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  • Alas, Poor Scrappy: Despite their lack of characterization and posse antics, Delta and Epsilon's deaths weren't mourned any less by the fans.
  • Alternate Character Interpretation:
    • Hiro's inability to pilot with anyone other than 002 can be seen as his partners feel just as inadequate as he himself feels. Best seen in episode 2, as Ichigo's inability to activate the Franxx by kissing him and her "awful" line refers to herself, an interpretation supported by her VA, just as much as it seems to be directed at him.
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    • Plantation 13's relationship with Hiro is sometimes thought to be less ideal than previously thought, and more self centered on Hiro's part. Despite being childhood friends most of their lives to the point where Hiro names them all, Hiro isn't willing to share his heart with them, staying silent and internalizing his problems even when pushed for answers/better understanding (which causes quite a few problems down the road). Combined with how he only thinks about his ability to perform in the early stages, how he only thinks of Zero Two the majority of the time (and in general has his moments with Zero Two as his most cherished memories with none of the other kids showing up), and how passive he is with the team, some felt like he didn't really see his friends as "friends". Then again, it's possible that it all might have something to do with his partial memory loss, which had a significantly negative effect on his personality.
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    • The relationship between Hiro and Zero Two. Some look at it and see a pure, unconditional love that Hiro tries to weather in order to make others see how Zero Two isn't as monstrous. Others see it as a mutually toxic relationship, with Hiro being Zero Two's Love Martyr and excusing her actions because of his love for her, while also serving as her object of obsession and simultaneously bringing out the best of her and triggering the very worst parts of her volatile and casually violent personality.
    • When Mitsuru rides with Zero Two in Strelitzia, is Ikuno in such silent distress at being cast aside and being blamed for Chlorophytum's poor performance? Or is she worried for her partner, who is riding with a known partner killer?
    • Does Zero Two really love Hiro, or is her affection just superficial? Those who point to the former see that she becomes more comfortable around him. Those who point to the latter say that her affections decrease as the episodes go on, her love looks more possessive and dangerous as time goes on, and that she keeps him at arms length when it comes to true intimacy. By episode 12, we learn that she did fall in love with Hiro—as a child, and he was the "Darling" she's been unknowingly seeking for the first half of the series, but seeing that she doesn't recognize him by the time she sees him in episode 1, it's likely that she was trying to get on his good side so she could get to who she thought was her real love. Whether she knew it was him or not is still up in the air as of Episode 14 and it's one of the questions Hiro wants to ask her.
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    • Episode 15 clears it up a bit. She admits to using him before she discovered he really was her Darling. It doesn’t completely answer if she knew it was him on some level, she had memories and could trigger them, but they were foggy. However, she does confess her love for Hiro after they reunite in Strelizia and it's clear from certain lines of dialogue that she'd come to care about him (and the rest of the squad) even without fully knowing who he was.
  • Americans Hate Tingle: While the merchandise was sold well in Japan and being in the list of top 20 anime for the first half of 2018 according to the Newtype Magazine, Western reception has been mixed, especially in its second half. Mecha anime fans also criticize the show for having an inconsistent plot, characters whose motivations were changing, and trying to combine the teen angst from Neon Genesis Evangelion with the over-the-top zaniness from Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann.
  • Anvilicious:
    • "No man is an island, people and love are stronger together" is a theme beaten over the audience's head every major arc. And if you haven't gotten it by episode 21 with the Jian metaphors, the nature of piloting, and the interpersonal interactions between the P13 cast, the Klaxxosaur Princess explicitly spells this out as Zero Two sacrifices herself to save Hiro.
    • Kokoro's "So what if I want to have a child?" defense in episode 17, coupled with Alpha's disgust at her reasons, dropped the relationship moral a little too hard.
  • Ass Pull: A common complaint among reviewers was that the finale, in which the conflict evolves into a galactic war about soul collectors, was hastily shoved into a narrative that neither supported nor needed it, simply because other shows like Tenga Toppa Gurenn Lagann and Neon Genesis Evangelion had similar endings.
    • Also from said finale VIRM apparently surviving the explosion that destroyed its entire planet due to the justification of "VIRM cannot die" was also critized by some due to it being a rather jumbled reveal that only serves to leave a lazy Sequel Hook that might never happen (if Trigger's records are anything to go by)... despite the fact Tarsier, one of its members, was killed by the Klaxosaur Princess with little effort.
