One of the most talked-about anime to come out of 2018, Darling of the Franxx continued that tradition of modern mecha anime of being an amazing science fiction show that tries to tackle themes of indoctrination, oppression, and loyalty.
Whilst also using a big robot to punch your space dinosaur problems away. And all of this, with a dash of romance and horniness being thrown in for good measure.
Joking aside, Darling of the Franxx was easily one of the most popular series to come out of the anime season of that year and was a media sensation when it was first dropped on us.
Everyone seemed to be watching it. Hell, if Kim Kardashian was watching, then it must have been doing something right to be seen by so many people!
With such a hype series coming to a close, as well as having an ending that no one could stop talking about (for better or for worse), many people are wondering when the next season is going to be ready for viewing by the anime and wider community.
With a few years of next to nothing for us to go on, outside a marketing and merchandise mega-machine, many fans have been wondering if there will even be a second season.
Well, we’re here to try to settle a few of these rumors, and tell you everything you’re going to need to know for what to expect from a potential season 2 of Darling of the Franxx.
By discussing how and why this series was created, as well as what exactly made it such a hit in the first place, we might be able to glean some of the things that might be further explored in a potential second season, as well as just some things that we’d like to see the series do going forward.
There’s plenty to cover, so let’s get started!
A Brief Introduction To Darling Of The Franxx
Before we start speculating as to what Studio Trigger, A-1 Pictures, and CloverWorks might have in the works for the future of this series, we should probably start by catching everyone up to speed on what exactly this show is, and what it is about.
It has been a couple of years since this show was first released, remember, so some of the details are sure to have slipped out of the audience’s minds.
So, in this series, the breakthroughs in mining technology allowed the use of the Earth’s magma to become a viable energy alternative that now powers much of humanity’s technology.
Many of the individuals responsible for these discoveries formed the organization ‘APE’ and has since gone on to influence and control what is left of human civilization.
Oh yeah, did we mention that human civilization is almost gone in this world?
Whilst these technological breakthroughs have been happening, humanity has been brought to the brink of destruction by giant monsters known as Klaxosaurs.
Giant reptilian creatures that have brought about the apocalypse and the end of human civilization as we knew it (you know, just anime stuff).
To stave off extinction, humanity retreated to great mobile cities to protect themselves from extinction.
At the same time, APE managed to discover that by injecting humans with magma energy, they were able to make a person immortal, at the cost of making them infertile (turns out magma and gametes don’t mix.
Who would’ve thought?). Much of the remaining human adult population chooses to become immortal, but renders most of them infertile.
As a means to combat the Klaxosaurs, humanity develops giant robots that can fight the monsters, but found that they require a boy-girl pair of pilots that still can reproduce to control them. (Again, typical anime stuff.)
Because of this, new children are cloned and are forced to learn to pilot the Franxx and fight on behalf of humanity, whilst simultaneously being ostracized from the wider human society.
Being known as ‘parasites’ by the wider human population, and are not allowed to partake in everyday human life, being forced to spend their lives in ‘birdcage’, with their only purpose being to fight on behalf of those that created and shunned them in the first place.
So, to recap, giant monsters almost destroyed humanity, humanity is now in massive moving cities, also known as ‘plantations’, where their survival rests on the shoulders of children that they call ‘parasites’.
(In case you wanted to know if these human civilization remnants were supposed to be happy places.)
The main focus of the series is on experimental squad 13, a team of 10 parasites that are graduating from training to become full-fledged pilots.
One of the trainees, a washout whose designation is Code:016, also known as Hiro, was formally an excellent pilot who showed great promise, before losing his ability to synchronize and pilot with his partner parasite.
As he misses his class’s graduation, he meets Zero Two, who is both an expert Franxx pilot and is a hybrid human/Klaxosaur, whose Franxx pilots have all seemed to die after their 3 synchronizations.
After their meeting, the graduation of Hiro’s class is interrupted by a Klaxosaur attack, killing Hiro’s old partner, and spurring him to volunteer as Zero Two’s new partner, to which she announces that she has found her ‘darling’.
And can you believe that that is the short version of the introduction? As we mentioned before, Darling of the Franxx tries to tackle a massive array of different ideas through its world-building and characters.
So it’s only natural that the introduction itself would be a little on the heavier side of things.
