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SSSS.Gridman – 09 »« SSSS.Gridman – 07

SSSS.Gridman – 08

「対・立」 (Tairitsu)
“Opposition”

First off, I still love SSSS.Gridman. I love all its weird quirks, its restrained style intercut with moments of extreme pandemonium (and BGM). I love Amemiya-sensei’s directorial choices and the cinematography, and the epic kaijuu shots. And the Gainax explosions – fucking glorious (why does no other explosion look like that?). If I live to be a thousand years old I will never, ever tire of Gainax explosions in my anime.

The funny thing is, though, I find myself loving what’s going on in itself while finding myself- well, bemused, let’s say – with the direction of the series as a whole. Yes, Gridman is poised to be a big commercial hit and will almost certainly have a second season at some point, but the writing staff didn’t know that when they planned it (and in fact, this series apparently wrapped far earlier than most anime do – leaving the staff tweeting about actually having free time). With that in mind, where in the world are they going with this? I don’t mind that it’s repetitive, because what’s being repeated is some of the best anime of the season. But we don’t really seem to be advancing much.

With that in mind you’re going to have to forgive me if I say some of the same things I’ve been saying for the past two months, because that’s what we’re getting on-screen. Akane is still by all appearances a terrible person, and Rikka is still making allowances for her (even Yuuta is casting her as a victim of Alexis). Akane is still making kaijuu, and Gridman is still finding ways to beat them. We’re still getting hints about what’s really going on here in dribs and drabs, but even if you’re not knowledgeable about the franchise that seems to be more or less what you’d expect. The Shinseiki Chuugakusei are still endlessly entertaining, and Yuuta is still in love with Rikka.

So what’s new? Well, I did ROFL at Yuuta’s horror when the junior high squad showed up at school – because they were in outside shoes. There’s a culture fest coming up, and Akane sees that as the perfect opportunity to trot out her strongest kaijuu yet, and she basically dares the SSSS to try and stop her. What comes out of this is disagreement amongst the squad, with Shou and Yuuta adamant (and quite rightly, I would contend) that Akane needs to be taken down while Rikka clings to the notion that it’s wrong to fight a classmate. The spat between her and Shou is interesting – even if she’s in the wrong, Shou was a total dickhead in the way he called her out for it. But maybe this was a lesson Rikka needed to learn on her own.

While Rikka and Shou do eventually apologize to each other, my pet peevish side would like to know why the both of them never apologized to Yuuta for how they treated him last week. And the headline is probably that Akane as much as tells Rikka straight-out that she’s a NPC – that she (and by extension, all the NPCs in the city) was “set up” to adore her. I’m not going to take anything Akane says as a given, though in general terms she seems to be a truthful sociopath. But if Rikka is indeed not “real”, what does that say about Shou – and maybe even Yuuta?

Meanwhile, Anti-kun appears to have hit rock-bottom – mutilated, famished and desperate he shows up at the junk shop looking for Rikka, only to find the Chuugakusei Squad in hostile mode. Rikka’s mom is sympathetic, and so is Max – maybe even Calibur, who gets Anti’s phone number (that’s a Chekov’s gun if I’ve ever seen one) but Anti isn’t quite ready to join the good guys yet (his expression while watching Gridman take out Akane’s kaijuu is implacable).

Yes we do get another fight, though there are some twists to this one. It’s Yuuta who comes up with the strategy of using Gridman to terrorize the school and force an evacuation before Akane’s super-kaijuu can attack the festival. It’s also Yuuta’s idea to decrease the output of the weapons (basically downsize everyone) so that the entire JH squad can do a zen-gettai with Gridman without overloading Junk and freezing the system. With that on-board Gridman once more manages to foil Akane – who must be realizing by now that for a “God” her won-loss record is pretty piss-poor. Kaijuu defeated, the festival (and the cross-dressing) can go on – but sooner or later something has to give here. And with only four episodes to go, we don’t have a whole lot of “later” left.

November 25, 2018 at 4:29 pm
20 comments »
  • November 25, 2018 at 4:49 pmFrito

    Akane is the overlord of this program and Hibiki is the virus. Akane blatantly mentioned that everyone and everything is her creation.