  • Author's Saving Throw: The manga adaptation works to fix some pacing and story problems from the original anime, such as introducing the Klaxxosaur Princess early, giving Nine Alpha a more direct connection to Hiro and Zero Two and the Nines a less antagonistic role, and cutting many of the character focus episodes to get the plot adapted first. They so change around the plot, so people who found the anime's story to be distasteful will have a much different experience coming into the manga.
  • Awesome Music:
    • "Reversal", a rousing, optimistic piece that makes a Franxx sortie sound like a glorious endeavor.
    • "VICTORIA", which plays during Hiro and Zero Two's first battle in Strelizia, is magnificently triumphant and exultant.
    • Don't forget that Kiss of Death which plays as the main theme and during Strelizia transformation into the ultimate form in Episode 15 when Hiro and Zero-Two are reunited could also qualify.
    • The 1st ending, Torikago, an incredibly uplifting song with lyrics that, fittingly, ask about the meaning of one's being and express the dream of flying high, away from the control of the adults, like a free bird.
    • Episode 13's special ending, Hitori, sung exclusively by Zero Two (Haruka Tomatsu), captures heartbreakingly well how lonely she'has been all her life, wishing to reunite with her first and last love and be by his side forever.
    • The 5th ending, "Escape", may also qualify given the epic feel of the tune and lyrics that could tell a legendary love story of a princess and a boy from humble beginnings. Which make sense in context.
  • Broken Base:
    • Depending on who you ask, either the entire series ultimately wasted its potential to be interesting and ended up going down the drain from episode 20 and onwards or it still remained enjoyable all the way throughout.
    • The Love Triangle between Kokoro, Futoshi and Mitsuru. It's either an interesting subplot that gives more screentime to them, or a waste of time that could have been used to flesh out other characters like Zorome and Miku.
  • "Common Knowledge":
    • The anime is being touted as a Studio Trigger project. This is in the absolute strictest sense "true", but well...where to start? The animation studios on the project were TRIGGER and CLOVERWORKS, the latter being a branch of A-1 Pictures at the time. TRIGGER entirely checked out of the project about halfway through, so episodes 18 or so onward were all CLOVERWORKS. Furthermore, the problems people have with the show tend to be on the 'writing' side, which is the "fault" of neither studio, as the director is part of neither.
    • From the controversial finale, chances are you'll find a ton of people that will claim that APE being a Hive Mind of Assimilator aliens in episode 20 came out of nowhere. When in reality episode 17 already foreshadowed this when 001 killed Tarsier and called APE "human wannabes" and it was shown that behind his mask there was nothing. Heck, there were hints (admittedly vague) even earlier such as Papa claiming that they will soon be freed from the shackles of their bodies and APE's tendency to talk about humanity without including themselves in a condescending fashion.
  • Complete Monster: Papa/Vice Chairman are the leaders of APE, a cult that's in charge of the Plantations. He's also known as the VIRM, an ancient Hive Mind who annihilates species that refuse to be subjugated and assimilated. Prior to the main story, the VIRM arrives on Earth and disguises themselves as APE. Claiming themselves to be the savior of humanity, they develop an immortality solution that causes the humans to exhaust the supply of magma, turning the planet into a barren wasteland and making humanity a target for the Klaxosaurs. Despite portraying themselves as a benevolent leader of humanity, VIRM rules the Plantations with an iron fist. Anyone who defies them will either have their minds wiped or be forcibly placed into cryo-storage, the former of which we see happen to Hiro and Zero Two during their childhood and again to Mitsuru and Kokoro after their marriage. When they tried to overtake an area known as Gran Crevasse, Papa willingly orders the detonation of most of the plantations. Later, when the Klaxosaur Princess steals the Star Entity, a weapon VIRM planned to use to wipe out the Klaxo-Sapiens for the second time, they reveal their true identity as the VIRM before absorbing the souls of the humans in his cult. They then decide to destroy the Earth and infects the Star Entity, killing the Klaxosaur Princess and forcing Zero Two to become an Empty Shell to save Hiro. Despite claiming to be well-intentioned in their goals, Papa/Vice Chairman/VIRM is a genocidal sociopath who has an unbridled thirst for power and domination over others.
