A list of trivial details in DARLING in the FRANXX.
- All members of Squad 13 and their caregivers have Goroawase names that correspond with their code numbers.
- Hiro’s name means generous, widespread, and it is the apt name for hero (ヒーロー), which signifies his status as the main male protagonist.
- Zero Two’s code can form the Goroawase name Oni, which means demon (鬼) in Japanese. This signifies her horns and klaxosaur characteristics which give her a demonic outlook.
- Ichigo’s name means strawberry (苺) in Japanese. Zero Two notes that Ichigo tastes ‘sweet’.
- Mitsuru's name means fullness (満) in Japanese.
- Kokoro’s name means heart (心) in Japanese, in reference to her kind personality.
- Futoshi's name can mean thick, or fat (太) in Japanese, in reference to his portly appearance.
- Zorome's name means repeated digits (ゾロ目) in Japanese, in reference to his code number (Code 666). His name is also the only one which isn't a Goroawase name.
- Miku’s name means eternal beauty (美久) in Japanese, in reference to her need to constantly appear cute. With different kanji, Miku means future (未来).
- Naomi's name has two meanings, depending on which culture looked at. While the Japanese kanji in this name is pretty random and does not seem to make much sense, the name Naomi means pleasantness in Hebrew, which may be in reference to her pleasant personality.
- All members of the 9's have names derived from the Greek alphabet. Zero Two’s former code name was Nine Iota, which means nine in Greek.
- All members of the APE council wear masks that resemble different monkey species and they have names that correspond with their masks. Such examples are Gorilla, Baboon, Marmoset, Lemur, and Tarsier. Papa and the Vice Chairman are the only ones who do not fit this criterion.
- Papa’s name comes from a term used in which one who is an authoritarian figure is called by his followers, commonly in religious sects. It also reflects his status as the leader and commander in chief of humanity, especially the children.
- APE’s alternate name, the Lamarck Club, is derived from Jean-Baptiste de Monet Lamarck, who invented Lamarckism - the theory that all the physical changes occurring in an individual during its lifetime are inherited by its offspring.
- The name of the Klaxosaur Princess’ serpent, Nawabari (縄張), is the Japanese term for castle layout. During the Edo Period, the shape and structure of a castle were important factors in determining the victor of castle sieges, and the castle layout, or nawabari, was arranged with the intention of giving the defender an insurmountable advantage.
- The quarantine location of the parasites is referred to as a Birdcage, signifying how the children are kept in isolation from the world and only allowed out unless they are needed, like birds in a cage.
- The safe haven for the parasites was named the Bird Nest, which architecturally resembles a bird’s nest. It could be used to signify the gathering of all the parasites and housing them until they had matured enough to venture in their own, like baby birds.
- Plantation 13 is named Cerasus (a type of edible sour cherry), the home of its parasites is named Mistilteinn (mistletoe), Plantation 26 is Chrysanthemum (a type of flower used as medicine, and means ‘gold flower’ in Greek) and APE's HQ is named Cosmos (tall and colorful summer flowers).
- The developmental facility for the children, the Garden, is a metaphor to describe the children as flowers in a garden; created and fertilized from seedlings to flowers.
- The two satellites, Phobos and Deimos, located on two rocks within Mars’ orbit are named after two moons that orbit Mars in real life.
DARLING in the FRANXX terms
- Parasites refer to the children who pilot the FRANXX. However, in biological terms, a parasite is an organism that lives on or in another organism, deriving benefit from living on or in that other organism, while not contributing towards that other organism sufficiently to cover the cost to that other organism.
- For parasites, the male pilots are called stamens and the female pilots are called pistils, which are the male-female gametes used in floral reproduction.
- All the FRANXX units and Plantations are named after flowers.
- Strelizia: Known as the Bird of Paradise flower due to its resemblance to the head of an exotic bird. It holds a meaning of love and joy.
