For all the criticism I’ve laid on the show, Darling in the Franxx has done this right: it has continually put its lead in a dangerous situation that’s both of his own doing and out of his control. Hiro has pushed and pushed hard to be 002’s partner, a seemingly rash approach because of all the dangers and unanswered questions involving who she is and what she does, but the alternative is perhaps worse—a meaningless existence, and one that might end quickly.
Ichigo and Goro are more concerned about the immediate impact on Hiro rather than what happens to him should be sent back to the parasite home. In episode five, Goro confront Hiro and sees his weakened and feverish state, and later, the blue mass growing on his chest. Ichigo lashes out at 002, and in her physical assault, seems to awaken the less human side of 002, as she appears not as a whimsical, sly, or sexual devil, but as an angry one for the first time.
And that remains the question at the center of the Darling in the Franxx—who is 002 exactly, and leading out of that, should Hiro be partnering with her? Indeed, Hiro isn’t just partnering with 002, he is following wherever she leads. He is serving her. He has given his life to her.
Both Hiro’s situation and the character of 002 are over-the-top (this is anime after all), but in a way the choice he makes and the situation/character he faces compare to our own. Our choices and the immediate consequences are more subtle, but the ultimate outcomes are just as far-reaching, just as monumental in terms of what happens in our lives.
I have a friend who is a doctor. He struggled at it for a long time until he finally achieved his goal. But you know what? I don’t think he’s happy—he is always complaining. And he hasn’t matured a day since we first became close, some fifteen years ago. As Hiro serves 002, my friend served his dream. Few would chide him for it; after all, what better goal than to become a doctor? But it seems now he made a poor choice.
That example is tricky; the poor decisions we make are often less so, and yet, we go through with them because we’re influenced by ideas that contradict our core values (ex. “I want to live in peace and harmony with the world but I’ll go ahead and take this high paying job with a company that encourages disharmony because it’s the financially sound decision”) and maybe because we don’t think through what’s most important in our hearts as we make decisions with our brains.
As young people—and I would guess that all our readers are relatively young—we often serve a master now without realizing how that master will influence us in the end. Darth Vader turns to Lord Sidious without realizing how even more broken he will be by the end of his life. Hiro turns to 002 without realizing that she could lead to a road that destroys him and his friends. And we make decisions that take us off the path of what we believe is most important in life—family, faith, justice—because the new road is paved in gold, because the girl at the end of it kisses you and calls you “darling.”
The signs are there…but we all too often make a poor exchange.
I know for me, I’ve wasted too many months and years doing things of little consequence. I regret so much of my entire twenties—I wish I could have them back to invest more in people, to give love to others, to even do this blog better. But I can’t. Those years are gone.
All I can do now is make decisions that fit upon the foundation I’ve laid, that coincide with the words that pour from my mouth and the ideals stored in my heart. For the sake of not wasting any more time, I’ll make those choices carefully and try to choose what’s best, no matter how distracting or beautiful the other decision might be.