The Production Of Darling Of The Franxx
From a production standpoint, Darling of the Franxx has a backstory that makes it pretty easy to see why people took notice of what could have otherwise been an otherwise run-of-the-mill standard mecha anime series.
For one thing, the studios and creative talent that were involved in the creation of this series were all seasoned animation producers and creators.
Darling of the Franxx was a collaboration between several mainstays of the modern anime industry, being produced by both A-1 Pictures and Trigger Studios.
A-1 Pictures has been behind the production and creation of many hit anime adaptations since its formation in 2005, with series such as Black Butler and Fairy Tail being some of their biggest hits in the first 5 years.
As well as several original works such as Zenmai Samurai and Sound of the Sky being just a few of their most well-known series.
Trigger is a studio that needs virtually no introduction to many anime fans of the last 10 years.
Being formed in 2011, Studio Trigger was formed by former employees of the legendary anime studio Gainax studios, famous for a variety of iconic original anime series and properties that have become staples of the medium, such as Gunbuster, The Secret of Blue Water, and FLCL.
They are also for two of the most iconic mecha anime in the last 30 years, Neon Genesis Evangelion and Gurren Lagann.
The director of Gurren Lagann, Hiroyuki Imaishi, would leave Gainax Studios to found Trigger with fellow employee Masahiro Otsuka in 2011.
Since its formation, the new studio has since gone on to create some of the most iconic original anime in the last 10 years, with series such as Kill la Kill, Little Witch Academia, Space Patrol Luluco, and the movie Promare among other works.
Even collaborating with Lucasfilm Studios to create several episodes for Star Wars: Visions.
Studio trigger is known for its incredible animation and action sequences, featuring over-the-top feats of strength and agility, and gorgeously rendered explosions.
(You can see why there may have been some hype for this series!)
Darling of the Franxx was also animated by CloverWorks, a studio that has been incredibly prolific since being formed and rebranded from Koenji Studios in 2018, with Darling in the Franxx being one of the first major works that they have become well known for.
As you can see, the sheer number of different studios that worked on this series has quite the star power attached to it.
What Made Darling And The Franxx Such A Hit?
As speculation on a new Darling of the Franxx season picks up, it is also important to remember what exactly made this series such a hit with so many people in the first place.
After all, why be hyped about a continuation of this story if there was nothing to be invested in from the first season?
A Timely New Mecha Anime
It cannot be overstated what the timing of the announcement and release of a show can do to help get interested in an anime started on the right foot, and the same is true for considering the anime and media landscape that Darling of the Franxx was released into
For the last 20 years, the anime industry had been rapidly expanding since the 2000s and 2010s, with more anime being produced, created, and adapted now than ever.
This interest in itself would be a cause for interest, but this surge in its popularity is also boosted by the growth of the global anime market The international market of anime, as well as its influences, has been slowly gaining traction across the world.
One of the biggest action blockbuster films of 2013, Pacific Rim, was as much an homage to classic Japanese monster/kaiju and mecha movies and series.
As much as it was an homage to classic over-the-top American action and disaster movies that had been popular in the previous decade.
With such a worldwide boom in the interest and love for both anime in general and mecha anime more specifically, you would imagine that there would be a similar boom in the number of new mecha properties.
At the very least, you would expect at least some new properties to be made.
However, that doesn’t seem to have been the case. Whilst there have been plenty of excellent entries into the mecha anime genre from established franchises in the last 10 or so years.
Such as the several Mobile Suit Gundam series that have been released, as well as the highly-anticipated.
If somewhat sporadically released Rebuild of Evangelion film series, the number of new mecha properties has been somewhat thin on the ground.
Whilst several series such as Aldnoah-Zero seemed to show promise, and certainly have their strengths and fans, they seemed to fail to capture the public’s attention in the same way that classic mecha series did on their first release.
This might be important for most anime series that are made, but it is especially the case for anime original properties to make that crucial first impression.
With no existing property to help sell the pitch for a new show, getting quality original works of anime is already difficult at the best of times, much less for something as seeming niche as mecha anime.
A show that fails to leave an impact, or worse, fails to sell well, only makes the whole process more difficult.
Then along comes Darling of the Franxx.
With interesting and eye-catching character designs, a premise that seems to both play with establish mecha clichés.
