Papa is the chairman of the APE council and by extension all of known humanity. He is religiously revered by the Parasites as a god, with the exception of Zero Two. He works in conjunction with the rest of APE to ensure the plantations run smoothly and that they are not harmed by Klaxosaurs. He also is in charge of all FRANXX units; what happens to them is almost always a result of his decisions.
Papa wears white robes adorned with golden detailing and a red interior. His mask is the most human of all the APE members, and his outfit bears a resemblance to the traditional attire of the Pope of the Catholic church.
His true appearance as a VIRM is a bright purple bodiless entity in a rhombus shape with sharp white eyes and surrounded by a bright aura.
Like a leader, Papa speaks in a refined and sophisticated manner, and tends to handle situations in a methodical order. He is aware how his existence and authority affects others in both positive and negative ways. While many fear him due to his intolerance of rebel and mistakes, he presents a persona of someone who has more compassion and acts according to what is reasonable. In truth, however, he values the safety of APE above all else and his sole commitment is to fulfill APE’s objectives. He is willing to use whatever methods necessary to do so and condone any collateral damage; every death is a sacrifice for the greater good and every wrongdoing is a necessary act of evil for the goal needed to be achieved for APE. He has no qualms about using Parasites as soldiers against the klaxosaurs, even if it would result in their demise. He also has no qualms about disposing a parasite if it fails to meet expectations; he demonstrates this in the manga, when he concludes 9'α and 9'δ are useless after the others 9’s are killed by 001. He'd also go to lengths as far as having a plantation self-destruct, killing all its civilians in the process, to achieve his goals and show no mercy to those who oppose him, that includes his own allies if they question his integrity or are deemed useless to him. He would gain the trust of the parasites by taking into consideration their isolated upbringings and boost their morale by praising their combat capabilities and promising them rewards in exchange for th fulfilling their duties, such as annual gifts and medals. Papa strongly forbids the parasites from forming relationships other than professionalism, as he believes they will lose interest in their obligations and become rebellious should they develop, what he refers to as, unnecessary feelings and memories.
However, in spite of his strictness and seemingly indifference to their well-being, he pays ample attention to the needs of the parasites, as he routinely makes sure they are well cared for and gives them presents they desire the most once a year. He also promised Hiro to release Squad 13 from their duties as long as they emerged victorious in the final battle at Gran Crevasse, although it turns out he feigned this because of his assertion the parasites are disposable tools of warfare. All those who survived the battle were forced to accept the truth about Papa’s intentions following his betrayal; he never intended to let any parasite walk away from his authority alive and he never had any desire to do what was in the best interest of humanity but his own and VIRM’s. Papa allows Squad 13 more freedom from restrictions due to Dr. FRANXX’s use of them as an experimental team but that doesn’t mean he routinely keeps tabs on them by sending the 9’s to Mistilteinn to observe their routines and behavior. He shows a deep interest in Zero Two, as she was specifically designed to become the one who would operate Hringhorni and she is considered the most prestigious pistil among the parasites due to her advanced piloting skills but Papa is dismayed how she is unable to maintain a stable partnership with a stamen due to her devouring her partners after three rides, and he refers to her as a ‘monster’ and a ‘hellcat’. Papa also shows a fascination with Hiro after he is shown to be compatible with riding Strelizia with Zero Two and he survives his third ride, and he refers to Hiro as a ‘special specimen’.
His true persona is revealed when a secret assasination attempt on the Klaxosaur Princess fails; he not only believes he and VIRM are the most prominent ecosystems in the multi-universes but are rightfully entitled to do as they please with other life forms they come across. Papa had no qualms about allowing VIRM brutally murder members of the 9's, which had been one of the groups most loyal to him, and sending VIRM to kill numerous parasites before fleeing from the battle against the klaxosaurs even though he knew doing so would likely result in the demise of all the people left on the planet.