  • Creator's Pet: Some viewers accuse Mitsuru and Kokoro of this. Being the human counterpart relationship to Hiro and Zero Two, as well as being favorites of the staff, they get a lot of focus in the second half of the series. However, due to their poor performance in battle, their plots taking up more focus than the other characters, and their unambiguously happy ending compared to the ending of the leads, some fans felt it was unjustified.
  • Creator Worship: Due to the widespread "Common Knowledge" that the anime was produced solely by Trigger, any praise towards the series will inevitably be towards Trigger, excluding out co-producer A-1. Unusually, this also means that any criticism towards DitF will be directed to Trigger as well.
  • Die for Our Ship: There was a massive Internet Backdraft toward Ichigo from Hiro/Zero Two shippers after episode 14, with this trope sadly on full display. Fortunately, Hiro/Zero Two turned out to be canon in the next episode and any possible Hiro/Ichigo romance was firmly sunk by her accepting their relationship.
  • Esoteric Happy Ending: In the end, Squad 13 earned their happy ending, while Hiro and Zero Two get reincarnated. While this may seem happier than an average Bittersweet Ending at first, it's heavily implied that Hiro and Zero Two were reincarnated centuries after the final battle. This means that the couple will never have the chance to reunite with their friends. Moreover, Papa and the Vice Chairman both survive, meaning the VIRM is still out there and could invade Earth once again.
  • Fandom Rivalry:
    • A particularly nasty one with Violet Evergarden, due mainly to both shows being the most hyped of the Winter 2018 anime season. Violet fans call Darling "another stupid, raunchy harem" with poor artwork and animation while Darling fans call Violet "pretentious" and "boring" and having an overreliance on depth-of-field and blur effects. Both sides call the other "melodramatic soap operas". During one especially vicious online fight on a Chinese forum, a Chinese Violet fan went so far as to report Darling's heavy Fanservice to the Chinese Moral Guardians, resulting in the show being literally Banned in China for a short while.
    • With fans of Neon Genesis Evangelion and Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann. Lots of fans of both series believe that Darling tried to emulate many important themes from both shows (namely the character analysis and Dysfunction Junction setting of the former, and the high-octane action and romance between the protagonists of the latter) while failing to do either of them justice. It doesn't help that a lot of these fans started watching Darling because of the alternative take on said themes, leaving them rather disappointed with the end result.
  • Fanon Discontinuity: Many believe the Hiro/Zero Two story arc wrapped up nicely in Episode 15, and disregard the rest of the series, especially the very divisive last five episodes.
  • Fountain of Memes: Zero Two. With pink hair, parkour skills, No Sense of Personal Space, and trolling tendencies that give Hades and Terumi a run for their money, she has become extremely well known.
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • All the "Fatoshi" jokes came to an uncomfortable halt when Episode 16 showed that Futoshi threw up all his food and reveals he can't eat anymore, along with his line of reasoning for doing so.
    • Those "Darling in the NTR" jokes become much harsher after episode 20 in which Hiro ends up being forced by 001 to pilot a Franxx while being forcefully kissed as Zero Two watches in horror.
    • The Zero Two having Horned Children idea became a bit harsher When it is revealed that the Nines are Zero Two's clones, which technically makes them her children and have an negative relationship rather than a family relationship and while it its true that they don't have horns, their holo horns are close enough. There's also the fact that Zero Two is unable to even have children.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • The last time Ami Koshimizu played a character in a Trigger anime, she was The Protagonist. Here, she plays a minor character who almost dies in the first episode and then gets kicked out of the plot by being sent to the hospital offscreen.
    • In the beginning threads and on popular Japanese are sites, many people joked about piloting FRANXX with the boy as the Pistil and the girl as the Stamen as a play on pegging, and thought that this was going to happen to Hiro and Zero Two. Come episode 15, we see that Hiro's look alikes, Nine Alpha and Nine Epsilon, pilot this way. And even more so when Alpha temporarily acts as Hiro's Pistil in Episode 23.
    • All those jokes about DARLING being a Pacific Rim anime becomes this when the official 4koma decided to cross the franchises over for a few strips to promote the JP release of Pacific Rim: Uprising, but it ends up more towards a plot coincidence by Episode 20 where the aliens are manipulating humanity is a similar plot to Pacific Rim: Uprising.
