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Nightmare Fuel / DARLING in the FRANXX

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Red Eyes & Red Horns, Take Warning.
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After Kill la Kill and Ninja Slayer, Studio Trigger seems to have decided to raise the stakes by producing an eerie Homage to Neon Genesis Evangelion.


Warning: Spoilers Off applies to Nightmare Fuel pages. Proceed at your own risk.

General

  • Child Soldiers. Who don't even know what a kiss is. Let that sink in for a moment.
    • It may be worse than we thought. Zorome asks another Plantation's Franxx squad if any parasites from their squad have grown to adulthood. One member whispers to the leader "he probably doesn't know."
  • The klaxosaurs are Eldritch Abominations, and their size and numbers warranted the FRANXX being created, as well as the above Child Soldiers being formed in the first place. They may seem to not have a particularly scary ring to their name, but digging into the etymology reveals that they're made of combining two Greek words to get the meaning of "screaming lizard", and the suffix -saur is often used to form names of dinosaurs; considering the Dinosaurs Are Dragons trope, this makes "klaxosaur" a very decent English translation of the their Japanese name, kyōryū (叫竜), whose kanji translate to "screaming dragon".
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  • Also, the titular FRANXX can be seen as case of the Uncanny Valley. Let's just hope the parallels end there...
  • The reason the kids are being made to pilot so soon? The previous squad was wiped out entirely. And it almost happens to them in the third episode when a Horde of Alien Locusts gets ready to devour them since the robots they're piloting use weapons made with the same fuel as the klaxosaurs' favorite meal, making them also serve as bait.
  • Papa is seen as the figure of good to most of the people, but his actions have shown that he is far from that image and has no problem sacrificing people to reach some unknown goal.

Episode 3

  • Zero Two has one memorable moment. After allowing Mitsuru to pilot her, she held back enough to where he could maintain the connection enough to grow cocky. Then, when there was only one enemy left and he tried to proposition her to be her official partner over Hiro, she ignored orders to retreat specifically to go all out just to spite him. The look on Strelizia's blood-splattered face says it all.
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Episode 5

  • The young pilots learn they'll have to defend the two plantations from over a hundred of klaxosaurs during a magma reserve transfer and that more will likely be coming... and there's only ten FRANXX among them combined.
  • The growth on Hiro's body after piloting with Zero Two for a second time. It's a blue mass positioned right over his heart and looks like its spreading, while causing him intense pain. In the impending battle, it spreads, devouring his body until he's on the verge of death.
  • When Ichigo slaps the headband off Zero Two and the latter's eyes are revealed to be burning red along with her horns against the black backdrop, outright terrifying Ichigo.

Episode 6

  • The episode continues the proud tradition of Zero Two's being a good embodiment of Nightmare Fuel with a blood spattered, red-eyed, fangs bared Zero Two desperately trying to fight back against the Gutenberg class klaxosaur after Hiro fainted. Between her screams and clawing at the inside of the cockpit, you wouldn't be the only one crapping your pants.
    • This scene gains another level when taken from her perspective: finding herself alone and hurt while trapped inside a cockpit with, what she assumes is a dead body. Said body being the person she thought would be with her, but has now left her all alone once again. All while a giant monster is trying to kill her as well. No wonder she's acting the way she was. And, considering her reputation as "Partner Killer", think of how many times that has happened to her before...

Episode 7

  • The little discovery of the abandoned modern city and Hiro's comment afterwards seems to imply that the reason humanity moved from normal but thriving cities into Plantations seems to be something far more sinister than just klaxosuars.
    • The beginning of the manga itself explains that the barren wasteland of the planet is not the handiwork of klaxosaurs but rather the humans themselves who got too greedy extracting Magma Energy from the planet, letting everyone know what could have happened for real.

Episode 10

  • The beginning of the episode has the Council planning to reward the team as an incentive to send them on an even more dangerous mission.
  • The episode provides a insight of the lives for the adults which resides within the city of the plantation. Sufficient to say, humanity has been stripped clean of almost everything that made life worth living for, such as company, dreams, companionship, sensations, genuine joy and the purpose of life itself. It's very unsettling.

Episode 11

  • It's revealed that there's a pruning for pilots who can't keep up with the program when Mitsuru suffered a severe medical problem in the middle of a battle.
    • And for some pilots there's a surgery they can undergo to improve their piloting abilities. The catch is that it has an 85% mortality rate and Mitsuru was younger than 10 when he underwent it.
  • The same bedside scene also has Nana commenting on a "children's sickness" having a surprisingly early onset. Combined with an earlier Dark Secret about why Parasites never reach adulthood and children being biohazards, and the implication is Parasites are intentionally infected with an expiration date.
  • The episode also has Kokoro activating Genista's stampede mode. The entire process looks absolutely painful.

