「覚・醒」 (Kaku.Sei)
“Awakening”

In the exhausting aftermath of a whirlwind anime opening weekend I have to be honest: SSSS.Gridman really left me at a loss for words. I’m sure most people didn’t know what to fully expect heading into this one, what between the tokusatsu origins and Trigger’s lingering divisiveness due to Franxx, but the results so far? Oh yeah, no one definitely saw this coming.

If the synopsis alone wasn’t enough of an idea, Gridman’s opener does a fair job of showcasing the insanity we can expect going forward. Our main guy Hibiki Yuuta (Hirose Yuuya) wakes up without any memories, he gets some timely assistance from a spunky cutie pie named Takarada Rikka (Miyamoto Yume), and winds up talking to the voice of God some robot/mecha thing called Gridman inside an old computer. Except the voice is real, Gridman actually exists, and Yuuta has some fate involving battling kaiju on the streets of Japan inside his new mecha alter ego. Did we also mention the complete reset of the devastated parts of town after the battle is over and how no one seemingly cares too much about a big rubbery lizard-thing randomly throwing fireballs at buildings? Yeah, it’s all crazy in here. Needless to say though Gridman does a fine job of emulating its sources of inspiration, with the kaiju looks and Ultraman references hearkening back well to some of the TV stuff I’m sure a few of us have some fond memories of. It’s the sort of thing which definitely won’t appeal to everyone, but for those that do, it’s got the look (even if 3D CGI) and material down pat.

Story-wise though is where Gridman can likely get interesting. Besides the usual chaos of first episode lack of character information (because action sequences), the show has quite a few mysteries already under its hood. Why did Yuuta lose his memories? Why can only he see Gridman (at least until fighting kaiju)? What’s the importance of the quirky Shinjou Akane going to be? Couple this with one guy clearly involved in the ridiculous shenanigans and our apparent enemy who looks too much like Luluco’s Over Justice Director-General for his own good and we have some seriously funky plotlines to work through. Given the origins of Gridman and its setup it’s fairly clear a lot of the answers (and inevitable Trigger-esque reveals) will be just as crazy as the likes of people swallowing computers and random monsters in the sky this episode, but if the show can keep up the feel generated so far without going too overboard in the process (read: off the rails), it’s likely to be one entertaining ride.

After all with kaiju facing off against big talking people-infused robotic heroes, it’s going to be hard not being entertaining.

49 Comments

      1. Those kind of jump cuts wouldn’t even need any character animation. Just to have the characters in different positions after the cuts.
        It’s like I’m talking to aliens, this is basic shit that you see everywhere.

        Fordy
  1. I’m not particularly taken into the how the mecha fits into this universe so far. But apart from that this first episode was fairly well executed. There were many strange quirks throughout the episode. Like the very long still-frame shot at the very beginning that makes you wonder if your video is frozen. The back and forth between Yuta and Rikka with jumps to different poses where the background is slightly offset each time. The long silence after they ball squashes Yuta’s lunch. It all helped build an atmosphere that strongly suggested something is off which fits in well with Yuta’s memory loss and I suppose, the eventual revelation of the mech and kaiju.

    hoshi
  2. I came to this show earnestly trying to dislike it because tokusatsu isn’t my thing at all, but it’s so dripping with classic Gainax vibes infused with Trigger manic style that in the end I just couldn’t resist.

    Angelus
    1. This is the next day, you dumb ass kids. In this moment his friend and the girl didn’t knew that the show had fucking anime restoration magic. The point is that the blue haired boy didn’t even give a shit about the potential millions of victims and was only euphoric about the robot. Man, you shouldn’t watch tokusatsu shows if you’re gonna get mad about stuff like that

      Faustus
      1. @Faustus
        His stodgy movement is meant to be a throwback to a guy wearing a big dumb suit. While that alone doesn’t justify it, if there really was a giant kaiju thing, its movement would surely be lumbering like that, so it seems to fit.

        GFC4EVA
      2. Blame her long sweater that partially cover her skirt. And no, she actually wears panties deep inside unlike the dumb goddess, and the show itself isn’t ecchi.

        scunnymadandy
  3. Ah, so volleyball-girl is playing with the ball in class. Akane gets binged by the volleyball, smooshing her gifted sandwich. Viral (er, whomever that guy is) takes offense, so he builds a kaiju to hurl molten volleyballs back at volleyball-girl. Wonder if she’s dead now, or is reset, or what have you.

