English Dub Review: Darling in the FranXX “Stargazers”

Papa may be gone, but the Parasites’ troubles are far from over.

Overview (Spoilers Below):

In the post-Papa world, things are looking pretty post-apocalyptic. The squad members have been attempting to live off the land, but the soil is barren. 02 is as lifeless as the ground – but Hiro eventually learns that her body may be with him, but her soul is still piloting Strelizia, fighting VIRM up in space. After a brief (but intense) quarrel, the squad comes together to support Hiro in his quest to venture to space to find his monster girl.

Our Take:

This week was a fairly good week for Darling in the FranXX. There weren’t too many confusing plot points or out of nowhere alien invasions. The entire thing about magma energy mining having destroyed the land does feel somewhat stereotypical. Humanity’s scientific progress being their own undoing in the end, the natural way being best, etc. It’s not exciting or unique by any stretch of the imagination, but at least it provides a satisfactory motivation and doesn’t come out of the blue, since farming and self-suffiency have been explored before in the show.

And then, yes… Kokoro is officially pregnant. At first, I was enjoying her plotline in the episode. She seems to be running the place in place of the adults, which is great progression for her formerly meek and mild personality. If only this wasn’t quickly abandoned for an uber melodramatic pregnancy scene, complete with references to abortion, a screaming prospective mother, and a harsh nurse who says she has to make a choice. I don’t even know where to start. It just comes out of nowhere and instantly ramps up to full drama with basically no build-up or semblance of suspense. And what’s with Mitsuru acting all freaked out? Did Papa’s mindwipe do literally nothing at all?

I thought 02 and Hiro had some excellent moments. She’s hospitalized, having seemingly lost her conscienceless. Hiro’s realization that she left the last page of the storybook for him to find is very sweet (and the OST that plays during the segment is excellent!). I do wonder how she knew she would eventually have to leave to go into space… maybe Hiro is grasping at straws.

My number one complaint is probably Goro’s complete blow-up at Hiro over his desire to go find 02. Sure, there’s been some silent tension between the two ever since the whole Ichigo thing, but this felt terribly manufactured for the sake of conflict. Goro knows how much they mean to each other. Surely, he and the others could start farming on the other planet without Hiro for a while?

This week’s episode had a solid dub, with some especially good lines during the dramatic confrontations. These kinds of high-pressure, tense scenes can fall apart quickly due to a messy translation or an awkward phrase, so props to the English script writers, actors, and the director.

Stargazers is mostly successful in that it makes for an engaging viewing experience that does a good job tying together storylines while introducing a few surprises to keep us on our toes. It certainly has a few missteps, like the Hiro and Goro drama and, of course, everything about Kokoro’s situation. But the big moments outweigh the bad ones, and Darling in the FranXX delivered an okay episode.

Score
7.5/10

Caleb

graphic designer, writer, and animation addict. when i'm not writing words about my favorite shows, you can usually find me skulking about on Twitter. if you want, leave a comment or send me a tweet; i'd love to chat!

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