SSSS.Gridman

April 14, 2019

Initially I was planning to watch Darling In The Franxx seeing that it was that time again I felt I should watch a mecha anime. Mecha series by Trigger aren’t so bad, right? At least I watched Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann a long time ago although this was by their former studio, Gainax. But after reading mixed reviews of it, I had second thoughts. Then I read how SSSS.Gridman was better and more fun and thus I followed my guts to watch it. Here I am. So technically this isn’t a mecha series and a tokusatsu one. Yeah, I do had my fair share of watching the tokusatsu series in my younger days like the Ultraman series. I believe watching this one would bring back some of those nostalgic memories. But SSSS.Gridman isn’t an original tokusatsu series by Trigger. At least this is their take of the Gridman series from the early 90’s. Joint collaboration with Tsuburaya Productions who created the Ultra Series and of course Gridman being one of the many creations of it. And so I’m hoping to see some awesome giant hero vs giant monster action to relive those old days…

Episode 1
How conveniently cliché. Yuuta Hibiki is amnesiac. He knows and remembers nothing. Until this Gridman guy calls him. This Hyper Agent wants Yuuta to remember his calling. However only Yuuta can see Gridman on the computer screen and it is just a blank screen for Rikka Takarada. Reluctant Rikka is tasked by her mom to bring Yuuta to a hospital and then send him home. They are classmates but for some reason Yuuta collapsed in front of their store and didn’t wake up when they tried to. Yuuta also sees a giant scenery kaiju but it looks like only he can see it. From his handphone, Rikka is able to locate his address. Another cliché of Yuuta living alone and his parents are conveniently away on a business trip. Next day, his friend, Shou Utsumi pick him up and head to school. Of course, no recollection of who he is. No harm starting over as friends. Rikka’s friends tease her she now has a boyfriend. Because Yuuta had so much on his mind on what happened (oh, the irony), Akane Shinjou gives her special bread as his lunch. Utsumi warns Yuuta that gesture was just out of pity rather than anything nice since Akane is the most likeable girl ever in school. So he is saying he has a crush on her? Utsumi wants to see this Gridman he is talking about so they head back to the store. Gridman repeats his lines and only Yuuta can see him. Rikka thinks of sending him back to the hospital when Yuuta feels something strange. Something bad is going to happen. Suddenly a kaiju pops up and starts destroying everything! Cars flying, buildings on fire. Yeah, one of the fireballs hit school! Hearing Gridman’s voice of the need to combine, Yuuta gets sucked into Junk (the computer). Now he materializes as a giant Gridman and battles the kaiju. Too bad he runs out of energy fast! Utsumi notices Yuuta’s voice can be heard from Junk. He also realizes the kaiju’s weakness on the neck. Rikka thinks the only way to communicate is to type into Junk. Yuuta receives the message and decapitates the kaiju before destroying it with his beam. Once over, Yuuta is purged from Junk but Gridman says this is only the beginning and there are many more to come. Utsumi is thrilled they saved the city and should form an alliance but for Rikka, she can only take so much for today. Next day, the trio are shocked that the school is back to normal. Like it was never destroyed in the first place.

Episode 2
Nobody remembers about the kaiju or Gridman. Like as though everything is reset. Almost. The trio notice some of their friends are missing. Akane seems interested about this Gridman that Yuuta is talking about but he only can say what he knows. Akane returns to her home where it is filled with rubbish and cabinets of tokusatsu models. It looks like she is conspiring with Alexis Kerib to materialize the kaiju. When the trio are before Junk again, this time this weird man, Samurai Calibur walks in to optimize Junk. Now Utsumi and Rikka can see and hear Gridman! Now they go around asking the families of their missing classmates but it seems all of them have died some time ago. Rikka feels depressed because she doesn’t want to lose friends this way and be the only one who remembers them. Akane finishes another kaiju and with Alexis materializing it, she decides to kill her homeroom teacher because today he bumped into her and did not apologize. And yeah, lots of destruction and casualties just to smoke out one guy. Our heroes return to Gridman as he tells Yuuta he only exists in energy form in this world. So unless Yuuta accepts him, he cannot fight. Hence Gridman gives his Primal Accepter so Yuuta could call forth and combine with him. Gridman fights the kaiju but looks like the beam isn’t working this time and reflects back. Damn, is Gridman this weak and is low on power? Are we out of options? Not if Calibur can help. It seems he doesn’t turn into another Gridman but rather a giant sword for Gridman to use. With that, Gridman slashes the kaiju in half. The day is saved and Akane is not pleased Gridman ‘cheated’. Rikka is glad her friends are still alive and goes to meet them. Yuuta feels sad he couldn’t save some people but as Calibur puts it, had he not step in, more would have died. He must continue what he is doing. Next day, looks like everything is reset once more. At least the homeroom teacher is still alive and this time he is politer.

