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Tear Jerker / DARLING in the FRANXX

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Warning: Spoilers Off applies to Tear Jerker pages. Proceed at your own risk.

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Episode 1

  • Naomi is forced to leave the rest of the group, having fallen out since she couldn't reach a decent synchronization rate with Hiro as her partner. She can only lament that she had to work with him before she gets on her transport car, which then gets destroyed in an attack leaving her hospitalized.
  • Hiro himself really does feel it's his fault, since he does have trouble connecting with other partners. He relates himself to a broken bird that can't fly and has no purpose in even remaining since he'd only drag everyone else down.

Episode 2

  • Ichigo is trying to do whatever it takes to motivate Hiro into moving their Franxx, even going so far as to give him her Sacred First Kiss, only for him to state that he "didn't feel anything". She ends up crying by the end.
  • As for Hiro, he'd just gotten some confidence back and found a purpose again in piloting a Franxx only to find out that he couldn't with Ichigo, which not only stomps on the little confidence he'd regained but served to remind him of just how he'd failed Naomi and she had to leave because of him.
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Episode 3

  • Ikuno is unable to sync with her Franxx, leading to Mitsuru to throw her and Hiro under the bus to request that he be allowed to go with Zero Two. Zero Two doesn't want to, but does when Hiro asks her to. She makes an expression that's partly-betrayed that the person she'd chosen as her darling wants her to ride with someone else.
  • Then Mitsuru starts ranting about how it was Ikuno's fault they failed and that he was better than Hiro, able to control the Franxx better than him and that he'd take over as Zero Two's partner. Both Hiro and Ikuno can only look on feeling inadequate.

Episode 4

  • The scenes with Zero Two throughout most of the episode. The first scene with her implies that she's considered a monster by so many she's unusually sensitive about the topic, not to mention how she's being ordered away from Hiro. The second scene with her has Zero Two asking Hiro if he views her as a monster in a serious tone. The third scene has her being forced away from Hiro against her will while she laments how things could have worked out between them. However, the fourth and fifth scenes are nothing short of Heartwarming.
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Episode 5

  • Hiro is shown suffering in private after piloting with Zero Two, with evidence pointing to the fact that he's likely going to die. Goro can do nothing to discourage him from going back out with her and he can't do anything to comfort Ichigo after she breaks her leader persona to beg Zero Two to take it easy on him because she's afraid the next time will be the last for him. It ends with both Goro and Ichigo uncertain and heartbroken.
  • Zero Two being so unresponsive and cold when Ichigo confronts her about Hiro's possible death may swerve in Nightmare Fuel territory at first, but one has to think about her past experiences. Zero Two is used to seeing her partners dying, one after the other, so obviously she can't afford to form any kind of emotional attachment to them. Hiro is the only person she has showed her vulnerabilities to so far, which means she must care for him, but she can't let herself hope for him to be always fine. She predictably pushes Ichigo away because she doesn't trust her, and even after she gets slapped, her eyes become red only after her Berserk Button is hit, making it seem more like a defense mechanism to scare Ichigo away than an actual threat.
    • From the looks of it, Zero Two never went back to the dorm after her confrontation with Ichigo, she stood in the rain all night.

Episode 6

  • There is something intensely sad about Hiro's near-death experience. While dying, Hiro talks to his previous partner, being unusually calm and accepting of his apparent death. He also shows a disturbing lack of care for his own life, with his whole goal in life basically being "pilot a Franxx and protect my friends." And all the while, Naomi is calling him out in a creepily calm tone. The whole scene is just one long example of Troubling Unchildlike Behavior.
  • Zero Two calling herself a monster and attempting to kill a Klaxosaur because it's a monster is really sad, implying that she doesn't have a very healthy opinion of herself.
    • Hiro's hard-fought comeback has his squad mates celebrating his survival. Meanwhile, Zero Two remains an outcast as usual. And for some reason she remarks to herself that she must kill even more Klaxosaurs.
  • Zero Two may finally gets her "wish" in spite of god knows how many pilots before Hiro who died and how Zero Two felt before this happened.
  • Ichigo's Aborted Declaration of Love. Poor girl essentially sibling-zoned herself.

Episode 8

  • Miku finding out about what's behind the sealed off door just drive the aesop of the episode home: be nice to each other, because everyone doesn't know when it is their final moment together.

Episode 10

  • Zero Two being unusually quiet and solemn throughout the episode, being so bad that even Hiro is worried. And at the end, we see a hint why: Her fangs have grown.
  • Zorome gets lost in the city and meets a woman who is implied to be his mother. The woman gets worn out just talking to him and hasn't actually heard her partner's voice in years, despite living in the same home. At the end of the episode, Zorome gets picked up by the officials, one of whom talks to him as though he's a pest.
  • When Zorome talks about how he and Miku don't get along, the woman suggests that since it is a problem, maybe he should change his partner. But you already seen how lifeless the Plantation was, and that her own partner never came out of his capsule for ages...