He strongly believes anything that comes with emotions and interpersonal connections are an inconvenience, and therefore worthless. He even went as far as to mock Hiro and Zero Two for believing they will meet again as long as their souls exist after their sacrifice.
In 2025, Werner is told about APE and asks what they want with him. A man says that they want to hire him since they're impressed by his research. When he asks what part, the man tells him to ask for details when he's there since he accepted their offer. When he asks why he would accept without consulting him, the man replies that he shows no signs of ceasing his illegal experiments, such as cloning, and the community is up in arms against him. He says that the law only cracks down after he's done. The man says that's because no one would expect him to show up. He agrees that he's an atheist. The man says that he's talented, but terrifying, which confuses Werner.
APE is a group of scientists with no known origins or nationalities. It operates with the Lamarck Club at its core. They introduced revolutionary mining technology, dug up magma energy from underground reserved far deeper than man had ever ventured, and created a new energy source that was both all-encompassing and low-cost. With this energy revolution, humanity drastically sped up its progress towards the apex of material civilization. At the same time, APE gained huge influence in international politics and the economy.
At a building, a woman walks beside him and asks if he's Werner Frank. She says it's an honour to meet him and that she read all the papers he's published. She introduces herself as Karina Milsa. Though she extends her hand, he shifts away from it. He asks if she's of regenerative telomere medicine fame. She confirms this is he is surprised.
Werner looks over his contract and an APE asks if he has a problem with the contract. He says no, that he was just surprised by the amount of funding. A member answers that it's simply a fair valuation of his talents. He says what they expect is outside his field of expertise. One answers that, with his abilities, he should be able to contribute more than enough. One says, with magma energy, they can make immortality a reality.
In 2030, two scientists test and find no signs of ageing. Karina Milsa reports that they couldn't have done it without Dr. Frank's help. She later notes that he doesn't seem happy about it. He answers that mankind might lose its reproductive functions in exchange for its immortality. She says they don't have any indication of that, but he says it's inevitable. Karina asks if he thinks it's wrong for mankind to attain immortality. Werner says no, that he always wanted to know mankind's pinnacle, but wonders if they'll still be humans at that point. She asks if he means they'll be gods. He smiles at her and says he's an atheist.
Dr. FRANXX narrates that the treatments led to the loss of reproductive functions, but many still made the choice to become immortal. Around that time, mankind recovered from its rut and quickly approached the apex of material civilization. But the only ones to benefit from it were the rich, with access to immortality and the class divide continues to grow wider. Some years later, to combat the population explosion, a law passed in East Asia to heavily tax childbirth. At the same time, rapid desertification was observed in the southern parts of North America. Some identified the mining of magma energy as the cause, but they were ignored.
In 2036, humanity's immortality rate exceeded 70% and the rest were scheduled to complete their procedures within two years. But he still refuses to.
Karina asks if Werner still can't bring himself to undergo the procedure. He says that he doesn't like having his body messed with. He says he'd prefer to replace it with a mechanical one. She smiles and asks if he doesn't think it's time he stopped to think about his future. He says that isn't like him and asks if she isn't going under the knife. She says she wants to have a child. He is surprised and says he didn't think she had a partner. She says that he's dense and hasn't noticed her feelings. He says that she should ask him for dinner instead of himself. She says that she did. He is still confused, and she asks if he isn't being too dense. He asks if she means him and says that she has bad taste.
By that time, desertification had become a serious issue across the globe, and APE presented to nations its plantation project, which would be humanity's ark. It essentially became the leader of the world.
In 2037, at an offshore magma energy mine, a klaxosaur appeared and destroyed the mining facility and made a landfall, only stopping after several nuclear missiles hit it. The eastern half of the Australian continent became an exclusion zone. They were called klaxosaurs for "screaming reptiles," and began showing up everywhere. They too were attracted to magma energy mines. The plantations turned into mobile anti-klaxosaur fortresses, cities were abandoned, and mankind disappeared from the surface.