Episode 12

  • The entire episode is one long and painful look at Zero Two slowly becoming more bestial in her desire to kill and taking out her rage on mirrors or anything that shows her being less human than she wants to be. By the end, a manifestation of her desire to be human ends up strangling Hiro in the cockpit as he struggles to keep her from going berserk.
  • The confirmation that children who fail to become parasites are killed. And it turns out Hiro had an inkling about this all along. He finally gets the proof to accept this when the team returns to the Garden and Naomi is nowhere to be found.

Episode 13

  • The children start wondering where the others go when they no longer show up. The adults don't tell them anything, and refuse to answer any questions. It's heavily implied they died while getting various injections meant to boost their parasite skills. They just barely tolerate Hiro giving the kids names so as to cheer them up with.
  • There is something incredibly chilling about why the yet-to-be-named Ichigo is upset: she can't fit in with the rest of the other children, who have been reduced to Empty Shells from their medical treatments, while she thinks she's "weird" for being able to still feel emotions.
  • Zero Two is shown strapped to a bed in a medical station. A targeting circle is shown around the palm of her hand, and a laser immediately fires, tearing a giant hole in her hand. Though it starts closing up right away thanks to her Healing Factor, her scream of pain still suggests that it hurt quite a bit. Hiro later accidentally witnesses her being electrocuted.
  • Hiro overhears the guards chasing him and Zero Two that if he resists, they are free to kill him, as Zero Two is the only one they want back. When they eventually catch up to them, one of the guards hits Hiro so hard with the butt of his weapon that Hiro gets knocked out, and starts bleeding from his head. He's also subjected to some memory blocking as punishment, hence why he says he couldn't remember the promise he made with Mitsuru.
  • APE not wanting them to pilot together kinda became Harsher in Hindsight.

Episode 14

  • Throughout the episode, we see Zero Two's patience slowly erode as she becomes more and more desperate to see Hiro until they agree and take her to the hospital, only to see that he's already gone. Zero Two, believing they tricked her, finally cuts loose and by the time Hiro arrives he sees his teammates unconscious on the ground while she's holding Ichigo up by the neck and calling humans weak.
  • The Nines' re-appearance to welcome Zero Two back into their fold, complete with a dozen of male partners for her to devour and toss away... Given what you've known so far, inhumane doesn't even begin to describe what APE is doing.

Episode 15

  • Carrying on from the last episode, we were told that dozens of male partners were rounded up to be used by Zero Two for the coming mission... but it's offhandedly mentioned at the start of the episode that Zero Two has already killed off all of her stamen before the mission, devouring them en mass. It's given a little more than a passing mention by the council and Papa, with Dr. Franxx more disgruntled than horrified.
  • When we get a glimpse of Zero Two piloting Strelizia in Stampede Mode, all we can make out is her glowing red eyes and growling, bestial noises. When we finally get into the cockpit, Zero Two's horns, which shrink when she feels and acts more human, have grown out of control, blooming into massive antlers that seem to have pierced the roof of the cabin and rooted her in place. She's gone completely feral.
    • Some of the sentences that appear on the screen are broken, pleading calls for help. She begs for someone to get her out of Strelizia, and the words are haphazardly strung together and written in a basic form, like she's slowly losing what's left of her humanity. Hadn't Hiro arrived, it's possible that Zero Two would have been absorbed into Strelizia and become a monster for good.
  • The leader of the Plantation 26 squad is told to execute protocol 32. The look on his face and his hesitation already show what this entails, but he is told "it is an honor" and goes through with it. The concept of just being commanded to die after years of training for a single purpose is chilling.
  • Early on, video shows the klaxosaurs devouring a defeated plantation. That is the first time we have seen a plantation destroyed. Later, the klaxosaurs destroy plantations while the battle is going. Worse, the council sacrifices a plantation to use as a bomb against the Super Lehmann-class klaxosaur, with no hesitation. Worst of all, the plantation the main characters live on is wiped out - literally - at the end of the battle, by a giant hand from the underworld. This is a gigantic massacre.
    • Then episode 16 reveals that APE let it happen. What kind of a plan justifies the destruction of all civilian quarters?

Episode 17

  • The confrontation with Klakosaur Princess. It's not her appearance that is scary, no. She killed one of APE officer and whacked his mask off, showing nothing of his face beneath it. What the hell is wrong with APE?
  • The scene where Lemur is begging and the snake klaxosaurs attacking can be unsettling.