Episode 11

  • Things get so bad for Chlorophytum's team that a team shuffle is recommended. Ikuno suggests a pistil to pistil team with Ichigo, in the off-chance that one of the boys/stamens die, while Kokoro volunteers to team up with Mitsuru. Unfortunately, Ikuno's suggestion doesn't work, and Futoshi, Kokoro's current partner, isn't very happy about it, and Mitsuru once again starts suffering through a Heroic BSoD as he keeps remembering his promise to pilot a Franxx with Hiro who seems to have forgotten about it. Futoshi is still very protective of Kokoro however, and even lets out an Anguished Declaration of Love after the battle.

Episode 12

  • Zero Two's growing despair and consequent emotional breakdown is heartbreaking to watch. She's a nervous, self-loathing wreck for the whole episode and smashes every reflective surface she comes across in an effort to not have to look at herself. She constantly pushes Hiro away and, when he confesses, she thinks what he wants from her is sex. She even tells him he's nothing more than food that she needs to keep piloting. At the end of the episode, we find out she's looking for someone, her darling from before, and she's so hellbent on killing klaxosaurs because she thinks that will make her become a human. And the irony of all this? Her first darling is quite probably Hiro. Either both of them can't remember their first meeting or she doesn't think he'll be able to remember her.
  • When she tries to kiss Hiro at the beginning of the episode, as soon as she notices he's taken aback by her growing fangs, she backs away. And the face she makes... you can just tell she thinks he views her as a monster as well.
    • A blink and you'll miss it instance, but when she starts to rampage in Strelizia and her curse activates, Zero Two is crying. She has ultimately come to care about Hiro a lot if the thought of draining him drives her to tears.
    • This tumblr post summarizes what she must feel pretty well.
  • Hiro as well, he just figured out his feelings for Zero Two and she won't open herself to him. When they're inside the Franxx and she's going berserk, he's audibly desperate as he tries to make her snap out of her blinding rage.
  • Zero-Two's complete inability to understand Hiro's intentions is deeply depressing. She notices little things like the way he gets nervous about her fangs during their kiss or his deeper feelings for her but has no background to compare them to. It's clear to the audience that Hiro's concerned for her health but in her mental state she can't read his nervousness about her fangs or his resistance to her advances as anything but the person she loves and trusts finally rejecting her for being a monster. She's spent so much time as a lab-rat and a weapon of war that she's unable to imagine someone being scared FOR her and not OF her.

Episode 13

  • Pretty much the entirety of episode 13. If any particular scene isn't Heartwarming, it's probably this.
  • Hiro starts remembering his past, and more mentions of how the children kept disappearing after various tests and Elixir injections. No matter what he tries to say or do, the adults keep beating down their Hope Spot moments, and refuse to answer any questions he has like where do the children go when they stop showing up.
  • Zero Two's poor treatment by the adults. She snarls at them and tries to resist going wherever they seem to be taking her. At one point an adult even tries to take away her picture book, the one thing she had that made her somewhat happy.
  • The experiments being performed on Zero Two. The first one we're shown is of a laser blasting a hole in her hand. Dr. Franxx remarks at the Healing Factor immediately closing the wound despite her cry of pain. Hiro later witnesses one where they appear to be electrocuting her.
  • Hiro tries to escape the Garden with Zero Two. They unfortunately don't make it far, since they're being chased by armed guards who can also easily track their footprints in the snow. He's punished with having some of his memories erased, which is why he gave Mitsuru such cold treatment in an earlier episode.
  • Among the brief flashes of what happened after Hiro and Zero Two were captured and mind-wiped, one of the flashes involved Mitsuru's reaction to Hiro forgetting their promise. He looks absolutely crushed, before angrily accusing Hiro of being a liar.
  • After quite a struggle, Hiro finally remembers Zero Two, and following the revelation that Hiro is her long-forgotten Darling, Zero Two turns her head and tears flow from her eyes. Those tears did not just express "I found you", but also "My God, What Have I Done?". Zero Two will have to remember that before she learned her Darling was Hiro, she did terrible things and said such awful things to him with a huge smile on her face. That will haunt her forever. Even though Hiro has forgiven Zero Two, Zero Two can't forgive herself.
  • The Picture Book itself is a about a beast pincess and a handsome prince and while it starts out happy, it shifts to a tragic end where the princess must leave her beloved after being transformed to a beast.

