Ikuno (イクノ, Ikuno) is one of the main characters in DARLING in the FRANXX. She is a former Parasite with the codename "196" of the Thirteenth Plantation, where she's partnered in boy-girl pair with Futoshi to pilot a FRANXX called Chlorophytum. She had Mitsuru as her original partner.
As she struggled with her sexuality, she shared a stormy partnership with Mitsuru and didn’t know how to express her true feelings for Ichigo. She usually kept her thoughts to herself until Ichigo encouraged her to be more open about herself.
She has deep purple hair tied into a short ponytail with a blue butterfly clip and bangs on either side of her weary green eyes. She wears a pair of black-rimmed glasses and has freckles on her cheeks. When piloting Chlorophytum, she wears a white bodysuit with light violet accents.
In Episode 21, her purple hair turned white due to overusing her capabilities. In Episode 24, she is shown to have aged significantly compared to the other parasites, having chin-length white hair and being confined to a hospital bed.
Ikuno is an intelligent, logical, and quiet girl who doesn’t speak much with others. She naturally comes off as emotionally detached and serious, as she prefers to keep to herself and maintains an air of poise. She is considerate of her comrades and expresses concern for them in troubling situations, such as Hiro’s fate as a parasite and his decision to ride with Zero Two. She doesn’t mind saying what is on her mind, whether it's a question she wants the answer to, an opinion she holds firmly, or, although rarely, a frustration she can't let go of. She is an avid reader and spends her off-duty time reading.
Although she gets along with most of the squad, she has a tumultuous partnership with Mitsuru and they don’t hesitate to show their dislike for each other. They often prefer not to associate with each other, and when they exchange words, there is usually a negative atmosphere between them. When Mitsuru speaks coldly or mocks her, she never backs down to retaliate with her own mockery towards him. However, she is not completely indifferent towards him and is willing to help him if necessary, even if he refuses her help and treats her coldly. She demonstrates this when she was visibly hurt when he paraded how Zero Two was a preferable partner and when she got worried for him when he came down with child fever.
To fulfil her duties as a pistil, she was willing to maintain a strictly professional attitude with Mitsuru when they pilot Chlorophytum together. After their partner shuffle, they become more civil with each other. Ikuno even noticed a significant change in his demeanour from moody and stoic to friendly and smiling since Mitsuru paired with Kokoro, suspecting they had become romantically involved. Once this was confirmed, she was not surprised and became very vocal in her support for them. While not much of her interactions with Futoshi as her partner is shown in the anime, it is implied that they are more amicable with each other than she and Mitsuru were when they were still partners. In the manga, she and Futoshi get off to a good start as the squad notices an immediate improvement in both of their fighting.
In the manga, Ikuno becomes interested in Mitsuru’s budding relationship with Kokoro and she rationalizes with Futoshi that the two are drawn to each other because only Mitsuru can say the words Kokoro needs to hear. The reason for her interest is because she longs to be able to share that same emotional connection Kokoro and Mitsuru formed with Ichigo.
Despite her composed exterior, she is rational and will carefully analyze a situation so she can help conclude a logical solution. Being keenly observant, Ikuno is strongly opinionated, especially regarding the pros and cons of both genders. By her own admission, Ikuno loathes the boy-girl pairing system, to the point where she openly states she agreed to participate in the Boys vs Girls conflict because she prefered to keep the boys and girls separated forever. This is due to her never harbouring any interest in boys. She finds it repulsing when the girls and boys take an interest in one another, surprising Miku when she says she is not interested in any of the boys from Squad 26.
Later on, Ikuno exhibits dismay when she realizes the FRANXX can never function with two pistils, as she attempted to try it with Ichigo as a back-up plan, confusing the other parasites. In truth, she wanted to see if it was possible to be Ichigo’s partner. Although she rarely exhibits sentimentality, deep down, she admitted she secretly hates how she feels. Despite being happy for Mitsuru and Kokoro when they find happiness together as a couple, later on, this deeply irritates her. She struggles to accept her complicated feelings for Ichigo and how she can’t have that kind of relationship with Ichigo, who sees her as a dear friend. She later admits to Ichigo that she is attracted to her and she has been this way since Ichigo gave her her name. She adds she is ashamed about this as it makes her feel she is abnormal. Despite this, she is comforted and encouraged to not be scared of her true feelings by Ichigo, who says while it may be a pain, it’s part of life.