Episode 3
Akane seems to be making a deal with a petite kid, Anti. Utsumi tells Yuuta his theory that if Calibur could transform into a sword, could it be that humans can transform into kaiju? This makes Yuuta feel guilty but no time for that since a kaiju is detected. Akane has given the signal to Anti transform into a kaiju to lure out Gridman. So as Yuuta combines with Gridman to fight, he realizes this kaiju can talk. Further making him guilty that kaiju is indeed a human. Now that he can’t fight, he gets pummelled. Even when Calibur comes to assist, the kaiju is faster and stronger. Oh no. Junk turns off and Yuuta and Calibur didn’t come back. Are they dead? Rikka and Utsumi fall into depression, causing some tension in between. Meanwhile happy Akane treats Anti to food and notes what Utsumi said about kaiju being human. If he only knew that kaiju had no true form. As Rikka and Utsumi continue to sulk, a bunch of Calibur’s weird friends enter. They say Calibur and Gridman aren’t dead. What about Yuuta? Why don’t they call him themselves? Guess what? He picks up his phone! But he is unsure where he is. As Calibur explains, they are just waiting for the kaiju to pop up to fight again. So far still waiting… So this waiting game is called off as Calibur returns to reality. Gridman returns to lure out the kaiju. Akane is not amused Gridman is alive and has Anti transform again. Another fight on the cards and this time Gridman is able to confirm this kaiju is purely a kaiju and its goal is to destroy Gridman. Now he can fight with clear conscience. This time Gridman is assisted by Battle Tracto Max, a battle tank who can also combine to become Gridman’s huge power arms! Gridman matches the kaiju’s speed and strength. I believe it is Gridman’s victory even if the kaiju isn’t destroyed. Because it ran out of power and reverted back to Anti. Akane is glad with Yuuta’s return. Gridman introduces Yuuta to his allies, Neon Genesis Junior High Students. Together with Calibur, Max, Buster Borr and Sky “Vit” Vitter will be helping him fight alongside Gridman. Now that the tables are turned, Akane is displeased with Anti and throws food at him.

Episode 4
Akane suspects Yuuta to be Gridman but has no conclusive proof. So she tries to get close to Rikka. Rikka’s friends, Namiko and Hass seem to have hooked themselves up with a group date with some popular online boys known as Arcadia. They invite Rikka to join and since Akane wants in, I guess it’s perfect. You bet Yuuta and Utsumi aren’t thrilled about hearing this. What else to do? Tail them in secret! At the karaoke, one of the guys was unknowingly rude to Akane so she made an excuse that she needed to leave. With that, I guess Utsumi calls off the ‘stalking’. But it’s not for Yuuta. He is worried seeing Rikka getting along fine with one of the boys. Heck, even Max comes to talk to him and asks him if he likes Rikka (which he somewhat confesses. Maybe) since it is so frustrating to watch them. Anti still hangs out outside Akane’s place. She isn’t amused but offers him a chance to kill Arcadia. However Anti can’t do that as his mission is only to defeat Gridman. Akane ignores him. Something then happens to 3 of the Arcadia boys. When Rikka meets up with her friends, she knows something is wrong as the sole Arcadia boy and like everyone else believes there is only a member in this group. Rikka then goes to meet him and is now certain when he is being targeted when a strange fog envelops. And then… Tentacle attack from a kaiju! If not for Calibur saving them, they could’ve been goners. Calibur relays this back to his comrades and Gridman is shocked that there is a kaiju he cannot detect. Oh well, time to fight. However with Anti in the picture, the monsters fight each other for the right to fight Gridman. This has Neon Genesis all jumping into Junk to help. But wait. This old PC can’t handle the power and starts to ‘freeze’! How to solve? Rikka unplugs to restart it and even kicks it! It works! Old fashioned urban legend works! With all of them coming back to reality, looks like Yuuta only brings Max into the fight. After Gridman defeats the kaiju, too bad Anti ran out of power when it’s his turn. Good thing. Because Gridman too. In the aftermath, Yuuta manages to summon his courage to ask Rikka to grab some food together. Score? Well… She calls her friends to join in. So close… But Rikka has thoughts about kaiju appearing near her. Could she be the reason?