  • Ho Yay:
    • When Nine Alpha first introduces himself to Hiro, he takes a suspicious interest in him in a way that reminded a lot of Kaworu's fascination with Shinji. Considering how he pilots his FRANXX, some viewers looked back on the scene as Nine Alpha wanting Hiro to be his Stamen.
    • Episode 11 shows Mitsuru harboring an obsession over Hiro, stemming from a childhood promise that Hiro would be Mitsuru's partner.
  • HSQ: Episode 17 drops several bombs at the audience, one after the other. Hiro is growing horns like Zero Two. Nine Alpha reveals the adults have discarded not only emotion, but gender as well, with Nana confirming that Parasites only get to keep their sexual organs because they are necessary to pilot the Franxx. Then Nana collapses from a headache, apparently reverting to Puberty, which means she may have to be removed. And then Kokoro and Mitsuru do indeed have sex.
  • Internet Backdraft:
    • To say Episode 14 caused a riff over the internet would be an understatement, especially pronounced because of how well-received the previous episode was. It got seriously out of hand: there were even rumours of death threats being sent to the writers, and even just fan artists, over twitter.
    • Episode 20 received lots of backlash for its plot twist, perceived by many to be a Shocking Swerve if not an outright Ass Pull. Among detractors of the series, this is where the quality made its sharpest decline.
  • Jerkass Woobie: The Nines. Smugness and bullying of Squad 13 aside, their status as flawed clones of Zero Two makes them tragic figures to many fans. After The Reveal about Ape being manipulative aliens all along they become less Jerkass and more Woobie, with most of the squad dying and the remaining members sacrificing their shortened lives for the sake of Squad 13. And nobody seems to remember them in the finale (sans a couple of gravestones dedicated to them which get regular visits from time to time).
  • Just Here for Godzilla: Plenty of fans of the show admit they're only watching because of 002, ever since she first appeared.
  • Les Yay:
    • In episode 2, Zero Two completely invades Ichigo's personal space, licks her cheek and then comments that she likes the taste, just like she did with Hiro in the previous episode.
    • In episode 7, Zero Two gets too close to comfort yet again, having Ichigo up against a wall while smirking at her and talking about the matter of kissing.
    • Ikuno interacting with Ichigo has shades of this. After her incident with Mitsuru, she becomes able to pilot again by thinking about Ichigo. Later during the Beach Episode she's shown speaking with Ichigo with an affectionate air, but switches back to her usual stoic and bitter tone once Ichigo leaves and Mitsuru arrives.
    • Episode 8 brings them together. Zero Two licks Ikuno from behind and says "I taste a secret!"
    • In episode 11, Ikuno requests to try being Ichigo's partner during the Partner Shuffle. She claims to the others that she just wants to know if a pistil to pistil connection is possible in case of an emergency.
    • In the manga, Ikuno is shown thinking about Ichigo's words to her, which ultimately gets the FRANXX moving.
    • The new ending introduced in episode 16 brings Ikuno's feelings right up front by showing her trying to kiss Ichigo in the same manner the latter did with Hiro.
  • LGBT Fanbase: Ikuno and the Nines are popular among LGBT fans. Mitsuru gets some love as well.
  • Like You Would Really Do It: The general fan reaction to the apparent death of Zero Two at the end of episode 21. It's too early to kill off a deuteragonist this far from the last episode and, sure enough, the PV for Episode 22 shows Zero Two alive (albeit in a vegetative state).
  • Memetic Badass:
    • Kid!Hiro/Hiro post memory restoration gets compared to Kamina fairly often. He's a master of Indy Ploy and cares very little about APE's rules.
    • Ikuno "The Destroyer" reached the status after slapping Nine-Alpha in Episode 17.
  • Memetic Loser:
    • On the 4chan threads, it's common to see Ichigo portrayed as a desperate Hopeless Suitor towards Hiro, especially given that she couldn't get her FRANXX moving despite her assertiveness. This status has spread among other websites.
    • Futoshi slowly became this around the net due to being fat, his notable character trait being food, and having very little screen time or to the point that people forget his name. And on top of all this, his partner Kokoro's subplot was about her secret interest in Mitsuru blossoming into a full blown romance, which leads to people also calling him a cuckold. This only got worse after Episode 11 when Kokoro opts to switch partners to Mitsuru and Futoshi is reduced to a crying wreck the entire episode, while Kokoro seems to get over it much more easily. When Kokoro later has sex with Mitsuru, the fanbase exploded, solidifying Futoshi’s place as this. However, due to his arc afterwards leading him to get over her and even become one of Mitsuru's close friends, he fell back out of this trope a little.