Episode 14

  • Though Hiro manages to calm Zero Two down, the other members of Squad 13 only saw and heard Zero Two talk of wanting to devour him like so many of her other partners. Consequently, they all unanimously agree to keep her away from Hiro as he's recovering in a hospital, and are told that Zero Two will be rejoining Squad 9. Zero Two's fingertips shows lots of scars from her excessively biting them during this time.
  • Hiro manages to sneak out of the hospital to try and reach the dorms so he can talk to Zero Two, while unaware that they were all going to the hospital together so they could talk. That's when he discovers how heavily scratched up her room is along with the other damage to the dorm including the cracked glass, and when he returns to the hospital, he sees an enraged Zero Two holding Ichigo in the air by her neck, while the other Squad 13 members are all unconscious around her. Once he hears why she was doing it (they got in her way), he calls her a monster because of her behavior and she believes its her punishment, so the two never get to talk about their past like they had wanted to prior to this.
  • How desperate Zero Two is to talk to Hiro and apologize to him. She's clearly devastated because of what she's done to him, and when she talks to the squad to convince them to let her see Hiro, she's the most vulnerable we've ever seen her so far. Then it turns out that Hiro is not in his room...
    • The way she keeps Hiro close when he passes out in the Franxx. She sounds like a child when she asks him what she's supposed to do now that she's found her Darling, but also almost killed him in her blinding rage.
  • Hiro breaking down as Zero Two is taken away and doesn't spare him a second glance. He recalls every moment he spent with her, and immediately turns around to chase her, only to be stopped by Ichigo. All he can do is stare longingly at the plane taking off from Plantation 13.

Episode 15

  • Hiro's monologue in the episode preview, which shows that he completely blames himself for driving Zero Two away, and how he feels incomplete without her.
    You and I. Alone and lonely.
    It will never be possible to fly away with the wings that I torn apart with my own hands.
    The days that I could spend as your wing, the sky that I dreamed we could take to some day.
    It has all started fading away, far, far away.
  • From the way Dr. Franxx speaks, we are led to believe that Zero Two consumed all the Stamens previously offered to her, but there's no trace of them in Strelizia's cockpit. No blood, no bodies, nothing. YMMV on this, but it's highly possible that Zero Two decided to avoid killing consuming the stamens and preferred to pilot alone, fully aware of the risk of losing her humanity. And the reason? If her darling thinks she's a monster, there's no reason for her to live.
  • Ichigo finally gets to synchronize with Hiro, only to gain access to his mind and discover that all he thinks about is getting to Zero Two. She finally realizes he'll never have space in his heart for anyone other than Zero Two and tearfully accepts her defeat.
  • In a Flashback to Zero Two and Hiro's childhoods, a young Zero Two sees a guard rifle-butt Hiro unconscious. She then starts crying out one of the only words she knows:
    "D-Dahlin! Dah-lin! Dah-lin!"
    • It's clear from this moment how much the relationship meant to her. She's being torn away from the only person who treated her with tenderness and love, she is terrified that he's dead, and there is nothing she can do about it. Knowing she had to live with that memory for years, it's no wonder Hiro hugs her after seeing it.
  • From the same flashback, there’s something deeply sad about watching Zero Two rip out and eat the pages of her picture book. It had been her most precious possession, her first "pretty thing", but she's willing to destroy it if it means keeping to herself the memory of the only person that made her feel loved and accepted.
  • Zero Two’s guilt upon seeing Hiro once more in Strelizia. She calls herself a monster and refuses to let him touch her at first because she used him and degraded him as mere fodder. It gets better, but still seeing her so broken and before that bestial isn’t easy.
  • The Plantation 26 group we met in Episode 6 return only to suffer in the worst ways. Their plantation is destroyed and then they're ordered to commit a Suicide Attack against the one responsible to prevent it from happening to Plantation 13. Code 090 regretfully goes through with it, only able to pin his hopes on Plantation 13 before ordering his squad and himself to their deaths.

Episode 16

  • In the flashback of the moments after the battle at the Grand Crevasse, Zero Two is completely overwhelmed with guilt for what she's done to Squad 13 and she clearly doesn't think she deserves any type of forgiveness from them. She's kneeling on the ground, face down, visibly distraught while Hiro stands protectively in front of her and the kids all appear unsure of what to do. However, Ichigo reaching out quickly transforms the scene in a Heartwarming Moment.
  • For all their bickering, Zorome cares a whole lot about Futoshi. He simply can't pretend anymore not to see his best friend suffer and, while expressing his anger towards the adults, cries in frustration at the Squad's predicament.
  • The kids' happy facade breaks after their dinner, when they all confess they are at a complete loss of what to do. All they've ever known was fighting for Papa, who has abandoned them. They basically lost all purpose and not even the knowledge that they can provide for themselves is enough to reassure them. At least, until Hiro convinces them otherwise.

