Since most of my Mecha March material is looking toward the past, let’s break the mold of that and talk about the other Christmas ghosts. You know, the present and future. As of right now, 2018 is a lot better of a year for mech anime then the previous few. Why? Because there are going to be more shows of course. Kuromukuro with some Knights of Sidonia was fun in 2016, but that was about all that came out that year. Right now, a mostly original work, even though it is borrowing a lot of ideas from EVA, is airing from the joint venture of A-1 Pictures and Studio Trigger. Its name is Darling in the FranXX. That show is going to continue onto this next season, where two other mech shows are going to appear. You know, Fullmetal Panic: Invisible Victory and Gundam Build Divers. Then I heard rumors about a Zoids series airing in the summer. I should also mention the Gundam OVAs that is going to finish up this year, Gundam the Origin. There might even be a Code Geass R3, if the rumors are true. I’ve also heard some things about an original mech series that is airing in the summer on twitter, but I haven’t seen that on an anime news site yet. The only thing we don’t know what is happening in fall, but maybe there will be some unique surprises waiting for us. Who knows what the future holds?
First, let’s talk about Darling in the FranXX. I have some real mixed feelings about the show. Even if my opinions about FranXX are generally positive, this show has a lot of issues that it needs to work out. For example, the show is extremely slow with what it’s trying to achieve. Everything about Darling in the FranXX is insanely teenagery in the way it presents its characters and its story. I mean, Darling had a beach episode and a fanservice slice of life episode in the middle of this cour instead of developing more intrigue into the world that Darling in the Franxx takes place in or giving us more information about who the people that are leading our pilots and forcing them to take missions are. Yes, there have been some episodes focusing on some of this recently, but it seems like too little too late in some ways. Because of these things, it doesn’t feel like Darling in the Franxx has any particular direction right now. My finale opinion of this show weighs on the fact that this show knows where it is going. I also feel like Darling should move onto bigger action set pieces and have more fights against Klaxosaurs. This a mech show after all. I want to see more actiony stuff, not just have them be beginning of the episode stingers. The latest episode was pretty fun in that actiony way. The action is great and well-choreographed when you see it.
So, let’s speak about somethings that don’t bother me about this show. The pilot characterization for one, besides Futoshi and Hiro. To me, instead of focusing on a single character and bringing up the characterization of one person, Darling in the FranXX decided to do something to what Grimgar did and bring everybody up at the same time. It’s a very slow and annoying approach for some to be sure, but I kind of like it. Admittedly, I do think that Hiro is a very boring main character, because he’s a plot vehicle instead of a character, but I admit some other characters would take the hit if it wasn’t Hiro. I also don’t mind the lack of subtlety that Darling in the FranXX is famous for right now. I would rather have all of the ideas out in the forefront, instead of Darling in the FranXX trying to act smarter than it actually is and keeping ideas to itself with bad reveals of its lack luster ideas later on. Darling in the FranXX knows that it is a dumb show, which is what I admire about it. It’s far from flawless, but that’s ok. Nothing is completely flawless. I just wish that this show had more grit to it, but maybe that will all happen in the later half of the show. Let’s see what happens from here on, because it seems like everything is going somewhere. I just hope it’s an interesting somewhere.
And all about those other shows, all of them are already attached to proven franchises. Fullmetal Panic is going to have an audience because a lot of us have been waiting for a continuation for years. It seems to have hit the right sweet spot in either have an immediate sequel or having it long enough for people with nostalgic value to have interest in the franchise again. Maybe I should comment on that again on a blog post in the future. It’s almost the same for Zoids, because that’s a franchise that hasn’t had an installment in a long time also. Even if Zoids Wild is an original for this franchise, I bet a lot of people that excited about it come from us toonami watchers. Then there is Code Geass R3 and I think we all have some opinions on that. If I’m wrong about these things, let me know. Gundam Build Divers, in the meantime, is a newer addition to a newer franchise. I think that also speaks for itself. The only thing that I am unsure about is that supposed “original” mech series that was talked about on twitter Friday. We hall see what happens with that.
At this moment, the future of the mech franchise is being held by popular franchises and a small amount of original works. I hope that something sticks that will push the somewhat dwindling life of the mecha genre into the public eye again. Darling in the FranXX seems to be doing that somewhat, so maybe I don’t have to worry about that too much. Still, I don’t know what effect that show is having on the mecha genre as a whole. Other shows have accomplished what Darling have done before on a sexual front. Those series being Captain Earth, Aqaurion Evol, Valvrave, and quite a few others. Darling in the Franxx is just another variation of this, but getting more attention by having the Studio Trigger name behind it all. Still, I am pretty happy about this year. More new mecha shows to watch! I just need to watch them alongside the older mech series that I still need to watch. I consider all of this a good thing.