Anime Editorial

Hiro’s No Hero! A Rant about Darling in the FranXX #14

I just watched Darling in the FranXX episode 14 (Punishment and Confession). Since the episode aired, I’ve been seeing memes blaming Ichigo for the train wreck at the end. Some of them are really funny, but here’s the thing.

I don’t agree with them.

Before you read any farther, I should probably mention that this is one of those rare posts where I’m considerably less positive than I usually am. This show has me thoroughly pissed off and I’m going to tell you why. So, here’s your chance to bail!

Why don’t I blame Ichigo for stopping Hiro from going to Zero Two when she was leaving? Because Ichigo spoke to Hiro from the maelstrom of emotions in her heart. She loves him dearly. She was terrified for his safety. She had every objective reason to be afraid of Zero Two and what she would do to him. Ichigo didn’t see the memories that Hiro saw in the last episode. She only saw Zero Two’s burn marks around Hiro’s neck.

There’s no way I can blame Ichigo for confessing to Hiro. She didn’t see what Hiro saw. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

But Hiro did see those memories. Which is why I hold him utterly responsible. He deserted Zero Two in her moment of greatest need. No, worse: he betrayed her in that moment.

Did you watch this week’s episode? Do you remember the scene I’m talking about (18:37)? After the two of them fought to find one another, Hiro finally finds Zero Two back in his hospital room. Squad 13 had tried to stop her and then agreed to supervise her visit, and she thought they’d set her up. So, she disabled them. She didn’t kill them, and she certainly could have. But the woman who had been betrayed by almost everyone she’d every known — everyone except one small boy who took a rifle butt in the face to protect her — used restraint even though they were trying to keep her from her darling.

How does Hiro react? Does he rush to her side? Does he try to comfort her — he, who knows who she is better than anyone else on the freaking planet? Who’s the only one to have never betrayed her?

Ichigo never saw this smile. She never saw the torture Zero Two endured. There’s no way I can hold her responsible for Hiro’s cruelty. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

Hiro, who told her in previous episodes that he loved her even if she was a monster? Who licked her wounds when they were fleeing oppressors? Who saw her first pretty thing and who beheld on of the most adorable smiles ever? Who witnessed the torture she endured? What does that Hiro do?

He calls her a monster.

She begs him to talk to her, just like he said he had wanted to. Zero Two, a woman who has an indomitable will and spirit, is almost weeping with her desire to just talk to him!

And he calls her a monster.

Parts of this show disturb me — like how these kids are exploited. Parts of it really annoy me, like how we’re seeing the little dramas within squad 13 when what I really want to see is this cruel and disgusting world get what’s coming to it because of how it treats these kids.

All she wanted to do was talk. Instead, Hiro added himself to the list of people who had betrayed her. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

But this is the first time I’ve been furious with a character for such an act of cruelty. If he had any courage — if he had meant even a little of what he’d said when he said he loved all of her just as she was — he would have done four things. He would have confirmed his friends were still alive. He would have called for medics. He should have taken Zero Two to someplace where they could be alone.

And he should have talked to her.

Instead, he called her a monster. Hiro had been the only one who hadn’t betrayed her. He had been the only one she could trust. And he put an emotional knife right through her heart.

Well, I think I know who the real monster is here. And it ain’t Zero Two.

Copyright 2022 Terrance A. Crow. All rights reserved.

5 thoughts on “Hiro’s No Hero! A Rant about Darling in the FranXX #14

  1. I like how he makes “Darling in the Franxx” sound and look like a “Shmentai”.
    I really enjoyed the anime. Really joyful. lol I thought it was just a leweb anime but really changed the way you look at human reproduction (a future mark)
    So yeah. 10/10 misty watch

  2. Uhm…
    No. I disagree with this, zero two did do wrong in this episode, ichigo confessed at THE WORST TIME. Stop putting all the blame on hiro, everyone was at falt in this episode especially ichigo.

    1. I still think that Hiro carries the most blame here. Remember: Ichigo knows nothing of Hiro and Zero Two’s shared memories. She’s in love with Hiro and thinks he’s in mortal danger. She’s a human in love!

      Of everyone’s reactions in this episode, hers and Zero Two’s make the most sense to me.

      Remember: Zero Two walked right past Hiro, and he did nothing! If he’d Engaged Zero Two right there and then, Ichigo would never have even had the chance to confess.

      That being said, as others have pointed out, let’s keep in mind that they’re just kids. The ones who bear the most culpability in this equation are the “adults.” Putting these kids in these situations is just reprehensible!

      At least, that’s my take on it!

  3. Woah, this is an interesting take on things.

    I think the incident at the end was moreso a result of miscommunication and pent up emotion than of any real negligence by Hiro. He did sneak out in order to go meet with Zero Two, after all. Really, I don’t think we should be coming down too hard on any one of our main characters for this. I mean, they are just like 14-15 year old kids growing up in an emotionally repressed environment. Maybe we can cut ’em all some slack when it comes to maturity and crisis management, and accept that this is the kind of stuff that can happen when your society relies on kids to protect it from catastrophe.

    I agree that the far more interesting story is whatever is going on at the highest level of their society. I have a feeling this isn’t going to end well for any of the kids involved, but I also feel these last few episodes have added some much-needed character depth and backstory. I’m actually starting to care about our main cast. I really do think/hope episode 12 marked a serious turnaround for the series.

    1. “I’m actually starting to care about our main cast…” That’s a good point. Judging from my reaction, I can say that I care, too!

      I have to admit you’re right: the blame lies most on their corrupt society. Whatever these kids have achieved, whatever kind of normal interactions they have, they’ve done so largely in spite of the “grown ups.”

      Still… When I think of how Hiro’s words must have hurt Zero Two… When I think of how he negated his confession to her… Let’s just say even though I’d like to be understanding, it’s a struggle.

      None of them are very happy right now, and like you, I’m not seeing many paths to a happy future. I hope Hiro and Zero Two can patch things up so they can get about the business of adjusting this society! Maybe that’ll put them on the right track.

Please let me know what you think!

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