Episode 5
A class field trip to the mountains. Such lucky kids because they’re going rafting! During the break, Akane talks to Yuuta. Indirectly she asks about his transformation and although he doesn’t understand what she means, his reaction basically confirms that he is Gridman. With that, Akane calls Alexis to unleash the kaiju. It’s the biggest kaiju ever because the entire mountain becomes one! Of course Yuuta cannot combine with Gridman unless he enters Junk. Instead of evacuating with the rest, Yuuta and co run towards the train station. Luckily along the way there is a public phone. Luckily Utsumi got money. Luckily Rikka knows her shop’s number (yeah, damn phones these days can’t make us remember numbers anymore). Yuuta calls Max to bring Junk over. So they purchase it from Rikka’s mom (do they have enough money?) and bring the entire thing on train! I guess the station master must be kind enough to let them plug in for electricity. Meanwhile Akane is lost as she is puzzled Gridman hasn’t appeared for the longest time. Anti finds her and brings her back. When Yuuta reunites with Neon Genesis, it’s Gridman time. Finally he shows up and Anti too abandons Akane to go fight him. This time no falling out between the kaiju as they relentlessly attack Gridman. Gridman has assistance from Borr who is a driller with missiles. Eventually they destroy the big kaiju with some ultimate beam missile attack and the earth all came crushing down on Anti. In the aftermath as they go back, Max ponders why the kaiju only appears around Yuuta. Hmm…

Episode 6
Yuuta continues to ponder Akane’s words. Because everyone has already forgotten about the field trip, he wonders if Akane is not affected by the reset. Meanwhile Anti is still hanging out at Akane’s place, awaiting for her orders. She tells him to go kill Yuuta. Kill him and there will be no more Gridman. You mean he believes her just like that?! Too bad Rikka finds Anti foraging for food and takes pity on him. Not only she feeds him but takes him back to her place to bath him. WTF?! Akane on the other hand sees Utsumi and talks to him about being a fan of the kaiju. They hit off but her goal is to ask if Yuuta is hiding something. Eventually Utsumi replies Yuuta is Yuuta. He can’t tell her on the grounds he doesn’t want to get her involved. Elsewhere, Yuuta meets a strange girl who claims she is a kaiju. She wants him to ‘date’ her and the treats are on her. As they take a train out of the city, she tells him nothing exists outside of the city. When the train reaches the boundary, Yuuta falls asleep. Only her music has him regain his consciousness. She reveals that Akane is the one who is making the kaiju, destroying and fixing the city over and over again. This is to suit her liking and all those killed are those she didn’t like. While making all the kaiju, her heart and the city have become like a kaiju. Hence Akane is like God and her twisted heart allows her to be manipulated by somebody else. If Akane is making kaiju, why is this girl against her? She is not made out of Akane and is the original kaiju that existed long before this. She is telling him all this as thanks since her predecessors owe him a lot. Yeah, thank his amnesia for not recalling all that. As Yuuta makes his way home, Anti attacks him but Max and Calibur protect him. They reason there is no Gridman here and just a normal human. Anti gives up and leaves. Yuuta recognizes him as the talking kaiju as Max suggests reporting this to Gridman. Failed Anti returns to Akane. He should know the mistreatment he is going to get for failure.

