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Villain Overview
My children, you have had the good fortune to be chosen as parasites. Your great predecessors defended out cities and our people, and they splendidly took flight as our representatives. Turn your life into a blaze of glory and shed every last drop of blood you have. I pray that you will become a shining ray of hope for humanity.
~ Papa justifying his sociopathic goals by lying to his subjects.
Damned human wannabes.
~ Klaxosaurs Princess about VIRM.

VIRM is the main antagonist of the 2018 original anime television series, Darling In The FranXX and its manga adaptation. 

He is a chairman of an organization known as APE that rules Earth in the distant post-apocalyptic future. At first, he was portrayed as a Big Good considered his seemingly benevolent nature towards the people that he ruled, The Parasites and tried to protect the Plantations from a hostile monstrous species called the Klaxosaurs, and in return, the Parasites religiously referred to him as a god who ruled the Plantations. Not only that, but he also ordered the FRANXX units to fight against the Klaxosaurs. 

It's revealed near the end of the series; Papa was the real enemy of both Parasites and Klaxxosaurus alike and the main antagonist. It also turned out Papa and his Vice Chairman of APE were apart of a starfish-like creature known as "VIRM", an immortal parasitical alien lifeform who tried to assimilate other beings and do everything in its power to achieve their goals in order to destroy the universe.

He was voiced by Tessho Genda in Japanese (who voiced Kratos in God of War's Japanese dub), and Christopher Sabat in the English version (who voiced Roronoa Zoro and Vegeta in the Funimation dubs of One Piece and Dragon Ball Z).

Appearance

Papa wears white robes embellished with golden detailing and a red interior. His masks are the most human of all the APE members compared to their mask who almost looks like primates, and his outfit has a striking similarity with an outfit that the Pope of the Catholic Church wears.

As VIRM however, Papa looks like a giant flying Starfish like creatures shined by white light and has two purple smaller faces that also looks like starfish for their eyes.

Personality

Ape ceremony

Papa and Vice Chairman in the Parasite Inauguration Ceremony

At first, Papa values the protection on both APE members and the parasites above anything else. However, he also has no qualms to use the Parasites as the troopers in opposition to the ravaging species on Earth known as Klaxosaurs and doesn't care if they're meet their demise or not. He also has no compunctions to go so far to achieve what he wants such as bombing the plantations that the Parasites live in order to defeat the Super-Lehman class Klaxosaurs. He also exhibits no mercy towards those who opposed him to the point that he would orders to mind-wipes some of the people who opposed him. Case in point, Hiro and Zero-Two brainwashing in their childhood days when they try to rebel against them in Episode 13.

Despite his merciless nature, he will also try to pay attention towards the wishes of the Parasites Children as when they completed their mission, Papa will routinely take care of their well-being and gives them with the rewards that they deserved after the Parasites complete their mission. Case in point, when Squad 13 finishes their mission, they were delivered to the beach to enjoy their vacation. He also promised Hiro to release the Squad 13 from their responsibilities as Parasites if they completed the missions and emerged victorious in the battle. Although at the end of the day, his love is mostly pretending due to the fact that he only saw the Parasites as a disposable tool for warfare that should worship him like the center of the universe.

As VIRM however, the true nature of Papa is revealed when the negotiations with the Klaxosaurs Princess regarding that they need to surrender against them failed big time. Any of the Well-intentioned goals that VIRM had in the past is severely undermined as VIRM is revealed to be a selfish and narcissistic life form because they think of themselves as a superior life-form and the most important ecosystem in the universe. They also believe that they are free to do anything as they please towards other life forms they come across when traversing the universe to the point that they brutally annihilate their species and their planet so that they could be forced to assimilate with them when they refuse the offer. Papa/VIRM shows no hesitation to brutally massacre the group that has been loyal to him from the start, The Nines, and fleeing from the great war against the Klaxosaurs even if he knew that doing so would probably resulting in the deaths of the people and the Klaxosaurs alike on their planet.

He also believes that emotions and interpersonal connections such as love, friendship and true bond to be futile as he saw it as nothing but an annoyance. He even mocks Hiro and Zero Two for believing that they will come back to destroy the VIRM as long as their souls exist to reincarnate after their sacrifice.

Powers and Abilities

As the leader of APE and the ringleader of Hive Mind known as VIRM, Papa/VIRM has a lot of powers on his disposal such as:

  • Huge Resources and Vast Amount of Technology: As an alien, it is rather expected that they have such powers in terms of resource and technology. Some of the standouts of their technology are consisted of:
    • Magma Energy: This is perhaps one of the infamous things that Papa and his cohorts of APE have invented. Both APE and Papa claim that this new energy will bring something meaningful to Human Race and is rather cheap and eco-friendly compared to the rest of other energies. Not only that, the energy could make someone becoming an immortal with the cost of their reproductive organ and as a result, the stratification between the rich and the poor is severely high while the poor people were laid down to waste without the immortal treatment. However, due to the excessive amount of mining, the planet then faces rapid desertification and as a result, some of the Klaxosaurs went berserk thanks to the mining of Magma. Not only that, but some of the scientists in APE used it to create Parasite/Children with Klaxosaurs DNA. This was shown when Dr. Franxx creating Zero-Two with the aforementioned energy or the scientist in APE creating the 9s with the Magma Energy. And due to Magma being important to the 9s, without it, their energies will become more and more depleted. Not only that, but they also used Magma Energy to power up their plantations, especially in the Inner City.
    • Plantation Cerasus

      One of the most famous Plantations in the show, Cerasus.

