By Erika Suarez
Things become awkward between Hiro and Ichigo after the mock battle, and she loses focus during a mission fighting against lower class Klaxosaurs with her team. The parasites get outnumbered by their enemies and Hiro is put in a frustrating position when the APE staff refuses to let him pilot Sterlizia. Mitsuru confidently steps in to prove himself higher than Hiro by riding Strelizia, and his heedless behavior nearly gets him killed.
It’s difficult to understand why the adults refuse to let Hiro be the stamen to Zero Two. It's obvious that he is the perfect candidate that is capable of piloting The Franxx without taking too much damage. The parasites are overrun by klaxosaurs during their mission, and there was a quick decision to be made. Either let the parasites die or let Strelizia save the day and swoop them from their death. Just when things couldn’t have been more infuriating, they still refuse to let Hiro pilot and let Mitsuru do the job after losing connection with his pistol. Most of the male parasites are incredibly envious towards Hiro because he was able to pilot a Franxx fully, and finding out that Mitsuru was hiding his true feelings towards him took a pivot in this episode. In fact, he was eager to show Hiro he can pilot Strelizia just as good and better than him. Just when Mitsuru thought how smoothly he handled the Franxx, Zero Two became too much to maintain. His arrogance certainly got the best of him and talked too soon.
Learning a little history between Hiro and Ichigo made the episode a little deeper but lacked an impacting motive. The two grew up together in an orphanage, and little Hiro gave her a proper name rather than a number. This is all we get, but I hope there is a reasoning to delivering such little background. What we do understand from the information given, is Ichigo feels very close to Hiro because they’ve been friends since they were young. She developed feelings for him that Hiro can’t relate to because he sees her as a sibling. Ichigo has been friend zoned, and that’s the worst and possible thing that can happen to anyone. Ichigo was incapable of putting her feelings aside during a crucial battle that decided whether the parasites can take on a higher Klaxosaur that we witnessed in episode 1.
What this show continues to do is keep you wondering by dropping more non-explanatory terms and displaying new unknown areas such as the inner city of the world the parasites live in. Zero Two takes Hiro to her secret place that is a high view of the city. To Hiro, sightseeing is a new experience and is amazed by the view's allure. In contrast, Zero Two sees it as dull and lifeless because there is no blue sky or oceans to swim in. She continues to spark my interest as a character that lives freely and believes there is something else outside the world
Curiosity came to mind when Zero-two wasn’t shown inside the Franxx, and only Mitsuru was. What does she do in there that makes every stamen look beat to death? After seeing Mitsuru’s incapability of handling Strelizia, it almost looked like Zero Two was doing all the work. She is capable of piloting it on her own, and she might have tricked him into thinking he was piloting in the first place for her own pleasure of messing with him, but it was hilariously satisfying to watch after going overboard during the mission. I also enjoyed seeing the soft side in Zorome when Miko got hurt during their mission. They make a cute couple and fight like one too.
Clearly, this show is taking its time unfolding its story and motives. This episode focuses on the characters and how they work together. The unexperienced parasites prove they're not ready to take on a Klaxosaur after being outnumbered and fail to work as a team. Mitsuru mentioned that Hiro once showed great leadership and was amazingly talented from the rest and looking at Ichigo’s performance in this mission might affect her position as a leader. There can be a chance that Hiro will be placed as the new leader when he shows his worth again.
DARLING in the FRANXX E.03- “Fighting Puppet”
Writer/Director: Atsushi Nishigori
Studio: Trigger/ A-1 Pictures