Episode 7
Yuuta tells his friends about what the kaiju girl said but they find it hard to believe. In school, Anti attacks Yuuta directly but is told that Gridman will not appear if there is no kaiju. Anti leaves but hatches an idea. Yuuta then asks Gridman about the kaiju girl but he too doesn’t recall anything about her. Yuuta’s only option is to ask Akane directly. Oh, she’s waiting for him in his room! Since he knows her secret, this makes it easier for her to explain. She wants him to join her and they can do whatever they want as God. He rejects because he cannot betray his friends. He is appalled to hear the reasons she killed off people and then rebuild the city. When he asks how she makes those kaiju, she then calls Alexis to meet up. He mentions how Akane designs the monsters and he only brings them to life. Yuuta’s Primal Acceptor resonates, indicating a kaiju but Akane brushes it off she didn’t make any for today. Then how do you explain this UFO flying outside?! Yuuta returns to Gridman to fight. But it seems the UFO can regenerate and its attack and speed faster than before. Akane returns home only to learn this UFO was made by Anti. It is possible because his hatred for Gridman is even greater than hers. With Gridman having a hard time with the UFO, Vit lends his assistance as he is a jet. With aerial capabilities, Gridman finds the monster controlling the UFOs in the clouds and Anti is with it. They soon fight but our friends soon learn what Yuuta said is true because they see a flying city. Gridman easily defeats the kaiju and Anti. Alexis now believes Anti isn’t strong enough like Akane to create true kaiju. He is going to discipline that kid. So when that failure is rummaging for food, Alexis attacks him and blinds an eye.

Episode 8
Not sure why Neon Genesis is discussing with Yuuta and co about the floating city and aliens (Alexis) at school. They’re sure attracting attention and have to put this off to another time. When they confront Akane, since they know she is the source of the kaiju, this makes it easier for her to explain her plan. She is going to unleash one during the cultural festival and shows them the upgraded kaiju she made. Back at their base, they discuss about this as well as Gridman maximising his power if he reduces his size. This way, all of Neon Genesis can participate and doesn’t use up much power. However Rikka is against the idea of fighting her friend. Postponing the festival or even telling Akane nicely not to do it seem unlikely. Utsumi hits Rikka’s nerve when he says she uses her emotions to think. So the guys go talk to Akane directly but she refuses to back down. She claims she hates the festival and believes to guys too share the same sentiments. Meanwhile injured Anti stumbles into Rikka’s mom’s shop. Borr is suspicious but Calibur allows mom to feed him and then let him leave without saying a word of thanks. All this just to get his contacts? Akane and Rikka talk. The former confirming killing others. When Rikka doesn’t accept her ways, Akane dares her to kill her then. She can’t. There is no way anything Akane does will make Rikka hate her. She designed her that way. Akane tries to tempt her to join her side but Rikka refuses. Rikka then talks to Yuuta about her failed talk with Akane. She thinks of apologizing to Utsumi first because he wouldn’t expect that. This gives Yuuta an idea. On the day of the festival, Gridman pops up first. With the people in disarray, they evacuate and this reduces the casualties. Furious Akane releases the kaiju. Gridman is half his size but is able to combine with all Neon Genesis to become one might mecha and kick ass! In the aftermath, Utsumi and Akane apologize to each other. Akane didn’t come to school, citing she isn’t well but her words still resonate with Rikka. For the rest of the afternoon, the festival went on well without a hitch.

Episode 9
Is this a restart? Yuuta having amnesia again. But this time Rikka is replaced with Akane. This time she claims they are dating. Meanwhile Utsumi is thrilled with Akane being a kaiju fan and they go to kaiju conventions to buy kaiju stuffs. Also, Rikka is very good friends with Akane. Of course as you might have guessed, it is all a dream. Our young ones are in a deep hypnotic sleep. Anti is mad there is a kaiju but Gridman hasn’t showed up. He confronts Neon Genesis but is told Gridman is on ‘vacation’. Anti heeds their advice to defeat the kaiju so that Gridman could appear. Thing is, the kaiju is like a ghost. It just passes through everything without making any damage. Hence Anti cannot connect his attacks. At the graveyard, Yuuta after seeing Gridman’s reflection, remembers reality. He will not join her in living in this dream forever because there are some things he must do. Bye. At the same time, Utsumi also realizes this is a dream as his other friends are not around and he is experience streaks of good luck. Bye. Same case for Rikka. She won’t stay forever in this dream of hers. Bye. Akane is left disappointed and sad that she cannot even reach them in their dreams. So Yuuta summons Gridman to defeat the kaiju. But that is just the dream world. In reality, the kaiju materializes and starts destroying. Neon Genesis then combine themselves to form Powered Zenon and take down the kaiju. Anti calls Calibur why Gridman still hasn’t shown up. Because there is no need to. Gridman will not fight Anti since he is a living being with a heart. Anti insists he is still a kaiju. With Yuuta and co waking up, they point out there is still someone who needs to wake up: Akane.