    • For Goro x Ichigo shippers, Goro is somewhat this since he is "NTR'd" twice by Ichigo since Episode 14 and Ikuno in Episode 18, solidifying his Fan Nickname "GoBro/GodBro". Although like Futoshi, this reputation is subverted following the Time Skip since he and Ichigo got together expecting a child.
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • Ichigo's eyes and mouth from her crying face is also used as a photoshop template.
    • Darling in the NTR/ NTR in the FranXX/ Darling in the CUCXX Explanation 
    • "Top 10 Anime Betrayals" and "Cuckold in the Franxx"note 
    • Bitchigo (Or in a very less punny extent: IchiThot, or Thotchigo) and Pray For Go Bro (or GodBro)note 
      • As of Episode 15, we also have Ichibronote 
    • Ichigo did nothing wrong! note 
    • Go-Bro best supporting actor note 
      • Holy Church of the God-Bronote 
    • Awwi note 
    • Borkborkborkbork note 
    • "I love this picture." note 
    • Ravioli ravioli... note 
    • FBI OPEN UP! note 
    • SHIIIZAA! note (spoiler for the series and Jo Jo pt. 2) 
    • Associating Shinzo Abe with the show, often as a Todd Howard-esque persona urging viewers to have families of their own. note 
    • "What a great 15-episode anime!"Explanation 
  • Moral Event Horizon:
    • Papa and the rest of the council had two in episode 15 when they ordered Squad 26 to act as suicide bombers and detonate Plantation 32 to stop the Klexosaurs.
    • Dr. Franxx being part of experimenting on a young Zero Two and mind wiping her and Hiro's memories.
    • Nine Alpha and his squad go way beyond it when they crash Kokoro and Mitsuru's wedding to alter their memories the way Dr. Franxx did to Hiro and Zero Two.
  • Narm:
    • The fact that this series takes itself so seriously in-spite of the cartoony mecha designs and the blatant sex metaphors has turned this series off some viewers.
    • The climax of episode 23, the penultimate episode of the series, has 02's consciousness take over the giant Streliza Apus and turn it into a giant version of herself with the mechanical parts resembling a wedding dress, complete with a veil and "bomb" serving the "Bouquet". Even to people who liked the show had to admit it was a bit too over the top to be taken seriously.
  • Narm Charm:
    • In episode four, Hiro straight-facedly bellows, "I feel myself going deeper inside you. I can't tell where I end and where you begin anymore. But I love it!" accompanied by swelling orchestral music. The fact that he's piloting a giant robot takes it from a stupidly earnest description of sex to this.
    • The mere fact that a melodramatic psycho-sexual giant mecha anime devotes one whole episode to This Is My Side is so ludicrous it's delicious.
    • To some, Hiro and Zero Two making up in episode 15. A bit cheesy and even suffering of Off-Model animation at one point? Yes. Much needed, cathartic, heartfelt and incredibly pure? Hell yeah.
  • Rescued from the Scrappy Heap:
    • Zorome was disliked for antagonizing Hiro, but fell into this trope when it was shown that he does care for Miku. He also quickly comes to accept Hiro once he proves himself as a pilot. At one episode, this might be the fastest Scrappy turnaround ever.
    • Mitsuru also earned some sympathy points when he was finally the focus of an episode. Namely, the reason for his antisocial and hostile attitude is because he had made a childhood promise with Hiro to pilot together and underwent a dangerous operation with a 15% survival rate to keep that promise. Hiro then forgot that promise, which devastated Mitsuru so much that he closed himself off from people to prevent himself from getting hurt again, all while wishing to be acknowledged by the person he sacrificed so much for. He even breaks down crying when relaying his backstory to Kokoro and wonders why anyone would put their faith in him.
    • Both Ichigo and Zero Two after episode 14 showed their core flaws at their worst, respectively an inability to keep personal feelings in check and a stubbornly willful lack of empathy. In episode 15, Ichigo finally understands and accepts that Hiro will never love her as more than a friend and is shown to be sincerely worried about Zero Two as well, while Zero Two shows genuine remorse for all that she's done to Hiro and the rest of the squad, showing good basis for some great Character Development.