Her struggle with her own sexuality tends to have a deep impact on her over concepts such as gender; when Alpha said humans cast their gender aside for evolution because it was a nuisance, Ikuno was enraged and slapped him before attempting to attack him, surprising her friends. With Ichigo’s encouragement, Ikuno becomes more open and sociable and is willing to take risks for the sake of her friends. This is demonstrated when she goes full power in episode 21 to help Zero Two reach Hiro, causing her health to significantly weaken. She also spends ten years developing a cure for the parasites’ accelerated ageing process, although she chooses to keep her condition as a gesture of her surrendering to her fate but also as one of making a significant contribution to her friends so they can all live their lives to the fullest.
Ikuno spent her childhood in Garden with the other parasites. Receiving the code of "196," she did not have special treatment or expectations of her piloting ability.After children begin copying Hiro, she is shown to be alone and mocked by them. She is given her name by Ichigo and begins to have feelings for her.
Episode 01: Alone and Lonesome
Ikuno is present when the other parasites discuss the "partner killer" as she reads her book. She looks up to stare at Ichigo. When they begin to talk about Hiro, she shows more concern for Naomi and the position he put her in.
She attends the graduation ceremony and, in the train, the group discusses Hiro on their way to the startup ritual. Ikuno says that their ship probably isn't headed back to the garden since she never heard of any parasites coming back home. Hachi greets them at the platform.
In the parasites' FRANXX, they begin the startup ritual. A fog rolls in and the ritual is stalled. Hiro begins to refuse to leave when Naomi's ship is hit by a klaxosaur. The plantation begins firing at the klaxosaur and Strelizia in its stampede mode. Dr. FRANXX notes it's a Maho-class and Nana orders everyone to evacuate.
Strelizia easily destroys its core and defeats it. They are shocked when it's revealed that Hiro was piloting it. Zero Two drops Hiro to the ground. Nana introduces her as a pistil with the special forces unit APE directly controls. Zero Two looks down and smiles to him, saying she found her darling.
Episode 02: What it Means to Connect
Zero Two unexpectedly shows up at the squad’s boarding house and eats breakfast with them. Everyone finds her to be a strange person and Ikuno is curious how a girl like Zero Two has a code in the single digits. They are met by Nana, who announces she will be their caretaker like she was in the Garden.
The squad later prepares for their startup ritual, and Ikuno is shown to be sullen when Ichigo storms out of the changing room as Miku talks about Zero Two flirting with Hiro.
The squad is later told of a mock battle to test Hiro’s piloting skills and he will be promoted as a stamen if he does well. Ichigo volunteers to be his partner while Miku and Zorome volunteer to be the opponent. Ikuno watches the battle with the other squad members.
Episode 03: Fighting Puppet
A klaxosaur approaches the plantation and Squad 13 is dispatches to deal with it. However, Chlorophytum fails to activate as Ikuno struggles to connect with Mitsuru. She asks to be given more time but he tells her not to bother, and Hachi announces Chlorophytum will stay behind. Nana later asks them what happened and offers to run tests on Ikuno who appears to have been tired. Mitsuru asks if the problem is they are incompatible but Nana says that happens a lot at first and there is no reason to split them up, much to his disappointment.
Delphinium, Argentea, and Genista are soon ambushed by a horde of klaxosaurs and their escape route is blocked off. Zero Two suggests Nana let her go with Hiro or else the others will die but Nana refuses to let her sortie because Hiro is not an official stamen. Mitsuru asks to pilot Strelizia with Zero Two instead and after some hesitation, Hiro convinces Zero Two to go with him. During the battle, Mitsuru is overwhelmed by the power he feels, openly bragging how changing partners makes a big difference and suggests that he should become Zero Two’s official partner. This deeply hurts Ikuno. She is present with the rest of the squad when Zero Two emerges from Strelizia and Mitsuru is found to be near death.