Episode 10
The gang are talking about Akane being God and if so, are their memories also created by her. The best way is to ask her directly but it looks like her home is no more. It’s just an empty space. She must have ran away. So more discussion about memories and if she is the reason why Yuuta lost them and Gridman initially being incomplete. Like as though they were separated before coming here. As Calibur fights Anti, he asks the question of what he will do after defeating Gridman. That stunned look says it all. He never thought that far. A kaiju appears. Gridman and Neon Genesis combine to easily take it out. Of course Anti joins the fray but is easily defeated. Again. It seems the earlier kaiju’s corpse continue to remain and as for why Anti is always spared despite being a kaiju, Gridman says he is alive. Unlike other kaiju who aren’t living things as they are created out from Akane’s malice. Damn technicalities. Akane is depressed of yet another failure. Anti asks why she gave life to him. She claims he isn’t one anymore because kaiju cannot read people’s feelings. She tells him to go somewhere and do something else. Another kaiju bursts out from the earlier kaiju’s corpse. It kills all the other scenery kaiju. When Gridman and Neon Genesis go to tackle it, they get easily overwhelmed by its power, speed, agility and pranks. Like as though it can read their movements. Gridman is going to lose for real when suddenly Anti comes to his defence. Reminding us again his goal is to crush him, Anti then transforms into his own version of Gridman. He knows this kaiju is Akane’s heart. Hence he can read her feelings. Anti uses this to his advantage and defeats the kaiju. The rest realizes Anti’s true form. He is actually Gridknight, one who protects Gridman. At this point Akane has found their base and realizes how Junk works to materialize Gridman. Not even God knows everything. Because she throws away a lot of things that she can’t remember. Then that’s not God, am I right? When Yuuta tries to talk to Akane about being used by Alexis, she stabs him.

Episode 11
Akane then trashes Junk. But the most mind boggling part is how everyone just stood around in shock and let Akane leave slowly. Like, WTF?! With all communications down, they can’t call for an ambulance so they send him to hospital. Thankfully he lives (because main character) as his vitals are missed but in coma. Alexis confronts depressed Akane and wants her to make kaiju but she can’t anymore. Gridman is no more after she stabbed Yuuta. But there is still Gridknight. Even so, she can’t. So Alexis uses previous kaiju models to go on a rampage. Anti pops up at the hospital. Because he is no longer a kaiju, he is here to repay his debts of causing trouble to humanity by fighting the kaiju. Unlike Neon Genesis who can’t help if Gridman isn’t around, Anti can become Gridknight easily. Although he fights the hordes of kaiju, there are still too many. Neon Genesis then returns to fix Junk. Yuuta dreams of Gridman. In short, Yuuta is actually Gridman. When he wakes up, he tells Utsumi the truth of why he has no memories. He is Gridman inhabiting Yuuta’s body. Until Gridman is gone, the original Yuuta will wake up. He understands why Akane had to stab him since she was driven to a corner in a world she made. That’s why there is only something he must do. Yuuta returns to Junk and with Neon Genesis by his side, Gridman returns to aid Gridknight dispose all of the kaiju. Rikka finally finds Akane but is told to go back to her friends since this doesn’t involve her. Rikka snaps back it does. Aren’t they already friends? Conversation interrupted when Alexis needs Akane’s kaiju. She still insists she can’t make them but he corrects her that he is fine with her becoming one. Instance abreaction!

