Short Answer: Darling in the Franxx came on too strong that the majority of people began to expect over-the-top things from it, and before we knew it, the audience ended up criticizing it for not living up to their expectations. The most popular critiques were bad pacing, ambiguous character development, and a rushed conclusion that pushed viewers to overlook the anime’s positive aspects. It’s worth noting that fostering hatred for Darling in the Franxx became a trend, and some people chastised it simply to fit in.
Given the fact that Darling in the Franxx wasn’t flawless, let’s explore its negative aspects to see whether this hate is justified or not.
What makes a great anime?
Ever since we become a part of the anime community, we’ve been thinking about what it takes to make a great anime, and while the answer to this question is subjective, certain elements are sure to be present in all of the great animes of history. These elements include storyline, characters, soundtracks, plot twists, fan service, animation, world building, influence on the audience, and last but not least, the relatability of anime with viewers. With time, the things that combine to make a great anime are increasing as people don’t tend to like the same things for a long period, but the anime industry is in full swing to create more groundbreaking series.
Since Darling in the Franxx was a combined project of several studios, it is not a coincidence that it contained major elements that contribute to a great anime. Despite the shortcomings, Darling in the Franxx adapted elements like plot twists, soundtracks, and relatability very well to the point it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say Darling in the Franxx will remain memorable for fans for a long time.
In anime, the pacing is a key element that keeps the viewers engaged while feeding them information about the characters, background, and the storyline itself. Darling in the Franxx initially gave us a satisfying pace for nearly half of the season, but it kept growing worse as the creators attempted to condense the extensive plot into a few episodes, which only led to nothing but chaos as the viewers found themselves overwhelmed with the content that forced a majority of them to drop it cause the storyline in final episodes felt rushed and unexplained.
On the other hand, People really liked the backstory of Klaxo Sapiens and wanted more screen time about them, but unfortunately, the anime wrapped their entire background in a single episode, and people couldn’t keep up with the bad pacing as shown in episode 21 of Darling in the Franxx. It is important to note that Darling in the Franxx introduced an above-average storyline and executed it well in a few episodes but couldn’t maintain the pacing of it because of the episodes limit. We really think that Darling in the Franxx would surely have much more influence and popularity if the creators extended the number of episodes and continued the satisfactory pacing.
Demo Entertainment tells us more about what pacing is in anime and why it’s so important. Let’s check it out!
Vague Character Development
The most difficult thing in anime is to provide satisfactory character development to the featured characters as this process is executed slowly so that the audience can relate to them and experience maximum entertainment. A lot of animes fail when it comes to character development because of they have limited content and episodes. This particular aspect can lead to the downfall of the entire anime if done the wrong way; therefore, some series neglect it to avoid bigger loss.
Darling in the Franxx has a wide cast of characters that contribute to the overall plot of the anime and the creators tried to bring character development to all of them. Unfortunately, some of the characters did gain commendable development, like Zero Two, as shown in episode 18 of Darling in the Franxx. However, due to limited episodes and the dependency of significant characters on the plot, they gain vague development that felt superficial and forced, causing a bad impact on the audience.
Darling in the Franxx prioritized the development of characters from the very beginning and seemingly planned to take it till the end, but unfortunately, the creators end up sacrificing the development of characters to keep the overall storyline alive. As a result, characters became dependent on the plot which in turn led people to call it vague character development.
You can learn more about what good character development is with this video by Kaleb I.A.. Let’s have a look!
The term Fan Service refers to the scenes that are deliberately featured to entertain the audience. These scenes mostly include the popular females of the respective anime in revealing outfits or arousing situations. Some people like the concept of fan service, while some find it revolting as these scenes might harm the actual storyline or create unnecessary confusion between the characters. Darling in the Franxx features more fan service scenes than usual anime and sometimes relies on it to make up for its drawbacks, which is why people couldn’t bear with them. Moreover, Zero Two, the female protagonist of Darling in the Franxx gained overwhelming popularity among the audience to the point some watched the entire show just to watch the fan service scenes of Zero Two. Although the scenes were not too vulgar compared to other anime, they still made some fans feel uncomfortable.