Episode 04: Flap Flap
Mitsuru is hospitalized for his injuries and is deeply traumatized by the experience. Despite appearing composed, Ikuno is shown to be worried about him as she and the others watch him tell Hiro not to pilot with her again. The squad discusses how the rumours of Zero Two appear to be true after what happened and express their concern for Hiro. Ichigo touches Ikuno’s shoulder to show her support due to Ikuno still feeling upset at failing to connect, which deeply moves Ikuno.
A klaxosaur appears near the plantation. Mitsuru tried to get out of bed to go to fight. Ikuno tells him he shouldn’t but he doesn’t listen. She offers to help him but he refuses and then falls into her arms. Calling him stubborn, she helps carry him. Mitsuru asks if she can connect and she is able to help activate Chlorophytum after thinking of Ichigo. She is surprised to see Strelizia appear and help them defeat the klaxosaur, and the group rendezvous with Plantation 26.
Episode 05: Your Thorn, My Badge
Plantation 13 links up with Plantation 26 for magma energy transportation, and they call are confused why the process is called ‘kissing’. Ikuno correctly explains it is used to refuel magma energy. But they are aware this will attract klaxosaurs and will likely become the most difficult battle they have faced.
Squad 13 meets Squad 26 and they all attend a friendship ceremony, where they are praised by the mayor. The next day, Miku says she wishes she could pilot with the stamen of Squad 26 rather than the boys they are stuck with. When she asks for Ikuno’s opinion, Ikuno replies she is not interested.
The two squads later take part in a friendship ceremony and are praised by the mayor. They then meet with Hachi and Nana to discuss the joint operation.
Episode 06: DARLING in the FRANXX
Squad 13 is to be a last line of defence while Squad 26 will be on the front lines. Squad 13 deals with a horde of Conrad klaxosaurs and Argentea accidentally collides with Chlorophytum, causing Miku and Ikuno to cry out in pain. This also causes Zorome and Mitsuru to bicker. Ichigo tasks Chlorophytum to take care of Ge it’s after the latter is attacked by the klaxosaurs. A Gutenberg klaxosaur suddenly appears and Squad 13 saves Squad 26 from getting killed. Strelizia shows up but fails to kill the monster. Squad 13 jumps on the klaxosaur and Chlorophytum helps Genista up. Ikuno tells Mitsuru they need to find the core but he retorts she didn’t need to tell him. Strelizia’s connection severs as Hiro is on the verge of dying and Zero Two fights in stampede mode. Everyone fears that Hiro is dead until Strelizia suddenly reconnects and they realize he survived. Strelizia successfully kills the klaxosaur and everyone greets Hiro and Zero Two when the battle ends.
Episode 07: Shooting Star Moratorium
For their successful victory, Squad 13 is awarded a trip to the beach. Ikuno says she is surprises such a place still exists in the surface. She sits under an umbrella with Ichigo and they talk, unaware the boys are starting to admire the girls’ figures. Ikuno tells Ichigo to go swimming and she starts reading. Mitsuru asks her if she came just to read and she says forcing herself to frolic isn't her style. He mentions how Hiro is acting normal when he acted suicidal not long ago. She tells him to keep his thoughts to himself and he mockingly says he was talking to himself. He tells everyone he found something strange and takes them to remnants of an abandoned city. While exploring a mansion, Zorome says it’s no different than their boarding house and Ikuno agrees, saying it has similar designs and it must have been used to build the environment they live in.
The group later eats dinner and discusses the previous civilization before the Plantations existed.
Episode 08: Boys × Girls
During a battle, a klaxosaur spills goo on the FRANXX and the girls’ parasite suites melt in front of the boys, much to the boys’ excitement and the girls’ fury. Ikuno glares angrily at Mitsuru, who walks away, and then at Zero Two when Hiro says she once said parasites are better off a little pervy. Afterwards, Miku announces she is done with the boys and convinces the girls to split the house from the boys. Ikuno joins along, as she later admits she would prefer this to last forever. Zero Two licks her neck and says she tastes like a secret, much to her surprise. Zero Two says she will join them but causes more problems when she tricks the boys into walking in on the girls bathing and steals their clothes. The girls then throw bathroom supplies at the boys until Nana steps in to diffuse the situation.
