Darling In The Franxx Is A Gainax Anime

As an anime fan, I’ve always found myself loyal to certain studios, based on the great works they’ve made in the past. Like JC Staff, for their amazing Toradora! And Index/Railgun, or Kyoto Animation, for consistently raising the technical bar while bringing us groundbreaking works like Haruhi, K-On! and Clannad. Another studio I’ve always loved is Gainax, who not only made many of the most memorable series of my “anime childhood” but defined much of modern otaku culture over the years. And I enjoyed the latest “Gainax” anime, Darling in the Franxx, too!

Gainax exploded onto the scene with their masterpiece Wings of Honneamise, a visually stunning film about the space program of a fictional country on a fictional planet. After defining the very idea of what an otaku was in their seminal Otaku no Video, they found popularity (but no money) with Nadia of the Mysterious Seas, then found money (and got busted for tax evasion) with Evangelion. They went on to make many other great works, like FLCL and Panty and Stocking and Gurren Lagann. But all was not happy in Gainax-land, and Hideki Anno, creator of the company’s “old guard” titles, made his own company Khara, followed by the departure of Hiroyuki Imaishi, who was involved with FLCL, Diebuster, Panty and Stocking and Gurren Lagann. He went on to create Studio Trigger, which made Darling in the Franxx (along with Studio A10), embedding a bit of the old Gainax soul in the new work.

From the beginning, it was clear Darling was paying homage to its roots, from the Eva-inspired design of the cast to the “pop psychology” that showed up in the character relationships, continuing a tradition started with the appearance of the Soviet Gunbuster pilot named Jung Freud. But as the series progressed, it started riffing on Gainax works left and right, complete with the obsessive use of subtitles to communicate story settings and the structure of organizations, the use of select phrases found in previous works that only ridiculously obsessive fans like me would catch, and the ending itself, which was the most perfect love letter to Aim for the Top: Gunbuster that could ever have been.

Did you like the Darling in the Franxx “Gainax” anime? How many previous Gainax titles have you watched, for comparison? Tell us on Twitter!

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About the author

Peter Payne

I live in Japan and I run J-List, an anime shop famous for shimapan and Tentacle Grape. I love being able to bring Japanese culture to the world.