- Delphinium: Known as larkspur for its deep blue flowers with a hint of purple. It has a meaning of strong attachment and also ambition of reaching one’s goals.
- Argentea: Known as cockscomb or feathery amaranth, it has plume-like flowers ranging in colour from dark crimson to orange and golden yellow. It holds a meaning of silliness and affection.
- Genista: Known as Broom, it is a genus of shrubby plants known for their yellow flowers. It holds the meaning of creativity and imagination.
- Chlorophytum: Known as the Spider Plant for its long, slender leaves and thick roots. It holds a meaning of protection.
- Strelizia’s true form, True Apus, derives from Apus, which is a small constellation in the southern sky. It represents bird of paradise, and its name means "without feet" in Greek because the bird of paradise was once wrongly believed to lack feet.
- The FRANXX units are named after their creator whose real name is Dr. Werner Frank. The double xx is in reference to the normal complement of female sex chromosomes (as the FRANXX are the byproducts of Klaxosaurs, which are formed from female klaxosapiens).
- The Klaxosaurs translate to Kyoryuu in Japanese, which uses the kanji for scream and dragon, hence screaming reptiles in Japanese. Klaxosaur is a portmanteau of klaxon, which is a loud electric horn, and the suffix -saur, which is derived from the ancient Greek for lizard and identifies the genera of the extinct great reptiles, the dinosaurs.
- All varieties of the Klaxosaurs have names that derive from German origin, such as Conrad, Gutenberg, Mohovoric, and Lehmann.
- When the words VIRM and APE are combined and rearranged, it forms the word ‘vampire’. This is befitting for VIRM, as they are an alien species that devours the souls of other lifeforms.
- The term pruning means to dispose of excessive material from a tree or flower. In the series, though, it refers to the disposal of a parasite who fails to meet expectations and it is implied that those who are pruned are killed (which is confirmed in the manga).
- The term stampede mode refers when a FRANXX is piloted by the pistil without a stamen and it gives the FRANXX a beast like appearance and causes it to act wildly aggressive. In dictionary terms, stampede is the occasion in which many large groups of animals or people suddenly move in the same direction at the same time in an uncontrolled way, usually because of fear.
- Kissing refers to the act of two plantations mechanically joining together to transfer magma energy, like how two people join together by kissing on the lips.
- The transportation units are called Plants, though they appear as large, round orange vehicles.
- Kokoro’s code number 556 and Mitsuru’s code number 326 adds up to 882, which can translate to hahani (“to become a mother”) in Japanese. With handakuten, it translates to papani (“to become a father”). This reflects how the two go on to become the first parasites to naturally bear a child.
- Hiro’s code number 016 and Zero Two’s code number 002 adds to 018; in episode 18, they reaffirm their promise to get married in the future. The number 18 can be read as Seiha (制覇), which means domination in Japanese. When subtracted, 016 and 002 becomes 014; in episode 14, Hiro and Zero Two are separated due to the fear of Hiro losing his humanity if he continues piloting with her. When divided, 016 and 002 becomes 8; in episode 8, Hiro starts to see more of Zero Two’s human side during the Boys vs Girls’ conflict.
- Futoshi’s code number 214 and Ikuno’s code number 196 add up to 410, which can be read as Shitto (嫉妬), which means jealousy in Japanese. This is in reference to their unreciprocated love for Kokoro and Ichigo respectively, as Kokoro is in love with Mitsuru and Ichigo is in love with Hiro but Goro also has feelings for her.
- All the FRANXX units from Squad 13 have unique colors, which the pilots also wear on their suits, to distinguish their connection to their FRANXX. Each color has a hidden meaning to the pilots’ personalities and relationships.
- Strelizia: Red. This is an intense and warm color that symbolizes passion, love, and danger. This reflects Hiro and Zero Two’s intense and passionate love for each other, and Zero Two’s dark past as the Partner Killer.