The girls continue to talk poorly about the boys until Kokoro says there some things the boys can do with the girls, such as piloting the FRANXX and, without saying it, having children. Miku refuses to reconcile with the boys and hides in one of the ab rooms that belonged to a previous squad that Zero Two was killed. Because of this, they realize how short life is and reconcile. Ikuno and Mitsuru only look at each other before Mitsuru walks away and Ikuno smiles.
Episode 09: Triangle Bomb
The squad receives their annual presents from Papa and Ikuno gets books. The squad is dispatched to fight a Gutenberg klaxosaur but it begins to absorb Delphinium, causing Goro to eject Ichigo from the FRANXX. The squad is told to focus on killing the klaxosaur even it means leaving Goro to die but Ichigo and Hiro refuse this and they all come up with a rescue strategy. Chlorophytum and Genista will be a last line of defence while Strelizia and Argentea will help Ichigo get to Delphinium and hold off the klaxosaur in time for Delphinium to activate.
Episode 10: The City of Eternity
For their record of victories, Squad 13 is invited to the city to receive medals. They are amazed how advanced the city is and Zorome wonders if he will get to live here when he becomes an adult. Ichigo says she can’t picture them becoming adults, which everyone agrees.
Episode 11: Partner Shuffle
During a meeting, Nana and Hachi praise the squad for their high killing numbers but mentions Chlorophytum‘s capacity has been declining. While the FRANXX guard a drilling facility, Chlorophytum deactivates. Ikuno turns around to ask what happened but she gets worried when she sees Mitsuru is ill. Everyone later talks about how Mitsuru had had a weak body for a long time and Ikuno says he had an Elixir Injection, which is a powerful drug that greatly increases one’s capacity and aptitude abilities but Kokoro points out is had a 15% success rate.When Mitsuru recovers, he and Ikuno undergo a capacity test and his results show a deep decline. Nana suggests a partner shuffle. Ikuno makes him angry when she says he knows full well that’s this isn’t his fault and all he wants is to be acknowledged by Papa and another certain someone (Hiro). He snaps at her to be quiet but she is unfazed and says being cool isn't like him. Ikuno asks Nana to try a pistil-pistil connection as an emergency backup if they lose a stamen and asks Ichigo to help her. Ichigo is reluctant but agrees. Kokoro asks to try with Mitsuru, much to everyone’s surprise. After 160 seconds of commencing connecting, Ikuno and Ichigo fail to synchronize and time out while Mitsuru and Kokoro manage to maintain a low but stable connection. Ichigo says she knew it wouldn’t work without a boy but Ikuno angrily says she was serious before storming out of the pistil changing room. In the hallway, she sees Mitsuru and tells him he can laugh at her but he simply walks away.
When a klaxosaur appears, Ikuno pilots Chlorophytum with Futoshi, with whom she is annoyed when he cries as he offers encouragement to Kokoro. During the battle, Futoshi and Ikuno perform really well together. Futoshi says Ikuno is getting intense as they attack and kill a klaxosaur. They save Mitsuru and Kokoro from getting crushed by the klaxosaur when they fail to attack it and hold it off long enough for them to reconnect.
Episode 12: The Garden Where It All Began
Squad 13 arrives at the Garden to undergo tests. They are surprised to be returning and talk about how so many children disappeared. They are met there by the 9’s and Alpha surprises the girls by kissing Ichigo’s hand. Miku says she finds him to be hot but Ikuno disagrees and is not interested. After taking the tests, they use the opportunity to look around and remember their childhood. They are surprised to see the children are being developed into parasites earlier than expected due to the high number of klaxosaur attacks.
A klaxosaur attacks the facility and the squad sorties. Zero Two ignores orders to work by the plan and attacks Hiro, causing Strelizia to enter stampede mode.