Episode 12
With Akane the kaiju running rampant, Yuuta tells Anti to take care of her because he has something to do first. Alexis mocks Rikka for thinking that she is Akane’s friend. A creation of God who thinks she is God’s friend? How sad. Alexis claims Akane did not change and she was like this from the start. Because nothing changed, that’s why everything is so great. Rikka vows to change Akane. Good timing as Yuuta is here to pick her up. Then it’s off to pick Utsumi who feels useless as a normal kid who did nothing. Story can’t move if he keeps sulking so let’s go. Anti manages to dive deep into the kaiju to pluck Akane out. But he is promptly disposed off by Alexis. They’re so busy talking that they didn’t notice him creeping up? Alexis then combines with Akane to become a kaiju. Since she still has all that hatred, this gives Alexis the power. Back at base, all of Neon Genesis get their own Primal Acceptor. This allows them to combine with Gridman and transform into their ultimate true form, which is the original Gridman design. It might look like Gridman easily beating up Alexis but it seems he can regenerate. All thanks to the being empty and hence infinite. Alexis explains there was nothing here but providing kaiju to Akane allowed her to create and destroy and ideal city. Because there are some irregular factors beyond her control, the reason she needed kaiju to do so. Hence Alexis wants to make that wish come true by doing that over and over again. When Gridman is on the verge of defeat, he bounces back with Fixer Beam! Apparently this beam supposedly fixes Akane’s heart. But its true power comes from humans because you know, the power of mortals and being finite. That’s how you defeat something immortal! With that, the city and everything returns to normal. Akane is still having doubts about leaving but with the voice of her friends have her come out of the darkest recess of her heart. In the aftermath, Akane and Rikka talk. Akane wants to leave town because she has done unforgivable things. She admits she is a coward and is weak. Rikka gives her a parting gift and hopes wherever she goes, she will leave an impression. She is after all their God. And in a blink of an eye, Akane disappears. Now it is time to say goodbye to Gridman and Neon Genesis since they too will be leaving for home after sealing up Alexis. Some words of gratitude and hope before our heroes fly for home. Utsumi and Rikka wait for the original Yuuta to wake up. Meanwhile Anti is saved by the kaiju girl. Because he has repaid his debts, he is now like one of them and her family before. Last scene sees Akane wake up from bed into real life. I mean, real 3D footage!

Bakemonogatari: Greatman!
So Akane wakes back up and returns to reality? Everything in this world we have seen was just part of her dream? I have to say that I somewhat understand her because there were times that we just want to run away from the real world and create our own world and live in that idealistic and perfect fantasy world that we live in. Assuming this was all just a dream and in her head, the basic rule of thumb for every dream is that it will eventually end and you will have to wake up. Oh well. I suppose if the world Akane crafted isn’t working out the way she wants to, might as well return to crappy reality where a lot more things are out of her own control. What happens to the world that Akane has left behind? Probably doing fine on their own as long as Akane is also doing fine.

The story isn’t anything exciting but it isn’t all that boring either. There is this mixed feeling of both. Because aside the action bits, there is a lot of drama in between. The mystery of who Yuuta actually is, the goal of Akane, what the heck is Alexis and his goal as well as the curious nature and setting of the town itself are all intriguing questions to keep you wondering but eventually when you think about the overall story at the end, there isn’t nothing much to it to tell actually. Basically the power of humanity and the finite saving the day because when you have something so limited, it gives off more value. Yeah, that limited edition thingy that is out of production must be worth a lot, right?

The same can be said for most of the characters. Because in between the tokusatsu action, there seems to be some sort of, uhm, draggy drama between the friends. It isn’t like Yuuta’s group of friends are the most exciting and happening group ever. It feels like a strange group of bedfellows only coming together because of the loose relation they are to Gridman. I mean, nobody else in this town retain their memories after the reset. So it only make sense that these people stick together. Otherwise, Yuuta being the main character as well as being Gridman himself doesn’t sound really exciting. I mean, I had the gist that he is Gridman in the earlier episodes because otherwise how to explain his convenient amnesia. Then you have Utsumi who is just more of an Ultra series and kaiju maniac and Rikka just being a normal girl and possibly stirring up some romantic interest but (thankfully) never materialized. She just ended up being somewhat friends with Akane, that’s all. I suppose that is important enough for Akane to move on. As cliché as it is, Rikka has a couple of friends who aren’t important to the plot. But I keep wondering if Hass has some sort of chuunibyou or eternally sick since she has the sick mask always on. Unless this gives her some sort of character that we don’t really care.

