The Flower Language of the Darling in the Franxx Women

Whether working directly with the language of flowers through naming schemes of the series’ mechs or framing its narrative with floral genetics and reproductionDarling in the Franxx has never hidden its floral influences. It’s also not a subtle show, so when the entirety of Episode 8 is framed by Kokoro talking specifically about floriography — the flowers used for the robot names have always been present in the Plantation 13 gardens — the series is effectively painting a gigantic arrow that says “pay attention” pointed at flowers used within the show.

This is punctuated by an ending sequence that resembles Kiznaiver‘s, assigning a flower to each of the women in Darling in the Franxx. There are a lot of similarities between Kiznaiver and Darling in the Franxx — I’m personally inclined towards Kiznaiver since I think people generally have more trouble fumbling through empathy towards each other than sex — floriography being one of them. Where Kiznaiver used flowers as another frame of reference, dropping hints at the individual pasts of its female characters, Darling in the Franxx uses them unsubtly as possible, going as far to include this small shot at the beginning of this latest ending sequence, again telling us to pay attention.

In case you hadn’t caught on due to her blushes around Ichigo, Ikuno is far more into her team leader than any other parasite in Plantation 13. Ikuno and Mitsuru have always had synchronization issues, and a large reason for this is that Ikuno is not attracted to Mitsuru sexually in any way. According to the way Darling in the Franxx frames her, Ikuno is likely not into men at all.

Last week, Ikuno held up a notebook and gestured directly at Ichigo during a conversation. The conversation itself isn’t important, but the visual placement of the notebook, which is decorated with white lilies, couldn’t have been more obvious. The use of white lilies as a symbol for yuri relationships are well-documented in anime. White lilies (shirayuri) represent lesbian love, purity, and chastity. If Ikuno had been assigned any flower other than the white lily in this ending sequence, I would have been surprised.

Zero-two is framed by white daisies, which are also shown earlier in the ending sequence, held by all of the young women. Daisies are said to represent a childlike innocence and hope. In Japanese hanakotoba, they symbolize faith. As a legendary pistil and special project of the elders, Zero-two has a lot more insight into how the world works — she is the one who tells the Plantation 13 parasites that they will die — but also visibly longs to be a normal adolescent. She is full of childlike innocence and vacillates between dispensing knowledge to Plantation 13 while opening up emotionally to Hiro.

In a way, Zero-two is the most innocent of them all, despite having a greater awareness of the world and what is at stake. Since she’s been treated as either a monstrous pariah or an ideal specimen, her interactions with Plantation 13 are seemingly her first attempts at being human, and she says as much to Hiro in this episode.

The crepe-like quality of Kokoro’s flowers leads me to believe that she’s likely framed by white poppies. White poppy flowers were most recently featured in The Ancient Magus’ Bride, and are commonly used at funeral or memorials for remembrance. A white poppy can also mean rejoice, or celebration. We don’t yet know a lot about Kokoro outside of her curiosity towards flowers, but she seems like a joyful person who appreciates a lot of details that are lost on other parasites.

Miku is framed by a white anemone flower. A white anemone can mean death, bad luck, or a forsaken relationship, but it can also symbolize sincerity. Miku has difficulty being sincere, especially with her partner Zorome, who struggles with the same thing. She often says the opposite of what she truly means, or goes about hinting at what she wants in a passive-aggressive way. Underneath this veneer, Miku is a remarkably sincere individual who not only cares for Zorome but also the entirety of Plantation 13.

Of all of the flowers in this ending, Ichigo’s were the most difficult to identify. The first thing that came to mind was a white poinsettia but the petals are far too close (and actually petals, not leaves). I then skipped to gardenia (secret love) and have hesitantly settled on a jasmine flower. Jasmine comes from the Persian yasmin, meaning gift from god. Jasmine can have many, sometimes conflicting, meanings but in Japanese hanakotoba it primarily symbolizes grace and friendliness.

As the team leader, Ichigo tasks herself with being as graceful as possible at all times, even in defeat. If this flower is a gardenia, then a secret love, or crush applies towards her feelings towards Hiro.

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6 comments

    1. I know the seen. I thought it was lovely with the use of plants. I tend more with Victorian translations, as Kokoro cites that and the house design and decoration is very influenced by that style….. the oddest thing in it is a Japanese style bath. Anyways, the red flower is a vine, four petals….most showed as dished. But after Kokro’s speech….they are more like 5 petals. The Red Morning Glory, which shows/indicates attachment. The plant to the top right of Miku’s head is another vine, which has frustrated me…..At the moment, I think it is a Wax Plant, which would indicate susceptibility. Interesting though, the Wax Plant (?) is associated with Miku/Kokoro, while the Morning glory is over Kokoro’s and only over Ikuno’s bed. Ichigo is only associated with the Wax plant as she views Hiro/02 out the window. Hiro/02 are completely framed by Ivy just before her attempt at being “more” human and at end. Ivy- Friendship, Fidelity, Marriage The only one I have a great deal of confidence is in the Ivy, as trying to get a firm idea from the animation is not perfect. More suggestions are welcome, as most people are not going into this area of the show.

  1. As I admit, trying to ID from the animation is hard. I would offer a view and start with Ichigo, though. It is not common, winter, or Spanish Jasmine (J. grandiflorum, J. nudiflorum, or J. officinale). “Arabian jasmine” (J. sambac) is out…. Gardenia is out too. I think both were good ideas, but the anthers/stigma are too pronounced in the animation for either. It looks like a type of fruit tree; apple or prunus…. I am leaning towards an apricot, ume plum bloom, or plum, though. If you gave a Plum Bloom in Victorian times, you would send the message that the person should “keep their promise.” With the close of ep. 7, I would assert that I have a fair argument in plum blossom. I am not versed in the Japanese flower ideas, but I would also suggest that you look at these from the prospective of the idea/message they want to send to another. The “Language of Flowers” was developed to express feeling that were not tolerated in Victorian times. Therefore, you can consider the flower describing a character, as having “received that flower” from someone else and/or that they want to “give that flower” to someone as a full message. The picture would suggest she is giving (or trying to give) something to a memory/picture…. but it was placed in an open and left. But the one before it shows her finger also wrapped on the left had. Her and 02 (right thumb wrapped) have only one wrap each; the others two.

    I would also suggest a reconsideration of white anemone flower for Miku. They usually have 6 petals, but we have 5 here. (As an aside, it is a sad picture. Her right hand is symbolically bound at her side and the other has the middle finger wrapped and protecting the heart…. is she keeping a promise too?) But I admitted, it is probably one I do not want to be right, as the English view would agree with the “forsaken” idea if it is an anemone.

    “The crepe-like quality of Kokoro’s flowers leads me to believe that she’s likely framed by white poppies.” A good guess, but the rough toothed pattern and narrow petals would suggest either cosmos or coreopsis. Coreopsis (love at first sight) usually has more than 7 petals and more of a saw tooth pattern, but Cosmos has 7 and matches nicely. We end up with something like ” Joy in Love and Life.”

    As for the daisies…. that’s a very large family. That has the Asters and Sunflowers and…. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asteraceae

    I am also working on a theory for 002’s name….. involving a Rose of Sharon =”consumed by love” and a Lily of the Valley = “return of happiness”

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