Short Answer: Ikuno eventually accepts the harsh reality that her feelings for Ichigo will remain unrequited and decides to live the rest of her life without any partner. However, after growing old due to rapid age acceleration, Ikuno meets Naomi and develops a bond with her as both were lonely and surprisingly their chemistry went well to the point Ikuno and Naomi became a couple in the finale of the series.
Fans really disliked how Darling in the Franxx didn’t do justice to Ikuno’s character but Ikuno getting together with Naomi somehow compensated for the big loss. With that said, Let’s explore the life events of Ikuno to understand her on a deeper level.
During her childhood, Ikuno had an introverted personality. She found it difficult to open up with other children, probably because she considered herself stoic and emotionless. Like all children, Ikuno begins to wish for a clever name but gets a dull one(Ikuro) with respect to her codename (196). Eventually, the other children begin to mock her for having such an unusual name despite being a female, much to her dismay. However, things begin to change when Ichigo finds her crying in a corner and ends up saving her while modifying her given name to Ikuno so that no one can ever mock her for it. This whole incident turned out to be a life changer for Ikuno as it was the first time anyone helped her with an innocent smile.
Afterward, Ichigo becomes her first friend, and eventually, Ikuno develops romantic feelings for Ichigo to the point she comes to hate the Franxx piloting system for not allowing her to be Ichigo’s partner as the piloting pair must consist of a male and a female. Given all of this, Ikuno developed a serious and logical personality to hide her inner feelings for Ichigo because some part of her already realized that she couldn’t have that kind of relationship with Ichigo as she had never seen her in such a way.
Does Ikuno like Mitsuru?
Despite her hate for the Franxx piloting system, Ikuno ended up becoming a Parasite and got paired with Mitsuru. People mistake Ikuno for liking Mitsuru, but the reality is the completely opposite as both despise each other right from the beginning. Moreover, Mitsuru being her partner, knows about her feelings for Ichigo and how she hates the Franxx piloting system. While, Ikuno knows about Mitsuru’s tragic promise to Hiro, which still troubles him, causing him to be ruthless and mean. At first, Ikuno and Mitsuru fail to pilot Franxx effectively as both had hell going inside them. They got disconnected while preparing for a mission because Ikuno’s unstable emotions caused their para-capacity to drop below the operational level. Mitsuru, instead of helping, told her to drop, causing the connection to fail.
Ikuno and Mitsuru’s relationship continues to suffer, compelling the adults to change their partners. As a result of shuffling, Mitsuru became Kokoro’s partner, and eventually, both fell in love. On the other hand, Ikuno, who became Futoshi’s partner, supported Misturu and Kokoro’s relationship without any resentment, again showing that she doesn’t have romantic feelings for Mitsuru.
Is Ikuno in love with Ichigo?
Since childhood, Ikuno has been holding onto her romantic feelings for Ichigo as she is afraid that she will be rejected and loses Ichigo forever. Because of that, she decided to suppress these feelings for the rest of her life, but with time, Ikuno found it more and more difficult to restrain these feelings as they begin to alter her personality even her actions sometimes, causing Ikuno much grief. On the other hand, Ichigo failed to notice her feelings despite being near her all the time, but Ikuno was happy with it as long as she could stay with Ichigo. She didn’t mind being unacknowledged and whatever.
With Hiro getting together with Zero Two and Mitsuru marrying Kokoro, Ikuno couldn’t help but be a little jealous of them as she is still holding onto unrequited feelings for Ichigo. Troubled by all this, She decided to confine herself in the room, but Ichigo intervenes while asking about her health. This single question triggered Ikuno’s restrained feelings, and she ended up pinning Ichigo down on the bed while confessing. Although this confession came as a surprise for Ichigo, she still hugged her while consoling her. Ikuno realized her feelings could not be reciprocated and broke into tears, saying she would not give up easily.
How does Ikuno feel about herself?
Ikuno is one of the characters that are troubled by their own sexuality and beliefs. Although their unusual feelings shape their very personality, they are kind of aware of how they are different from others, and they are likely to suffer because of it. Ikuno was helplessly in love with Ichigo from a young age, but gradually she learned the shocking truth that it is taboo for a female to harbor sexual feelings for another female. This realization changed Ikuno’s personality much while prompting her to hate herself for bearing such feelings for Ichigo when the world doesn’t even allow it.
It is worth noting that Ikuno planned to become Ichigo’s partner so that she could pilot Franxx with her, but upon learning that pistil to pistil piloting is impossible, she couldn’t help but despise the Franxx system and the world for it. Moreover, Ikuno’s comrades continue to get together with their beloved ones, which in turn causes Ikuno to be jealous of them. Although she was happy for Mitsuru and Kokoro getting married, some part of her despised the wedding itself, which favors love between opposite genders. Ikuno finally finds some salvation when Ichigo tells her it is okay to hold such feelings and that she should not hate herself for it cause going through such things is what life is all about.
Does Ikuno end up with Naomi?
Naomi is one of the members of Squad 13 Parasites and the former partner of Hiro. She first got paired with Hiro, but after failing to pilot Franxx with him, she was deported back to Garden and went missing after it. Later, Nana and Hachi discovered that Dr. Franxx didn’t dispose of incompetent Parasites but rather kept them in cryogenic sleep, and Naomi was one of them. After awakening from the sleep, she reunites with members of Squad 13, and upon meeting Ikuno, she gets inspired by her research and decides to help her. Together, they tackled the issues at hand and discovered a way to prevent Parasites from going through the rapid aging process. Amidst all this, Ikuno develops a close bond with Naomi, which is fair considering both don’t have any partners and have helped each other through difficult times.
It is kind of sad that Ikuno’s research saved other Parasites from suffering, but she herself suffers from rapid aging. That’s why fans strongly wish her to be happy in the end cause she is the one that got the most unfair finale among all characters. In the end, Ikuno got together with Naomi in the end, and fans made peace with it.
You Might Also Like: Does Duo Maxwell have a Girlfriend?
Romance in the mecha genre can turn out to be complex and intriguing simultaneously, and the Gundam series is no exception. Duo Maxwell from Gundam Wing is considered single, but that it is not quite true as he does have a girlfriend. Although, their relationship might not be your typical romance featured in everyday anime series.
In case you are interested in learning more about Duo Maxwell’s love life, then click here to read our detailed article called “Does Duo Maxwell have a Girlfriend?”
You Might Also Like: Who Does Shinji Love?
Love is indeed unpredictable as different series try to portray it in a unique manner. They combine it with several other genres like action and comedy but it’s not every day when you come across a dark physiological mecha series with romance like Neon Genesis Evangelion. Given its genre, it’s no surprise that the romance in such a series is known to be quite unusual. Shinji Ikari from Neon Genesis Evangelion seems to have a harem for himself even when the earth is on the brink of destruction, but he is helplessly in love with only one girl.
If you wanna discover more about the dream girl of Shinji Ikari, then click here to check out our article called “Who Does Shinji Love?”
Our Final Thoughts:
In the end, the creators should have given Ikuno a little bit more spotlight as her unusual feelings for Ichigo had a lot of potential that could be explored to enhance the overall series impact. Despite the minimal screen time, she has contributed a lot to the overall storyline of Darling in the Franxx and It wouldn’t be wrong to say that she is the best supporting character of all characters featured in Darling in the Franxx.
Thank you for watching!
If you enjoyed reading this article, you can click here to check out our other articles about Gundam and Mecha.