• Anime Series Like Darling in the Franxx
    Mar 05, 2018

    In the distant future, the land is ruined and humanity now lives in the mobile city, Plantation. Inside, they are defended from massive life forms by children raised from birth to pilot robots called Franxx in boy-girl pairs. This story follows Hiro, once a prodigy, and now a failure. However, just as he was about to be cast aside, he meets a mysterious girl with horns that is a Franxx pilot dubbed The Partner Killer.

    Darling in the Franxx had major potential to be Generic Mecha Anime #623, but it differentiates itself with its characters and its very Kill la Kill mix of fan service justified by the setting.

    For Fans of Sacrificial Children

    Neon Genesis Evangelion

    The world is on the brink of destruction following the landing of the Angels, massive monsters that want nothing more than to kill and destroy. The only hope lies with the select few that can pilot government agency Nerv’s special Evangelion-type mechs. The pilot must be compatible in order to pilot the Evangelions, and for Nerv leader, Gendo Ikari, one of those compatible few is his son, Shinji. With the fate of mankind on his shoulders and fights that often mean death for the pilots, is 14-year-old Shinji up to the task?

    Both series take the firm stance in their settings of why send an adult to die when you could send a teen to pilot a giant mech and die. Certainly, both shows explain why they use children in particular, but we both know it is really because it gives the plot endless drama. While they are both set in the post-apocalypse, NGE has so much more mindfuckery and philosophy by the end.

    Seraph of the End: Vampire Reign

    After a mysterious virus killed every human over 13 years old, the vampires rose up with a promise to protect the survivors. The only thing they asked in return is donations of blood. For Yuuichirou and Mikaela, they have grown tired of being livestock and pose a daring escape plan. It ultimately fails with only Yuuichirou left alive. However, after joining up with a mercenary company, he swears vengeance on the vampires, no matter the cost.

    While Seraph of the End is no way mecha, it has a distinctly similar setting. Actually, it has a lot of things in common with Franxx. In it, you have children that are primarily used for food or are doomed to die fighting to not be food. While they are fighting, they are also dressed in tidy military uniforms and live in small bastions of humanity that protect against the major threat on the outside.

    Knights of Sidonia

    After Earth was destroyed by an alien race known as the Gauna, humanity fled across the galaxy in giant seed ships looking for a new home. In the year 3394, a mysterious man named Nagate Tanikaze surfaced from the bowels of the ship Sidonia and breaks his lifelong seclusion in search of food. After being discovered, he finds himself dragged into the military just in time for a Gauna attack and discovers that he may just be the hero that the Sidonia needs.

    While Franxx has humanity living in a floating fortress, Knights of Sidonia has its remnants surviving in a spaceship. Both series focus on young people fighting a large enemy that they don’t quite understand. While the pilots in Knights of Sidonia are, presumably, not all children, the main characters are, so it often certainly seems like they are.

    For Fans of Mysterious Life-Changing Crazy Women

    Eureka Seven

    Renton seeks a life of adventure, but his grandfather’s insistence that he becomes a mechanic keeps him firmly planted at home. His only escape is a pastime that rides Trapar wave particles in the air akin to surfing. One day, adventure literally crashes into his house in the form of a Light Finding Operation piloted by a mysterious girl named Eureka. As a member of the mercenary group Gekkostate, Renton suddenly finds himself intertwined in a whole new life.

    While Eureka isn’t exactly crazy, she has the mysterious part down to a T. In both series, you follow the tale of typically normal boys who meet a girl and that girl takes them on a life-changing adventure. Both have that whole mecha fighting in common as well, but Euraka Seven isn’t post-apocalyptic in any way.


    Katsuhira Agata is a quiet teen whose ability to feel pain has vanished. One day, he, his friend Chidori, and four other teenagers are abducted and bound together by the Kizuna System. While not physically connected, their pain is. Now if one party member is injured, they all feel it.

    While the connection in Kiznaiver is still in the experimentation stages, that experiment bears quite a few similarities to the way the Franxx’s are piloted. In both shows, love and feelings play a large part in the plot and you also get to see everything play out in some really fluid animation.


    After his brother moved to America, Naota was left to his own mundane existence with his grandfather and father in his small town. However, one day while walking home with Mamimi, his brother’s ex-girlfriend, Naota is hit by a Vespa. Its rider, a crazy pink haired woman, gets off, kisses him, smacks him on the head with her guitar, and then speeds away. This marks the end of Naota’s boring life and the beginning of a never-ending string of weird events.

    FLCL is the quintessential “mysterious woman changing a boy’s whole life” anime. It’s weird, it’s wacky, and it is often hard to follow. That is not so much the case in Franxx, but in both shows you watch how that boy’s life changes in a distinctly mecha sort of way.

    For Fans of Big Eccentric Action

    Toppa Tengen Gurren Lagann

    While digging around in his underground village, a young boy named Simon uncovers a mysterious object that turns out to be the ignition key to an ancient artifact of war. When their village comes under attack, Simon and his daring adoptive older brother Kamina use this weapon to fend off the invaders, discovering that there is a whole surface world above them in the process. With the sky now in plain view, Kamina and Simon set off on a journey that will take them across the galaxy.

    There are two series that Franxx is commonly compared to, and this is one. Gurren Lagann and Franxx actually start in a similar way where someone enters a young boy’s life suddenly through a mysterious piece of machinery and pretty much expands his whole world. Add on that both series maintain that their action scenes always need to be huge and exciting and it is not a hard leap to make.

    Kill la Kill

    After the murder of her father, Ryuuko Matoi scours the land searching for his killer. Her only lead is the missing half of his invention – the Scissor Blade. On her search, she is lead to the prestigious Honnouji Academy that is ruled by the iron-fisted student council president Satsuki Kiryuuin and her Elite Four. These students rule with their “uniforms” that bestow upon them supernatural powers. Ryuuko Matoi is convinced that they know something about her father’s death, but to face them, she needs a uniform of her own.

    Like Gurren Lagann, Franxx is also highly compared to Kill la Kill. Both shows have fan service, but the fact that the fan service in the show is explained in-universe actually kind of makes it okay to many fans. However, there really aren’t the same skimpy outfits as in Kill la Kill. The real similarities are in the beautifully fluid animation and those massive exciting action scenes.


    Earth is embroiled in an intergalactic war where their only hope lies within the hands of the TOPLESS, a group of gifted children that can pilot buster machines. Among their ranks is the rookie Nono who must aim for the top to protect the world.

    Unlike Gunbuster that was more classic mecha, Diebuster, like Franxx, is fluid in its animation, bright, and most of all big in its action. Both shows are the type that kind of go over the top in that respect, and it is fun to watch. However, outside of the action scenes, Diebuster is still silly while Franxx is more drama-oriented.

    Do you have any more anime recommendations like Darling in the Franxx? Let us know in the comments section below.

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