As well as do something original with its concepts, and having excellent overall animation, both inside and out of fight sequences, being released towards the tail-end of the 2010s, it certainly drew the public’s eye.
Add to the fact that there was little to no other major competition from other series in the same genre.
And was the first new anime original mecha property to catch the public’s attention since perhaps Gurren Lagann even, it’s little wonder that the first impression of this show was a resounding ‘Wow!’.
A Fleshed Out World And Characters
Of course, a neat concept and flashy designs will only carry you so far when it comes to the anime industry. You can’t just get a running head start from the get-go and call it a day, you have to run the full marathon in the first place.
In that respect, Darling of the Franxx could only get to where it did by actually putting in the legwork to make a world that you wanted to see more of.
A story that you wanted to see unfold, and characters that were compelling enough to fulfill that story effectively.
The themes of Darling in the Franxx are as numerous and interesting as they are confusing for newcomers to take in and see for themselves.
The show effectively uses the setting of its world to convey topics such as the loss of innocence as the protagonists and cast go out into the world and fight the Klaxosaurs and see for themselves the bloody they have been born and raised for.
As well as coming to term with what their superiors and elders have asked of, or rather, ordered them to do.
As well as establishing themselves as young teenagers and individuals outside their capacity as soldiers that serve others, or as ‘parasites’.
There is also a great deal of effort in both the writing and animation that makes the characters of the series question the place and role of authority in their lives, both in a literal sense.
With their superior’s judgment and morality being brought into question, and challenging unchecked religious authority, as they question the integrity of the papa.
The leader of the organization known as APE, is worshiped as a god by the remnants of human populations that still survive.
Being children that are transitioning into adulthood, the themes of coming to terms and understanding your sexual identity.
As their feelings for others begin to develop into more than simple crushes and affection, and form genuine, long-lasting relationships, both platonically as friendships forged in the heat of battle, and romantic ones too.
There’s even a surprising amount of discussion on same-sex relationships, without necessarily falling into fan service and old tropes as other anime series have done on occasion.
The series also places a great emphasis on the bonds of friendship and camaraderie that come with the shared traumatic experience that these young characters face.
After all, would it be a true anime if there wasn’t at least a little power of friendship involved in saving the day?
And that isn’t even talking about world-building, either! From the classification of different types of Klaxosaurs, to how the use of Magma energy is applied and used by the various organization in the setting.
As well as the training process that the parasites go through to become pilots.
There’s plenty that audiences can sink their teeth into with this series, whether it’s the character drama, the action sequences, or understanding how this world operates.
Whilst the premise may have been what got people hooked and come to their screens in the first place, it was these aspects that made people stay tuned in to find out how it was all going to play out.
Continued Interest With The Manga Series
Being a franchise, Darling in the Franxx has been advertised and created for multiple mediums and platforms.
One of the most successful pieces of media that have come out of the series so far, aside from the anime itself, is the accompanying manga series that was released.
Illustrated by experienced manga artist Kentaro Yabuki, the manga follows a very similar storyline to the main series but begins to differ in quite substantial ways following the conclusion of the third volume.
Extending beyond the scope that the anime series established in its 24-episode run.
Whilst that may seem like a negative if you were a fan of the main series’ story, there are fans of the anime out there who felt somewhat dissatisfied with the change in direction that the show took following on from the 16th episode onwards.
The fact that the story starts to divert to tell its version of events may have made the series even more satisfying for some readers.
And, more importantly, the sales of the manga that continued after the anime’s run time had concluded helped keep interest in the series going.
In Japan alone, the manga has sold surprisingly well, with around 400,000 copies being sold, and a North American publication date being announced last year in July 2021.
This ongoing commitment to help advertise the series has helped stop the series from becoming another flash in the pan anime that may have otherwise fizzled and burned out in terms of interest.
The Star Power Involved
Again, we cannot overstate just how much prestige this production of this series carries with it, especially from the production and animation studios involved.
It is quite likely because of this wealth of proven experience that we ended up getting an original series like this. This also goes for the creative team themselves.
The principal director of the series, Atsushi Nishigori, has been involved in Studio Trigger and Gainax productions for almost 20 years at that point.
And had directing and character designing credits for a variety of different projects, from Gurren Lagann to other notable anime movies such as Your Name.
One of the most popular anime movies of 2016, and even worked on the seminal Studio Ghibli movie Spirited Away.