      Plantation: One of Papa and his cohorts of APE inventions. Originally, they were created as the Ark of Humanity so that they could save the human from severe desertification. However, due to the numerous amounts of Klaxosaurs that invaded the Earth, the plantation itself becomes its last bastion on Earth to protect themselves from the plantation. Inside the plantation, there is an inner-city shined with golden lights. Papa uses the plantations to rule the people in there and has no compunctions to destroy the plantations on a whim when fighting against the Super Lehman-Class Klaxosaurs that tries to attack them.
    • Franxx: Papa and his cohorts of APE are also the ones who came with the idea to build a weapon known as Franxx to combat against the Klaxosaurs. A mecha that could be used to combat against Klaxosaurs. However, to activate the mecha, it requires both male and female pilots to make it functional. The female ones become a pistil, the person who becomes the mecha itself while the male ones become a stamen, the ones who will take care of the control of the ship. However, when they receive damage to a certain enemy, the Pistil is the ones who will suffer the most. When the para capacity for Franxx is low, the pistil will get exhausted and as a result, both stamen and pistils need better synchronization by building trust towards each other. However, as time went by due to riding the Franxx, some of the parasites will receive a physical and mental illness which is mostly fevers and headaches. However, some of them also suffered accelerated aging that will cause them to age faster than a normal human. The Franxx from Cerasus is completely different because it was ridden by the 9s and they have a special privilege to drive with the same gender (Justified as most of them were also made by the cells of Zero Two). And due to them only used for combat, Papa forbids any kind of sentimental relationship such as wanting to get married and will be punished by erasing their memories.
    • Hringhorni: Based on the spear of Nordic Mythology, it was described by Dr. Franxx as "a massive spear built using Klaxosaurs cores". Papa used this weapon to store Star Entity and claims that this weapon could defeat the Klaxosaurs and it will save humanity. However, it was revealed that Papa also infected the spear with a nasty virus that almost kills the Klaxosaurs Princess and when Papa is revealed as VIRM, he then used it as a self-destruction bomb to destroy Earth so that they could assimilate with both human race and Klaxosaurs altogether.
  • Master of Propaganda: As the totalitarian ruler of Plantations. Papa manages to trick everyone that he rules under a benevolent guise and his own charisma. He also claims that under his rule, everyone will have a better future and becoming a shining hope of humanity. However, it turns out that behind the scenes, Papa will punish anyone who defies him with a brainwashing machine or forcibly put into a cryostorage. One of the victims of Papa's iron fisted control was Hiro and Zero Two who got their minds wiped because the former tries to save the latter from the torture that she endured and another victim from the brainwashing is Mitsuru and Kokoro who got brainwashed after they celebrating their marriage.
  • Assimilation: As an alien life-form who seeks to assimilate, Papa/VIRM has an unbridled thirst on domination over others so they decided to assimilate with other species by sucking their souls dry or committing a planetary genocide when the species refused to subjugate against the VIRM. The former was shown when VIRM suck the souls of the rest of the APE members dry and the latter was shown when VIRM annihilates all of the Klaxosapiens when they refuse to subjugate and doing it again in later future by trying to annihilate humans and Klaxosaurs alike with a self destruct bombs that could annihilate the life on Earth. They had been doing this for sixty million years.
  • The Spaceship Armada: Due to the numerous amounts of the victims that VIRM had assimilated over centuries and trapped them in their bodies, VIRM builds an enormous spaceship armada so that they could combat against the people who opposed VIRM. And needless to say, their souls are trapped by VIRM themselves.
  • Virus Infection: A minor one but it was revealed that in Episode 21, Papa/VIRM infected the Hringhorni with a nasty virus so when Klaxosaur Princess tries to take the control over the Star Entity, she would be killed by said virus and needless to say, they had been succeeded in doing so when she hijacks the spaceship.

Trivia

  • It's possibly implied that the magma used by APE in the anime was actually the volcanic magma that got extracted from Earth's core which makes sense a little bit as the energy that Papa/VIRM extracted making the world experience accelerating desertification which leaves the Earth as nothing but a barren-wasteland and the humans were forced to live in the Plantations to survive.
  • Papa/VIRM were influenced by the villains of Studio Trigger/Gainax's previous works with SEELE and Anti-Spiral being the most prevalent with shades of Ragyō Kiryūin in the mix.
    • To put it simply, SEELE are the nebulous evil organization from Neon Genesis Evangelion who is truly responsible for most of the bad things happen in said anime such as the Second Impact and has the influence of the leaders of the world including United Nations. And Papa/VIRM almost have the same abilities with SEELE by influencing the whole world in terms of politics or science with their new technology that can be the new savior of humanity although both Papa/VIRM and SEELE has a hidden-agenda to do so.
    • Anti-Spiral is also another major influence for the creation of Papa/VIRM with notable differences. Anti-Spiral is the mysterious species who tries to prevent the spiral-nemesis, a universal disaster if the Spiral Energy is not kept in check and they were also obtained perfect knowledge of the laws of the universe, which allowed them to manipulate it. Papa/VIRM also has the similarities with Anti-Spiral as they were also a bunch of Collective Minds that resided in one individual and both of them were a cosmic being that roams the universe for dozens of centuries. Although despite Anti-Spiral's end goal is rather well-intentioned because they were trying to prevent the universal disaster, Papa/VIRM is rather egotistical with their end goal because they wanted to forcefully assimilate with other beings in the universe and anyone who refuses to subjugate will have their planets or realms utterly destroyed and having their consciousness to be assimilated.
  • The rest of the members of APE, an organization Papa/VIRM leads, have primate names for their codenames such as Gorilla, Marmoset, Lemur, Baboon, and Tarsier which makes sense because the organization is APE and Apes are considered to be primates.

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