Episode 8 – “Boys x Girls”
The hip-hoppin’, klaxosaur stompin’ action barrels ahead without foreplay. This time the klaxos throw down the gauntlet–can the Stamens control their erections as clothes-eating-splooge rains down on their Pistils? It appears the writers have given up on disguising their fanservice in metaphors and pseudo-seriousness, opting to shore up the solid foundation of immaturity constructed during last week’s “beach episode.”
The battle sequences, once climactic spectacles, have settled into a rote, formulaic groove. Every klaxosaur sports the same cobalt/neon blue color scheme and Strelizia never fails to lunge her lance through each baddie’s core as the other FranXX uselessly bumble about.
Meanwhile, the Pistils (showering for the camera) express their disgust at the boys’ behavior: “How dare they ogle our bodies like that? This whole ‘physical attraction thing’ needs to stop!” According to Dr. Voyeur, all the Squad 13 Parasites have hit puberty simultaneously, meaning the once pure and wholesome act of piloting a FranXX has taken a turn for the perverted.
The writers abandon any attempts at pursuing their long-neglected allegorical ambitions and instead attempt to morph the show into a mecha-inflected harem comedy. The current iteration of the show (focused on the 13s’ unwitting participation in the latest season of Dystopian Big Brother) strives to heighten the sexual tension between the characters and troll cheap thrills from the audience. Instead of last week’s mind-numbingly boring “exposition,” the production switches gears to no plot development whatsoever. At this point, the prospects for a long-term narrative trajectory remain muddy.
Even Zero Two, once a semi-interesting character, now wallows in a swamp of pointlessness–transformed into some Machiavellian love doctor bent on awakening the Parasites’ inner perv. The writers attempt to sell the idea that Zero Two’s frivolous fanservice-baiting antics somehow make her more human. Our “normal girl” drums up the manic pixie act again, swaying like a child before dropping the bomb “you’re all going to die sooner or later.” In other words, “Yeah, loosen up, Parasites–get naked, embarrass yourselves, drop the whole ‘dignity’ act. Life’s short!”
Nishigori and his drooling cadre of otaku-scribes double down on the heteronormative gender roles and misogyny this week. Hiro makes the noble claim (over a soft piano melody) that the Pistils, frail and generally inferior to men, need the Stamens’ protection. The bros vehemently agree and make a covenant to never ogle again. Meanwhile, Kokoro delivers an impassioned defense of the Stamens’ behavior, insisting that tolerating their subjectification creates “the future, hope, and stuff.” Miku, the only character making logical choices (i.e. demanding respect), gets chastised for not conforming to the enablers’ groupthink.
In a nutshell: Visuals? Repetitive. Plot? Non-existent. Characters? Perfunctory. The show’s last dying light, Zero Two, threatens to burn out–unable to ward off the wave of mediocrity drowning the show. Ultimately, the horned one’s utter lack of depth in these past few episodes reveals a larger problem–the writers have run out of ideas. Papa help us.
And, please remember:
~ Don’t Shoot the Messenger