Karina asks where he is going, and he answers that they've secured a decently preserved klaxosaur corpse in Alaska. She says they were supposed to submit their marriage registration next week. He tells her to submit it if he's not back. She later signs her section alone.
Werner was enthralled that their bodies could be both mechanical and organic and thought they were extremely beautiful. He noticed that it contained the same XX chromosomes seen in female humans. He was appointed lead developer of an anti-klaxosaur weapon, the FRANXX.
In 2042, they hold the 13th startup trial for the FRANXX prototype. It hit a roadblock where it wouldn't start up. After rigorous testing, it was discovered that the pilot needed to possess reproductive functions.
Tests continue and many lives are lost. They are injected with yellow blood cells that act as a conduit to the FRANXX and have them ride in male-female pairs. After losing its reproductive functions, mankind found a need for new children. As parasites, pilots of the FRANXX, they were called "children," and were made to refer to the rest of them as adults.
In the initial usage phase of the FRANXX, entire squads would die off, taking the klaxosaurs down with them. They developed weapons that worked on klaxosaurs. After massive sacrifices, they started formulating an effective way to kill them. The Garden was founded as a facility to nature the children and the plantations were fitted with a quarantine zone for parasites, Mistilteinn. Because parasites needed emotions, they found that antiquated environments were best suited to raising them. Their health is monitored in extreme detail, and everything is controlled to keep them in the best possible shape. Eventually, the "adults" forgot about the existence of klaxosaurs and obtained eternal tedium. Werner says that, at that time, his interest of the future of mankind had faded, and he engrossed himself in research into a perfected lifeform. A strange rumour began that said the klaxosaurs had a leader and APE discovered where it was hiding.Papa tells him that Werner can go under the condition that he bring back a sample of DNA.
They found remains of an unknown, ancient civilization. A voice asks why they are there and why they kill their brethren. Werner realizes that the Klaxosaur Princess is transmitting words directly into their brains. A member of SP says they're being surrounded. She says that they're needlessly belligerent. Everyone but Werner is killed and the Klaxosaur Princess orders that he be brought to her.
The Klaxosaur Princess appears before Werner and he thinks she's the most beautiful thing he'd ever seen in his life. She orders him to hold out his hand and then she sniffs it. She says she smells her brethren on him and that his sins are far too grave to be punished with mere death. She licks his hand and bites off his arm. Werner says that he remained in love with her and might have already lost all of his humanity. She spits out his arm and tells him to tell his kind not to lay a hand on her brethren anymore.
Episode 01: Alone and Lonesome
At Cerasus, the parasites attend their welcoming meeting where they are praised by Papa. The adults cheer for them. At Mistilteinn, Hachi gives Hiro the official instructions for his return to the orphanage. He says that HQ had given him special permission to remain there and asks him to reconsider. As Hiro leaves the meeting, he finds Naomi crying.
Zero Two says that she can smell a klaxosaur. In the parasites' FRANXX, they begin the startup ritual, which is overseen by Papa and the council. 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. Dr. FRANXX notes it's a Moho-class and Nana orders everyone to evacuate. Strelizia fights the klaxosaur in stampede mode, much to Papa’s dismay that Zero Two decoured anither stamen. Vice Chairman says it’s difficult to tell which is the monster.
Zero Two pulls him into her FRANXX and into a kiss, calling him her darling. Dr. FRANXX says that when the negative and positive - male and female factors combine and their hearts become one, the iron maiden will reveal her true form.
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 Hiro, saying she found her darling.
Episode 02: What it Means to Connect
At HQ, the council is informed the klaxosaur attack caused the magma energy stockpiles to plummet to 54% and kissing with Plantation 26 is requested. Papa authorizes this. Lemur says he heard Strelizia has stayed with Plantation 13. Gorilla states, with no explanation cause, mixing with the special specimen will tarnish her blood and must be recalled. Papa says she shone in battle and they must wait and see.
