By Erika Suarez
Episode one lays out the mechanics of the piloted mecha suits and provides a deeper understanding how they’re used. The mecha crew we got a glimpse of in the previous episode was properly introduced. Hiro doesn't recall any memory of piloting Strelizia and only remembers the special "kiss" he had with Zero-Two. Fan Service crept up on us but is something expected from Studio Trigger and succeeds in maintaining.
A minor warning for everyone, make sure you’re not watching it in on your laptop in a public setting like Starbucks because you might weird out the person sitting behind you. Darling in the Franxx bluntly displays the wonderful fan service that we know and should expect from studio Trigger. For some viewers, it will seem a little unsettling if you’re not used to watching shows that include it, but the subtle sexuality that is casually thrown in doesn’t make It overly excessive and pointless. It may be conflicting but this is one of many Trigger’s vivid styles and they did a good job of connecting the fan service to the plot of the story. One of the few is the way the paired opposite sex’s “connect” with each other when they pilot the Franxx and the way they’re positioned. Despite the sexualization, it works because this is part of the Franxx's functionality
Hiro is reunited with his mecha team after piloting the Franxx with Zero-two and loses memory of it ever happening. One thing for certain is he remembers how amazing it felt and was eager to pilot the Franxx again with Zero-Two. He’s given the opportunity to pilot the robot when it was decided by the government. His success in a friendly Mock-battle would promote him as a parasite again, but things don't turn out well when his inability to “connect” with Ichigo stops him from operating the Franxx. The importance of connecting allows you to operate the mecha suit. She was persistent in being Hiro's pistol and and tries to force out Hiro's abilities by reenacting "the Kiss" that Hiro experienced with Zero Two. It was painfully embarrassing to watch and you feel deep empathy for Ichigo. She was confident that her kiss would help draw out Hiro's abilities and ended with a complete fail.
Darling in the Franxx continues to unfold its plot in a slow matter while laying out the foundation and basics. Conflict rises when Hiro was unable to pilot the Franxx with Ichigo as his Pistol (female pilot). We sense romance coming along when Ichigo's jealousy rises towards Zero-Two for kissing Hiro and calling him her darling and this may get in the of her performance when she pilots Franxx again with her assigned Stamen (male pilot). There's a handful of things unexplained like the terminology in this world and the name "papa" that the children mention in the episode. Patience will be rewarded I would say and I hope the show pivots into an exhilarating twist soon or something that will get the story moving.
DARLNG in the FRANXX E.02- "What it Means to Connect"
Writer/Director: Atsushi Nishigori
Studio: Trigger and A-1 Pictures