Interview with DARLING in the FRANXX Creators: Franxx, TRIGGER, and Zero Two!

Interview: Atsushi Nishigori, Masayoshi Tanaka, and Yuichi Fukushima at Crunchyroll Expo 2018

At Crunchyroll Expo 2018, the creators of DARLING in the FRANXX, Atsushi Nishigori, Masayoshi Tanaka, and Yuichi Fukushima, held panels discussing the anime’s creation. They also granted an hour-long interview, covering topics such as the project’s concept, production, and designs.

Collaboration between A-1 and TRIGGER: Nishigori mentioned that he wanted to gather his favorite staff members and create something together. Since GAINAX (where Nishigori used to work) excelled at action and giant robot anime, while A-1 was known for everyday life and subtle dramas, he felt combining these strengths would allow him to realize his vision.

Conceptualizing the series: The concept for DARLING in the FRANXX emerged from the staff Nishigori had gathered and his desire to explore a unique fusion of robots and everyday life. The concept developed after assembling the team.

Juggling multiple roles: As the director, storyboard artist, and writer, Nishigori took on several major roles in the project. He initially handled most of the work himself to effectively communicate his vision to the staff, allowing them to understand his intentions before executing their own ideas.

Evolution of the mecha designs: The early robot designs were more traditional, but the team wanted to incorporate the essence of everyday life and emotions into the characters. This led to brainstorming sessions that transformed the mecha into more organic forms, symbolizing the unity of robots and pilots.

Collaboration between character and mech design: There was a strong collaboration between the character and mech design teams to ensure cohesive visuals. The mech designs incorporated elements inspired by girls’ clothing, adding beauty and unique aesthetics to the series.

Working with multiple studios: The production involved collaboration between A-1 and TRIGGER, with the director and main staff occasionally meeting at each studio. However, most of the production work was carried out separately, with efforts made to synchronize and harmonize the two studios’ different processes.

Designing Zero Two: Zero Two’s design aimed to make her stand out as a recognizable centerpiece of the cast. The team wanted her to be iconic, incorporating elements such as pink hair, eye shadow, and distinctive features.

Intention behind True Apus: The concept for True Apus, Zero Two’s final form, was to create her most beautiful state. The idea of her wearing a wedding gown was chosen to depict her ultimate form.

Reflections on societal issues: While DARLING in the FRANXX portrays a world facing challenges like the loss of reproductive ability and environmental destruction, Nishigori clarified that these elements were not meant as social commentary. Instead, they were included to set the stage for the protagonists’ upbringing and the conditions they faced.

Balancing perfection and humanity: The series aimed to explore the imperfections and emotions of being human. While the 9s were portrayed as perfect, the team wanted to emphasize the value of being human, with all its emotions, rather than striving for perfection.

Confidence in the production: Although mecha series using 2D animation are becoming rarer in the industry, DARLING in the FRANXX approached the project with confidence. The team aimed to create a warm and character-focused experience, combining big robot action with relatable characters.

Reception from overseas fans: The creators were pleasantly surprised by the passionate reaction from overseas fans. The overseas audience’s voice seemed louder, and the simultaneous release of the series helped bridge the gap between Japanese and international fans. This experience opened their minds to the global audience and the potential to create content for a broader range.

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