Episode 04: Flap Flap
Papa announces the klaxosaur activity has increased and large ones are showing up everywhere. An APE member says the 9’s are dealing with them now but they have other things to do. One asks how long does Strelizia have to goof off. Another says it isnt wise to let her mix with other tainted stamen.
After Zero Two piloted Strelizia with Mitsuru, who was left gravely injuried, in the most recent battle, APE orders her to return to the front lines, but she disregards this and proceeds to pilot with Hiro for the second time.
Episode 05: Your Thorn, My Badge
As Plantations 13 and 26 commence for ‘kissing’ To restock Plantation 13’s magma energy stockpiles, APE holds a friendship ceremony for the two plantations and all the parasites are treated like VIPs.
Episode 06: DARLING in the FRANXX
From HQ, APE watches the battle of the two squads fighting against a Gutenberg class klaxosaur.
Episode 07: Shooting Star Moratorium
At HQ, APE marvels at Hiro’s ability. Papa says Plantation 13 should be their top priority surveillance subject and Hiro is tasked with bringing Zero Zero to Gran Crevasse. They give authority to transfer Zero Two into Squad 13 as an official parasite and she is made as Hiro’s partner after promoting him as an official stamen, and make arrangements to bring Strelizia to the plantation. For the successful kissing with Plantation 26, APE approves of Dr. FRANXX’s decision to reward Squad 13 with a trip to the beach.
Episode 10: The City of Eternity
Papa and APE discuss the children. Tarsier suggests they invite the children to the city and reward them with medals for their recent victories. Papa is initially skeptical of this but Tarsier says by rewarding the children, they will make good soldiers for them. Papa agrees. However, Papa is not present for the short ceremony, which is shown to be a simple congratulations from the mayor.
Episode 12: The Garden Where It All Began
Papa orders Squad 13 to return to the Garden for standard testing but Hiro realizes they are merely tagging along so Zero Two can receive her maintenance. It is revealed Papa has ordered the children in the Garden to be developed into parasites at a faster rate due to the recent klaxosaur attacks.
Episode 13: The Beast and the Prince
In a flashback, Hiro recalls when his and Zero Two’s memories were erased at Papa’s order when they ran away from the Garden.
Episode 14: Punishment and Confession
Due to Zero Two’s rogue behavior, APE orders her to be removed from a Squad 13 and return to the 9’s, which she reluctantly does after having a major fallout with the squad and Hiro calling her a monster for her violent actions.
During a briefing, Nana tells Squad 13 that taking over Gran Crevasse has been Papa’s long-standing dream. Dr. FRANXX meets with the APE council and Papa learns Zero Two consumed all the stamen given to her and calls her a hellcat. One of the concilmen say they may finally get their wish to take over Gran Crevasse. The doctor turns to walk away. Papa stops him by calling him ‘Werner’ and the doctor says he wants to watch the battle from a front-Row seat.
During the battle, a super Lehmann class klaxosaur starts rampaging against the plantations. Papa calls 090 to tell him they are moving to Protocol 32. Although surprised, 090 says it is a great honor. Squad 26 proceeds to self destruct to stop the klaxosaur from destroying Plantation 13 but the klaxosaur survives the explosion and smashes into the plantation before sending a horde of Conrad class klaxosaurs into it. Papa then orders the backup plan and several plantations begin self-destructing. Papa says they can finally let them go. The parasites are shocked by this and Dr. FRANXX is disgusted with their choice.
Hiro and Zero Two reconcile and reconnect, allowing them to enter Gran Crevasse with the help of Squad 13 and the 9’s. Papa says the door has been opened and humanity’s liberation is upon them.
Episode 16: Days of Our Lives
A month passes after Papa instructs Squad 13 to stay at their boarding house until they receive their next mission. They become worried they have fallen out of favour of him but they work together to survive on the limited resources available to them and revel in their first experience of independence.
