12 Days of Anime 2018 #1: KISS OF DEATH

darling in the franxx

Hello, and welcome to 12 Days of Anime 2018! Over the next few days we’ll do our best to write 12 posts about our pop culture experiences of this year, or die trying. We may write about anime, or manga. Or real life, because everything is anime now, even real life. Please enjoy, and wish us luck!!!

As someone who’s been watching anime as it airs for a few years now, there are periods in my life I associate with what was airing at the time. Summer 2011 was the Summer of Penguindrum. Fall 2013 was when I watched Kill la Kill together with my college roommates, who were huge fans of Gurren Lagann. Fall of 2016 was when Yuri on Ice blew up anime fandom and I waited each week with bated breath for the next episode of Flip Flappers. And Winter 2018 was the season I could have died watching the first episode of Darling in the Franxx. I’m on vacation with my parents visiting Hawaii’s Big Island, and it’s January 13, 2018.

I was halfway through the episode when I heard my mother shout in the opposite room. “Shit!” She threw open the door. “Get changed! There’s a ballistic missile heading right for us!” A ballistic missile? I slammed my laptop shut and put my pants on. A ballistic missile. I would sooner put my pants on than be hit by a missile! I followed my mother out the door, my shoelaces untied.

Together we jogged through the avenue of buildings to the hotel lobby. To my left and right I saw others confusedly walking in the same direction. Many were in flip flops. The ballistic missile was real. What would it be like to die in your flip flops? My father had stayed behind in his bed, refusing to acknowledge the danger. Would I never see him again?

We entered the lobby. My mother stormed straight to the manager. “is there really a ballistic missile heading towards us?”

The manager threw his hands in the air. “Nobody knows what’s going on,” he said. There had been no warning. There was a tsunami shelter that was reserved for a nearby resort down the road, but our hotel had nothing of its own. The manager suggested that we return to our rooms and wait. “If anything happens,” he said, “we’ll know in seven minutes.” I did not envy the hotel manager or his staff. Nobody had expected a ballistic missile. If we were all going to die, they would be spending their last seven minutes on earth fielding the questions of panicked and furious hotel residents. At the same time, being told that our fate would be decided in seven minutes was not what I wanted to hear.

I did what I typically do in uncertain situations: I checked Twitter. The first result screamed “ballistic missile??” The second was a confused politician claiming that to his knowledge, no such missile had been fired. There was no missile, there was no missile. “It’s a false alarm,” I said. Shortly after, the truth came out. The operator of Hawaii’s early warning system had made a mistake, possibly due to a confusing UI. We were all going to live past the next seven minutes.

My mother and I returned to our room. My father sat in a nearby chair, the chair he would have died in if the missile was real. I opened up my laptop and the sounds of Darling in the Franxx immediately began blaring from its speakers. In the rush to leave the room, I’d accidentally torn my headphones from the jack. As I frantically attempted to mute the laptop, worried my parents would hear, I wondered what it would say about me if the last thing I saw before being blown up by a nuclear bomb was the first episode of Darling in the Franxx. Is this what they call the “KISS OF DEATH”?

(As a side note, Darling in the Franxx’s first ED is actually quite good)

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