Blu-ray Review: Darling in the Franxx- Part 2

The story of friendship, love and war continues within Darling in the Franxx- Part 2 but what can one expect to receive from this UK Blu-Ray release of this half of the series? Let’s take a look and find out.

Synopsis:

In a battle against the klaxosaurs only the children, classified as parasites, are humanity’s hope in this dying world. Fighting in mechanized suits known as FRANXX, parasites are grouped up in male and female pairs to face the monstrous creatures.

Hiro was once a prodigy FRANXX pilot. But when he gives up the fight, he meets Zero Two, the girl with the horns, and finds a new reason to keep going.

Our View:

The underlining message within Darling in the FRANXX is “love prevails all” and is quite the change in contrast from the events found within the first half of the series. What started off as a post-apocalyptic story with mankind’s survival resting on the shoulders of children soon spirals into a story of love and truth; with both playing equal roles in this cluster-shell of a story that feels eerily similar to closing events of Neon Genesis Evangelion. Whether that is a good thing or a bad thing remains to be seen; but just as you get comfortable with the direction the story takes things change and it soon spirals into craziness that one should expect from studio TRIGGER.

Picking up exactly where the first half left off, which saw Squad 13 engage a Klaxosaurs attack with  02 steadily losing her mind in Strelizia, we find 02 and Hiro, amongst the carnage of 02 losing control, remember past events and their first encounter. This is the start of “love prevails all” mentality as it shows that Hiro was beyond normal (in terms of those within the bird cage) and showcases Hiro and 02’s first encounter; an encounter which was erased from their memories when Hiro tried to escape the complex with 02. Past events aside both 02 and Hiro return to normal, although Hiro finds himself being hurt in the process and as such it creates even more stress within the group.

This stress eventually leads 02 to leave the plantation and join the nines; but upon discovering this fact – and realising that he can’t go on without 02 – Hiro ventures outward to the battlefield to retrieve what he desires. At the same time multiple squads, including the Nines, form a daring attack on the Grand Crevasse; a notable stronghold of the Klaxosaurs and a turning point of the war. Or so it would seem at least. Regardless with the help of Squad 13 Hiro and 02 are reunited with past events and digressions forgotten; with once again “love prevails all” being the key focus.

Fast forward through several “character building” events, of which see Hiro and 02 become closer as well as Kokoro confessing her feelings to Mitsuru, we begin to learn the darker side of the world these characters inhabit. In short “Papa” rules all and forbids the thought of love, romance and procration and as such both Kokoro and Mitsuru, who had previously engaged in sexual activity and confessed feelings for one another, find themselves captured and memories erased… much to the surprise and shock of those within the Squad. These surprise keep piling up as well. Firstly the truth surrounding the Klaxosaurs, and in turn the FRANXX, is revealed along with the revelation that Papa is nothing more than an alien or hive-mind of subconscious known as VIRM.

It’s all very bizarre, completely messed up and feels very reminiscent to the ending events of Neon Genesis Evangelion. For instance the Klaxosaurs are actually humans devoid of reproductive systems that buried deep within the earth’s core after a previous failed invasion from the VIRM, and that FRANXX’s are built up from the mechanics of those Klaxosaurs. Children, of which are now created through genetic engineering of sorts, are used to pilot FRANNX’s due to adults forgoing reproductive systems in order to live forever; a trait which is required in order to operate a FRANXX which is why both male and female parties are required. This is just one small example; but the similarities to Neon Genesis Evangelion at this point are black and white and the final moments, of which see 02 fused into the core of a FRANXX to fight an invading race, seals the deal in some regard– especially with the FRANXX being pierced with drills and forks as part of the attack.

Darling in the FRANXX is a story that just keeps on giving, and this is especially true within this second half of the series. Love prevails all in a bid to restore humanity to the world before VIRM began its infestation of earth, and as a result a very insane love story is presented that borderlines on the same traumatic experiences found within Neon Genesis Evangelion. Generally Darling in the FRANXX’s is disappointing rollercoaster ride that ends on insanity; but from an entertaining perspective the events transpired within this second half were better (if you ignore the crazy lore behind the events) than the preceding part. If you like Neon Genesis Evangelion then you’ll love what Darling in the FRANXX has to offer.

Extras:

As with the first half of the series this Darling in the FRANXX – Part 2 release remains consistent with other FUNimation releases of this calibur and as such viewers will find a selection of supplementary content spread across the two Blu-Ray discs; with the noteworthy content being on the second Blu-ray disc.

The first Blu-Ray disc features an English Dub Cast Commentary with various voice actors for the eighteenth episode of the series. As with the previous part the English Dub Cast Commentary provides a mixture of informative insight with sequels of delight when voice actors see their characters on screen. In hindsight it is nothing relatively new; but if you are fans of the English Dub then it is worth taking a look.

