Episode one of Darling in the Franxx was a whirlwind, but in the midst of all the action, fanservice, funky mechas, and mysterious storylines, I was left with one question: what about Naomi? As Hiro’s original partner, Naomi is forced to leave the training facility after his failure and return “home,” where she’s likely to be disposed of. But she doesn’t even make it that far as her transport is crushed during a klaxosaur attack.
And Hiro…well, Hiro doesn’t seem to care very much. Oh, he cares a little—there’s some lip service there when her situation is addressed in episode two—but his concern has shifted toward 002 because she’s changed his world.
Of course, the plot has to focus on the relationship between 002 and Hiro to move forward, but if the animators are going to include the scenes with Naomi, they have to also understand that they show Hiro to be self-centered (in fact, I think episodes two and three portray him as almost desperately so).
The thing is, I can criticize Hiro all I want, but when I do that, I find that I’m criticizing myself as well. I’m way more like Hiro than I want to admit.
In fact, I feel like I had my own tiny Hiro moment recently. Just as he was put into an adrenaline-pumping situation in episode one, I fell into a far more minor one that caused me a great deal of anxiety as well. On Twitter, I was criticized pretty severely by a fellow blogger. I soon realized that he viewed a recent tweet I put out there as part of a larger (very valid) problem, while my connection to those words was from an entirely different perspective (and perhaps not related well). Worse, I soon understood by his reaction to me (and how he talked about me in tweets to others) that he didn’t understand who I was—he viewed me apparently as someone who just trashes others instead of one who reaches out to people with love, which is what I try to be. And being characterized that way really hurt, especially from someone I had admired from afar and tried to support in little ways through the years.
It’s not the first time something like that has happened to me on Twitter. I’ve mentioned before how much I dislike that platform, not because of its format or structure, but because I’ve been hurt a number of times by people on Twitter who I cared about, people I’ve prioritized, invested in, and even counseled. In the past, after such incidents, I’ve shied away from tweeting. I’ve left my account for months at a time. I’ve even thought about deleting it.
This time around, I wondered, should I fight back? Should I block him? Should I get away from Twitter for a while? Should I reach out and try to be gracious? Ultimately, while wondering how to fix things so that I would feel better, I started thinking about how my own harsh words hurt others, namely my son.
I lose patience with my son quite often, and sometimes I say some really mean things to him. In my head, I make up for this by talking to him about what happened and apologizing as needed, and then we move on. But do we really? I move on, but does he? This whole Twitter fiasco led to a Shirou kind of moment for me: if I say mean things to people who love me, it hurts them! As silly and obvious as it sounds, I needed to think about that conclusion. If I was hurt by someone I’ve never even met in real life, who probably doesn’t even know my first name, how much more so does it hurt my son to hear angry words from his father?
Comprehending that shortcoming was painful. And you know what? I embraced that pain. I had to, because if I didn’t capture the feeling in the moment, it would be gone, just like that. I needed to learn that lesson there. Forget the dread that was building up inside me because of online disagreements between nerds sitting behind mobile devices and computer screens—something more important was taking place and I needed to learn from it.
And I hope I do. I don’t want to continue treating my son like Hiro treats Naomi—a passing thought, a little sadness, and then on to bigger and better things. I want to share life with him, get inside his heart, and when I do so, I’ll be able to reach out to him with more love. And I think, just as a by-product, I’ll become a better person, too. And a change like that…well, darling, that’s worth even the pain of staying on Twitter.
Darling in the Franxx can be streamed on Crunchyroll.