  • Scapegoat Creator: Studio Trigger is usually pointed to for all of the writing inconsistencies and the character drama whenever an episode or two goes south. Trigger does have a track record for being seen as a studio that does spectacle very well, but falls short on characterization, but the series is being co-produced with A-1 Pictures and therefore they have just as much fault in a poorly received episode as Trigger does. Inversely, when something goes right, it's Trigger that gets all the praise while A-1 gets the rap for bogging the script down with the undesirable parts.
  • The Scrappy: VIRM. APE were Flat Characters that served only to oppose the protagonists, but at least the chance existed for an interesting reveal of their motives. However, when it turned out that they were an alien Hive Mind trying to take over humanity, fan opinion immediately turned against them, with their reveal being labeled as a nonsensical Shocking Swerve. Other critics have pointed out that besides coming out of nowhere, their inclusion doesn't make any sense with the series' previous plot or tone, and they're only there to force a dramatic climax in space similar to the studio's previous works, regardless of how little sense it makes.
  • Ships That Pass in the Night: Some ship Ikuno with Nine Delta, the green-haired Nine who is a female stamen, to match Ikuno's status as a pistil.
  • Ship-to-Ship Combat:
    • With Ichigo and 002 being the most important girls in the promotional materials, and especially due to episode 2, you have Hiro/Ichigo and 002/Hiro shippers either at each other's throats or smugly claiming superiority over the other, similar to the Chidori vs Noriko debates. Let's just leave it at that.
    • Mitsuru/Kokoro vs. Futoshi/Kokoro. Those who defend the former argue that Kokoro's interactions with Mitsuru are much more interesting due to their opposite natures, and that could lead to some great Character Development, while her relationship with Futoshi doesn't have much depth beyond them being Sickeningly Sweethearts. The side of the fanbase that prefers Futoshi/Kokoro think such relationship wouldn’t work because of Mitsuru's less than ideal personality and his general treatment of his partner, while Futoshi's personality and relationship with Kokoro are endearing to watch. Furthermore, the fact that it would allude to Netorare doesn't help. In Japan, the opinion, however, is very much toward Mitsuru/Kokoro.
  • Shocking Swerve: Zero Two and the Nines being clones of the Klaxosaur Princess and the Klaxosaurs being the remains of a once-intelligent species were foreshadowed, even if it was short and easy to miss. Papa and some members of APE being members of an alien species that desires to assume humanity in their consciousness, on the other hand, was only slightly hinted at before the revelation.
  • Snark Bait: This series is a very common target to die-hard mecha fans due to the show's overemphasis on drama. To other anime fans, the events past Episode 19 are scrutinized to the point of ridicule.
  • Spiritual Adaptation:
    • To Pacific Rim, due to the need for FRANXX pilots to co-operate, blue Kaiju/Kalaxisaurs that are quite dinosaurlike, and the competition over resources on a polluted planet.
    • Similarly, Bliss Stage: Child Soldiers who must rely on Level-Up at Intimacy 5 to drive their mecha and defend themselves against alien invaders. As Bliss Stage is relatively obscure and hasn't been translatated into Japanese, it's almost certainly a coincidental example.
  • Spiritual Successor: To Neon Genesis Evangelion, complete with mecha, monsters with their only vulnerable part being a core, post-apocalypse, a psycho-sexual examination of relationships, and even more blatant symbolism.
    • Sadly, this also counts when it comes to the Internet Backdraft that followed the 14th episode of the series, with fans going as far as sending death threats to the writers and artists of the show, similarly to what had happened to Hideaki Anno after the last two episodes of Neon Genesis Evangelion.
      • Turns out the death threats thing was mostly a rumour, but still, the shameful and immature behaviour remains.
  • Strangled by the Red String:
    • Viewers have found it difficult to support the romance between Kokoro and Mitsuru due to its somewhat weak setup. Kokoro gives several "longing looks" at him, expresses some concern for him, and seems to enjoy talking to him, while Mitsuru brushes her off for most of the first half until significantly later into the show's run time. Meanwhile Kokoro and Futoshi seemed to have a good relationship prior to the switching of Kokoro and Ikuno, and her desire to switch comes out of nowhere after making a promise to Futoshi almost five minutes before said switch. The second half worked to give them more scenes together, but the amnesia plot undid some of that development in some fans' eyes; Mitsuru never regains any of his memories of falling in love with Kokoro at all, but still decides to stay with her for their child's sake, making it an almost literal example of this trope by the end.