The second Blu-Ray disc meanwhile features an extensive selection of supplementary content including Next Episode Previews known as Web Previews, which were only shown online, an English Video Cast Commentary for episode 23 and three-part “Playback Special” which shows behind the scenes footage from the animation studio, voice acting studio as well as promotional material. In addition viewers will also find textless opening and closing songs for some of the animations used.

Naturally the highlight of this selection of bonus features is the “Playback Special” as this was shown in place of selective episodes before they were broadcast in Japan and are treated as full-length-episodes. Much like the specials included in the first half of Darling in the FRANXX they each provide an insight into the Japanese production, and dubbing, of the series – so it is great to see them being included as part of the supplementary content for this western release of the series.  In short it is another strong selection of supplementary content.

Specs:

Media:  BD 50, BD 25
Region: B
Running Time: 3:12:17 (Disc 1), 1:36:08 (Disc 2)
Video: MPEG-4 AVC
Audio: Dolby TrueHD 5.1 (English) & Dolby TrueHD 2.0 (Japanese)
Subtitles: English (White)
Resolution: 1920×1080 (1080p)
Aspect Ratio: 16:9
Frame Rate: 23.976 fps

Overall:

What started off as a mixed mecha series filled with themes of post-apocalyptic-survival and character development spirals into a world devoid of sexual reproduction, alien invasion and global enlightenment on a scale never seen before since Neon Genesis Evangelion. Welcome to Darling in the FRANXX – Part Two and the mysterious wonders it holds. From an episodic standpoint this second half carries on with the ‘questionable’ story to deliver a robust ending that is both conclusive and open-ending at the same one; but alas it is a satisfying ending despite all of the rigorous similarities and questionable progression choices.

Continuing the story on Hiro and 02 further develop their relationship and overcome obstacles that lead them astray. Whether it be the demons plaguing 02’s mind, the realisation of 02 being a clone of the last ‘real’ Klaxosaur or defeating an unstoppable alien invasion. Whatever it may be “love prevails all” in this untraditional love story that transcends both time and space without a magic blue box. Aside from 02 and Hiro’s relationship events we learn the truths surrounding the world, the Klaxosaurs, and those that inhabit of which sparks a galactic battle between different forms of humans and the VIRM that which to take over the galaxy. A story that started local within Plantation 13 evolves into a story exploring space and gengetic engineering with the human race looking to further itself in the wake of survival; but regardless of the events that transpire “love prevails all” to being peace and harmony to those within the planet – with 02 and Hiro at the centre of it all.

Multiple story points and references aside Manga Entertainment UK have once again opted to use Blu-Ray masters originally authored by FUNimation entertainment, and as such all of the usual presentation styles that FUNimation use, such as English 5.1 and Japanese 2.0, along with a selection of bonus materials are included. The English Dub continues to be a refreshing experience and continued to deliver a strong selection of talent but once again I found myself thinking that some characters were out of place on who they were representing. It’s just a small niggle of mine that is (overall) well presented and executed. The selection of bonus material meanwhile is exceptional with highlights including English Commentary tracks and Broadcast Specials that further explore the world of Darling in the FRANXX.

Overall Darling in the Franxx – Part Two provides an overly entertaining end to what was a mixed impression from the first half of the series. Sure enough my complaints from the first half, such as lack of musical impact and build-up, continue; but it is an improvement from prior events. The first episode of this second half for instance is presented in an interesting manner and delivers some chilled vibes; but overall the presentation and pacing is presented the same it is just the content that is different.That content meanwhile is similar, in some aspects at least, to Neon Genesis Evangelion but alas it is a solid viewing experience filled with mecha battles and unique relations. The Blu-Ray discs themselves are as one would expect from a FUNimation related product, so no complaints here, but positives are provided in the form of extensive supplementary content that further explores the world of the FRANXX. Giant mecha, love stories and planet destroying aliens – we’ve got a mixed bunch here to keep you covered; but be prepared for a few interesting twist and well worth giving it a watch.

Score: review-stars-4

Darling in the Franxx – Part 2 will be available on Blu-ray from the 22nd July 2019 within the UK.

About Scott Emsen
Scott is the Founder and Executive Editor of AnimeBlurayUK but in the past he has worked at ZOMGPlay, Rice Digital and Funstock and was once a Community Moderator for the Nokia N-Gage forums. Based in the UK, he loves anything related to Games & Anime and in In his spare time you'll mostly find him playing on one of his many gaming consoles; namely the PS Vita, PS4 or Xbox One.

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