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ANNCast - FRANXXly my Darling, I Don't Give A Damn


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Engineering Nerd



Joined: 24 Apr 2008
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PostPosted: Fri May 25, 2018 6:01 pm Reply with quote
I have to skip a few parts of the podcast to make sure I am not TOO spoiled on the plots I have not seen yet. Wink


One thing that makes me wonder and ultimately put this show on hold from episode 6 is: What exactly kind of message is this show trying to convey? From the six episodes I saw ( again, maybe there are more in the later episodes) , there aren’t too much Mecha actions and more emphasis is being put on character interactions, but I can actually feel there ARE something they are attempting to convey, or dare I say, some really controversial social and political commentary aside from sexual orientation , “having kids is great”, and political system stuff (shallow or deep is entirely another story)? (By the way, do they explore deep enough on the topics of gender relation and adolescence? Would be a huge shame if they play too safe)

Here is hoping that character drama can be enough to hold the candle, since from what I have seen, (decent) Mecha alone isn’t going to motivate me to finish this one of the hottest originals this season anytime soon.


Last edited by Engineering Nerd on Fri May 25, 2018 6:32 pm; edited 2 times in total
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BodaciousSpacePirate
It's Over 9000!It's Over 9000!


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PostPosted: Fri May 25, 2018 6:12 pm Reply with quote
The direct-download link doesn't seem to work for me.
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Zac
ANN Executive Editor


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PostPosted: Fri May 25, 2018 6:33 pm Reply with quote
BodaciousSpacePirate wrote:
The direct-download link doesn't seem to work for me.


All fixed up - thanks!
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Spastic Minnow
Bargain HunterBargain Hunter


Joined: 02 May 2006
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PostPosted: Fri May 25, 2018 6:34 pm Reply with quote
Middle of stream.

so there's a point that the meaning of life is to reproduce and the only way to have self-fulfillment is to have children...

Ah... Orson Scott Card wrote an anime.

Seriously, if you haven't read them (good choice) his later Ender's Shadow series has a gay character (who is a reformed cloning scientist) get married and explain exactly this idea to the hero, Bean.

In any case, I was the version of Zac who realized this was going badly, but was able to quit and happy to do so (and I seriously pissed off people for saying I didn't like it).
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Grimvice



Joined: 10 Aug 2017
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PostPosted: Fri May 25, 2018 7:06 pm Reply with quote
Right on, more upper middle-class white Americans getting mad and projecting American politics onto a cartoon made by a country that has nothing to do with the worldviews America has.

Darling in the Franxx has a fair amount of problems, in fact a lot of problems, but the show isn't even done yet and it's a little extreme to say it's propaganda.

Why not just wait it out before giving full judgement?

I also have to wonder if the writers and animators of the show are confused and anxious because a bunch of westerners are saying their series is doing something wrong on a moral level.
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NeverConvex



Joined: 08 Jun 2013
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PostPosted: Fri May 25, 2018 7:09 pm Reply with quote
I still don't really get the complaint that the villains are leftist stereotypes (starting around 19:00). There are more than enough pro-leftist themes (most notably that discrimination/violence against the Other, i.e. the Klax and/or 02, is portrayed as unambiguously evil) in the show for it to be hard to read the whole work as a coherent attempt to villainize the left. The quashing-of-gender agenda of APE is one caricature of prominent subsets of the modern left, sure, but without FranXX going the extra mile to explicitly frame that agenda as political, I think it's a real stretch to insist that it must be intended or interpreted as such. To borrow from the main FranXX discussion thread, that would be like saying that any anime that portrays the Catholic church as evil intends that message to be read as a literal condemnation of the Catholic church in real life, or that any show featuring a nationalist dictatorship in country X is attempting to say that nationalism is currently a major problem in country X. And those are pretty absurd things to say --- often, politically identifiable villains are useful because their familiarity makes them more threatening, not because the author wants to actually tell us that they represent an immediate, pressing and realistic threat in the real world.

