- "We will leave the birdcage when the sakura blooms. Together, we had our laughs and we had our clashes. All these memories are as delicate as glass, but they're also the beautiful and invaluable testimony that we were here."—Ikuno
When the Sakura Blooms is the eighteenth episode of DARLING in the FRANXX.
Instructions come from the caretakers who avoided contact with the children for the first time in a month. When the next supply ship comes, Squad 13 is to abandon Mistilteinn and move to the APE Parasite facility called the "Bird Nest". Hiro suggests opening a wedding ceremony for Mitsuru and Kokoro as the last memories to be made while staying in Mistilteinn. The ceremony, the dress, the rings... Everything is handmade and they prepare to the extent that they can. That day, the cherry blossoms in Mistilteinn were in full bloom when the children's wedding ceremony began.
Mitsuru wakes up after spending the night with Kokoro again. They look out the window together where Sakura trees have fully bloomed and the petals float in the wind. He says it's beautiful and she agrees.
In the control room, Hachi tells Ichigo that they will abandon Mistilteinn shortly and tells her to be ready. She asks why and he replies that the situation has changed, so they will take the next supply ship to the parasite camp. Ichigo realizes that, even though they weren't in contact for a long time, they were still being monitored. Goro holds his head and Hiro asks how his fever is. He smiles and says fine. Hiro says that Miku had her fever recently as well. Ichigo comes out and Goro asks what's wrong. In the elevator, Ichigo tells Hiro and Goro the adults' plans to abandon Mistilteinn. Though she wants to stay, Goro says that they have enough rations for only a few more days and Mistilteinn won't last very long in itself. As they walk back, Goro says that their life there wasn't all bad. Ichigo says it's sad that they have to leave. Hiro says there's something he'd like them to do while they're still there.
Hiro explains to the parasites that he wants to have a wedding. As they don't know what it is, Hiro explains that it was a ceremony where two people make a vow to be true to each in sickness and health until parted by death. Miku asks who will get married. Hiro says Kokoro and Mitsuru. Kokoro says that Hiro told them about it and it sounded wonderful. Mitsuru says they decided to do it before leaving. Goro, Miku, and Zorome voice their support. Though they stop to check on Futoshi, he exclaims that he wants to play the priest so he can be right beside Kokoro and Mitsuru and be the first to congratulate them. Kokoro thanks him. Zero Two shows Kokoro a drawing of a wedding dress. Kokoro asks what material they can use to make it. Miku and Ichigo collect curtains to do so. Ichigo and Miku gather the curtains in the abandoned room that Kokoro and Mitsuru have been sleeping in and Miku finds fresh flowers in the vase and Kokoro’s doll on the bed. Ichigo looks around and notices a camera left behind by the former Squad 13. Meanwhile, while Mitsuru and Goro are in the greenhouse as Mitsuru makes rings for the wedding, Mitsuru explains what the rings are for. When Goro says that Kokoro will love it, Mitsuru blushes and says he hopes so too. Zorome kicks a ball around as Futoshi and Hiro set up chairs. The sakura petals are blown in the wind. Zorome kicks the ball to Hiro and the three pass it back and forth. Miku comes out and scolds them for slacking off.
Ikuno lies on her bed when Ichigo enters the room. Ichigo asks her if she's feeling under the weather. Ikuno replies that she's fine. Ichigo asks if something happened with the 9's since she never saw Ikuno get so angry before. Ikuno replies that nothing happened with the 9's and Ichigo apologizes for prying, thanking her for standing up for Kokoro and Mitsuru. Ikuno responded that she didn't do it for them. Ikuno sits up and asks if Ichigo is interested in her. Ikuno takes off her butterfly clip and pins Ichigo down on the bed. Ikuno reveals she also hates the boy-girl system of the FRANXX, like the 9's, and she slapped 9'α to hide it. She continued, saying she realized she wouldn't be herself if she refused to acknowledge it and neither would Ichigo. Ikuno hugs Ichigo and says that her feelings are a mess and she confesses to loving her. Ikuno admits she did ever since Ichigo named her. In a childhood flashback, a boy says Ikuno should be named "Ikuro," and a girl laughs at her name. Ikuno asks if Ichigo remembers everyone started copying Hiro and naming each other. Ichigo adjusts the 6 and makes it look like の, giving Ikuno the name "Ikuno." Ikuno says that Ichigo probably thinks her reason is stupid, but she loved her since then. Ikuno also revealed that she notices small, insignificant things about Ichigo, like Ichigo wearing a new hair clip. Ikuno asks if she's creepy and says she gets jealous of boys who get to stand by Ichigo just because they're boys and she wants to keep Ichigo to herself. Ikuno begins crying and asks why she's such a pain. Ichigo realises that Ikuno is just like how she used to be and sits up to hug and comfort her. As Ichigo pets Ikuno's hair, she says that there's nothing wrong with being a pain and that they all are. Ikuno thanks her. Squad 13 paints the side of the house for the wedding. Ichigo brings Ikuno out and they all pose for a picture, using the camera found in the abandoned room Kokoro and Mitsuru were secretly meeting in.
Zero Two looks at her mirror and headband. She is about to draw something but stops and looks at the drawings for her book. Zero Two hears screaming and a black hole appears in the ground. Her previous partners, such as 081, climb out of the hole and pull at her. The large klaxosaur hand suddenly appears and is about to strike her, but she is woken up by Hiro. He asks if she's okay and she shakes in his chest. Zero Two smiles and says she dozed off. Hiro says her book is almost complete and Zero Two smiles, saying and says she'll show it to him when she's done.