Episode 13: The Beast and the Prince
Hiro and Zero Two remember their forgotten childhood memories. Towards the end, everyone watches Ichigo use Delphinium to restrain Strelizia and yell at Hiro to get away from Zero Two before she devours his humanity.
Episode 14: Punishment and Confession
Ichigo orders the squad to keep Zero Two from seeing Hiro, although Ikuno and the others are reluctant because they think it will do no good. Eventually, Goro convinces Ichigo to let Zero Two see Hiro, who left his hospital room to find Zero Two. Seeing his room empty, Zero Two accuses them of tricking her and attacks them. Hiro calls her a monster for this and a disheartened Zero Two decides to leave, while Ikuno and the rest look on.
The Squad is ordered to sortie with Squad 26 and the 9’s as part of the 6th United Company. They begin to fight a horde of klaxosaurs near Gran Crevasse. However, a Lehmann klaxosaur appears and Squad 26 is ordered to carry out a suicide attack to stop it but fail. The klaxosaur attacks Plantation 13 and sends a horde of Conrad klaxosaurs inside it, causing the units to act quickly. Chlorophytum runs out of bullets and burns through its reserves and begins using a pillar to fight. Argentea notices a humanoid gold substance fall out of a core and Ikuno says it looks human. Zorome replies that is impossible and Miku says that’s a stupid assumption.
The FRANXX and 9’s continue fighting as Hiro tries to pilot Strelizia and reconcile with Zero Two. After doing so, they quickly neutralize the klaxosaur but they find the cores are still active and about to detonate until a colossal hand appears from under the ground and crushes the cores and plantation but miraculously spares the parasites and Mistilteinn.
Episode 16: Days of Our Lives
A month passes since the battle at Gran Crevasse and the squad has been left alone in their boarding house. Since the damage to the plantation restricted their access to water and electricity, and their caretakers have disappeared, they have to rely on their rations for food and they develop a routine on chores. During breakfast, Ichigo asks Ikuno how her fever is and she says she is fine. Zero Two feels her forehead and head says that though her temperature is normal, and she shouldn't push herself.
Everyone later discusses five sources to gather water, two of which are only usable for filtering. They realize how easy things were when their caretakers took care of them and gave them necessities. Zero Two suggests they cook their own food and they all agree. Ikuno and Miku make bread. Zero Two, Hiro and Goro return with fish and Hiro says he didn't catch any. Zero Two shows them how to reel in and catch fish.
After making dinner, everyone praises their hard work and they talk about their new life and their uncertainty about the future.
Episode 17: Eden
Ikuno narrates that everything at some point will come to an end but they will never know when.
Like the rest of the squad, she is displeased when the 9’s show up and announce they will be staying. The next day, Zorome tells the squad that he saw Kokoro and Mitsuru in an embrace and Ikuno says she is not surprised as Kokoro and Mitsuru hear their friends know what happened. Alpha shows them the baby book that Kokoro has been hiding and demands an explanation. She confesses her desire to have a baby and she believes they can live a life other than piloting the FRANXX but Alpha condemns her. He says humans have cast their reproductive functions aside for evolution and gender is an inconvenience. This angers Ikuno and she slaps him across the face, challenging his assertion. He says humans have also let their emotions take over them and she tries attacking him again before Ichigo and Goro restrain her. Nana and Hachi then defuse the situation.
Afterwards, Ikuno and everyone debate what Kokoro said about being able to have babies. Ikuno doesn’t blame Kokoro for not saying anything because they all have things they can’t talk about. Ikuno later sits on the patio and narrate they know nothing after what happens when things come to an end.
Episode 18: When the Sakura Blooms
After Hachi tells Ichigo the squad will be leaving for a parasite camp soon, Hiro gathers everyone together to discuss his plan to create a wedding for Kokoro and Mitsuru, who have decided to get married before they leave. Everyone voices their support but Ichigo notices Ikuno appears sullen. Ichigo and Miku gather curtains to make the wedding dress.
