This week’s episode was about two things, acceptance and resolve. The entire structure of this episode was built around those premises. Plus, the one thing that the show runners have been building up has finally come to life. Yes, we get to see 02 and Hiro in action, piloting Strelitzia together in perfect unison and what a sight it was.
After the struggles of the previous battle last week, the team is looking for ways to regroup. Ichigo and Mitsuru especially. With Ichigo, it seems that she has come to terms with the fact that Hiro’s potential can only be brought out by 02. Accepting the fact that she will have to let her friend and secret love go into the arms of another woman. Despite telling him that riding with her could eventually kill him, we can make that judgement by simply looking at the broken and beaten Mitsuru, Hiro’s resolve and determination is as concrete as ever. He refuses to back down and insists that riding with 02 is the only way he can be of use. Making up his mind.
Mitsuru is definitely in a bad way as well. Physically his wounds are healing but mentally the image of 02 coming for him replays over and over in his head. There was a moment when he completely went outside of his character and begged Hiro not to ride with 02. Calling her a monster who wanted everything he had. From his body, his flesh, all the way down to his soul. It was a complete 180 in terms of character development. Nothing like being brought to the edge of death by a beautiful girl with pretty pink hair to change your whole perspective on life and question your purpose, right?
I found it interesting how after hearing Mitsuru’s testimony Hiro seemed to be second guessing himself about 02. His resolve started to waver a bit as we saw him automatically hide from her on sight. I wondered if he was beginning to see her as a monster, just like all of the other kids in the garden? It makes sense that they would all be afraid of her and not trust her like Hiro seems to. As team leader Ichigo explains to the others that Hiro has made his choice, despite what happened to Mitsuru. They all begin to wonder if Hiro will eventually leave with 02, due to the fact that she was being called back to the front lines by the higher-ups.
The episode picks up in action as another attacks unfolds on the plantation and the parasites are called to action once again. This time they refuse to lose. Even Mitsuru in his damaged state went and fought with his partner Ikuno, whom I have a lot of interest in and hope to learn more about as the story progresses. But still, the monster seemingly begins to overwhelm them, attempting to once again force Sterlitzia’s hand. But Hiro and 02’s pleas are crushed as soldiers come to collect 02 and she says good-bye to her darling.
Seeing his friends struggle, something stirs inside of Hiro and he rushes after 02. I thoughtit was good for Hiro’s character to finally show emotion for her. You can see that he has some underlying feelings for her, other than just wanting to pilot a FranXX together. After hearing his traditional anime boy with feelings for the beautiful main character, she attacks the guards. Well I should say she destroys that guards with amazing hand to hand combat and ariel moves.
She finally gets to Hiro and subtly confesses to him as well. I’ve seen this a lot in anime. You can convey a lot of feelings between characters with just a few words, gestures or carefully crafted sentences. Going against their leaders’ orders, the two kids jump in Sterlitiza and head into battle. Now, this is hands down my favorite part of the episode because we finally get to see 02 and Hiro in action together and it was amazing. Seeing 02 in the pistil position looking back at Hiro, confident that he can ride with her was great. Just seeing how happy he was that he was actually able to pilot a FranXX was great. All of the doubt people had in him was about to completely erased.
These two characters feed off of each other so well. It’s like they are meant to be together in every way imaginable, their synergy is off the charts. Although, there was something that Hiro said that was obviously a not so subtle sexual innuendo and it completely threw me off, it wasn’t needed at all in this episode. But the mecha fight scene completely slipped that out of my mind.
There was a frame right before Strelitzia killed the monster, where Ichigo was so happy and relived that Hiro was finally doing what he was meant to do. But in that split second you can see 02 smile through the mecha at Ichigo in her mecha. That smile was basically saying “he’s mine now” to Ichigo. You could see her smile turn into a frown and I thought that added bonus was extremely well down by the show runners. It was the icing on the perfectly made cake that was episode 4.
Overall I thought this week’s episode was the best so far. We continue to move at a steady pace while receiving lots of meat to chew on in the meantime. These characters are slowly growing into themselves and learning more about who they are and what they want as individuals.
I just hope that more of the squad gets a little more air-time and opportunities to shine. Other than that I couldn’t find anything wrong with this addition to the series. I’m just really excited to see what happens next week, especially now that it’s officially confirmed that Hiro is the only one who is 100% compatible with 02. Which is amazing because she’s not even human, so what does that make Hiro? I guess we’ll have to keep watching to find out.