But they aren’t as bad as Neon Genesis whom I feel are like as useful as the accessories role they are meant to be. Because seeing the big masked guy, the serious guy with swords, the bratty violent little girl (who loves kicking Utsumi’s shins) and the uhm, normal guy hang out and bumming around at Rikka’s mom’s place makes them feel that they aren’t of any use. Unless Gridman goes into action, only then they can flesh out their role as weapon-cum-vehicle-cum-accessories to aid Gridman. Other than that, they’re like just hanging around and if Rikka’s mom wasn’t this laidback and if I was her, I should be asking them if they really have anything else better to do like get a part time job instead of waiting for kaiju to show up and then transform.

Then there is Akane as the supposed villainess but she is just a lost girl. Despite we are told that she is playing God and the God of this world she creates, it feels she isn’t any close to the omnipotent and omniscient as the Almighty. Perhaps what she wants is just a nice little world to be with her friends. But it keeps backfiring since they don’t usually go her way. Ironically she cannot bend them to her will, the way she wants them and this causes her to sink further into depression. Akane’s case of wanting to play safe and stay in a dream is one of those debatable subjects because if the real world and reality sucks so hard, shouldn’t this be a lot better? Unfortunately for the sake of a better story, ‘good guys’ will usually have the mentality that it is much better to suffer in reality and take on all the pain because it proves we are alive, blah, blah, blah. Rather than stay in the comfort zone of the dream forever. Yeah, like WTF. You representing all of humanity now? Can Akane just stay happy in her own dream? If she doesn’t have this what else will she have? Oh right. Her friends. Damn clichés.

Anti also feels weird at the start. It soon became some sort of a running joke that he only exists to be defeated. Quite the irony of his role and existence to defeat Gridman. Because he rushes into battle, tries to turn the tide in hopes that would make him fight Gridman, but in the end, he never wins. Gridman defeats him or he runs out of power to continue. Is this some sort of joke? Then I should have seen this coming but they pulled the rug from under my feet. Because if you constantly fight an enemy but do not clearly defeat it, then there is a possibility that the enemy will become your ally. I mean, it’s variation of the shonen cliché of the enemies you defeat then become your friends. With Anti becoming Gridknight, now Gridman has an ally to help fight kaiju. Better than fighting each other and having the same stalemate outcome, right? Too bad Gridman has gone home. How will he ever get a chance to defeat him again? He finally finds his redemption and now groupies with the kaiju girl whom I believe is the personification of all the other real kaiju of other tokusatsu series. I mean, where do dead kaiju go after being defeated? I think there’s a deeper meaning and connection for the kaiju girl. Otherwise if you’re a casual viewer like me, her appearance doesn’t make any sense or meaning to everything. And Alexis being the final boss whose goal is to destroy via using someone sharing those same sentiments? Pfft. Boring.

It’s been a long time since I left the tokusatsu world and even though it did rekindle some nostalgia, I guess there are still certain stuffs I find it pretty funny or strange. For example when such great warriors meant to fight great monsters could quickly run out of power! OMG. Don’t they carry a spare battery? I remember during my Ultraman years, this was mainly the talking point among my friends of how ‘weak’ Ultraman is because he runs out of energy after taking a few measly beatings from the monster. So it’s the same here. Gridman running out of energy after a bout, were they like fighting for half a day? It’s not even 5 minutes and his blinker is already blinking. You can say his giant size takes energy to maintain but with all the great technology today, surely they could have improved on this, no?

Then there is the part where the tokusatsu fights the monsters and leave a trail of damage in the city. Because in every episode of the tokusatsu series, it’s like the city has been reset. Do you know how long it would take for the city’s infrastructure to be rebuilt? I know national safety is priority but if Ultraman is going to beat down the kaiju every week, Japan isn’t going to be a habitable place for years to come. And with the people going about in their daily lives, not fearing another kaiju will pop up, they must really trust Ultraman to come to save the day, huh? I mean, you want to put your child in constant danger by living in such dangerous environment? Better migrate to somewhere where kaiju don’t appear. So this series may provide that answer that was plaguing my younger days of this issue. It’s a solution that I accept even if it might not be the best answer.