Ikuno lays in bed and Ichigo wonders if she is under the weather since she had a fever not long ago. Ikuno says no. Ichigo thanks her for standing up for Kokoro and Mitsuru earlier but Ikuno says she didn’t do it for them. She asks Ichigo what she thinks of her before taking her hair clip out and she throws Ichigo into the bed, admitting how much she hates the boy-girl pairing and she has never been interested in boys. She confesses she has loved Ichigo since she gave her her name when they were children and she wants to keep Ichigo all to herself, adding she gets some intensely jealous when she sees a boy show an interest in Ichigo. However, she knows how she feels is not normal and hates herself for it because it makes her feel like a pain before breaking down in tears. Ichigo hugs her and comforts her, saying they all are a pain and it must be part of life. The group later paints the house and poses for a group picture.
Before the wedding begins, Ikuno gives a bouquet of flowers to Kokoro and pins some flowers on Mitsuru‘s uniform before sitting in attendance as the wedding continues. However, the 9’s and APE assault team interrupt the wedding and take Kokoro and Mitsuru away. Weeks later, it is revealed their memories were erased.
Episode 19: Inhumanity
To keep Kokoro and Mitsuru as partners, Ikuno and Futoshi decide to remain paired up.
The squad talks about how Kokoro and Mitsuru were implanted with fake memories. Zorome says Papa must have had his reasons. Miku berates him because she expected better from him and Ikuno reminds him of all the work they put in the wedding that was ruined. Hiro decides to confront Papa, who justifies it because it would have hindered their objectives. Everyone is angry and Hiro demands he release them from duty since they no longer see him as their papa and he agrees as long as they win the final battle.
Episode 20: A New World
Papa instructs Squad 13 to eliminate the klaxosaurs at Gran Crevasse so Strelizia can take control of Star Entity. During the battle, however, an armada of ships appear from the sky and the klaxosaur s stop fighting with the parasites. Papa reveals they are VIRM and he is the leader, and he has been using humanity as tools for his own benefit. Everyone is confused and then shocked to hear this.
Episode 21: A New World
The Squad is confused on him the true enemy is but Ichigo orders everyone to return to Gran Crevasse to check on Hiro and Zero Two. They are confronted by the 9’s for disobeying orders but they continue heading to Gran Crevasse.
They help Zero Two and Dr. Franxx reach the entrance to Star Entity to save Hiro after he is forced to link with the klaxosaur princess and Star Entity is set to detonate to destroy the planet by VIRM. The corridor is blocked off and Ikuno and Futoshi blast through it in full power but Chlorophytum deactivates and Ikuno’s hair turns grey. Genista and Argentea stay behind to protect Chlorophytum while Delphinium takes Zero Two and the doctor to their destination.
When the battle ends, everyone in the squad is shown to have survived. Chlorophytum is carried out of the Gran Crevasse by Argentea and Genista, but Zero Two is left catatonic.
Episode 22: A New World
Squad 13 takes charge of taking care of the other parasites and begin attempting to grow crops to survive. During a meeting, they discuss their shortage of water and maintenance, and they can’t use magma energy so they will have to continue farming. While working in the fields, Ikuno appears tired and Ichigo tells her not to work too hard but Ikuno says she is fine. The parasites then see a VIRM and klaxosaur crash into the field after killing each other.
Ikuno is present in the hospital room with the rest of the squad when the new Nana tells Kokoro that she is pregnant. As Kokoro begins to panic, Miku asks all the boys to leave while the girls try to comfort Kokoro. The next day, the parasites find that all the crops have died despite following the requirements. Hachi and Nana arrive, much to the relief of the parasites. Hachi surmises the crops died because magma drilling has deprived the soil of natural resources. Ichigo collapses and Ikuno takes care of her and says Ichigo has been so worried about the others that she has been neglecting herself. She and the squad devise a plan to gather fresh soil from Cerasus to try farming again until Hiro announces he will be going to space to rescue Zero Two. Although everyone is worried he will get killed, Hiro refuses to change his mind.
