I don’t usually get caught up in the more fickle sides of the anime community, and the places they reside on social media. However, episode 14’s ‘Ichigo Controversy’ has spread over into my abodes like a wild, vicious, unscrupulous parasite, latching onto and polluting everything it comes into contact with…
the ‘Ichigo Controversy?’
People hate Ichigo because she shot down Zero Two’s relationship with Hiro in episode 14.
(Oh… you thought there was more? Some deep-rooted controversy? Nah, that’s it. What? You don’t get it? Me neither…)
In terms of why… well, because Zero Two is the lead, she is idolised, she is ‘best girl’, she is our Darling. Fair enough, all of this may be true to varying degrees, depending on who you are, and what you enjoy. Regardless, every aspect of Zero Two is intentional – as a character, she is supposed to impart all of these feelings, dare I say, these desires. The audience, and the community in general (given the breadth and influence of social media – even more so regarding the Western anime demographic) are meant to feel all these things for her; to even be coerced into being on her side. After all, studios are far from stupid. They know exactly what to push our way – especially from two studios like TRIGGER and A-1 Pictures.
Nothing is by chance. Nothing is a mistake.
That was something my Film Studies tutor taught me in regards to film ( and directorship) when I was around 16-17 – something which I’ve never forgotten, and will never forget.
Brief Explanations of… Character
This is the crux of the issue for me. What makes a character a character? The things they do, the ways they act, their personalities, their relationships, their distinct individual perspectives, and their perceptions of the things around them. Of course, I could go on, but I think the point is clear enough already.
I mean, it’s not even unique in any regard whatsoever. We had the exact same thing over 20 years ago in Neon Genesis Evangelion. In a roundabouts way, it’s a simple love triangle we see in every form of media. After all, is loving someone who loves another not one of the most basic human frustrations? Something we can – more or less – all relate to.
Characters are not meant to be perfect… ever.
Why would a person want them to be? Perfection, well, it is dull and inane. If a character is perfect, where is there left to go? Where is there any room for anything that resembles character development? What would be the point? I think both Zero Two and Ichigo are great characters, as I think episode 14 was a great episode. It shows the inter-personal relationships of the characters. It illuminates Ichigo’s long-standing love for Hiro. More than anything, it shows Zero Two’s human side – her ability to love, and feel desire beyond that of a Stamen she can use. Darling in the Franxx is not solely about fighting Klaxosaurs, it’s about the character drama while doing so, and how this ruminates through everything else.
At the end of the day, not everything exists to please your self-righteous hedonism. If you want endless masturbatory moe, ecchi, and self-insert characterisation, there are plenty of shows to fill that shallow part of your life (there are far too many every season, take your pick). Only… Darling in the Franxx certainly isn’t one of them. Something which episode 14 clearly demonstrates.
Frankly, it’s MENTAL, MAD, LUNACY, that this is even a thing, that this has managed to permeate so far throughout the community. I refuse to look into it too much. I don’t know where all this discourse originated, though It’s no stretch of the imagination to believe it was on Reddit’s r/anime board; before it moved over onto the more dicey corners of Twitter, with #bitchigo…
It’s even gone as far as Ichigo’s voice actress, Kana Ichinose receiving death threats for her role in Darling in the Franxx. A notion that simply will not enter my brain… How toxic, how insidious, how shit of a ‘human being’ do you have to be to pursue those things, never mind think them in the first place. She’s a voice actress. She’s reading lines in front of a microphone, that’s it. It’s Kana’s job. Christ, she doesn’t have to like Ichigo, she doesn’t even have to like Darling in the Franxx. The notion is complete madness.
There’s no reasoning with these people who actually believe these ideas, and…. the inherent problem lay within…
It might as well be a fact: The anime community has a rod of entitlement shoved firmly up its arse. The worst thing… I don’t even know why? Why do these people think everything must align with their skewed, egocentric opinion of what ‘should be,’ instead of what is. Anime doesn’t exist to please you. Of course, it is there to entertain you; however, these two are not one of the same. Everything cannot appeal to everyone – that’s why there’s so much variety out there; something for everyone.
I suppose a lot of people are like this, not just those in our communities – it would be ignorant to believe that. It is the platform they have for it that makes it so easy, so visible, and in the end, so divisive. That very last thing gets to me: splitting the community apart when we need to bring it together.
(Just as a minor disclaimer: I’m not saying Darling in the Franxx is the best show in the world, because that isn’t true. These are just a set of thoughts on episode 14, how character is presented, and how this is received in the wider community).
What are your opinions?
Thanks for reading, as always!
-Chris (Follow me on Twitter and consider supporting Peach’s Almanac on Patreon!)