It’s not easy being an anime fan, especially when you have just finished a great anime like Darling in the Franxx. It leaves you struck by the harsh reality that it is indeed over. The overwhelming finale of Darling in the Franxx left us in bittersweet pleasure, and finding some similar anime turned out to be the only possible salvation for all fans. With that said, we went ahead and handpicked some of the best anime that will make you nostalgic about Darling in the Franxx while entertaining you with breathtaking action sequences, romance, tragedy, drama, and last but not least powerful giant mechas.
Darling in the Franxx has a good share of aliens and new species like Klaxo Sapiens within its story. Since having aliens and new species isn’t common, It introduced a whole new flavor to the Mecha genre. And although there are some haters, Darling in the Franxx managed to pull it off and entertain us! Speaking of aliens and new species, if you like that kind of flavor in a mecha anime, I’m sure you’ll enjoy watching RahXephon, as it also features ancient humanoid beings called Mulians.
RahXephon follows the story of an ordinary teenager named AyatoKamina, who discovers his tragic origin and how he is the only one who can pilot the godly RahXephonmecha to save Earth from Mulians. At first, he doesn’t want to be a part of this warfare, but eventually, he acquires friends and ends up fighting to protect them. Aside from mecha, this anime contains a variety of other aspects such as romance, drama, and mystery, all of which contribute to the show’s overall appeal. You can anticipate the complicated growing relationship between Ayato and Haruka.
Given that RahXephon first aired in 2002, I didn’t expect it to have decent animation, but it surprised me with its intricate mecha and character designs, as well as its well-animated surroundings. Talking about music, it does have the finest soundtracks in the mecha genre. The RahXephonmecha itself is worth admiring because it is the only revolutionary mecha in the entire series, and its power and abilities are depicted as the powers of a God, which is quite intriguing.
9. Star Driver
Just like how Darling in the Franxx has parasites that pilot giant robots called Franxxs’, Star Driver features a cast of teenagers with the ability to summon and pilot powerful robots called Cybodies.
TakutoTsunashi, known for having a positive personality, leaves his hometown to experience the thrill and adventure and eventually finds himself on a mysterious secluded island called Southern Cross Isle. Takuto is not yet aware, but he will save the world from an evil organization that wishes to release powers hidden on this island. A teenage boy who saves the world from an evil organization… sounds familiar right?
Star Driver doesn’t have many elements besides the mecha genre, which is why the series has an easy-to-follow storyline. It does have some romance, but it is not much fleshed out.
As far as the animation is concerned, I found it flashy and bright, but it goes well with featured mecha and fights sequences. Like Darling in the Frannxx, its opening and ending themes are accompanied by thrilling sound and animation.
8. Guilty Crown
The evolution notion in Darling in the Franxx piqued our interest since VIRM pushed humanity to evolve because they believed it was the only way to save all lifeforms. However Hiro and Zero Two, along with other children, took a stand and decided to fight cause they believe that their fate is theirs’s to control. If you liked humanity’s struggle against evolution, then Guilty Crown is here to entertain you even more with its splendid mechas and complex evolution concepts.
Shu Ouma, a reserved teenager, lived in the chaos that came into being because of the Apocalypse Virus and an evil military organization called GHO. He was going to spend his life under oppression, but his encounter with InoriYuzuriha changed everything as Shu unintentionally acquired a mysterious power capable of creating weapons from people’s void. With this situation in place, Shu must take on the role of king to save everyone.
Guilty Crown has several elements besides mecha, like romance, superpowers, and mystery, making it a great full-fledged series that deserves to be watched. The relationship between Shu and Inori reminds me of Hiro and Zero Two, as both of these couples are saviors of their respective worlds.
Even before watching Guilty Crown, we had high hopes about its animation because the Production I.G studio animated it, and indeed, it lived up to expectations. In terms of music, All fans bow before the soundtrack supremacy of Guilty Crown.
7. Eureka Seven
If you loved Zero Two and Hiro’s encounter and how it influenced their individual lives, then you’re sure find Eureka Seven an enjoyable anime as it has the same thing as Renton Thruston finds his desired calling upon meeting a mysterious girl named Eureka.
