First Time: In Episode 17, Mitsuru and Kokoro have sex for the first time.
  • Theme Music Power-Up: In Episode 15, the show's opening theme, "KISS OF DEATH" plays when Strelizia starts ripping apart the Super Lehmann-Class klaxosaur.
  • Theme Naming: The APE council ruling the Plantations has a name that corresponds to the ape-like masks worn by its members pretty damn well.
  • The Promise: Of the "made before the start of the series" variety, and naturally explaining one character's behavior. Hiro promised to pilot with Mitsuru before the latter underwent a procedure that was extremely likely to kill him. As soon as Mitsuru returned, Hiro had completely forgotten, crushing Mitsuru's opinion of Hiro. We later find out this wasn't Hiro's fault, he had a lot of other memories wiped and the promise was collateral damage.
  • This Is My Side: The eighth episode has the girls dividing the house in half after an argument with the boys. As expected, Zero Two and Mitsuru completely ignored the entire spectacle, and both Hiro and Kokoro only went along because they didn’t have the guts to go against their friends.
  • ˇThree Amigos!: Hiro, Ichigo and Goro, the three having known each other the longest and have rarer 2-digit number codes.
  • Time Skip: One month passes between episodes 15 and 16. The episode focus on how the main squad adapts to the aftermath of the last episode and the new chemistry of Zero Two fully reintegrated into the crew. It also shows that piloting the franxx is finally taking a toll in their bodies, with characters getting sick and starting to show signs of Rapid Aging.
  • Title-Only Opening: Episode 6, 13, and 15 do not use the standard opening sequence. Instead, the credits are superimposed over the first few minutes before or after the title card is shown.
  • Together in Death: In the series finale, Hiro and Zero Two sacrifice their lives to stop the VIRM. The Official Couple knew they were going to die after they dived the Strelizia into the Klaxosaur bomb. They also knew that this wasn't the end for them and that, no matter how long it took, they will meet again. Sure enough, they do in the epilogue when their souls return to Earth centuries after the battle and reunite as human kids.
  • Transforming Mecha: Franxx require both pilots to maintain their humanoid forms. If a Pistil tries to pilot her Franxx alone—either because she has lost her Stamen or he refuses to cooperate with her—it regresses into a bestial form called Stampede Mode. It looks incredibly painful.
  • Troll: Zero Two. In the first episode alone, she repeatedly messes with her caretakers and Hiro without any kind of mercy, making both highly uncomfortable. She ramps it up in episode 8, screwing with the boys and girls by tricking the boys into walking in on the girls while they're bathing, then stealing all their clothes for good measure.
  • Unexplained Recovery: In "Jian", Delphinium is badly damaged trying to immobilize Strelizia long enough to pass Hiro aboard to reunite him with Zero Two, with her weapon destroyed and part of her head ripped off. But in the next shot while she's holding the line against klaxosaurs she's back to normal.
  • Unfulfilled Purpose Misery: Every child is born and raised into Child Soldiers for Papa against Klaxosaurs with the use of the giant robots called Franxx. The protagonist, Hiro, is unable to pilot and ends up depressed. As the series goes on, he ends up subverting this as he learns that there's more to life than serving Papa.
  • Vetinari Job Security: Zero Two. Despite her Loose Cannon antics and Black Widow pattern with her partners, the klaxosaur are a great enough threat and Zero Two a great enough parasite (with one of the best Franxx around) that HQ can't afford not to send her out in the field when the situation becomes dire enough.
  • Visual Innuendo: The show has tons of it, probably most blatant in the piloting positions of the female and male drivers: they strongly resemble doggy-style sex, with the male holding onto a control yoke attached to the female's hips while she kneels prone.
  • Washtub Throw: In Episode 8, the girls sans Zero Two do this when the boys enter the bath after thinking it was unoccupied, courtesy of Zero Two pulling a prank on them.
  • Wedding-Enhanced Fertility: Kokoro ends up pregnant with Mitsuru's child right around their wedding day and after they had sex once before the day. It would be a happy thing if it wasn't for the fact they got their memories erased.
  • We Have Reserves: APE has very little reservation about throwing Stamen after Stamen to Zero Two despite knowing that she'd likely kill them in the process.
  • "Well Done, Son!" Guy: All of the parasites are raised with Papa, the head of APE, as a distant surrogate father figure that they are trying to impress. Zorome fully buys into this, and while the others are less enthusiastic, they all nod their heads in agreement when he starts boasting on how they are impressing Papa by defeating klaxosaurs.
  • Wham Episode: They start coming one after another in the middle arc of the show. See the dedicated Wham Episode page for details.
  • Wham Line:
    • Episode 13 explores the backstory for Hiro and Zero Two. This all comes to a head in Episode 14 when Zero Two realizes the Darling she loved and missed was Hiro all along.
      Zero Two: Hey, were you my Darling from back then? Then what have I been doing all this time?
    • In an episode loaded with wham moments, Episode 17 shows 001 dropping a bomb after she kills two APE officials.
      001: Damned human wannabes.
    • The closing monologue of Episode 18:
      Hiro: The home we built for ourselves was too brittle to live in, and everything we ever hold dear is always destroyed in the blink of an eye. If that is our destiny, then we can't let it rule us anymore. We are at the end of our rope.
    • Not a surprise to the audience who already knew, but to the characters, episode 22:
      Nana: Her urine sample revealed traces of human chorionic gonadotropin. According to the database, this is a hormone secreted during pregnancy.
  • Wham Shot:
    • At the end of episode 3, we see Mitsuru bleeding and injured in the cockpit of Strelizia, revealing that the rumors surrounding Zero Two's partners being unable to ride with her more than three times before dying are true.
    • The end of episode 8, showing the prior plantation 13 parasites...who were wiped out to a man.
    • Episode 15 has two of them. First, an exposed Klaxosaur's core reveals what's clearly a human shaped body. And then, just as Hiro and Zero Two defeat a gigantic Klaxosaur, an even bigger Klaxosaur hand tears itself out of the ground and massacres Plantation 13 in a single attack, leaving Squad 13 stranded.
    • The final shot of episode 21 shows Zero Two as an apparently lifeless husk after using Strelizia Apath to repel VIRM.
  • Whole Episode Flashback: Episode 13 is entirely devoted to Hiro and Zero Two's past.
  • Whole Plot Reference:
    • The episode 10 shows that life in the Plantation inner city is basically Brave New World, and the kids are pretty much one of the lower classes used by the "adults" for their needs.
    • The plot of "The Beast and the Prince", the book that shows up in episode 13, is strikingly similar to Hans Christian Andersen's version of The Little Mermaid.
  • You Are Number 6: Only Zero Two is known by her numbered designation while the rest of the children have actual names. And even those are only a very small step above this trope, as they are based on alternative readings of their respective numbers (invented by Hiro). It's later revealed that all Parasites are identified by their designation, and Hiro's group are an anomaly for having adopted nicknames - another team comments that such a thing seems pointless.
    • Episode 13 reveals that Zero Two's name was also invented by Hiro - after briefly considering Oni and quickly thinking better of it.
  • You Monster!: Hiro tells this to Zero Two in Episode 14 after he stumbles onto her literally holding onto Ichigo by the neck after she's beaten his other teammates and admits that she did so because they wouldn't let her talk to him. He wasn't referring to her increasingly inhuman appearance, but to her selfish and violent behavior.

Top