- Delphinium: Blue. This is a color that represents the sky and sea. It also symbolizes loyalty, wisdom, and trust. This reflects the unconditional trust between Ichigo and Goro, Ichigo’s status as the squad leader, and Goro as the most level-headed of their pair.
- Argentea: Pink. This is a color commonly associated with women. It also symbolizes immaturity, appreciation, and friendship. This reflects Miku’s fondness for anything cute, Zorome’s immature antics, and their constant feuding but strong amicable relationship.
- Genista: Green. This is a color that represents nature that symbolizes growth, fertility, and healing/balance. This reflects Kokoro’s desire to become a mother, Futoshi and Mitsuru’s growth as individuals, and the initial fallout and reconciliation from the partner shuffle.
- Chlorophytum: Purple. This is a color that represents royalty and symbolizes ambition, creativity, and moodiness. This reflects Mitsuru’s obsession to surpass Hiro and Ikuno using other means to activate the FRANXX other than having a close bond to her copilots.
- The most visible flowers in the greenhouse, where Kokoro and Mitsuru spend time together, heavily imply their relationship.
- Red Lotus, which symbolizes romantic love in reference to their growing feelings.
- Red Hibiscus, which symbolizes gentleness in reference to how Kokoro treats Mitsuru. In western culture, the Red Hibiscus represents the ideal wife. As the Hibiscus is often shown around Kokoro and Mitsuru, it hints at their future marriage.
- Celosia, which symbolizes silliness and joyous, uncomplicated affection. As the Celosia in the series are bright scarlet, they represent passion, courage, and vitality. This could not only mean in reference to Kokoro’s impulsive but deep affection for Mitsuru but her admiration for his bravery of being honest and her attempts help him with his problems.
- Cactus, which symbolizes lust in reference to their sexual relationship (in western culture, it also means maternal love, in reference to that Kokoro and Mitsuru have children together).
- Succulents, which symbolizes enduring and timeless love.
- Cosmos, which symbolizes beauty, peace and order but it also carries romantic meaning as it tells your partner that the two of you will walk together through life, hand in hand. Also, it is nicknamed the “flower of love”, as it is used to represent a couple’s deepest feelings and walking through life together.
- Delphinium, which symbolizes love, affection, and strong attachment.
- Orchid, which symbolizes love, fertility, thoughtfulness and charm (the orchids in the series are Dendrobium orchids which represent wisdom & beauty). In Greek culture, it was believed consuming the root tubers could determine the sex of the unborn fetus. If the father of the unborn child ate large tubers of the plant, his wife was likely to give birth to a boy. On the other hand, if the man ate small orchid tubers, the woman was most likely to give birth to a baby girl. As these orchids have small tubers, this is a foreshadowing to Mitsuru and Kokoro’s first child being a girl.
- Cattleya, which symbolizes alluring, in reference to the sexual tension between Kokoro and Mitsuru. It also is used as a corsage for Mother’s Day.
- Bird of Paradise, which symbolizes joy but it also represents faithfulness of a man to a woman. This is shown when Mitsuru chooses to stay with Kokoro to reconcile with her rather than going to space, despite the two having lost their memories of each other.
- Purple Lilacs, which symbolizes youth and innocence but also represents first love. It is worth noting that Mitsuru wore purple Lilacs on his uniform during his wedding to Kokoro, which reflects that Kokoro is his first love. In addition, the room, where they spend their nights together, has a vase of withered purple Lilacs, which symbolizes the loss of their innocence after consummating their relationship.
- Gardenia, which symbolizes secret love, clarity, purity, and dreams. While Mitsuru was recovering from his sprite with Zero Two, there was a vase of Gardenia next to his bed, strongly hinting that Kokoro, as the only person with an interest in flowers, put them there; if true, this may hint that she had been secretly in love with him for a long time. In addition, Kokoro wore Gardenia in her hair during her and Mitsuru’s wedding; this could reflect their desire to live their lives other than piloting the FRANXX and to leave a legacy behind.
