Monsters vs Humans vs Aliens with some romance thrown in: a review of Darling in the FranXX

When I started watching Darling in the FranXX at the start of the winter season I didn’t really have any idea what I was getting myself into. Is this a mech show? Is it a romance? Is it a sci-fi commentary on humanity, modernity and our ongoing march into the future? I’m making a point of course, because Darling in the FranXX is all of these things and, disappointingly in most cases, more. If it had shared it’s eggs out in less baskets things could have been better – but that wasn’t the case, and now let me explain why.


In the near future humanity has been all but wiped out by a race of pre-human terrestrial creatures known as Klaxosaurs. Humanity lives within moving settlements know as ‘Plantations’ where adults inhabit cities and children fight to protect them using humanoid mechs called FranXX. One day, on child fighting in this way (known as parasites) called Hiro encounters a new strange pilot that he gives the nickname Zero Two and the two start piloting a FranXX together against the Klaxosaurs and other enemies of humanity…



The problems start with the plot structure and writing of the story. Darling in the FranXX is written in such that it is designed to cover up it’s true purpose until much later in the show. Like a murder mystery, the answers were there if you knew what to look for. The opening 12 episodes mainly focus on squad 13 fighting Klaxosaurs, exploring their local environment and coming to terms with the feelings of growing up. Looking over the fanbase’s irrational explosion over two of the female characters (which I vaguely discussed here), FranXX seemed to be setting it’s stool as a coming of age romance drama – still not ideal given the sci-fi setting but better than what happened in the second half.

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Episode Focus: Tokyo Ghoul :re episode 10

It’s been a really intriguing season for the latest instalment of Tokyo Ghoul so far. Given how highly I rated Root A (that is, not very), I didn’t have particularly high expectations this time around but somehow it seems to be hitting the spot.


Episode 10 continues the CCG’s hunt of the Tsukiyama Family or Rosé as they have become known. Meanwhile Haise’s inner conflict with his former self continues to grow as he encounters a link to the notorious, yet mysterious ‘eyepatch ghoul’ and Shirazu comes to terms with having to come kill ghouls.

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Building my collection: Fate/Stay Night Heaven’s Feel part i. presage flower

I’ve moved house! Even further away from the centre of the world, we’re getting settled in and learning to cope with a noticeably slower internet connection…

Way back when I wrote my last post reviewing the first part of the Heaven’s Feel movie trilogy: presage flower, I had it in my head that I would write an unboxing of the collection I bought. Sure it’s a bit late, but here is that post!

This is the first set I’ve bought directly from Japan. That means no English dub, no subtitles on the special features and a lot of Japanese menus. Those are the negatives. When the purpose of a box set is the visually impress and provide good content, the Japanese know how to do things properly – UK and US licensors could learn a thing or two!

First is the main box: a high quality box that opens like a chest, largely purple (mainly thanks to Sakura’s hair!) with some nice artwork to boot.


Continue reading Building my collection: Fate/Stay Night Heaven’s Feel part i. presage flower

Join us for the beginning of the end – a review of Fate/Stay Night: Heaven’s Feel i. Presage Flower

Mouthful of a title isn’t it? But that’s what the first of the three Heaven’s Feel movie is. In eighteen months time anime only fans of the franchise will know everything there is to know about the core Fate/Stay Night plot – minus all the detail you can get from a visual novel.

There a couple of points that need to be covered in this review: how does Heaven’s Feel shape up in film format compared to the TV adaptation of Unlimited Blade Works? How does the story itself compare to the two previous incarnations of the story? And finally how good is Presage Flower as a film generally?

Continue reading Join us for the beginning of the end – a review of Fate/Stay Night: Heaven’s Feel i. Presage Flower

Episode Focus: My Hero Academia S3 4, My Hero

The third season of My Hero Academia really got into its stride this week with the villain attack on the U.A. training camp continuing and the students and teachers doing what they can to fight back in tricky circumstances. There were a couple of moments worth mentioning, but really this episode was all about the fight between Deku and the villain, Muscular.