Ikuno sits outside with everyone as they look like a shower of shooting stars and they discuss Hiro’s words and wonder if they will ever find something so important they will choose it over everything else. The next morning, the squad meets with Hiro to tell him they will be going with him, with the exception of Kokoro and Mitsuru. The 9’s also announce they will be joining him.
Episode 23: DARLING in the FRANXX
Squad 13 and the 9’s arrive in space and travel to Mars’ orbit to reach Strelizia. They find Strelizia in the middle of a battle with a large armada of VIRM and the klaxosaurs form a defensive strategy. Everyone engages in battle and offer cover for Hiro so he can reach Strelizia. After Alpha sacrifices himself to protect Hiro, he and Zero Two manage to reconnect and Strelizia evolves into the Strelizia True Apus. After eliminating the armada of VIRM, the two announced they will be travelling through a warp gate to track down the rest of the VIRM and destroy them for good. Although Ikuno and the others struggle to accept this, they tell Hiro and Zero Two to return alive.
Episode 24: Never Let Me Go
72 days since Hiro and Zero Two passed through the gate, the parasites return to Cerasus to gather fertile soil and materials and begin farming. She and Ichigo bring files to an office space. When Ichigo asks what they're for, she says there's something she wants to get done.
245 days after opening the gate, Ikuno is present at the birth of Kokoro and Mitsuru‘s daughter, Ai. She happily watches with Ichigo and Miku as Mitsuru is introduced to his daughter. She is also present when Naomi is brought back and all the girls embrace Naomi. She continues to work in her office and Naomi brings her food as she writes.
As Goro leaves for his journey, Ikuno asks Ichigo is she's okay since she'll miss him the most. She is surprised when he kisses Ichigo, which makes Ikuno jealous. Goro says that he'll find what she asked him for. She smirks and thanks him, later saying that he's changed a lot.
Two years after opening the gate, Mitsuru helps move supplies into Ikuno’s office for her research. He saves her when a stack of books nearly falls on her and she thanks him. He advises her not to push herself despite the advantages. She laughs but mentions that she wonders why they are humans, and she expresses her amazement of all the things that happened to Mitsuru and now he is a father. Ikuno admits she is happy for him having a new life and a family he loves. She asks him not to tell the others about her accelerated ageing process as she intends to live as long as she can with everyone.
Shortly after, Ikuno returns Naomi's mirror to her. She smiles when she thanks her. Ichigo suddenly opens the door and tells them to come quickly. She joins the others as they start praying to the skies. She tells them that she decided to make the most of the time she has left as Naomi stands by her side. After Hiro and Zero Two sacrifice themselves to destroy the VIRM planet, Ikuno wonders if their prayers reached the two in time and Miku believes they did. Everyone then mourns the loss of their two friends.
Over the next eight years, Naomi and she continued their research. Eight years after Hiro and Zero Two’s deaths, Ikuno lies in a hospital bed as she examines Ichigo, who is heavily pregnant, and says everything is fine. She also wonders what Ichigo’s baby will be like. Futoshi enters the room and tells her to try his new bread recipe. When Naomi teases him for not losing any weight, he blames Ikuno for helping him regain his appetite. He thanks her for researching and keeping the ex-parasites' accelerated ageing in check. Though the rest of the group reunites outside, she and Naomi hold hands in the hospital bed.
Ikuno has known Ichigo since childhood and harbours romantic feelings for her. The origins of Ikuno’s affection for Ichigo is from their days in the Garden, when Ikuno was bullied by other children when her initial name was Ikuro due to the numerical readings of her code number. However, Ichigo turned the 6 90-degrees counter-clockwise so her name sounded like 'Ikuno' instead of 'Ikuro'. Since then Ikuno has been in love with her. Ikuno tends to blush when encouraged by Ichigo. Ichigo is the one who comforts Ikuno for failing to activate Chlorophytum with Mitsuru and she encouraged Ikuno to do her best next time. Ikuno finds comfort in recalling the moment before successfully linking with Mitsuru and activating Chlorophytum.