- Marjoram, which is a herb that symbolizes good luck, happiness, and ensures a blessed love life. In Greek mythology, marjoram was represented as a magical barrier against sadness.
- Alocasia, which is a tree that is known as the ‘Tree that grows up to the heavens’.
- The presence of Cherry Blossoms during their wedding is in reference to them starting over after their memory erasure, as cherry blossoms symbolize renewal and transience of life.
Openings and Endings
- In the opening's introduction screens, Kokoro and Mitsuru are the only two pilots who are glancing to their sides and towards their own partners (while everyone else is looking towards the camera). However, the way the shots transition between one another can also make it look like they aren't actually looking at their partners, but at each other. After they pair up in Episode 11, the opening is updated to have them in the same shot and it is revealed that they are actually looking at each other.
- In the second opening, all the squad members are seen reaching for the sky while Zero Two comes down from the sky and kisses Hiro, and wings sprout from him. The events of Episode 24, starting with the children sending their prayers to Hiro and Zero Two from Earth while the latter fight VIRM in space, and Zero Two saving Hiro before he can succumb to VIRM and they become the Jian, resonate with this.
- Also in the second opening, Futoshi and Ikuno are back-facing each other and looking into the distance. While they are not on bad terms with each other, they have feelings for someone else who they know they can't have (in Futoshi's case - Kokoro, and in Ikuno's case - Ichigo).
- The fifth end credits show a shadowy image of Ikuno nearly kissing someone who appears to be Ichigo. Episode 18 confirms that Ikuno is indeed in love with Ichigo.
- The fifth end credits also show Kokoro being embraced by an unknown boy and another scene shows her sitting and clinging her stomach. Episode 17 reveals that she wants to have a baby with Mitsuru, as she is in love with him, and he comforts her after she is berated for this. After their memories are altered and they become estranged, Episode 22 confirms that she is indeed pregnant, leading to their reconciliation.
- There are numerous sexual innuendos in the series. The most prominent being the position of the male-female pilots in the FRANXX; the pistil is positioned kneeling down in front of the stamen, who holds control yokes attached to her hips, in a doggy-style fashion.
- Zorome says one can never forget their first time (piloting a FRANXX).
- Hiro describes the connection with Zero Two as “Going deeper inside her.”.
- The girls, upon synchronizing with their male partners, tell them to “come to me.”.
- Zero Two flirtatiously tells Hiro he did amazing after he first piloted with her.
- The girls making painful cries upon synchronizing with the boys in the FRANXX is treated like sexual penetration. Miku even calls it a ‘natural reaction’.
- The girls also feel every sensation, including pain and discomfort, while the boys feel none of it while operating the FRANXX.
- The ring exchange during Kokoro and Mitsuru’s wedding shows Kokoro flinching as the ring is too small on her finger but she tells Mitsuru to keep going.
- All the FRANXX units are designed to appear feminine, with profound breasts and figures.
- Hiro's inability to pilot one in most situations is treated as if he has a case of sexual dysfunction, complete with him being encouraged to pilot by kissing his copilot.
- The control manuals of the training units are designed to resemble a girl’s behind.
- Ikuno's desire to pilot with Ichigo, but their inability to get the FRANXX to move, reads like a girl trying to start a relationship with another girl but failing due to incompatible orientation.
- Additionally, piloting a FRANXX requires both parasites to deeply trust each other, which makes the metaphor specifically "sex in a loving relationship".
- Zero Two implementing the Klaxosaur bomb on the VIRM home planet and using her arm to commence implanting reads like an ovum being fertilized by a male gamete.