With the test of bravery ongoing from last episode, the students and teachers remain split up at the start of the episode and it is only through Mandalay’s telepathy that all the groups realise that an attack is happening – first point of interest this week comes as Class B decide to stand up and fight to reach the high standards of Class A. Meanwhile, the second moment comes at Aizawa’s expense as the mysterious and lead villain Dabi deals him a serious blow as he leaves the classrooms to help the others. It’s here that we learn that the villains aren’t particularly after the pro-heroes suggesting that they are after the other group present: the students. I mean, if you’re villains you should be going after the strongest heroes right? Well what do I know, I guess…

Continue reading Episode Focus: My Hero Academia S3 4, My Hero

First Impression: Steins Gate 0

I’ve said this before and I’m sure I’ll say it again, I know I get hyped over new anime a little too much. I went on about Attack on Titan season 2 last year, the Fate franchise gets a lot of unjustified love and more generally, I like a good superlative when I talk about shows that I’ve just finished or am looking forward to.


So with that said, I want it to start here by saying that looking at the slate of anime for 2018 that had been announced at the start of the year the one that I laid the highest expectations on was Steins Gate 0. In the year of more Attack on Titan, My Hero Academia and countless other promising looking shows, you have to ask, why?

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Darling in the FranXX: Defending Ichigo

As some of you might have noticed since the start of the Winter season, I’ve been sticking little references to my preference to Ichigo over Zero Two in the popular Darling in the FranXX. Up until this week though, those references have been tongue in cheek, personal nods with no substantial argument backing them up. Having watched episode 14 and seen the wider community’s reaction to it, I feel the need to speak up for what seems to be the most misunderstood anime girl of 2018.


The lay of the land

Darling in the FranXX is set in a post-apocalyptic future where humans live in moving fortresses called plantations; in this world adults have little emotion and children pilot robots called Franxx to defend the plantations against monsters called klaxosaurs. It is the children that the show primarily focuses upon – of the seven that are together to begin with Hiro (code 016), Ichigo (code 015), Goro (code 056) and to a lesser extent Mitsuru (code 326) have been together since they were training in ‘the garden’.

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Spring time Saturdays #1 – It’s all about the opening

Coming into this season there seemed to be varying views on what was on offer. Fans of existing shows were being spoilt while those looking for something new felt a little left out. General spring observations aside, it just so happened that a lot of what I’m watching (including Winter leftovers) air on a Saturday – and let’s not beat around the bush, any opportunity for a good alliterative feature title should not be passed up, so welcome to Spring time Saturdays! Appearing on Sundays or Mondays, this’ll be a condensed version of the famous(ish) episode focus thing I do (every so) often. But let’s not drag things out, week 1 starts here.


My Hero Academia Season 3 (episode 1)

Is this the anime of 2018? Will it be as popular as season 2? Maybe to both of those questions, but season 3 of 2017’s biggest anime started off pretty well. While we don’t see any new character development or any big hero-villain face offs, we did see the classic humour that we’ve come to love in the first pool episode of the shows run (this is a long running shounen, we can expect something similar again).

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Episode Focus: Tokyo Ghoul re: 1, Those Who Hunt: START

The anime adaptation of Sui Ishida’s hit (and very good) manga Tokyo Ghoul is back for it’s third season, adapting the second part of the story which has so far been serialised in 15 volumes as Tokyo Ghoul re:.


Episode one starts much as the first season did, with a dark panoramic view of Tokyo (which is apt, I suppose), panning to various familiar characters from the past two seasons. Unlike season one, we don’t get a gruesome death to get us started, but this episode was still very much an introduction.

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‘A study of people and penguins’ – a review of A Place Further than the Universe

For obvious reasons doing the high school drama thing outside of a high school isn’t common in anime. When I decided to watch A Place Further than the Universe, or Yorimoi as it is also known, I was (I think rightly) cautious about the possibility of melodrama and over-seriousness.


These aren’t things that you need to worry about.

Continue reading ‘A study of people and penguins’ – a review of A Place Further than the Universe

Thoughts and ramblings on anime, manga and visual novels