SSSS.Gridman Episode 12 Review – Awakening

Akane’s transformation

As Akane transforms into a kaiju, Gridman and Anti finish of the other ones. They return to the “human” forms and plan to defeat Alexis. Anti engages Akane in battle. Alexis informs Rikka that she just a “creation that thinks they’re human.” That she only believes that shes Akane’s friend. He welcomes Rikka to try to change Akane, as Yuta arrives to get her. Meanwhile, Anti has been fighting Akane this whole time and he finally exposes her “face,” which he then transforms back into his human form and breaks through it. Yuta and Rikka arrive at the hospital to get Utsumi, he’s skeptical that he can help but is convince that he can help.

Alexis attacking Anti

Anti reaches Akane and pulls her out of some liquid. She calls him a “failed creation,” then Alexis stabs him in the back. He absorbs Akane becoming a kaiju himself. At the shop all the members of the NGJHS, Yuta/Gridman and Anti gain “accepter’s,” Rikka and Utsumi enter the battle code Gridman. This results in the “True” form of Gridman. Alexis and Gridman have an epic battle. Alexis appears to be immortal, unharmed by the attacks from Gridman. He is able to feed of Akane’s negative feeling, giving him this power. Alexis explains that Akane needed to use kaiju to control the lives of her creations. However, he finds that she’s no longer useful.

Alexis in his kaiju form

Gridman uses Fixer Beam to reset the city and contact Akane. Rikka and Utsumi convince her to “free” herself from Alexis. Gridman defeats Alexis and seals him. Akane and Rikka have a tearful goodbye. To be honest the redemptive arc for Akane filed for me. I didn’t once feel sorry for her and didn’t care what happened to her. Gridman, the NGJHS return to Hyper World with Alexis. The city returns to normal and the actual Yuta wakes up in the company of Rikka and Utsumi. Anti is rescued by the kaiju girl, while Akane wakes up in the real world LITERALLY. That live action ending was surprising and kinda genius. I can’t effectively articulate the meta commentary that the ending presents but I liked it.

Yuta and NGJHS preparing to fight

However, the series wasn’t perfect. The Yuta is Gridman switch was confusing. Also, Yuta was a very flat character that I wasn’t really connected to. We don’t actually learn much about him leaving his characterization thin. I have note previously that I’m loved this series more than Darling in the Franxx and I think that this series was even more effective with it’s Evangelion homage. Overall, this series exceeded my expectations. It’s unlikely that another season will get made but hopefully Trigger will take inspiration for this series and use it for later ones.

Akane waking up in the real world
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SSSS.Gridman Episode 11 Review – Decisive Battle

The penultimate episode of SSSS.Gridman, Decisive Battle focuses on the aftermath Yuta’s stabbing at the hands of Akane. Yuta is hospitalized. He’s in a coma but his life isn’t in danger. Due to the fact that the kaiju that maintained the city were destroyed in the previous battle the day doesn’t reset. Furthermore, every form of communication is now out of commission. Rikka searches for Akane at the school.

Alexis tries to get Akane to make more kaiju but she is too depress to do so. She also assumes that Yuta is dead. Regardless, Alexis uses the old kaiju instead. Anti arrives to the hospital to help as Gridknight. He quickly kills three kaiju with Gridknight Circular. They realize that since Junk and Yuta are connected, then repairing Junk should wake him up. They rush to the shop to try to fix it.

Yuta learns that he and Gridman are one in the same. Junk is repaired and Yuta awakens. Anti begins to get overwhelmed by the kaiju. Gridman takes over Yuta’s body. Gridman, Max, Bor, Vit and Calibur arrive to save Anti. Calibur partners with Anti to create Gridknight Calibur and the other combine to make Full Powered Gridman. They defeat the kaiju together. Rikka confronts Akane. She tells Akane that they are “friends.” Alexis arrives and turns Akane into a kaiju.

We learn that the reason Yuta has no memories is due to him being Gridman. Akane continues to unravel and as becomes a kaiju. Gridman keeps trying to give he some redemptive arc, but she keeps getting worst. Not killing Yuta was good (like he was going to die) but stabbing him in the first place was bad enough. As I’ve been predicting Anti becomes a good guy and is the reason things didn’t get worst.

Handling many of the previous kaiju, he buys a lot of time for Gridman. Speaking of Gridman, the Gridman is Yuta, Yuta is Gridman twists is confusing. As usually this episode answers many question and erects even more. Can the next episode wrap this season up answering all the questions? I doubt it, but we’ll see.