    Hibiki is the wrench, pest, virus that has infiltrated Akane’s dreamworld.

    Now I am wondering whether or not we will actually see Hibiki, Akane and others in the real world.

    This is SAO, .Hack, Matrix.

    • November 25, 2018 at 5:05 pmGuardian Enzo

      One of the many rumors floating around (this show inspires some wild ones) is that we’re going live-action in the final arc. Personally, I hope not.

    • November 25, 2018 at 6:51 pmzztop

      @Frito The question now is context – what caused Akane to end up in and create this world? What prompted Yuuta and the support gang to enter the world (assuming they were the “falling stars” from Ep 1′s intro, and the flashback with Alexis stabbing Gridman)? What is Alexis supposed to be, and what is his endgame?

  • November 25, 2018 at 5:03 pmruicarlov

    “Acess Flash!”
    “Battle Tracto Max!”
    “Buster Borr!”
    “Sky Vitter!”
    “Gridman Calibur!”
    “Go, Gridman!
    By your powers comined I am Captain Gridman!

    Captain Gridman, he’s our hero,
    Gonna take the kaijus down to zero,
    He’s our powers magnified,
    And he’s fighting on the city’s side

    Captain Gridman, he’s our hero,
    Gonna take the kaijus down to zero,
    Gonna help him put us under,
    Bad kaijus who tear our city asunder

    “You’ll pay for this, Captain Gridman!”

    We’re the Gridman Alliance,
    You can be one too!
    Killing and destroying is not the way,
    Hea what Captain Gridman has to say:

    THE POWER IS YOURS!

  • November 25, 2018 at 7:19 pmzztop

    So far those 2ch spoilers have been spot on. Ep 8 was said to have a cultural festival, and we got it. Ep 6 scheduled Yuta learning a big secret; we got the truth of the world from the friendly kaiju girl.

    On something giving way, Show Spoiler ▼

    • November 25, 2018 at 7:23 pmGuardian Enzo

      Thank you for using spoiler tags (I chose not to read them). To all: if you reply, please put any reference to the 2ch rumors behind spoiler tags as well, thanks.

  • November 26, 2018 at 12:32 amzztop

    Legendary animator Obari Masami is claiming Gridman’s gattai sequences are plagiarizing his work:
    https://twitter.com/G1_BARI/status/1066369537476415489

    He’s unhappy Trigger didn’t consult with him about a sequence that’s a 1-for-1 match with one he drew previously.
    https://twitter.com/out_sall/status/1066668237931319297

    IMO this is likely a misunderstanding; Amemiya Akira said one of Gridman’s objectives was making tribute to Obari’s style (apparently a good number of mecha anime use Obari as a reference point for gattai) and was unaware such a direct usage might tick him off.

    • November 26, 2018 at 12:43 amGuardian Enzo

      My Japanese is still weak enough that I have to trust second-hand reports for the subtleties, but it sounds like Obari isn’t actually all that upset. He’s friends with most of the main staff on Gridman and it sounds like he was half-serious, half-kidding when he said what he said.

  • November 26, 2018 at 9:32 amHalfDemonInuyasha

    I also love the kind of Showa era MechaGodzilla vibe with the kaiju – not only in that it’s the same general kaiju from the first episode but enhanced with extra weapons and armor and such, but also in that, just like both Showa era MechaGodzilla films (Godzilla vs. MechaGodzilla / Cosmic Monster, and Terror of MechaGodzilla), the kaiju gets its head torn off both times, lol.

    And considering how Full Power Gridman was requiring everyone’s output to be halved, can you imagine how huge and powerful he must be at full power? He’d be towering over that kaiju easily and his final attack would probably cut the whole city in half, lol.

    • November 26, 2018 at 2:48 pmGuardian Enzo

      At some point before this show is over we might not need to imagine it…

      Now all I need is for a Kaijuu based on Ghidorah to appear. That would be epic.

  • November 26, 2018 at 6:46 pmweasl

    So this whole series is about a lonely school girl whose friend likes a boy so she’s taking it out on her “Sims” and is pissed because they’re not doing what she told them.