    • While fans were happy to see that Ikuno has companionship in Naomi as an adult, some fans felt it was a heavy case of Last Minute Hookup, given that the two didn't much interact even when Naomi was with P13, and she's the only named side character to wake up, making some fans think she was awoken just to make sure Ikuno doesn't end up alone.
    • For some critics, Hiro and Zero Two feel like this, especially in the second half. While the anime makes an attempt to establish their relationship from the beginning, for some the relationship seemed too shallow for anything to feel legitimate and that bland character writing kept Hiro from making their interactions genuinely interesting. And while Episode 13 is praised to be Franxx’s best episode even by those who hate the series, second half onward only made the red string tighter. Once she actually gets together with Hiro, Zero Two lost a lot of what made her stand out among the rest of the cast. In addition, most of their shared screen time is exchanging a lot of “I love you”s and “Darling”s. Both points are criticized for taking away any chemistry the two of them may have had and laying on near obnoxious reminders that the two of them are in love without having actual displays of believable chemistry and realistic interactions. By the end, it can feel like the only reason the viewer should think Hiro and Zero Two are in love is because the narrative is forcing them to, rather than having them form a more believable relationship.
    • Despite the fact that she unambiguously rejected him twice during the series itself, Ichigo is married to and expecting a family with Goro by the Distant Finale. It makes some viewers believe that the only reason they do get together in the end is to further hammer in the family moral. One thinks she would have some bigger issues to get over before this (namely, that the person she actually loved sacrificed himself for her and the rest of the cast), but it's all handled offscreen.
  • Suspiciously Similar Song: Compare "Kiss of Death" to "Season's Call" from Blood+.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character:
    • The Nines as a whole were generally thought to be underdeveloped characters. Despite being a very distinct squad from the rest and having the interesting quirk of being hybrid pilots cloned from Zero Two's DNA, only Nine Alpha gets any real spotlight, while the others take a backseat and do whatever the plot tells them to. By the final battle, over half the squad had died, with the remaining 3 sacrificing themselves to help the Parasites against VIRM— and even then their role in the story ends there, with them not even mentioned or mourned in the epilogue. The manga versions of them don't fare any better, as they get even less development due to the scene cuts. Though Nine Alpha and Nine Delta do get Spared by the Adaptation, they were the ones with the most characterisation in the first place.
    • Zorome and Miku have the least overall focus of the pilot pairs in general. While Zorome gets an episode allowing him to be fleshed out a bit more, he acts as largely a side character among the group on a while, having little involvement in many of the later plotlines, and his own time in the light is pointless since it establishes little in the story. Miku gets this even worse, having what amounts to a single episode focusing on her, but the episode itself is a comical episode with no real development on her part. In the end, they were the only pair to not have some amount of closure in the end, with no discussion of if they got together or not.
    • The Klaxxosaur Princess is a huge talking point as well. Despite being built up over the second part of the show, she only gets a few scenes worth of relevance before moving aside for the protagonists to do their thing.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot:
    • Zero Two's antagonistic relationship with Plantation 13 seemed to be a big plot point, and although the group made sure she and Hiro were reunited in episode 15 they did have some legitimate criticism of her. People hoped for some building of trust in the aftermath of Gran Crevise, but when Episode 16 time skipped to a few months later and everyone was on good terms with her, those fans felt cheated.
    • The reasoning for Zero Two's actions pre-story—that she wanted to become human for her Darling because she didn't think he could love her as a monster— was rendered moot anyway since she spends the majority of the story as a Cute Monster Girl with only horns to show for it. Some viewers thought she should have reverted to the more monstrous look she had as a child after Hiro affirms his love, but that form only appears in a few crucial moments, and Zero Two doesn't have red skin again until the finale.
    • Some fans felt like the other Plantation 13 subplots, such as Zorome beginning to question APE, Futoshi trying to let Kokoro go, or Nana and Hachi's past, were either underutilized or handled improperly.
  • Unexpected Character: Episode 22 has the appearance of Naomi. Since many viewers believed she died, it's not hard to be caught off guard with the revelation that she's still alive.