Renton Thurston’s typical lifestyle is turned upside down when a mysterious robot crashes into his grandfather’s repair workshop, and an eccentric girl named Eureka emerges, demanding his assistance in upgrading her mecha, Nirvash type Zero. After piloting this mecha, Renton accompanies her as he falls in love with Eureka. Moreover, he wanted to explore more about this mecha, so he joined the organization called Gekkostate. Renton and Eureka’s life will get more crazy as the series progresses.
Eureka Seven has good animation quality, and most significantly, the quality remains consistent throughout the series, which is a plus considering how often prolonged anime series lose their animation quality. The music experience is also worth admiring as each soundtrack enhances its respective moment.
6. Full Metal Panic
Darling in the Franxx had a fair number of epic fight moments that people found exhilarating, but it lacked the thrill and violence, which is a must in most mecha anime. If you want to watch more epic moments with a double dose of violence, then watching Full Metal Panic is the right choice because it is a mecha anime filled with violence, blood, and all those dark themes loved by mecha genre fans.
Sousuke Sagara is a trained military soldier serving the Mithril Organization to eradicate the increasing chaos in the world. The Organization has state-of-the-art weapons and mecha created by special intelligent beings called Whispered. Through a series of events, Sousuke is assigned as the personal guard of Kaname Chidori, a girl with extensive knowledge of mecha and technology. To continue defending her, he must disguise himself as a student, but living a student’s life may be too difficult for a merciless soldier like Sousuke.
When it comes to animation, Full Metal Panic has the impression of a gloomy mecha anime filled with conflict and carnage, but it goes well with the storyline. I have to mention that the music and soundtracks were quite useful in transitioning scenes from serious moments to comedic ones.
5. Buddy Complex
Unlike other typical mechas that a single person can pilot, Darling in the Franxx presented a novel technique to pilot mechas called Franxx, which requires both a male and female pilot. Although this concept was new, fans liked it because watching a pair piloting mecha seemed more romantic and thrilling. Buddy Complex features a similar concept called Coupling, enabling two pilots, whether male or female, to synchronize their thoughts, feelings, and abilities to fight more effectively. The only difference is that it doesn’t require the pilots to pilot a single mecha.
Aoba Watase is a cheerful teenager who just started attending high school. On his first day, He meets Hina Yumihara, a cute girl. Suddenly, they are attacked by a giant mecha, and surprisingly Hina saves Aoba using a similar mecha, but a dimensional portal appears out of nowhere, sucking them inside. During the chaos, Hina vanishes while telling Aoba to find a person named Dio. Later, Aoba finds himself in a far more advanced world with giant mechs everywhere. He must keep his calm and navigate cautiously to survive.
Coming from Sunrise, it’s hardly surprising that the art and sound are both terrific. During combat and while on standby, the background music blends nicely, and the opening and closing themes are memorable. The fight scenes are fantastic, and there aren’t many scenes that have been reused. It’s worth seeing just for the art and sound.
4. 86 (Eighty Six)
In Darling in the Franxx, Adults forced Children to go through extensive training and cruel tortures so they could become emotionless tools of warfare. It was really painful watching these children sacrifice their lives for these so-called Adults. Eight Six has the same scenario as the main cast of characters are discriminated against and thrown on the battlefield to serve as weapons while nobles rest in their sheltered cities.
The never-ending war between San Magnolia and Giadian Empire seemed to be without any casualties as both nations apparently used unmanned mechas in war, but in reality, San Magnolia never had such kind of weapons, so they forced normal people, especially teenagers, to fight the powerful unmanned mechas of Giadian Empire called Legion. Shinei Nouzen is the commander of a squadron fighting on the frontlines. Their tragic fate is to die in the battle, but things begin to change when a young girl named Vladilena Milize is appointed as their new handler.
Eighty-Six is animated by the well-reputed studio A-1 Pictures, the same studio that played a huge role in the animation of Darling in the Franxx. It has one of the best character designs and environment details. Talking about the music, it has emotionally overwhelming soundtracks that beautifully capture anime’s main theme.