SSSS.Gridman Episode 09 Review – Dream

Is it all a dream?

Yuta awakens to find that Akane has replaced Rikka, as the episode recreates the first one. Akane attempts to convince Yuta that she was his girlfriend. Rikka relives her first encounter with Akane and Utsumi lives a dream where he and Akane becomes friends over there love of kaiju. Akane attempts convince them to join her. The Neon Genesis Junior High Students can’t wake the three of them up. 

Gridman not needed

Gridman attempts to wake them up from with dream. Gridman appears throughout the episode in windows, billboards, picture frames. His image appears in the most obvious and surprising places, it’s well done. Anti looks for Gridman, only to be told that he may not show up because of the kaiju. Anti immediately attacks it but simply flies through it. This kaiju is the reason that Rikka, Yuta and Utsumi are asleep. Surprisingly, Gridman doesn’t make an official appearance in this episode.  

Enter God Zenon

Without Gridman it’s up to the Neon Genesis Junior High Students to face the now materialized kaiju. The transformation sequence reminded me of the power rangers. Regardless, Zenon quickly destroy’s the kaiju. As a so called God, Akane isn’t very impressive. She fails all the time and doesn’t seems to have much control over her creations. Even creating an entire dream for each of the three title characters, they still managed to escape. Her power seems to be limited. Akane becomes depressed as her creations causes continue to reject her. She’s too evil for me to feel sorry for, but her character has gotten more complex in this episode. 

SSSS.Gridman Episode 07 Review – Scheme

Yuta informs Utsumi and Rikka that “Akane is a God.” He also tells them of the kaiju, they don’t believe him however. Yuta runs into Anti at his school and quickly flees. He’s caught by Anti who proclaims to no longer “care about Yuta,” that he “only wants Gridman.” Yuta tells him that “Gridman only shows when a kaiju does.” The rest of the team is still skeptical that Akane is the villain. They decide that Yuta should take to her. 

Yuta returns home only to find that Akane is sitting on his bed. She greets him as “Mr. Gridman.” She asks Yuta to become her ally. He says no, because he can’t “betray his friends.” She demands that he walk her home.  They stop at the shop of the father of the girl that Akane killed. She admits that she did it because “those girls smushed the bread she gave him.” Akane’s cruelty is on full display here. She chooses this restaurant without shame for what she did. When Yuta tells her that “people suffer when someone dies,” she say’s “yeah, that’s possible,” while playing on her phone. 

Alexis Kerib arrives. He and Akane have an casual conversation at the restaurant. The owner doesn’t seem to register Alexis odd look. Regardless, Yuta receives an alert that a kaiju is around. He heads outside to see a flying object or UFO. As Yuta runs to transform into Gridman, Akane is shocked to see that there’s a UFO, but when she turns around Alexis is gone. 

Yuta transforms and attacks the UFO destroying it. However, it regenerates and begins to attack. Akane returns home to find that Alexis has allowed Anti to create a kaiju. When she asks why he states that Anti “hates Gridman more than she does.” The strength in kaiju is determined by the hatred the creator has. The Neon Genesis Junior High Students send the Sky Vitter. Gridman transforms into Empyrean Combine Sky Gridman. They take flight and begin to battle, Gridman doesn’t sense anything.

He notices that there’s a main kaiju controlling the UFO. Anti transforms and teams up with the kaiju against Gridman. The air fight was impressive and it lead to the most surprising reveal the “city in the sky.” Gridman uses Gridknight Saber Slash to cut the new kaiju in half destroying it. Vitter attacks Anti with a barrage of lasers, using Laser Circus Amp. Anti is defeated and is punished by Alexis, attacking him with saw. The cruel treatment of Anti will backfire on Alexis and Akane one day, I’m sure of it. 

Another spectacular episode. It started of slow, but really picked ending with the most dynamic fight scene this series had. Both Alexis and Akane prove how evil they really are. Alexis treatment of Anti and Akane’s dismissive treatment of the father whose daughter she killed. I think that Anti will become a important part of this series and remains a wild card. However, he doesn’t seem to have control over when he transforms into a kaiju. Finally, the secret of Akane and Alexis is revealed, marking a massive change in the series. 

SSSS.Gridman Episode 06 Review – Contact

Yuta remembers that Akane asked him if he was “transforming,” and wonders what she meant. Meanwhile, Utsumi is away from school for a memorial service and Rikka leaves early. Akane orders Anti to kill Yuta, informing him that “if he kill Yuta, Gridman won’t show up anymore.”  He runs off to find him. Yuta looks for Rikka but she’s out shopping, he runs into a odd boy that claims that he’s a kaiju. They take a train ride where he all the questions that we had up to this point.

