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The Ending Of Darling In The FRANXX Explained

One of the best parts about watching a good anime is the satisfying finale. When loose ends come together and plot lines find resolutions, it feels like the often seasons-long investment was worth it. On the other hand, when a good show has a less-than-great ending, it can almost ruin the entire experience.

Take "Darling in the FRANXX," the mecha anime with equal parts action and romance. Set in a dystopian future, the show's plot involves children who are raised for the sole purpose of piloting Franxx, which are giant humanoid robots used to combat biological weapons called klaxosaurs. Those young fighters are called parasites and are typically paired in boy/girl teams to operate the Franxx successfully. They also have short lifespans and aren't expected to live into adulthood.

The parasites at the center of "Darling in the FRANXX" are a group of 10 boys and girls, with the main character named Hiro. When he fails to connect with his partner Naomi to complete their combat training, he runs off and finds the mysterious Zero Two. Eventually, we learn that Zero Two has klaxosaur blood within her, giving her special powers. Hiro can't resist Zero Two's charms — even though she's rumored to be the "partner killer" — and they pair up much to the rest of the parasites' dismay. This sets off the kids' journey, as they fight klaxosaurs and learn more about love, life, and friendship. While the show has good ratings, it's universally agreed that the ending was a let-down, and it ultimately left viewers with more questions than answers. Here it is, explained.

The problem with VIRM

Those who were upset with the ending of "Darling in the FRANXX" generally agree that it felt rushed — the main reason being that a mere few episodes before the finale, a new enemy was introduced seemingly out of nowhere: an alien species called VIRM. The addition of VIRM not only confused viewers, but it led to more questions that were never answered. Since the VIRM were called indestructible multiple times, did Hiro and Zero Two really defeat them? If so, how did they manage to do that? And why weren't the VIRM introduced earlier in the series?

Fans took their questions and theories to Reddit, where a user named Chillibby expressed their dissatisfaction with the twist ending. "I think the show did a decent job of building their world and systems, explaining how each race interacted and the history behind them," they wrote. "Then boom, none of that matters. Over the course of 3 episodes basically we find out aliens were the real issue this whole time and us idiots didn't know it."

And while others didn't particularly hate the sudden addition of a new enemy, it's still one of the most controversial aspects of the series.

The anime vs. the manga

Many beloved anime shows are adaptations of popular manga. "Darling in the FRANXX" was different because the anime actually came first, and the creator made changes to the manga likely due to fan reactions. In fact, "Darling in the FRANXX" had quite a few differences between the manga and the show. One major difference is the very end of the anime, when Hiro and Zero Two give their lives in an effort to defeat the VIRM. Though we get to see their reincarnated selves meet again in another life (more on that later), it turns out that wasn't a necessary plot point.

In the manga, there wasn't a battle in space between the parasites and VIRM. Instead, when 001 (also known as the Princess of Klaxosaurs) dies, she finally sees the beauty in life and entrusts the planet to Hiro and Zero Two before giving her life force to help restore the earth. Thus, in the manga, Hiro and Zero Two don't die in the final battle. Instead, they vow to be together forever and seemingly live happily ever after. These stark differences show that the captivating anime could have had a much more satisfactory ending.

The controversial reincarnation aspect

As mentioned earlier, the end of "Darling in the FRANXX" shows Hiro and Zero Two reincarnated into children. Though their faces aren't drawn on, their appearances are clearly identical to the older versions of Hiro and Zero Two, down to hair color and jewelry. The ending is bittersweet — though they died in battle, they apparently get to have another chance at life together in a new world.

On the other hand, some fans weren't satisfied with the reincarnation aspect of the ending. Reddit user origamiboy2 explained that they thought "It was sad, Zero Two and Hiro never got to live the lives they wanted, they died against a remorseless enemy light-years away from home, whereas the supporting cast got to live happy lives at their home planet with their friends and family." They continued to say that being reincarnated doesn't mean they're the same people, which prompts the question: Will they finally get a chance at their happy ending? Or will fate have them split apart yet again?

The final episode ended with the line "and a new story begins." We can only hope that this time around, the story has a much happier ending.

Will there be another season of Darling in the FRANXX?

Since Hiro and Zero Two died at the end of "Darling in the FRANXX," it's unlikely that there are any future seasons in the works, per HITC. However, the pair's reincarnation in the series finale opens a door for another season, possibly following their reincarnated selves rediscovering their love and going on a new adventure together. But since the anime wrapped in 2018 and there hasn't been any real talk about any further seasons of "Darling in the FRANXX," we won't get our hopes up.

If you're in need of a happier ending for Hiro and Zero Two, you thankfully have the manga to heal your broken heart. There are also tons of other animes that ultimately have their endings tied up more pleasantly. Nevertheless, "Darling in the FRANXX" is worth watching if you can make it through the confusing plot twists and nagging questions at the end.