Episode 13 – “The Beast and the Prince”
DarliFra flips the script on the historically hexed number thirteen, re-finding the dark and macabre path it meandered from after episode five. The production staff sticks the audience with a Parasite-esque injection–a Jedi mind-trick, inducing us into a forgetful dream–a confabulated past in which the slice-of-life doldrums never happened.
We gaze into Zero Two’s pensieve–penetrating her past as an adorable demon-child chained inside a stuffed animal mortuary. She eats fluff-slop from the hands of shadow-mommas, thumbs through picture books about damsels in distress, and daily endures torture/experimentation–a glimpse into Hornette’s troubled upbringing–simultaneously poignant, disturbing, and aww-inspiring.
Meanwhile, Hiro continues to establish himself as sixteenth on the Parasite charts, a top three goody-two-shoes, and second-to-none in manicuring haremites (that boy can name). Yet Jian Junior’s labyrinthine encounters with his “best girl” bulls-eyes the feels target. Hiro’s rescuing of Zero Two from Papa’s cruel hands explains their magnetic attraction in the premiere episode–at least, the scenario legitimizes the pair’s relationship more than the prior, “Mm, I’m naked and you taste nice, so Darlings for life!”
The previous twelve episodes characterized our protagonist-parasite-pair’s relationship as carnal, erotic, and dysfunctional–a lion/tamer dynamic. “The Beast and the Prince” humanizes their connection. Rather than remaining in their sex metaphor cocoons, the Pistil and Stamen break free and unveil their cores–two lost souls in pursuit of love and happiness. Of course, the writers wont stray too far from their foundational gender norms. As the picture book predicts, the witch will grant the girl a human appearance only if the beast princess “[rips] off her own wings”–i.e., submits herself to Hiro’s protection.
As the origin story draws to a close, Hiro binds himself to his Darling by licking her bloodied knee–an altogether scientific and medically efficacious practice. Then, the daydream fades, the pre-pubescent pair steps back into the temporal realm, and our Main Stamen remembers. A chill-inducing revelation bound to steel the series against the pernicious threat of mediocrity–or have the injections already deteriorated The AniMessenger’s temporal lobe? Time will tell.
As episode seven taught us, never trust Atsushi Nishigori–a ruthless director capable of derailing a hype train at the drop of a hat (or bikini). Yet the DarliFra forecasts looks clear and sunny from this vantage point–The AniMessenger Almanac predicts a full bloom for the series’ second half.
Nevertheless, a reviewer can’t help but humor the apparitions on his shoulders:
AniMessenger Shoulder Devil: “Why did it take so long to get to this amazing backstory?”
AniMessenger Shoulder Angel: “Don’t think about it. Embrace the dystopia. Take your soma!”
Aldous Huxley: “A gramme is better than a damn.”
Shoulder Entities: “Who asked you?!”
The AniMessenger: “Uh, do I have a say in any of this?”
Shoulder Entities and Huxley: “No!”
And, please remember:
~ Don’t Shoot the Messenger
All screenshots and promotional images are the property of A1 Pictures, Trigger, and Funimation. The AniMessenger does not claim ownership.