- Magma is literally just rock that has melted from the Earth's internal heat, and once it's on the surface it's called lava. The concept of "magma energy" is basically just technobabble for whatever powers the series' machines and bears little resemblance to actual volcanology (beyond apparently being extracted from underground). In Episode 20, it is revealed magma energy is not actually magma but derived from Klaxosaurs who ‘returned to energy’,
- There are two mythical motifs:
- Jian. It's a mythical bird with only one head and wing and it needs a male and female to fly and live. Because of that, it's also associated with romance. The motif is represented by the Parasites piloting the Franxx which takes a male and female to pilot.
- Phoenix: Episode 24 gives this to Hiro and Zero Two who sacrifice themselves to stop VIRM and are reincarnated later on, like the Phoenix igniting itself then being the Jian in their picture book looking more like a Phoenix in appearance. In Chinese mythology, the Fenghuang (phoenix) is also a fusion of two birds, one male (Feng) and one female (Huang).
- There are three animal motifs examples:
- Birds: The young parasites are compared to nestlings huddled together in their dark nest dreaming of one day being able to see the sky; the cooperation between male and female pilots operating FRANXX is compared to a myth of a species of bird where males and females have only one wing and thus can only fly together; and parasites who are unable to pilot are compared to birds unable to fly, doomed to an early death because "where would a flightless bird go?"
- Bees: The Plantations' society is divided into strict societal roles, with Papa and APE acting like queen bees, the parasites act as soldiers defending the hive/plantation and the rest of the adults are worker bees. Their tech and power are fueled by magma, which is a honey gold color. The buildings in the inner city of the plantation are all in gold. Gold hexagonal shapes like honeycomb are frequently used, in interior hallways, in the mission control computer screens and cockpit screens of the FRANXX. It also ties into the parasites' designation as stamens and pistils, and all the FRANXX being named after flowers.
- Bears: Relatedly, the klaxosaurs are giant beasts trying to steal the plantations' magma as bears do to honey bee hives. Zero Two, being part klaxosaur, also seems to have a fondness for covering her food in either honey or syrup. She also first met Hiro while she was catching fish with her teeth.
- In Episode 07, Ikuno holds up a book with lilies on the cover when talking to Ichigo. In Japanese, lily translates to ‘yuri’ which means ‘girl-girl romance’, signifying her sexuality.
- While just five characters have confirmed birthdates, their birthdate flowers meanings represent their personality to some extent.
- Hiro: October 15 - Calendula for warm and undying love, and sorrow
- Mitsuru: February 6 - Violet for faithfulness and Primrose for young love.
- Kokoro: June 6 - Rose for love and Honeysuckle for devoted affection.
- Zorome: December 3 - Narcissus for egoism.
- Ai: January 10 - Carnation for deep love, fascination and distinction.
- Kokoro’s name means heart and Mitsuru’s name means fullness in Japanese respectively. Their daughter’s name, Ai, means love. Putting these in a sentence, you get “My heart is full of love.”.
- XX:me, the unit that performs the ending themes, consists of the voice actresses of the main female cast. A variation of this is used in Episode 13, where Haruka Tomatsu (Zero Two) solos the ending theme.
- The Lyrics to Strelizia's theme song Vanquish first heard in Episode 01, actually summarizes Episode 13. The song is in English, but in an ethereal choral style, making its lyrics hard to notice if you didn't know ahead of time
- In Episode 23, Strelizia True Apus’ appearance looks like Zero Two in a wedding dress with the Klaxosaur bomb as a blue bouquet of flowers. Zero Two narrates in Episode 24 that she and Hiro have “left for our honeymoon”, implying they got married symbolically.
- Kokoro and Mitsuru have been compared to the Biblical story of the Garden of Eden.
- The cherry tree in episode 24 is based on the real life Yamataka Jindai Cherry Blossom tree in Hokuto, Japan.
- Episode 17, which centered on Kokoro’s desire to have a child, aired on May 12, 2018, the day before Mother’s Day.
- Episode 18, which centered on Kokoro and Mitsuru’s wedding, aired on May 19, 2018, the day of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding in Great Britain.