Episode 18

  • A brief flashback shows that when Nana was still a pilot, she was in a happy relationship with her stamen. When their FranXX was destroyed in a fight, she survived whereas her partner didn't, and her grief likely led her to lash out at the adults — as seen when she was dragged kicking and screaming with the other pilots looking on.
  • As one would expect, Mitsuru and Kokoro's wedding doesn't go well. The Nines and APE crash into the scene and have both the bride and groom taken away, with the others (even Zero Two) left unable to do anything. Hiro even reflects on how they're denied any semblance of happiness, and even though they've left the Garden nothing much has changed since then.
  • The ending reveals that Mitsuru and Kokoro are the next to suffer what Hiro and Zero Two went through in their childhood — their memories were altered and they have completely forgotten about each other, thinking that the other is a new member of Squad 13.

Episode 19

  • When Papa and APE's lack of response indicates that Zorome will never become an adult like he had hoped, Zorome breaks down, his faith in Papa shattered as he questions the purpose of his existence.
  • Dr. Franxx wife attempted to pilot the prototypes units in order to further his research. She was one of the few people that possessed reproductive systems because she wanted to have his child, so she was one of the few subjects that could manage it. Yet, was instantly killed right in front of him because they were yet to discover about Stampede Mode and that they needed pilots going in in pairs to keep their weapons from going berserk.

Episode 21

  • Who'd have thought that the Nines would end up inspiring some sympathy after all they've done. With Papa abandoning them and the gruesome deaths of Delta and Epsilon, it's the first time we see them so vulnerable.
  • The Klaxosaur race had to give everything up to survive, and transformed into mindless beings devoted only to fight after Virm invaded the Earth. They were a peaceful people, and their society was completely stripped of its humanity.
  • By the time Zero Two manages to get into Strelizia, Hiro has almost been completely absorbed despite his best efforts to resist. He's unconscious, battered and bleeding, he doesn't answer her desperate calls of his name, it's like he's just... gone. You can pinpoint the exact moment Zero Two feels like she has failed him. Then, the Time Bomb starts going off...
  • "We did it, Zero Two... Zero Two?"

Episode 22

  • While he's introduced throughout as a complete prick throughout the series, it's pitiful to see Nine Alpha in an emaciated state. And he looks broken.
  • As it turns out, Zero Two survived the battle with the VIRM, but is reduced to a near-catatonic state. She knew that she was going to be absorbed by Strelizia if she tried to rescue Hiro, but chose to save him and keep him and all the other Parasites safe by moving the battle to space.
  • Hiro, consequently, simply cannot function without her. She's become a Living Emotional Crutch to him as much as he is to her. He feel lost and helpless most of the episode, desperately trying to make her snap out of her catatonic state.
  • Goro tries to stop Hiro from going through with his foolish plan of attacking VIRM alone. He, rightfully so, tells Hiro he never stops to think about the people that care about him before following his impulses, when all he should really think about is trying to survive.
    • It's only after Hiro refuses to back down that Goro accepts his reasoning. He realizes Hiro is simply fighting for the person he loves the most, and, as much as he cares about Squad 13, he will not stop. A thing Goro is always been too scared to do.
  • The kids of Squad 13 are struggling to survive throughout the entire episode. Surrounded by alien warfare, their crops die, they feel helpless in the face of a dying planet, they don't know where else to turn.
  • When the new Nana declines Goro's request for things like water purification, power, food, and other necessities because Papa didn't give permission, the look of frustration and resignation on Goro's face is gut-wrenching. They 'know' that Papa wasn't even human, and as a VIRM isn't even 'there' anymore, but the adults' indoctrination is so complete that they won't go against his wishes without permission. Even when he's gone, Papa still continues to obstruct any chance the kids have at happiness.

Episode 23

  • Kokoro's desperate attempts to take care of Zero Two's body on Earth. She feels like she has lost all purpose and protecting Zero Two from injuring herself further is the only thing she can do to be useful. Thankfully, Mitsuru turns things around.
  • Zero Two refusing to let Hiro reach out to her. She resigned herself to live like the beast princess from the picture book did, leaving her One True Love behind to protect him from VIRM. Even when Hiro quells all her doubts and worries one final time, she's still hesitant to hold his hand.
  • Hiro and Zero Two must follow VIRM alone, as Strelizia is the only Franxx able to travel through the warpgate. Squad 13 immediately opposes, but they eventually let them go with the promise of coming back one day. It's a small posibility, but it's a chance all the same.
  • Both this and heartwarming: Hiro keeps the picture Squad 13 took back in Episode 18 in front of him, as a reminder of what they're fighting for.

Episode 24

  • Hiro and Zero Two die. They fulfilled their mission, but never got to go back to Earth, grow alongside the other members of Squad 13 and live their lives together. In this life, that is.
  • Ikuno has dedicated her life to researching a cure to the Parasites' rapid growth, at the cost of neglecting her own health.
  • Squad 13 gets back to Mistilteinn to check the ground and see if it's exploitable for agriculture. When they look up to the remains of the boarding house, Zero Two's drawing of a flying bird is still there.

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