And the scenery kaiju that are supposed to clean up the town and reset it back to normal, that could be a representation of how we as kids used to play with toys with our own hands. We use our imagination to crush and destroy imaginary cities and the likes. Once it’s over, we put it all back into the box. Yeah, this feels very much like it. Or how we create scenes and stories in our head and the next time if we didn’t like how it went, we can just ‘revert’ to that original point and imagine another route.

Of course now it goes without saying that the best parts of this series and other tokusatsu shows are the action sequences. At least, that is the attraction of the genre. The reason why we kids look forward each week to see what kind of ‘creative’ monsters the tokusatsu will fight. While the fights here might be cliché, but it is a big load of fun. The fights don’t take a bulk of the episode and don’t last long. After all, tokusatsu battles are like huge wrestling matches infused with some magic beams and other accessories. They need to sell their merchandise so it’s only logical why the hero has so many other accessories to combine with and a few variations to go with it. So seeing Gridman taking on the kaiju here does feel fun and takes my mind off the less than impressive drama moments.

Art and animation feel pretty good. The character designs might not be that unique or impressive but considering this is made by Trigger, the art looks a lot better than some of their other works that has that cartoonish looks. Like Little Witch Academia, Kill La Kill and even Darling In The Franxx. CGI is also used but they don’t stand out like a sore thumb as they blend perfectly during the action sequences. If they start putting in real live people in rubber suits, I think that will be a big slap in the face. I believe the kaiju designs are taken inspiration from other tokusatsu series but they don’t ring a bell since I wasn’t that big of a tokusatsu fan then but it’s just a feeling. Yeah, I could still identify an Alien Baltan if they put one in. And of course Gridman having close resemblance to Ultraman needs no further explanation. Looks great and his combination sometimes make me feel he has turned into Transformers.

Voice acting feels pretty normal. Nothing spectacular to men. Helming the casts are Yuuya Hirose as Yuuta (Aizawa in Handa-kun), Hikaru Midorikawa as Gridman (Lancer in Fate series), Yume Miyamoto as Rikka (Megumi in GJ-Bu), Souma Saitou as Utsumi (Tatsumi in Akame Ga Kill), Reina Ueda as Akane (Mira in Dimension W), Tetsu Inada as Alexis, (Komamura in Bleach) Katsuyuki Konishi as Max (Oga in Beelzebub), Ryousuke Takahashi as Calibur and Masaya Matsukaze as Vit (Saiko in Saiki Kusuo No Psi-nan). Although I recognized Kenichi Suzumura as Anti, I never did for Aoi Yuuki as Borr until I finished watching. I thought her was familiar but never bothered to really think about it. Though she wasn’t in that trademark cutie squeaky voice, recently she has been voicing character roles that move away from that stereotype. Hence I never thought it would be her.

I love the opening theme of this series, Union by OxT. It is a catchy rock piece that befits the genre and this series like a glove. Now I’m having a dilemma if this song is better than Clattanoia from Overlord. Because the rock side isn’t as heavy as the latter and it gives that hype feeling that you want to support Gridman or other favourite tokusatsu heroes. Can they be joint number one? The ending theme is also another rock outfit, Youthful Beautiful by Maaya Uchida. Also not bad but in comparison I would prefer to hear Union. There are a few insert songs but I found out that they are from the soundtrack of Inferno Cop. Heck, even the original Gridman song made a cameo in the final episode, Dream Hero by Norio Sakai. I didn’t see this series but sampling this song, how come it feels like 80’s disco?

Overall, it was a fun series to watch for the season. It brought back some nostalgic memories of the genre. Especially the fight scenes, slick animation and the opening theme but not so much the characters and the story (I read somebody online made a pun of SSS being Show’s Story Seriously Sucks! Somehow I couldn’t agree more). It wasn’t so explosively loud or in your face like Kill La Kill or Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann. It is simplistic in its own way and not too overbearing. After all, the clichés are abound only because it is somewhat a tribute to the original Gridman. If there are more tokusatsu animes like this, I would sure like to give it a chance. But hopefully they can fix the low energy problem by that time. You know how annoying when your Smartphone runs low on battery power and then suddenly goes blank, right? Damn, the irony of the limits of finite power!