The conversation prior to that point about the framing of power (men in control, women submissive) in fulfilling heterosexual relationships was more compelling, though, I thought. It's very difficult to read the placement of men and women in the successful & unsuccessful FranXX as anything other than suggesting that productive heterosexual relationships involve men in control and submissive women creating life together. And there's no need for that message to be connected to any specific political movement for it to be felt. I do find it kind've disturbing.

On the other hand, I think it's still important to keep in mind that productive has a very narrow, problematized meaning in FranXX: the FranXX's primary activity is committing genocide, and genocide of the Klaxosaurs in particular, which seem to represent the pre-suppression human spirit and range of human emotion. 'Powering up your FranXX and saving your friends for babies & maybe also love and such!' is often framed in the moment as an exciting, good thing (cue FranXX OP), but in broader context is easily read as collaborating in one of APE's most nefarious plots. Which is maybe mostly just evidence that FranXX doesn't have an especially strong grip on its symbols, because they often contradict one another in this fashion.


Last edited by NeverConvex on Fri May 25, 2018 7:19 pm; edited 2 times in total
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Grimvice



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PostPosted: Fri May 25, 2018 7:17 pm Reply with quote
Quote:
I still don't really get the complaint that the villains are leftist stereotypes (starting around 19:00). There are more than enough pro-leftist themes (most notably that discrimination/violence against the Other, i.e. the Klax and/or 02, is portrayed as unambiguously evil) in the show for it to be hard to read as a coherent attempt to villainize the left. The quashing-of-gender agenda of APE is one caricature of prominent subsets of the modern left, but without FranXX going the extra mile to explicitly frame that agenda as political, I think it's a real stretch to insist that it must be intended or interpreted as such.

The conversation prior to that point about the framing of power (men in control, women submissive) in fulfilling heterosexual relationships was more compelling, though, I think. It's very difficult to read the placement of men and women in the successful & unsuccessful FranXX as anything other than suggesting that productive heterosexual relationships involve men in control and submissive women creating life together. And there's no need for that message to be connected to any specific political movement for it to be felt. It is of course pretty disturbing.

Although I think it's still important to keep in mind that productive has a very narrow, problematized meaning in FranXX: the FranXX's primary activity is committing genocide, and genocide of the Klaxosaurs in particular, which seem to represent the pre-suppression human spirit and range of human emotion. 'Powering up your FranXX and saving your friends for babies & maybe also love and such!' is often framed in the moment as an exciting, good thing (cue FranXX OP), but in broader context is easily read as collaborating in one of APE's most nefarious plots. Which is maybe mostly just evidence that FranXX doesn't have an especially strong grip on its symbols, because they often contradict one another in this fashion.


Dang, that's interesting the way you put it. And you've elaborated the issue better than I did.
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BodaciousSpacePirate
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PostPosted: Fri May 25, 2018 7:31 pm Reply with quote
Grimvice wrote:
Right on, more upper middle-class white Americans getting mad and projecting American politics onto a cartoon made by a country that has nothing to do with the worldviews America has.


Japanese liberals are so far to the left of "American worldviews" that the Japanese Communist Party currently has 12 members in their House of Representatives... maybe stop fetishizing the socio-political discourse of a country whose biggest right-wing party call themselves the Liberal Democrats.
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NeverConvex



Joined: 08 Jun 2013
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PostPosted: Fri May 25, 2018 7:35 pm Reply with quote
Grimvice wrote:
Dang, that's interesting the way you put it. And you've elaborated the issue better than I did.