As far as our opinion is concerned, we have a moderate opinion about fan service scenes when it comes to Darling in the Franxx since this anime focuses on romance instead action. Not to mention that it is pretty normal for the creators to include fan service scenes to bring the main characters together while providing entertainment to the audience. However, we do acknowledge this show has an unusual number of fanservice scenes. With all of this in mind, we think that if the creators trimmed some fanservice parts, the show would have been more universally acceptable.
If you want more information about what “fan service” is, BobSamurai Anime Reviews tells us more about what fan service exactly is. Have a look.
Each anime has its own potential and viewers of that series expect it to make the most of those resources in order to be unique and enjoyable. However, it is quite a task to introduce unique aspects as the industry has become saturated in recent years. Moreover, anime with potential like Darling in the Franxx had difficulty utilizing their potential to the fullest. Darling in the Franxx introduced innovative ideas specifically in the mecha genre like how a Franxx can only be piloted by a male and female as both combined their consciousness to operate it as a single entity. In contrast, in usual mecha anime, giant robots are piloted by a single person.
It also stresses the brazen sexuality of the children, which is kind of humorous in the few episodes but didn’t continue focusing on it, although it had a good amount of potential in it. On the other hand, Ikuno’s sexual feelings for Ichigo are also not given much spotlight to the point some weren’t even aware of it, which is kind of disappointing. Darling in the Franxx storyline had a lot of potential as the portrayed world was full of mysteries and ideas, but unfortunately, the series either neglected them or failed to explore them fully.
Less exposure to Antagonist
In recent times, we have seen anime focusing on antagonists as people like to know about the background, motives, and the things that influence the very actions of villains even more than the protagonist. In Darling in the Franxx, children continue to believe that Klaxosaurs are their real enemy for a major part of the series, but suddenly a new antagonist is debuted under the name of VIRM.
The sudden debut of an extraterrestrial alien race called VIRM turned out to be a major drawback as the anime couldn’t focus much on their background and purpose. Although people liked this sudden twist, less exposure about their origin left them disappointed. The creators really caught the audience off guard with the debut of VIRM. Fans expected the series to explain exactly what VIRM is in detail, but unfortunately, we only get to know some basic facts about them which caused the fans much confusion.
The VIRM ideology that all life forms should leave their bodies and combine to form a single consciousness is not new, but some past anime like Code Geass did adapt this concept differently. However, the audience really liked the way the creators modified the concept and linked it with the existence of VIRM. With some more insights about their origin, purpose, and history, the debut of VIRM would have been one of the positive aspects of Darling in the Franxx.
It is kind of unfair but indeed a fact that an anime is judged by its finale irrespective of its overall debut as people tend to remember the end. As such, anime creators tend to put in a lot of effort in producing the finale of a series. Darling in the Franxx had its ups and downs that can be overlooked, but the most prominent aspect that people hate about it is its rushed ending that caused the audience much grief as they were expecting a lot from the finale. Although the finale itself was average, it felt rushed as many things are left unexplained, and with some more episodes, Darling in the Franxx would have concluded in a far better shape than its current one.
The tragic death of Hiro and Zero Two left fans in everlasting pain as people envisioned a happy future with kids for them waiting on earth, but unfortunately, they end up dying to protect the future of their comrades, as shown in episode 24 of Darling in the Franxx. Although we see that they will be reincarnated one day, their loss still came hard on all audiences.
You Might Also Like: Is Darling in the Franxx Good?
Darling in the Franxx was not perfect, but it did have some promising elements that outweighed its shortcomings as several haters begin to love it after going through the whole series because they find themselves attached to this show.
Our Final Thoughts:
Ultimately, it all comes to the personal preferences of individuals that enable them to conclude whether a series is watchable or not. Darling in the Franxx came off as a controversial anime as people deemed its several concepts over-sexualized, like the piloting of Franxx, where male and female positions are quite thought-provoking and revolting for some people. As far as we can conclude, the audience managed to overlook all the bad aspects but couldn’t bear the overly sexualized themes, which led them to hate it.
This video from Mother’s Basement also gives a great explanation on why Darling in the Franxx went bad. Check it out.
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