3. Code Geass
The main enemy in Darling in the Franxx wanted all lifeforms to abandon their physical bodies and combine as a single consciousness because by doing so, they would be freed from suffering, but in reality they wanted to dominate every single lifeform. If VIRM’s ideology sparked your attention and you’d like to see how other anime depict the concept, Code Geass should be your next stop, as primary villain named Charles has the same objective.
Lelouch Lamperouge seems to be an ordinary individual living a peaceful high school life along with his beloved sister Nunnally, but in reality, he is the exiled prince of the Holy Britannian Empire. He harbors nothing but resentment towards his father, Charles, who made his sister suffer. Through a series of events, Lelouch gains the power of Geass by forming a contract with an immortal witch named C.C. With this power in hand, Lelouch starts his ultimate rebellion against his father, the emperor of the Holy Britannian Empire.
Code Geass lay focuses on several themes like mecha, drama, sci-fi, and even superpowers like Geass. All of these elements come together to create a sad but intriguing plot.
The production standards of Code Geass are superb, and the animation is vibrant. Although the animation isn’t perfect, it is realistic, vibrant, and energetic. The fights aren’t as smooth or fluid as they could be, but they’re flashy and colorful, which is appropriate given the series’ essence.
We actually have articles about Code Geass and all the interesting things about it. If you want to check them out, click here.
2. Neon Genesis Evangelion
Neon Genesis Evangelion is an anime that examines the themes of Darling in the Franxx on a deeper level with greater horror and sadness, as both involve youths fighting on the front lines with little concern for their lives. It’s no coincidence that both anime are reflections of each other, given that the creator of Neon Genesis played a big role in creating the plot of Darling in the Franxx.
Japan is invaded by otherworldly beings called Angels, and tragically all weapons are useless against them. To prevent the destruction of humanity, a mad scientist named GendouIkari formed an organization called NERV with revolutionary mechas called Evangelions. He enlists his abandoned son, Shinji Ikari, to fight Evangelion because he is the only child capable of piloting it. Although he hates his father for putting him through countless traumas, Shinji decides to pilot it as it is the only way to save humanity from extinction.
Besides the mecha genre, Neon Genesis focuses on several other genres like traumas, experiments, and drama, which enhances the overall viewer experience. It wouldn’t be wrong to say Neon Genesis Evangelion is a fully packed dose of depression.
Neon Genesis Evangelion animation is still a powerful mental onslaught and an ocular force that people won’t forget, even if the animation seems a little old by today’s standards.
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1. Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann
Darling in the Franxx depicts children who believe Klaxosaurs wreak devastation on the outer world because adults have misled them since childhood that combating Klaxosaurs is a noble cause. Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann has a similar setting to Darling in the Franxx as the main characters remained arrogant of the outside world but eventually set out to make a change for better or worse.
Simon is a young guy with a laid-back personality living in the underground world without ever wondering about the world beyond his small town. Through a series of events, he discovers a key that leads him to a giant ancient mecha called Lagann. With his childhood friend Kamina, Simon ends up piloting this mecha to fight the enigmatic beings called Beastmen. Together, they decided to explore the surface world while fighting off the enemies that threaten the existence of humanity.
Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann has a fair number of comedic moments that are featured right after serious sequences to balance the overall anime experience. The art style is creative and entertaining, and while it isn’t spectacular, it gets the job done. Even if you don’t like the way it looks, it doesn’t mean it’s inappropriate.
You May Also Like: Top 10 Anime to watch if you like Neon Genesis Evangelion
Neon Genesis Evangelion is a classic physiological thriller. Its basic premise follows Shinji Ikari, who finds himself in terrible struggles against himself and otherworldly entities to protect those he cares about while also discovering what he truly means to himself and others. The fun part is that Darling in the Franxx and Neon Genesis Evangelions share insane similarities like both anime features teenagers fighting to save humanity and how they discover what it really means to be human. If you like Darling in the Franxx, you will undoubtedly enjoy Neon Genesis Evangelion and other anime series that are similar to Neon Genesis Evangelion.
If you want to read our article about the Top 10 anime to watch if you like Neon Genesis Evangelion, click here.
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