Haha, thanks. That was the opinion I came to after 10 or so pages of discussion in the main FranXX thread, so hopefully it's not totally useless. Razz

Continuing to listen to the podcast, I had another point of disagreement: around 24:30, it's claimed that the point of dystopian fiction is to read it specifically as allegory with meaningful political messages &/or social commentary about the real world. I agree that that's one very often interesting use of dystopian fiction, but I don't think there's any particular reason to privilege it as dystopian fiction's raison d'etre. And I think it's often a less interesting motivation for reading dystopian fiction in which the symbols in use constantly clash, juxtapose and mutually contradict, as they seem to in FranXX.
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Grimvice



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PostPosted: Fri May 25, 2018 7:40 pm Reply with quote
Quote:
Japanese liberals are so far to the left of "American worldviews" that the Japanese Communist Party currently has 12 members in their House of Representatives... maybe stop fetishizing the socio-political discourse of a country whose biggest right-wing party call themselves the Liberal Democrats.


Maybe the Japanese have a different dynamic and meaning to those terms and parties. I'm just saying we do an awful lot of assumptions about the politics of a very different country and if the creators even intended to have a political message in the show. I'm not fetishizing anything, and I'm not trying to assume anything about Japanese politics.

I'm more against judging a show before it's finished than anything else, and projecting western worldviews onto a cartoon that may or may not have anything to do with any political ideas.
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Kikimani



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PostPosted: Fri May 25, 2018 7:57 pm Reply with quote
Quote:
There is more than enough pro-leftish themes...in the show for it to be hard to read the whole work as a coherent attempt to villainize the left. The quashing-of-gender agenda of APE is one caricature of prominent subsets of the modern left, sure, but without FranXX going the extra mile to explicitly frame that agenda as political, I think it's a real stretch to insist that it must be intended or interpreted as such.


Isn't this exactly what they said? DIdn't they just painstakingly explain that this is a very particular kind of conservatism aimed at a particular caricature of the left on this particular issue based on groundless propaganda? That the story development and world building was poor, that it was mealy-mouthed and kinda dancing around what it wanted to say, lacking coherency. That you don't have to interpret it their way just that they couldn't find much else to talk about because the series isn't that complex? I just heard them say that.

A creator doesn't need to "explicitly frame" their work as political in order for anyone else to interpret it in that manner. Once an argument can be reasonably formulated from the material any viewer can do it.
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NeverConvex



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PostPosted: Fri May 25, 2018 8:11 pm Reply with quote
Kikimani wrote:
Isn't this exactly what they said? DIdn't they just painstakingly explain that this is a very particular kind of conservatism aimed at a particular caricature of the left on this particular issue based on groundless propaganda? That the story development and world building was poor, that it was mealy-mouthed and kinda dancing around what it wanted to say, lacking coherency. That you don't have to interpret it their way just that they couldn't find much else to talk about because the series isn't that complex? I just heard them say that.


I don't think that's at all what they said (well, more accurately, I don't think your summary here is at all what my previous post, to which you were replying, said). The entire podcast is focused on a very particular reading of FranXX as a highly political anti-left propaganda piece. That interpretation is hard to find very compelling given that FranXX also contains strong and obviously pro-left themes, and that the chief symbols used as evidence in this reading are framed in many contradictory ways in the show.

They do momentarily (though without exploring the idea at all) suggest that this isn't the only possible reading of the show (I think briefly around 35:00?), but my point isn't that this isn't the only possible reading of the show. It's that it isn't an especially coherent or persuasive reading of it.

I agree with their observations on FranXX being muddled, poorly paced, not doing a very good job world-building et cetera. I'm not taking issue with that stuff, and have said similar things myself.

Kikimani wrote:
A creator doesn't need to "explicitly frame" their work as political in order for anyone else to interpret it in that manner. Once an argument can be reasonably formulated from the material any viewer can do it.


Mmm, I agree that it isn't generally necessary for the creator to explicitly frame a work as political in order for it to be understood as political propaganda; I'm happy to back off that claim. (A bit of a tangent, but I also don't think it's enough to claim a work conveys a specific political message that you can tease out a single coherent reading of it consistent with that view. If it is consistent with many other readings, then there's no obvious reason to privilege that one or treat it as the show's unique message, and if there are contrary readings, then it's not clear that it should even be read as a message.)