Episode 17: Eden
Papa sends the 9's to check on Squad 13 on the feign that he is worried about them but he really wants to know what they have been up to while left alone at Mistilteinn.
The next day, APE has a meeting discussing on meeting and dealing with the Klaxosaur Princess. Papa is not concerned and explains his plans to wipe out the klaxosaurs. He then learns from the 9’s that Kokoro and Mitsuru are in a romantic and sexual relationship, which is strongly prohibited
Episode 18: When the Sakura Blooms
Because Kokoro and Mitsuru want to get married and have a child, Papa declares them as dangerous to APE’s objectives and orders the two to be re-indoctrinated. He sends an APE military force and the 9's to the boarding house to apprehend the two. Afterwards, their memories of each other are erased.
Episode 19: Inhumanity
Marmoset explains to Dr. FRANXX that they wanted to eliminate all irregularities before their operation. Dr. FRANXX warns that, if they continue, there's no guarantee that the children will remain obedient. Another member says that they haven't done anything to any of the other members of Squad 13 but those two. When Dr. FRANXX asks why, the vice chairman answers they decided to rid the parasites of all unneeded emotions and memories. Dr. FRANXX asks why he wasn't consulted, Papa asks him to behave since he wished for their plan to come to fruition as well. Once they hang up, he thinks that he's no different than they are.
Later on, Hiro asks that Mitsuru and Kokoro's memories be returned. Papa refuses and says that they removed the unnecessary information and there is no way to return them. The rest of the parasites are destressed and the Vice Chairman says that what they're doing is a severe breach of protocol and would normally be punished, but they'll let it off with a mere mention on their record. He says to return to their waiting quarters. Futoshi demands that they apologize. Zorome asks how many klaxosaurs they have to kill before they can become adults. They don't answer and Zorome asks what they're living for. Hiro says that they took away Zero Two and his precious memories as well as Kokoro and Mitsuru's. He says they can't see him as their Papa and to set them free once the battle is over. Papa agrees, as long as they fulfil their duties in next mission. Then they hang up.
Episode 20: A New World
Papa instructs Squad 13 to go to Gran Crevasse for a final battle with the klaxosaurs and Strelizia is tasked with taking control of the “Star Entity”, a massive weapon stored inside Gran Crevasse. However, the Klaxosaur Princess sneaks past security and takes control of Strelizia by seriously wounding Zero Two and forcing Hiro to link with her. Suddenly, an armada of spaceships appear and the klaxosaurs stop fighting. In the confusion, Papa and the Vice Chairman reveal themselves as members of VIRM, an alien species that attacked the Earth several aeons ago and were defeated by the klaxosaurs after a war that lasted for many centuries. Papa reveals, although he wished it wouldn’t come to this, he has been manipulating APE into using mankind as tools to fight and eliminate the klaxosaurs for him but now he has no choice but to use desperate means. Having anticipated the Klaxosaur Princess would take control of the Star Entity, Papa reveals APE secretly implanted a self-destruct mechanism in it to wipe out the klaxosaurs for good
Episode 21:For You My Love
Papa and the Vice Chairman use their powers to upload the consciousness the humans from the plantation to their system, killing almost all the adults. Papa and Vice Chairman send thousands of VIRM soldiers to attack the klaxosaurs and parasites, killing numerous of them. Although confused who they should be fighting, Squad 13 decides to return to Gran Crevasse although the 9's berate them for disobeying Papa’s orders. Zero Two and Hiro are able to retake control of Strelizia, which transforms into the gigantic Strelizia Apus, and force the VIRM to retreat. Papa vows to return once VIRM recuperates.
Episode 23:DARLING in the FRANXX
Squad 13 and the three surviving members of the 9's travel through space to rescue Zero Two as she and Strelizia battle the VIRM. During the battle, Papa and the Vice Chairman encourage everyone to merge with VIRM to become a single life form and eliminate a cycle of hatred and discrimination. Nana says the adults would have found this to be utopia but not the children, who have chosen their own paths.
