Episode III of DITF offered us much more than the last weeks entry. We were actually given insight as to who these characters were, before they became who they are now. Hiro more so than anyone had the most dramatic character change of all. As a child he was bright, happy and energetic. Having named all the kids in the orphanage, including Ichigo. Her name translating directly from her code numbers ‘016’ or I CHI GO. Which I thought was a very simplistic but cool way of forming that initial bond between those two characters.
It seems as though Ichigo still hasn’t gotten over the events of the last episode, as we see her be really short with Hiro in the one scene that they were together. I suppose that’s to be expected since she has feelings for him and wanted him to succeed so badly. But she isn’t the one that can give him that. Only 02 can. Now as viewers we can finally see the deeper meaning behind those feelings she has. SInce childhood she and Hiro have been together. They’ve never left one another’s side. Gorou brought up a good point during his conversation with Hiro as well. They’re just like brother and sister, so it’s natural for them to be drawn together and for Ichigo to feel so responsibility for the one that she loves.
I would also like to point out how well done the visuals were in this episode as well. I know I’ve brought this up in all of my reviews thus far but this episode in particular stood out to me. Everything felt more natural and fluid for some reason. Especially the scene where Hiro and Gorou are talking at the pond.
Moving on to the other important point of this episode. Robots, robots and more robots. receiving more screen time with the FranXX made this episode the best so far, easily. We get to see the team finally go out on their first mission and fight more Klaxosaurs. Hiro is left behind due to fact that they haven’t authorized him as a Parasite or given 02 the order to move with the squad as well. Ichigo has no problem linking up with Gorou but there are still things that are bothering her, things involving Hiro that she can’t stop thinking about while taking on this job.
Meanwhile, Mitsuru and Ikuno can’t seem to link up, forcing them to stay behind on this mission. But after the watching the scene from before hand and observing Misturu’s behavior in the series thus far, it’s safe to assume that he willingly held back during his link with Ikuno so he could get the chance to pilot with 02. He obviously wants to prove that Hiro is no longer the leader that he used to be and that he’s superior to everyone in the garden in every way. So riding with 02 would prove just that. So his wish was granted.
The squad runs into trouble and 02 is called into action. But she only wants to ride with Hiro. To everyone’s surprise Mitsuru volunteers to ride with 02 and she objects. But after Hiro tells her it’s okay, the pair sortie up to go and rescue the other team members. This is when we really catch a large glimpse of Mitsuru’s character. Initially the battle is going very well. The animation for this fight sequence was top-notch. From the colors popping on and off of the screen to the fluid movements of the FranXX as it killed Klaxosaur after Klaxosaur.
Misturu is shouting in triumph as he believes that he’s doing better than Hiro, since he’s conscious while piloting with 02, claiming that he is a genius. But then 02 sees that he’s hanging pretty well with and decides to go all out. Surprising and scaring Misturu because he didn’t realize that she was holding back at all. An interesting thing also happened when Ichigo was informed that 02 was coming to help them. SHe completely shut down at the thought of Hiro rising with 02 again. After finding out what happened in the cockpit the first time. I think these thoughts and feelings are scaring and confusing Ichigo. Like I stated in my last review, these kids have no concept of love or sexual agency. So all of this must be hard for Ichigo to process because she can’t figure out why it’s bothering her so much.
After coming back up from the battle, everyone thinks that Mitsuru is going to be coming out alongside 02. But to everyone’s surprise only 02 walked out. Leaving Mitsuru knocked out, with blood and injuries all over his body. Giving everyone the proof that they need in order to see that Hiro is the only one who can ride with 02. He’s a ‘SPECIAL SPECIMEN’ as the adults called him.
A lot of character development came with the episode and pushed the story along at a steady pace. Not giving us too much at once but also not giving us too little. We are seeing these characters learn more about who they are as they explore their sexuality and grow. It’s going to interesting to see the relationship that’s building between 02, Ichigo and Hiro. I’m actually rooting for Ichigo to come out on top, but a lot of the fan base seems to love 02. Hopefully we can learn more about her back story in the coming episodes because she is still just a mystery to us. I also want to learn exactly how the people the ride with 02 seem to come out at a near death state, but Hiro was just fine? So may questions left unanswered but I’m sure Trigger and A-1 are going to deliver.