Ikuno is notably more talkative and happy when she is speaking with Ichigo, as in Episode 7, though she returns to her quiet facade when Ichigo leaves. In Episode 11, when Nana and Hachi ask if anyone would want to do a partner shuffle, Ikuno states that she wants to do a pistil-to-pistil connection with Ichigo in Delphinium. However, they fail to link and activate Delphinium. Because of this, Ikuno gets mad, saying that she was serious about doing this to Ichigo, who didn't take it as seriously as she did.
In the 5th ending theme, Escape, a scene is shown where Ikuno attempts to kiss Ichigo. In Episode 18, she tearfully confesses to Ichigo. She starts by admitting how jealous she gets when Ichigo is around boys and she Kong’s nothing more than to have Ichigo all to herself but then she starts crying about what a pain she finds herself to be, as well as the whole FRANXX piloting system. Ichigo hugs her and comforts her by stating that she herself is also a pain and that she believes it's just a natural part of life'. Ikuno states that ever since Ichigo named her when they were children, she has had feelings for her, but for she to give up to her feelings it not so easy. Buthe time the wedding starts, she is calmed down and beginning to accept the situation.
Although Ikuno knows Ichigo will never reciprocate her feelings, she still cares deeply for her and, despite showing a brief tint of jealousy after Goro kisses Ichigo, she shows her support for Ichigo and Goro as a couple. Ten years later, when Ichigo becomes pregnant, she goes to Ikuno for prenatal care and Ikuno is interested in knowing what her baby will be like.
Naomi and Ikuno had previous interactions due to her previously being Hiro’s partner but their relationship was unknown. When Hiro and Naomi failed their capacity test, Ikuno was worried about what would happen to Naomi because she has never heard of a parasite returning to the Garden. In episode 24, they begin spending time together after Naomi is freed and she works with Ikuno as a doctor. As they continued working together, they develop a relationship and Naomi takes care of Ikuno from her hospital bed, as they are seen holding hands.
Mitsuru is Ikuno’s original partner. However, they do not get along and don’t hide their dislike for each other. Mitsuru blames Ikuno for their incompatibility due to her distaste for the boy-girl pairing system but she points out he is also at fault for his difficulty in trusting others. However, she is not completely indifferent towards him, as she was visibly hurt when he paraded how Zero Two was a better partner and she later defended him and Kokoro against the 9’s. In the manga, she shows deep concern for his health after he falls ill with a fever and, wanting to help him and knowing his concern for Kokoro, she switches partners with Futoshi in order to pair Mitsuru up with Kokoro.
Things between them start to ease after they switch partners and become more civil with each other. She began to notice a change in him since he paired with Kokoro and suspected the two had developed a romantic relationship, and when this was confirmed, she stated she was not surprised. She shows her support for them by helping with the preparations for their wedding, which Mitsuru thanks her for. They have developed a more amicable relationship, as she is very supportive of his and Kokoro’s decision to keep their baby. Ikuno and Mitsuru truly reconcile when he advises her not to push herself with her research and she admits she is happy for him having a new life and family.
EtymologyIkuno's name comes from the numeral's readings of her code "196": i from 1 (
|DARLING in the FRANXX appearances|
- "A pain? So what if it's a pain?"—Episode 17; Ikuno says this after slapping Nine Alpha.
- Ikuno's notebook is decorated with white lilies. In Japanese, the word for lily is 百合 (yuri), which is also the word used for homosexual relationships between women.
- In the Drama CD, Ikuno reveals she meticulously keeps track of Ichigo’s daily movements, including how she bathes and sleeps.
- The only way Ikuno is able to connect with Mitsuru/Futoshi in Chlorophytum is by thinking of Ichigo.
- Zero Two describes Ikuno’s taste as 'a secret’, in reference to her hidden attraction to girls.
- Ikuno’s decision to become a doctor is inspired by her determination to find a cure for the parasites’ accelerated aging process, and one of her treatments is providing prenatal care to pregnant women after witnessing Ai’s birth.
- Ikuno is the only known surviving parasite after the Gran Crevasse siege to have retained her accelerated ageing process and, by the time she was chronologically 25, she has aged into an elderly woman.
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|