    Also I like the Win95 pipes screensaver, on the nape of the beheaded kaiju. This is really subtle, so I explain it: I remember seeing on Super-Robot-Red-Baron, the characters opened up a robot or something, and there was all this really lo-tech electronics (like a telephone handset cord, you know, the coiled cord). Impressive to a 5-year old but kind of comical otherwise. So here, they do the same thing, but their lo-tech is Win95. 🙂 How many viewers were alive in 1995?

    willis drummond
    1. The direction was very odd. There’s basically no BGM for most of it and it feels kind of creepy at points but I don’t think it’s supposed to be creepy. (That one scene where the girl smashes the special dog with the volleyball for example, it’s a fucking full 20 seconds of nothing happening. Lots of panning and still shots

      That said, as for the show’s content itself, it wasn’t particularly bad or good. It was just okay. Perfectly serviceable, some cool action shots, definitely got the feel of a tokusatsu fight animated. The idea for this had to have been someone at Trigger’s passion project because anime toku just isn’t a thing these days.

      Reminder that Akane killed volleyball for ruining her special DOGU.

      derbysaddler
  4. https://randomc.net/image/SSSS%20Gridman/SSSS%20Gridman%20-%2001%20-%20Large%2007.jpg

    First episode much more interesting than I expected.
    The first part has an unsettling vibe to it and an atmospheric direction that come as a real surprise from Amemiya, that so far has been basically only Imaishi Jr. stilistically, and that will probably be more clear after the following episodes.
    The CGI was okay but what was really good was how the handdrawn bits were integrated and used for the most flashy moments. One of the best usages of 2D/3D blend I’ve seen.
    Yuuta being paired with Rikka and Glasses being interested in Akane already deconfirms any descent into love triangle melodrama, and I think any hints at either being the one making the kaiju is a red herring.

    SmugBoy
    1. I got to watch the first two episodes of Gridman. The first episode is great and filled with tokusatsu elements. However, even if you’re not a tokusatsu fan and only somewhat enjoyed episode 1, please check episode 2. Episode 2 is even better and will appeal to you even if you don’t like tokusatsu!

      shaker4life
  5. I really loved all the down to earth stuff. The little details of background characters talking and hanging out in the classroom and stuff of that nature made it all feel very alive. Like a real living breathing world, but the mecha stuff just felt SO out of place. I am very interested in where this series will go, but I’m hoping they can mesh the two genres a bit better.

    sosbrigade1991
    1. THIS^^^! Was feeling all that build up too, as another poster mentioned it had GAINAX vibes througout.

      And then it all turned TO RUBBISH when the SH!T CGI STARTED.

      and YES I Understand that ths monsters plodding movements and rubber suit like battle was INTENTIONAL. But the quality still looked like TRASH. Yall cant refute this!

      sadly prob not even giveing this the 3 ep rule

      BROOKLYN otaku
      1. No, it’s because they storyboarded the dialogue to only be animated from that angle, which was a stupid decision because that’s boring to look at for 30 seconds so they compensated by using jumpcuts so the weird shit is supposed to distract you from the fact that they fucked up.

        maybee
      2. The timing of the scene is completely incongruous with what you’re suggesting. Also, the fact that several shots were animated further disproves your insane claims.

        shotshy
      1. -people bitching about the CG
        -they don’t know it was used to make the movements more similar to actual tokusatsu villains
        -they didn’t see Shin Gojira (to which SSSS.Grindman paid homage more than once in this first episode), directed by Anno, with a weird puppet-like monster, still considered by critics (and by me) a great film
        -they don’t get the awesome atmosphere the show managed to build in just one episode, calling it boring
        truly the pleb filter of the season.

        fblockrob
  6. I enjoyed seeing the jump cuts during Rikka and Yuta’s conversation. It’s something that pops up in Ultraman and Kamen Rider at times. (those shows have some wonderful direction and I think this was trying to mimic some of those choices)

    Sou
  7. I don’t know. I am gonna give this one my usual 3 episodes to see if its worth watching or not. I was put off by Yuuta and the other guy’s blasé attitude or lack of empathy towards the wanton destruction and obvious loss of probably 100 or thousands of lives. Only the girl Rikka kinda brought it home that she was concerned for her friends when the school was hit. No concern for parents/anyone else. Weird. The next bit that tends to get me is idiocy. You see a giant kaiju and your first instint is to run ‘towards’ it? Which person – kid or otherwise – does that? Anyways…two more episodes. We will see.

    Kurik

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