The Darling in the Franxx manga first released in Japan in 2018 and its 8th and final volume released in 2020. It wasn't until April 2022, though, that Seven Seas would begin releasing the series with English translation in a new 2-in-1 omnibus format under their Ghost Ship imprint, which is home to their more mature releases. Darling in the Franxx is one of my most anticipated new manga releases of 2022.
I'm going to split this post up into two different sections. I am going to review the Darling in the Franxx manga editions, which are 2-in-1 omnibuses, first and then I'll review the story and talk about how it compares to the Darling in the Franxx anime. Before I get into all that, though, what is Darling in the Franxx about?
What is Darling in the Franxx about?
The Darling in the Franxx manga is set in the distant future in a post-apocalyptic world, where humanity lives in mobile fortress cities called Plantations. The Pilots, who are all children, live outside of the world of adults. Their sole purpose is to protect humanity at all costs against mysterious giant lifeforms known as Klaxosaurs, and they pilot humanoid robots called Franxx to do so.
The story kicks off with a boy named Hiro, who was once known as a prodigy; However, he has fallen behind, and he has lost his sense of purpose and drive. But he doesn't want to give up, because to him, not being a pilot is the same thing as being dead. One day, a mysterious girl known as Zero Two, who has two horns growing out of her head, appears before him.
She has been dubbed the "Partner killer", because all of the partners that have piloted with her in the past die after their third ride together. Unexpectedly, her and Hiro end up piloting together, and it's a surprising success. Of course, there's so much more to this story, but I don't want to spoil anything.
Darling in the Franxx Omnibus Review
Since these are 2-in-1's and there are 8 volumes, there are going to be a total of 4 Darling in the Franxx omnibuses released. The omnibuses are the same height as standard Seven Seas manga releases, like Magical Girl Apocalypse, which is on my list of horror manga recommendations, and Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation. If you own either the To Love Ru omnibuses or the High-Rise Invasion omnibuses, which were both released by Seven Seas, they are actually the same size as those.
The first Darling in the Franxx manga omnibus is beautifully designed, so I am happy with the format they chose to release the series in. It really pops on the shelf with the red and pink colors they chose, but they have a presence off the shelf as well. I love the artwork of Zero Two on the cover. The cover itself is matte, but the artwork and logos are glossy, so the volumes feel great in hand.
The spine has the Darling in the Franxx logo and artwork of Zero Two on the bottom. All around, these omnibuses have a striking design and they are high quality, so I have no complaints here. When you open up the omnibus, the inside of the cover is pink and it has a red outline drawing of Zero Two and Hiro's Franxx Strelizia on it. Then you have some beautiful full color illustrations, which are nice additions.
More full color illustrations were added towards the center of the omnibus too. As far as print and page quality goes, the pages are off-white with an eggshell-like texture. The contrast is great, the blacks are deep and the panels are crisp, so I'm pleased with print quality also.
I couldn't be happier that Seven Seas are releasing the Darling in the Franxx manga with English translation, but I'm even happier after getting the first omnibus in hand. The editions are amazing and I'm looking forward to picking up the remaining omnibuses, which are all expected to release by the end of 2022!
Darling in the Franxx Manga Review
Darling in the Franxx actually started out as an anime in 2018, and this is where I first got into the series. It was created by Code:000, who also wrote the story in the manga. While the manga is based on the anime, though, it isn't set within the same timeline, and is instead set within a divergent one.
I think setting the manga in a divergent timeline was a smart decision, because it offers fans, who have already watched the anime, a new experience. Also, Darling in the Franxx is a mecha series, and mecha series love their alternate timelines. Darling in the Franxx has a little bit of everything that I love; It's a survival story set in a post-apocalyptic future, it's a mecha series that has interesting designs, and it's an ecchi manga as well.
Kentaro Yabuki, who you may also know as the creator of Black Cat, To Love Ru, and Ayakashi Triangle, which Seven Seas are also releasing in 2022, is the artist of the Darling in the Franxx manga. After reading through Darling in the Franxx Omnibus 1, I can say that he is the perfect fit for the series. I already had a feeling he would be after enjoying his other works, but he exceeded my expectations and then some with Darling in the Franxx. The panels are absolutely stunning and his artwork is one of the biggest strong suits of the Darling in the Franxx manga.
Darling in the Franxx is unique, because it's a mecha manga but it's an ecchi series also. I love ecchi series, some of them are even my favorite manga of all time, but I wanted to mention this for those of you who are going into this series without knowing anything about it.
It could be shocking if you aren't expecting it, but the ecchi moments in the manga don't distract at all from the story, they fit in naturally with the events, and they are top-notch as expected from Kentaro Yabuki. From what I can tell, nothing was censored in the English release and I really appreciate this too.
That being said, there are more fan service moments in the Darling in the Franxx manga vs the Darling in the Franxx anime, so this is something you may want to consider depending on your preferences. I personally enjoy it because I'm a fan of ecchi manga and Darling in the Franxx just so happens to be one of the best mecha manga with ecchi out there.
While Darling in the Franxx has its fair share of fan service, it has a lot of substance too. Like many other mecha manga, Darling in the Franxx explores dark and complex issues, especially given that the pilots in these series are used by adults to "protect humanity", as seen in other series like Neon Genesis Evangelion or Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron Blooded Orphans, which is one of our favorite mecha anime streaming on Netflix right now.
There are some similarities to sci-fi series like Elfen Lied too. Zero Two reminds me of Lucy in a lot of ways. So if you enjoyed any of these series, you will most likely enjoy Darling in the Franxx!
How does the Darling in the Franxx manga compare to the anime?
Since this is a divergent storyline, there are some differences between the Darling in the Franxx manga and the Darling in the Franxx anime. Most notably the ending, but there are differences throughout the story as well that you will notice if you've watched the anime. As a result of only being 8 volumes, the story in the Darling in the Franxx manga felt a little rushed at times, whereas things were more fleshed out in the anime, but I appreciated the manga's fast pace and ability to get to the point quicker than the anime did.
There are positives and negatives to both. I liked the ending of the manga better, but I enjoyed the setup and the rest of the story in the anime more. That being said, I think there's a place for each. You'll get to experience a slightly different story in the manga, and I do think it fixes some issues that the anime had, especially the ending, but the anime is still an incredible watch. If you are looking to get into Darling in the Franxx, I highly recommend checking out both the anime and the manga!
I will note that Darling in the Franxx Omnibus 1 went out of stock quickly on a lot of sites, which is awesome, but it is listed as out of stock, expecting more on select retailers and you can still place an order for it on those sites. This way you won't have to hunt for the volume when it goes back in stock and your copy will be reserved. You may also want to consider getting a preorder in for the future omnibuses, because these are sure to sell out fast also.
You can pick up the Darling in the Franxx manga now at one of the trusted retailers listed below! If you'd like to learn more about why we like buying manga from each of these stores and sites, check out our post on where to buy manga.
Where to Shop the Darling in the Franxx Manga
If you'd like to get an all around as well as an inside look of the first Darling in the Franxx manga omnibus, check out our review on YouTube below!
In other manga news, check out all of the new manga you have to look forward to in 2022 from Seven Seas and more!