We were in a hurry to get moving again, this boy and I, though we didn’t know where we should run. Parts of the snow were frozen over and slippery. When I tripped and fell, the ice and the tree root it tore off a bit of my scarlet skin. The boy was alarmed, seeing the blue blood. Immediately, he began licking the open wound, and it was an action I understood. It was the act of a beast caring for its loved one.
I made a sound and pointed to my pretty picture book on the ground. I was trying to tell the boy that he was like the prince in the story. That’s when he told me that when he we got out of this mess, we would be together forever. “And you will be my Darling.” The exact meaning of those words were lost on me, but the feeling in it was clear. He, the beautiful prince, loved me, the beast. I never forgot that word: “Darling.”
The character of Zero Two is beautiful and amazing. She is one of my top 20 favorite female anime characters, the reason I watched Darling in the Franxx, and the reason I still love the show despite some serious faults. I adore and spend time analyzing this character, her personality, her past, and her progression. But for now, let’s focus on one particular part of her story.
Zero Two’s childhood encounter with Hiro, an immensely powerful event, contributed significantly to her identity. It was a formative experience. (Perhaps you can think of an experience or encounter in your childhood that shaped who you are and what you want to this day.) What was this unique occurrence like for Zero Two? For the beast girl who had been treated so horribly all her life?
A young native creature (a Klaxxosaur) was held captive and cruelly experimented on by beings that had invaded from another planet. They called the Klaxxosaur “Zero Zero Ni.” She was subject to pain, fear, stress, isolation, and imposed restraints as she grew from a small child to a young woman. Once, she managed to escape captivity briefly thanks to the help of a human boy. As he spent time with her, the boy, Hiro, showed care and affection, and gave the monster-girl many new experiences and much knowledge.
He let her outside to experience the outdoors for the first time in her memory. He didn’t get angry or fight when she bit him; in fact, the boy petted her head. Hiro gave the girl the name “Zero Two,” which she liked. Her bare, cold feet were warmed up when the boy wrapped cloth coverings around them. He gave her the taste of a sweet candy, the sound of the words in the storybook as he read them, and the feel of his side and shoulder to lie against and rest.
Zero Two and Hiro were soon captured again. But the princely boy had imparted three things of particular note to the beast-girl: hope, love, and purpose. Firstly, he gave her interest in life: in herself, others, and the world. This interest in life can also be described as desire to live, learn, and grow, expecting something better down the road. Secondly, Hiro provided Zero Two with her first real taste of loving care. Finally, Zero Two was endowed with a specific goal– to become more “human.”
It was only one meeting, a day or two of wonder and hope, adventure and love, among the many years of pain and inhumane treatment. But this one occurrence changed everything. Zero Two began her journey to be a Klaxxosaur fighter, riding in a Franxx. She must become as close to human as possible, so that she would one day meet Hiro again… and so that she wouldn’t be like the beast in the story, who ate her Darling Prince.
It was all because Hiro climbed that tree, broke that window, and extended his hand to the captive beast-girl. Because he shared his patience, his body warmth, and his sweet candy. Because he gave her a name. Because he licked her wound and called her “Darling.” Sometimes, a single unexpected encounter can shape the course of one’s destiny.
It’s my desire (and eventual intention) to write much more content about Zero Two, including further analysis of her past and her encounter with Hiro. However, this is about all I have in me to put forward right now. I hope you enjoyed reading. Thank you very much for stopping by at Anime Rants. Here, have a piece of candy.
Images Credit: Darling in the Franxx. A Nishigori. Studio Trigger. 2017.