Hiro and Zero Two reunite and reconnect, and the Strelizia transforms into the Strelizia True Apus. They easily wipe out the VIRM forces and again Papa and the Vice Chairman retreat to another solar system. Hiro and Zero Two, with a bomb created by the klaxosaurs, travel through a warp gate to track down the remnants of VIRM and it’s home planet and destroy it to finally end the war.
Episode 24:Never Let Me Go
Two years later, after reaching the VIRM home planet, Hiro and Zero Two come across Papa and the Vice Chairman, who encourage them to join with them. Zero Two rejects them and is then attacked, causing her connection with Hiro to be cut off. Papa calls that an easy task due to the two’s incompatibility rioted from Hiro being a human and her a full klaxosaur. The VIRM mercilessly attacks Zero Two until the voices and prayers of Squad 13 from Earth reach her and Hiro, allowing them to reconnect and fight back. Reverting back to the Strelizia Maiden Iron form, they manage to thrust the bomb into the planet and detonate it, destroying the planet and freeing all the souls held captive by VIRM but at the cost of Hiro and Zero Two’s lives. Papa mocks them for believing they will meet again as long as their souls exist and vows to face them again at the peak of evolution, as he says the VIRM will never die.
Papa has shown special interest in Zero Two and her abilities as a Parasite. He refers to Zero Two as though he has a personal relationship with her. Zero Two, on the other hand, has no respect for him and doesn't particularly care for him, as she refuses to pray for him during meals and tends to ignore orders he gives her. She also refuses to acknowledge the code name he gave her - Iota. It is revealed she was a special experiment of Dr. FRANXX that’s Papa personally oversaw and regarded her as a successful experiment. That doesn't mean he holds her at a higher regard compared to the other parasites, as he is willing to use her as collateral damage when the klaxosaurs and VIRM began fighting, and he mocked her and Hiro's sacrifice to save the planet.
Papa has shown a deep interest in Hiro due to his high aptitude results and deems him as a special specimen. Even when Hiro failed his capacity test to be promoted to a parasite, Papa still held favortism towards him and allowed Hiro the privilege to stay in Mistilteinn, even arranging him to undergo a mock test to give him a second chance. Like all parasites, Hiro was loyal towards Papa and strongly believed it was his sole purpose in life to protect Papa and the adults. However, once he regained his lost memories which Papa personally ordered himself, Hiro’s faith in Papa began to waver and it completely diminished when Papa had Kokoro and Mitsuru’s memories erased, which enraged Hiro that Papa takes away any happiness the parasites feel. Due to Hiro’s rebellious conduct, Papa agreed to his demand to release Squad 13 from duty but he then tries to kill them by sending VIRM to Earth. Hiro went as far as to sacrifice himself to stop Papa, who in turn mocked his selfless act.
"Papa" is a word commonly used by children to refer to their fathers, however, it is also used in some languages (like Spanish, Italian and Portuguese) and religious sects to describe the Pope.
|DARLING in the FRANXX appearances|
|01||02||Episode 03||04||Episode 05||Episode 06||07||Episode 08||Episode 09||Episode 10||Episode 11||Episode 12|
|Episode 13||Episode 14||15||16||Episode 17||Episode 18||19||20||Episode 21||Episode 22||Episode 2||Episode 24|
- "My children, you have had the good fortune to be chosen as parasites. Your great predecessors defended out cities and our people, and they splendidly took flight as our representatives. Turn your life into a blaze of glory and shed every last drop of blood you have. I pray that you will become a shining ray of hope for humanity. "—Papa
- As with all members of the council, Papa’s mask resembles a monkey species, specifically a primate. This is fitting since he is the leader of APE.
- To enable his propaganda, Papa banned all knowledge concerning gender differences, emotions, intimacy, and religion.
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|