Its Impact On Social Media
Whilst this is by no means the first anime to gain traction online (it is how the genre became popular in many countries in Europe and across the Americas, after all).
Darling in the Franxx may have found some of the most surprising fans on social media in recent memory.
If superstars in the public eye like Kim Kardashian are taking inspiration from Zero Two for their hairstyles, as well as posting about it online, this opens up even more people to be made aware of shows, like they were with Darling in the Franxx.
Many people even pointed to this example as proof that anime had finally moved out of the realm as a medium purely for nerds and otaku fans.
And whilst we might disagree with the specifics of that sentiment, it certainly felt like it was a major moment to have one of the most famous names in the world of celebritie.
Have their fashion decisions influenced by what was once the sort of thing that only terminally online people watched, and became something that anyone could enjoy.
And many people, thanks to this exposure, might have to thank Darling in the Franxx to thank for that.
Is There A Release Date For Darling Of The Franxx Season 2?
So, with all of that background information out of the way, has there been a confirmed release date for a potential second season?
Well, this is where we have been frustratingly left to speculate for ourselves on this one.
Since the airing of the final episode of the first season on July 7th, 2018, outside the release of the manga adaptation, we have heard next to no news of a potential second season on the horizon.
Fans and anime news commentators have speculated wildly as to why the silence has been so deafening.
Many speculate that it was because of the mixed reception that the conclusion of the series left us made the producer studios of A-1 Pictures and Studio Trigger somewhat unsure whether a second season would be received well.
Many fans haven’t accepted this as a satisfying answer, however, as, besides the first have been almost universally loved, the final episodes were still watched by a massive audience, and merchandise for the series did sell relatively well.
Certainly enough to want to continue making a potential second season, if only for more merchandising opportunities.
A second reason that is often given, and this seems more probable, is that the first season ended on such a note of finality.
With the main antagonist being beaten, and almost everyone got happily ever after endings, that a second season might feel like it has nothing to do, and certainly no big bad to fight at that.
Hope For A Second Season?
However, that isn’t to say that there is no reason to hope for more of Darling in the Franxx.
For one thing, the continued sales of the manga, and the publishing rights being given in North America, suggest that there is enough investment from fans to continue pushing the series, as we previously mentioned.
There is also the fact that, despite the lack of news for renewal, there doesn’t seem to have been a denial from either producer studio.
Which has led to some pretty rampant fan speculation that there will be an announcement or statement at some point in the future of some kind of continuation for stories in this world.
What Plot Will Might The Second Season Have?
Of course, there is an elephant in the room for a potential second-season plot that we have already mentioned in a previous section.
Most of the characters ended their stories on pretty definitive notes or ended up sacrificing themselves to save the Earth, thanks to the conclusion section in the season finale.
This leaves the question of what the second season could focus on.
Fortunately, there are a few different avenues the series could go down for a potential season 2:
The Time Before The Epilogue
Fans will be aware that, between the final battle of the first season, and the epilogue chapter that we saw, there is a ten-year gap of time that has been left unexplored.
If the series wanted to keep the same characters, they could easily explore them further in this large period.
Perhaps there could be an exploration of Ichigo and Goro’s relationship as they gather supplies to help rebuild the world.
Given that both had feelings for Hiro, it could be a great source of character drama to explore how his self-sacrifice has affected them both.
Alternatively, we could follow the story of Ikuno, as she struggles to find a cure for the parasite’s advanced aging, whilst coming to terms with her own mortality.
A New Time Or Place
The other main option that could also create an interesting storyline is simply starting from scratch.
Thanks to the alien invasion that season one ended on, we know that there is an entire galaxy out there to explore the potential.
Perhaps it is an alien world that the VIRM never got to in their conquest, or even one that they did annihilate, and the story focuses on them attempting to rebuild their lives and their planet.
Alternatively, the story could still take place on Earth, but in a different period. It could be a sequel set decades or centuries in the future, in a recovered world.
Alternatively, it could be a prequel series, set during the initial fall of humanity, as the first Franxx is built, and we follow the very first parasites and their struggles.
When it comes to this universe, the possibilities are pretty much endless!
So, to conclude, whilst we don’t know exactly when there might be another season of Darling in the Franxx released or announced, there is certainly enough reason to hope for more from this iconic series.