More to the point, though: I do not think 'FranXX reads coherently and strongly as anti-left propaganda' has been reasonably formulated from the material, for the reasons I gave above.


Last edited by NeverConvex on Fri May 25, 2018 8:19 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Chrono1000



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PostPosted: Fri May 25, 2018 8:19 pm Reply with quote
Darling in the Franxx is about children, family, freedom, marriage, and romance. Those are elements that deeply resonate with people. An authoritarian government that doesn't allow for children or marriage would be oppressive. Ikuno has been framed sympathetically and that Ichigo can only understand Ikuno's feelings based on her own experiences isn't an anti-LGBT message. Ichigo learned about marriage two days earlier so her very limited knowledge about human relationships makes sense within the context of the show. The idea that the show is saying that Ikuno needs to become heterosexual has never happened in the show and I doubt that it is going to happen.

17:00 - Kokoro wanting to be a mother is a personal desire. As for the statement that the Nines are women that pilot men which is framed as evil that seems to be a guess. The only member of the Nines that we know is female is Zero Two.

27:00 - Voting rights for women? I don't think that Darling in the Franxx is against that since one of the main themes of the show is freedom.

38:00 - Mitsuru blushed at the girls bathing suit in episode 7 and he got flustered when Ikuno's suit melted in episode 8. It is not a complete surprise that he fell in love with Kokoro.

49:00 - If the show was about promoting the idea that men should lead and women should submit than the situation would be the complete opposite in regards to Papa and the Klaxosaur princess.

51:00 - The Christian symbolism in Neon Genesis Evangelion was window dressing that had nothing to do with the story. Darling in the Franxx and the fertility/Norse symbolism relates to the story and people have made videos about that on Youtube.
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NeverConvex



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PostPosted: Fri May 25, 2018 8:24 pm Reply with quote
Chrono1000 wrote:
49:00 - If the show was about promoting the idea that men should lead and women should submit than the situation would be the complete opposite in regards to Papa and the Klaxosaur princess.


Not sure here. Yes, Papa's an evil dude leader and the Klax princess is a lady leader. But I don't know that the Klax princess or her leadership is necessarily depicted as good, even though slaughtering her and her people is clearly framed as evil.

My guess is that by show's end it will be Hiro and 02 doing all of the great things, reclaiming their genocidally misused productive-procreative-FranXX superpowers to instead defeat Papa and somehow reconcile the situation with the Klax princess. But it's not clear that that reconciliation will necessarily vindicate the Klax princess's leadership in any way. It may very well just further lionize Hiro and his apparent 'taming' of 02.

(On the other hand, I agree with the way you framed the evidence about Ikuno and Mitsuru. The Ikuno stuff we covered repeatedly in the other thread, but with respect to Mitsuru, I think folks' imaginations very much ran away with them in insisting that he had to be read as gay or even bi/pan/etc. It was not at all clear in his initial presentation whether his feelings regarding Hiro were romantic, and there was certainly evidence of his possible interest in women. His sexuality was largely left ambiguous until his pairing with Kokoro, and I guess to some extent still is ambiguous.)


Last edited by NeverConvex on Fri May 25, 2018 8:39 pm; edited 3 times in total
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Zac
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PostPosted: Fri May 25, 2018 8:27 pm Reply with quote
Kikimani wrote:

Isn't this exactly what they said? DIdn't they just painstakingly explain that this is a very particular kind of conservatism aimed at a particular caricature of the left on this particular issue based on groundless propaganda? That the story development and world building was poor, that it was mealy-mouthed and kinda dancing around what it wanted to say, lacking coherency. That you don't have to interpret it their way just that they couldn't find much else to talk about because the series isn't that complex? I just heard them say that.

A creator doesn't need to "explicitly frame" their work as political in order for anyone else to interpret it in that manner. Once an argument can be reasonably formulated from the material any viewer can do it.


Dude, thank you. Thank you.
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