Episode 10 – “The City of Eternity”
DarliFra resumes the tour of its ensemble cast, this time highlighting Zorome, the baby-brained brat. Code Name 666–a moniker chosen by Papa for the hellish torment his loud-mouthed antics inflict on even the most resilient minds. Following the lead of 666’s opening monologue, this reviewer “lets out a loud scream” at the thought of twenty straight minutes with the ahoge-headed punk.
The animation takes backwards baby steps episode-by-episode as the klaxxosaurs fall victim to shounen power creep–their inclusion in the show nothing more than a mecha Team Rocket encounter–a simple lunge of the shaft into the core now more than enough to induce blue vomit geysers.
The APE men reiterate their goal of leading Zero Two to the Grand Vagina. The re-revelation underpins Zero Two’s brooding for the majority of the episode as she senses Papa’s hand upon her destiny and chafes at the idea of tests and Crevasses and whatnot.
Skip forward to Plantation Parliament HQ–the land of impractical headgear designs and fake rewards. Papa patronizes the 13s and gives them glorified gold stars (and sick unreturned-handshake burns) which leads to a blood-surge in Zorome’s gerbil-cerebrum. As an added bonus, the Overlords let their child-slaves go for a stroll around the dystopia.
Despite Papa and the APE’s micromanaging every aspect of the Parasites’ day, Zorome escapes from the pack, wanders off, and enters the home of an “adult.” He proceeds to absorb a wealth of information he should not know–like the fact that “adult” humans have devolved into artificially preserved, chemical-gobbling, soulless husks.
Zorome’s encounter with the old lady steers the show further away from its nascent sex metaphors. The Parasites’ quest now firmly revolves around unpacking heterosexual, gender normative relationships, deepening the chasm between the first four episodes and the rest of the series. The writers hint at interesting developments (the inner-working of the “adult world” and the ominous end of the Parasites’ life) without imbuing the episode itself with substantive developments.
DarliFra goes Full Dystopia–a change from the slice-of-life path it frequently treads, but a lukewarm one. Viewers can find prophecies of drug-dependent, old age-hating societies in which “adults” breed children in laboratories and control their sexual development in Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World–a better formulated and more coherent narrative than Nishigori’s. DarliFra‘s writers only offer flash-in-the-pan attempts at depth and clunky pacing–clipped spurts of action punctuated by either contrived sci-fi themes or sentimental schlock.
Unfortunately, the writers decide against killing Zorome off at the end of the episode. Nevertheless, a sense of relief washes over this reviewer from the realization that the bottom-most character’s twenty minutes of fame has passed. Yet a specter of dread chases it away: Nishigori confirms his intention to drag us through a flavor-of-the-week character study–a tedious documentary mini-series featuring Miku, Kokoro, Ikuno, Mitsuru, and Futoshi. After that? Obligatory mech upgrades? Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Crevasse? The possibilities are endless.
And, please remember:
~ Don’t Shoot the Messenger