  • Unintentionally Unsympathetic:
    • Zero Two resents her environment and the people in it because she feels she's treated like an experiment and a monster. However, some of the squad's reservations with her certainly are true. Her reputation as a dangerous Pistil is backed up by seeing the extent of the damage done to Hiro, Mitsuru, and the Plantation 26 members, and she seemingly feels bad for only one of these incidents ( but only because the Stamen she hurt this time around turned out to be her "Darling" after all). Her backstory in episode 13 made her more sympathetic due to how she was treated and experimented on by the adults, but she spends the next episode not explaining anything to her teammates (though to be fair, neither does Hiro), telling them she never considered them teammates to begin with, and then beating them unconscious when Hiro isn't in the hospital room after they decided to let her see him a final time.
    • Ichigo has loved Hiro since they were children, especially since the latter was the one who named her and helped her through hellish childhood upbringing by the APE. The way she acts on her feelings however is very questionable. While its understandable she wouldn't trust Zero Two at first because of her reputation, a lot of her actions make her feel like she's acting out of jealousy and trying to force her feelings on Hiro, who only sees her as a sister and holds no romantic feelings for her whatsoever. Despite being the leader of Squad 13, she gets very emotional and makes critical mistakes on the battlefield when Hiro is in danger. This culminates in Episode 14 where while she's justified in wanting to keep Zero Two and Hiro apart because the former almost killed the latter, she takes advantage of the situation and tries to grow closer to Hiro and declares her love for him when he's clearly emotionally distressed after Zero Two is removed from Plantation 13.
    • In the case of Kokoro, her reason for abandoning Futoshi was due to his over clinginess towards her which made her uncomfortable. That would be all fine and good, except she never explained these insecurities to Futoshi and so it's made to look like she was only stringing him along. Nevermind the fact that she promised to be his partner forever and no less than five minutes later broke it. Add to the fact that Futoshi was generally in love with her and had no idea that she didn't return his feelings at all. He is given no other choice but to accept that she doesn't love him back, leaving a bad taste in the mouths of many fans. Then there's the fact that she could have simply tried to explain the problems that she had to Futoshi- instead of breaking her promise after so little had passed, which makes her appear as rather manipulative. She seems to be somewhat aware of this as well as she later tells Mitsuru that she doesn't see herself as a nice person.
    • The Klaxosaurs. We're supposed to feel for them because VIRM invaded Earth a long time ago and forced them to flee underground to save their species, then tried to do it again, but it falls flat when you consider that they were attacking cities full of innocent humans for something they didn't even know they were doing wrong (no one knew that "Magma Energy" was actually the souls of dead klaxo-sapiens). It doesn't help that the Klaxosaur Princess explains this while she's tied up Hiro and just given him a Forceful Kiss, making her look like a sexual assaulter on top of it all. Although this behaviour is somewhat justified in that she's the last inteligent member of her species and has gotten a little bit too fixated in stopping VIRM, but still...
  • What Do You Mean, It's Not Symbolic?: The flower and bird imagery, the male/female pilot pairings help draw the comparisons with symbolism in Neon Genesis Evangelion.
  • The Woobie:
    • Ikuno. In Episode 3, her partner Mitsuru abandoned her and openly blamed her for not being "good enough" for him. She's also revealed to be gay, which, considering the metaphors, basically means that she's being forced into sexual relationships with someone she both dislikes/is ambivalent to in the case of Futoshi and is fundamentally not attracted to. Even in episode 11 she has her moments; she's wanted to be closer to Ichigo and even requested an attempt to pilot a FRANXX with her, but they just couldn't sync up. She even anticipated Mitsuru mocking her for it, saying "Laugh at me if you must" after her failure. In episode 18, her woobieness reaches new level with an Anguished Declaration of Love to a girl that would never love her, even if she is let down easy. It comes to a head when she uses a special attack that rapidly ages her, meaning she's going to die shortly after the series ends while the rest of the cast gets to live full lives—and thanks to her making a cure for them, even.
    • Child Zero Two. Saying she had a shitty childhood doesn't even begin to cover it. The fact that she had been tortured by the adults on the plantation and Dr. Franxx and getting her happiness taken away from them after she met with Hiro by erasing her memory doesn't help it either.

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