The next day, Zero Two and Hiro walk through the cherry blossom trees. Zero Two wears the standard pistil uniform that Kokoro lent her for the wedding and Hiro compliments her. Zero Two asks if he remembers their childhood promise to marry and he says he does. Zero Two reveals that was also the day when he became her darling. They spin around in the petals and Hiro recalls how profoundly beautiful it was.
As the others wait outside, Mitsuru paces at the bottom of the stairs. Kokoro comes down in her wedding dress. Mitsuru blushes as he looks at her but becomes embarrassed and looks away. Kokoro asks him to look at her but Mitsuru is too embarrassed. Kokoro takes his hand and says they'll find happiness together, to which Mitsuru nods. Ikuno runs down the stairs, gives them flowers and opens the doors for them. Zorome asks if they ring the bells now and Miku says yes. Squad 13 rings their bells as Mitsuru and Kokoro walk together down the aisle, with Goro throwing sakura petals as well. Futoshi cries. Hachi watches the wedding from the control room but an APE assault ship appears. 9'α greets him from the monitor and Hachi asks who authorized them. 9'α answers that Papa did. Hachi asks why APE is going to force Squad 13 into the parasite camp's re-indoctrination program when they are exempt from it. 9'α says it will just be Mitsuru and Kokoro because of what they have been up to. 9'α jokingly tells him to just sit there and watch, like usual.
After exchanging vows, Futoshi tells Mitsuru and Kokoro to exchange rings. They do, even though Kokoro’s ring is too tight on her finger. Futoshi tells them to seal their vows with kiss. Before they can, they are interrupted by APE SP who tell them to freeze. When Zorome questions them, he is hit with a gun. Futoshi stands in front Kokoro and Mitsuru to protect them and tells them to run. They attempt to do so but are stopped by the 9's. When Mitsuru asks what is going on, 9'α tells them that Papa said Mitsuru and Kokoro were ‘dangerous’ and need to be re-indoctrinated, much to their horror. Zero Two leaps forward and 9'α asks if she's still playing human. She tries to attack him, but he jumps away. The other 9's begin attacking her as well. They hold Zero Two down and 9'α tells her that she mustn't defy Papa. SP take Mitsuru and Kokoro and tear them from each other. Kokoro cries out to Mitsuru and Mitsuru orders them to let Kokoro go before he is knocked unconscious. Hachi comes down the steps and watches as the children are in distress.
Afterwards, the parasites sit sadly around the yard. Hiro thinks that it's like the Garden and they're not allowed any happiness. As they pack, Hiro wonders where they were taken and if they'll come back. The cargo ship comes and picks them up. Nana sits in a cell and Hachi asks what he could have said to them if he had emotions. He remembers Nana as a parasite and she was in a romantic relationship with her partner. When her FRANXX was destroyed, Hachi opened it to find her and her stamen, who was killed. The SP later took her away too as he watched. The door to her cell closes and he wonders if she could have supported them.
One APE asks what happened with the Klaxosaur Princess. Gorilla says he thought she would just surrender and asks why they weren't told she was to be assassinated. Marmoset says they seek a world where APE and humanity can live for all eternity. Vice Chairman says they predicted what happened and it won't be a problem since they already possess the replacement key. Papa tells them to look at the big picture and that they will be released from their bodies when they realize their ideas.
At the Bird Nest, Ikuno says the parasites are being summoned in order. Miku says that it reminds her of Garden. They wonder how long they have to wait. Zorome mentions it’s been weeks since their last mission. Ichigo gets a message and they go to the door. Kokoro and Mitsuru walk through the doors and Hiro apologizes for causing them trouble by suggesting the wedding. Kokoro and Mitsuru are confused and ask what a wedding is. Everyone else is also confused and Zorome tells them about the ceremony, and Goro points out their rings but Mitsuru says those were already there before. He and Kokoro believe the other is a new member of the squad. Zero Two says their memories were altered just like hers and Hiro’s were before. Hachi watches this nearby.
Kokoro walks through a hall and looks at the window, and sees a vision of sakura, which she subconsciously recognizes. She then looks at her ring and the sakura turns out to be a fragment of a memory she shared with Mitsuru. Hiro narrates how they will now have to fight for their destiny because they are at their ropes’ end.
- Mitsuru‘s wedding ring is missing when he puts Kokoro’s wedding ring on her finger, as she put the ring on his finger first. It reappears in subsequent scenes.
Coincidentally, this episode was aired on the same day as Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's wedding in Great Britain - 19 May, 2018.
DARLING in the FRANXX
|STAMEN||Hiro | Goro | Zorome | Futoshi | Mitsuru|
|PISTIL||Zero Two | Ichigo | Miku | Kokoro | Ikuno|
|OTHER||Naomi | Old Woman | 081 | 090 | 245 | 9'α | 9'β | 9'γ | 9'δ | 9'ε | 9'ζ | VIRM|
|APE||Papa | Vice Chairman | Gorilla | Marmoset | Lemur | Baboon | Tarsier|
Dr. FRANXX | Hachi | Nana
|FRANXX||Strelizia | Delphinium | Argentea | Genista | Chlorophytum | Standard | 9 Model|
|EPISODES||01 | 02 | 03 | 04 | 05 | 06 | 07 | 08 | 09 | 10 | 11 | 12|
13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24
|CHAPTERS||01 | 02 | 03 | 04 | 05 | 06 | 07 | 08 | 09 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20|
|MUSIC||KISS OF DEATH | Torikago | Manatsu no Setsuna | Beautiful World|
Hitori | CÅGE | Vanquish | Escape | Darling
|LOCATIONS||Cerasus | Garden | Chrysanthemum | Gran Crevasse | Cosmos|
|KEYWORD||Klaxosaur | FRANXX|