SSSS.Gridman 6th episode Contact pivots from the traditional format. Largely focusing on the characters meeting each other and talking, there’s no fighting between kaiju and Gridman in this episode. However, filliping our expectation on it’s head is what this series does well. The formula for the tokusatsu genre has long been established, but SSSS.Gridman often plays with it. This episode explains the world. The kaiju explains to Yuta that Akane destroys and rebuilds the city of Tsutsujidai with kaiju. Basically, she created the world they exists in and does as she pleases. 

She’s “twisted,” and is being used by Alexis. Rikka “befriends” Anti by showing him kindness. She feeds and bathes him. I would assume that this will pay off in the future. Or at least I’m hoping it does as Akane is terrible, in general but also towards Anti. Utsumi is interrogated by Akane for info on Yuta at Starbows. However, he reveals nothing of worth. While there’s no Gridman battle, there is between “humans,” or at least humanoids. Regardless, Anti attacks Yuta, whom is protected by the members of the Gridman Alliance. 

This episode does several things. First it brings both the audience and Yuta up to speed on what is happening. While we have known about Akane since the second episode, Yuta just learns that she’s evil and how much power she has. This episode also creates more questions. Does Akane realize that she is a “god”? Is Alexis an alien? What’s is his or it motivation? The kaiju that spoke to Yuta reveals that he’s not created by Akane, which of course begs the question who did?

SSSS.Gridman Episode 05 Review – Provocation

What use is an anime with teenage protagonists if they don’t got to the beach, right? The “beach episode” is an episode when the main characters take a break from the typical episode format and relax. Usually, its also a reason to engage in some fan-service, as the this episode often requires characters to wear bathing suits. Sometimes then beach episode is interrupted with more relevant plot elements. Trigger goes out of the way to zoom in on Akane’s cleavage, it’s all typical for anime. 

Regardless, this episode does turn out to be more that a typical. While no new mysteries are introduced, we do get an big battle scene between Yuta, Gridman, Anti and a new Kaiju. Akane has Alexis create a massive Kaiju. Her plan is to use the Kaiju’s massive size to overwhelm Gridman. However, Junk isn’t on the field trip with them resulting Yuta and Utsumi having too run to a payphone. The Assist Weapons all pool their money to buy the “Junk.” They then brought the Junk to the station. 

Gridman can increase it’s size but not as large as the kaiju. The larger Gridman is, the more energy expended. Yuta transforms, as Borr joins him. Using Forest Extinguisher Missile, Borr puts out the fire created by the kaiju. Gridman is quickly overwhelmed, Anti soon joins the fray further adding to his difficulty. Gridman combines with Borr, to create Full Armor Combine Buster Gridman. Anti copies the missile that Borr shoots. Gridman focuses on the large kaiju, using Twin Buster Grid Beam destroying it.

Provocation for a Gridman episode it was typical, for a beach episode it wasn’t. The only significant change is that Akane now knows that Yuta is Gridman. Yuta does have a ominous dream of what looks like Gridman being impaled by what looks like a spear. Whether this is a premonition or a past memory remains to be seen. Gridman could be getting darker. 

SSSS.Gridman Episode 3 Review: Defeat

The episode begins with Akane and a new character Anti standing in the rain. She wishes him good luck and hands him a bag of food. Rikka heads out to school, she looks up at the gray, rainy sky and ask whether she should “skip” today. Yuta, still without his memories, is asked by Sho if he thinks that the Kaiju “might actually be humans.” Yuta feels distress at the thought. It turns out that Rikka did skip school after all. 

She’s in Kamesan Park, where Anti is eating the food he was giving like a starving animal. She offers him her umbrella and her lunch. His phone quickly goes off and it’s Akane telling him to “go wild.” He transforms into a Kaiju triggering Yuta’s sensor, then Samurai Calibur bursts through the class window. He takes Sho and Yuta with him as he jump back out. They meet Rikka and head to the shop to fight. 

Yuta transforms to Gridman, but his fear of harming a person becomes paralyzing as the Kaiju begins to speak. Akane marvels at her work as she reveals that Anti can copy “all his opponents powers.” Yuta and Calibur are defeated and don’t return through the computer. Akane is thrilled. The city is then restored. Several new characters arrive to help Gridman. Akane is of course unhappy that Gridman is still alive. She sends Anti after him. 