Episode 18
  • Zero Two's nightmare marks her as a full-blown Shell-Shocked Veteran. She sees the Stamens she killed in the past emerging from the floor of her room, bloodied and mindlessly reaching for her. She can't even fight back once they grab her and pin her to the floor because the giant Klaxosaur hand from Episode 15 emerges from the ground and squashes her. No wonder she buries herself in Hiro's arms when he snaps her out of it.
    • She starts hallucinating after she hears some kind of call, which reinforces the speculation that she's connected telepathically to the Klaxosaurs. And she's probably keeping it from Hiro to avoid reminding him of her alien blood.
  • All that happened to Nana and her former partner. Seeing her so cheerful on moment and then cutting to her FRANXX completely destroyed is already bad enough. Then we get to see her leaning over her partner, who's covered in blood and later she gets taken away by APE soldiers to have her mind wiped and her emotions erased. Hachi can only look on helplessly.
  • Papa's rule is absolute, which Kokoro and Mitsuru learn the hard way when their makeshift wedding is crashed by Nine Alpha, the two are captured, and then have their memories wiped of eachother. Whatever APE is up to, it clearly devalues the actual relationships of natural humans and crushes it underfoot for the sake of effective and sacrificial pawns.
    • It's worth mentioned that Hachi most likely watched Mitsuru & Kokoro "going at it" in previous episode. Although Hachi appears to have no emotion, this still count as underage voyeurism.

Episode 19

  • Papa accepting Hiro's ultimatum regarding squad 13´s freedom and making their next mission their last. Considering what Papa's definition of "freedom" is, his stoic eagerness in response to Hiro's demands is vocally bone-chilling to say the least.
  • Seeing the Klaxosaur Princess rip off a younger Dr. Franxx’s arm in lurid detail is bad enough, but the good doctor’s reaction to it is even more disturbing. He’s ecstatic, even while writhing in clear agony in a pool of his own blood.

Episode 20
  • Zorome and Miku's realization that the humanoid shape they saw falling out of a shattered klaxosaur core in episode 15 was a sapient being. They weren't slaying monsters, they were killing people.
  • The sheer realization that humanity was thoroughly suckered by APE. All that dystopian, 1984-style stuff and the destruction of the pre-Plantation civilization? VIRM did all of that to have a rematch with the klaxosaurs from their first defeat and are fully prepared to blow up the Earth out of pure spite if they lose. Even the rest of APE are shocked at the sheer level of pettiness shown by Papa and VIRM for going that far.
  • Possibly more horrifying is the implication that with the klaxosaurs having gone underground to prepare for the second war, to them humanity basically are no different than mold which grew on the walls of a house that's been left unattended for a while, mold that would have died off on its own if APE hadn't intervened first.

Episode 21
  • Aside from Squad 13, all the other Parasites on the battlefield have no clue what to do. They can only desperately call for Papa's help, not knowing they're being slaughtered by the species of their protectors.
  • Delta and Epsilon's deaths at the hands of Virm. It's gruesome and terrifying, straight up looking like something out of End of Evangelion. And it just cements how high the stakes have become.
  • 001 and Hiro are getting their life slowly sucked out of them. The Klaxosaur Princess gives up resisting after a while, but Hiro holds on at the cost of worse pain. By the time Zero Two reaches him, he's unconcious and has lost a lot of blood.

Episode 22
  • Not only has Zero Two been reduced to an Empty Shell, her soul has fused with Strelizia Apus, which is currently in space fighting VIRM. You know how damaging a Franxx causes the feel to be carried over to the Pistil? Here, massive gashes open on Zero Two's skin where Apus is struck, meaning she could die at any moment without being able to do anything about it.
  • The Nines, more specifically how sickly they look. Their veins are bulging under their skin, they look like they haven't slept in days and their skin is a ghostly pale. They look more like corpses than anything else.
  • The reamining Parasites are left stranded on a dying planet while an alien conflict carries on around them. There's shortage of food, the injuried are countless, people collapse of exhaustion on a daily basis, and they can only hope to find a way to survive.
  • Imagine being told out of nowhere that you're expecting a baby, without having any idea of what that means or what you're supposed to do with it. Welcome to Kokoro's life.
  • The level of indoctrination that the adult staff have gone under is disturbing in its own right. When Goro goes to the new Nana to ask for supplies, power, etc, she responds that she can't give it to them - because Papa hasn't given the approval. Keep in mind that this is after the revelation that APE and Papa were agents of VIRM. She's so set and trained in her ways that even that wasn't enough to shake her out of single-minded obedience to "Papa."

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