The three new characters are Assists weapons like Calibur. Max transforms into the Battle Tracto Max, combining with Gridman. The new form is called the Heracles Combine: Max Gridman and is able to fight to a stalemate. This episode does shift away from the format of the previous two set. Akane tries to change her Kaiju abilities so they are more effective.

She is mostly successful as Anti not only defeats Gridman, but isn’t destroyed after he loses to Gridman. Regardless, Akane is unsatisfied with his effort and throws food at him. Some other changes in the format, Yuta loses, the fight happens earlier. This episode also featured a longer battle. I was wondering if Yuta was always going to have to be convinced to fight the Kaiju if he wasn’t certain that they weren’t human, but to my surprise he simply asks Anti if he was. 

This series seems to be playing with parallel events that occur in the being of the episode and the end with different results. Sho jokingly suggest that Kaiju are human, given Yuta anxiety. Yuta then asks Anti for the answer. Yuta calls Rikka at the begin to find out were she is, she doesn’t answer. When Rikka wants to find Yuta, she calls him and he does answer. Of course Akane is kind to Anti and lovingly give him food in the beginning, then she throws food at him at the end of the episode. I think it’s a smart and simple way to show what the characters have learned. Finally, the “Neon Genesis Junior High Students,” I loved the Evangelion reference. 

Images from Guardian Enzo

SSSS.Gridman Episode 1 & 2 Review

Rikka, Yuta and Utsumi

SSSS.Gridman is a series produced by Tsuburaya Productions and Studio Trigger. Based on the series Denkou Choujin Gridman and Denkou Choujin Gridman: boys invent great hero, although it’s not considered a reboot. Gridman focuses on Yuta Hibiki, a freshman in high school that awakens in the home of classmate Rikka Takarada’s house with amnesia. 

He quickly beings hearing Gridman calling to him from a old computer. He begins hallucinating Kaiju and apparently is the only one that can see or hear Gridman. He’s told by Gridman that he must “awaken” and complete his “mission.” He doesn’t clarify what this means. The following morning Sho Utsumi tells his friend (he doesn’t remember) about Gridman. 

The first Kaiju

After school they head to Rikka’s house. Yuta’s hallucination proves to be prophetic as a real Kaiju arrives and begins destroying the city. Yuta get’s sucked into the computer terminal and appears in the real world as Gridman. With the aid of Utsumi and Rikka he defeats the Kaiju. When they return to school the following morning, the school that was on fire the previous night is restored. 

The following episode, Restoration, explores what happen to the school after the fight. The damage that resulted from the battle was gone, with nobody having any memory of it. However, several of the students that were “killed” desks have disappeared and no one but Yuta, Utsumi and Rikka remember them. We also see that Akane is working with a computer robot like Gridman named Alexis. 

Gridman

At the shop, we are introduced to a new character named Samurai Caliber. He proceeds to optimize the computer and already knows about Gridman. After he finishes all three are able to hear Gridman and see the Kaiju. Rikka and the others go in search of the missing students. Shockingly, they learn that Sakiru Tonkawa, and the other students died in middle school years ago. Akane sends a Kaiju after her teacher for his rudeness.

Gridman and Yuta face off against it. However, he’s overpowered by the Kaiju. However, Samurai Caliber turns out to be a weapon, Gridman Caliber and together they quickly defeat it. I must say SSSS.Gridman has been a revelation. After my disappointment with Darling in the Franxx, I wasn’t expecting much from this Trigger production. Don’t get me wrong the animation is top notch and even the CGI is good. The movement of the characters are fluid, featuring the overall quality you can expect from them.

The homeroom teacher

This series is well directed. Adding layers of intrigue where I assumed none. If you ever watched any of those afternoon television series like, Power Rangers or V.R. Troopers, Gridman feels familiar. I expected there to be a monster of the week, followed by Gridman appearing, then future monsters would get stronger and Gridman would too. This formula would repeat until the end.

However, several mysteries are introduced in this series. Strangely, the battles with the Kaiju seem to take a back seat to the characters themselves. Akane is an unexpected villain, appearing innocent and adorable it turn out that she’s a sociopath. Having killed he classmates for interrupting her lunch. The little details matter in this series, as Akane paints he homeroom teacher as rude for failing to apologize when he bumped into her.

At the end of episode 2 she witness him apologizing to Yuta for the same thing. The question is why didn’t he died like Akane classmates? She did express ambivalence regarding him dying. Does her will matter? Did he apologize because she wanted him too and that’s the effect of her sending a Kaiju after him? I don’t know but that’s why I going to keep watching this series. 

Akane’s evil stare