  • November 26, 2018 at 7:18 pmRenaSayers

    So I think I changed my mind I no longer dislike Akane instead, I dislike Rikka. Her involvement in this group is difficult to watch. Rikka is both half in and half out not fully invested and not willing to pitch in all the way. Even though she knows those she cares for will disappear if Gridman looses.

    https://randomc.net/image/SSSS%20Gridman/SSSS%20Gridman%20-%2008%20-%2020.jpg

    • November 26, 2018 at 10:15 pmTheYepMan

      Well… the episode outright tells you what’s the deal with Rikka. It’s not subtext, it’s straight up text. And you even linked to a screenshot of the very scene where it’s pointed out so blatantly, Garth Marenghi would be proud.

      Akane literally tells Rikka she was literally created with the purpose of loving her. It puts her entire deal with Akane in full context: the Rikka that has been reconstructed by Akane is “coded” into being Akane’s best friend. Compare her actions to those of Anti – as soon as Gridman/Akane is involved, Anti/Rikka immediately take a stance of aggression/appeasement. Because that’s the very purpose of their existence in Akane’s little sandbox.

      So it’s not that she knows what would happen if they lose and doesn’t care, it’s that up until this episode she was unable to put 2 and 2 together and realize something was off about herself (just like how Anti was unable to put 2 and 2 together and realize that his creator, and her enabler, are abusive towards him and he’s in dire need to switch sides – until now).

      • November 26, 2018 at 10:22 pmDaemonblue

        Rikka is a NPC programmed by Akane.

        https://randomc.net/image/SSSS%20Gridman/SSSS%20Gridman%20-%2008%20-%20Large%2022.jpg
        Those two scenes being so close to each other made me feel like they are in opposition. One is about fake friendship, another is about some real tension related to Yuta that Rikka tries to suppress for some reason (probably its programming).

      • November 27, 2018 at 8:00 amKaleRylan

        It also kind of puts Rikka’s entire character into question. Going back to the very beginning when she took Yuta into her house when she found him outside. Rikka does this with everyone and everything in the story. She helps Yuta, she helps Anti, she deals with Usumi despite him being a very weird match for a seemingly attractive popular girl, she doesn’t bat much of an eyelash at the weapon squad, seh refuses to give up on Akane.

        Just who and what is Rikka? Are ANY of her feelings genuine, or has she been basically programmed to be the embodiment of compassion, whether or not she wants to deal with any of the things she’s being compassionate towards?

      • November 27, 2018 at 8:07 amKaleRylan

        Also, to further that thought. Why only Rikka? I mean, it’s possible that Usumi’s crush on her was programmed, but if so, why was he able to break his programming so quickly when Rikka was not? Yuta is presumably just a foreign body of some kind, so he’s easily explained, though the lack of people like his parents is probably because he, as a foreign body, doesn’t have a programmed supporting cast.

        The mysteries of this show are fascinating, hidden under the rather standard throwback action.

      • November 27, 2018 at 12:11 pmshotshy

        https://randomc.net/image/SSSS%20Gridman/SSSS%20Gridman%20-%2008%20-%20Large%2008.jpg
        Because of the influence of Yuta and Gridman, and the best example of this is the teacher. The teacher was a grumpy guy in the first two episodes, and became a better person after the events of the episode 2.

        Why only Rikka?

        Because Rikka keeps dodging Yuta and trying to keep away from him.
        Rikka is nicer and more affectionate towards some dirty strange kid (Anti) than She’s been to yuta throughout throughout the show. she didn’t even want to take Yuta to the hospital in episode 1. And even with Utsumi in this episode, when Rikka not only apologized to him, as she also treated him very well, but she never apologized to Yuuta for how she treated him last week.
        I advise you to check the Twitter from one of the staff members (Arai Hiroki). Hiroki says to people to pay attention to Yuta and Rikka’s interactions when they’re alone. There is always a distance between them divided by an invisible barrier, which is represented by an object or a line in the floor (in this episode, it was a flower bouquet.

        Usumi’s crush on her was programmed, but if so, why was he able to break his programming so quickly when Rikka was not?

        Yuta spent a lot more time together with Utsumi than Rikka.

      • November 27, 2018 at 2:13 pmstarss

        ……. ssooooooo …. Akane likes them extra thicc.

  • November 28, 2018 at 8:15 pmIncognito

    A bit of a late joiner since I started marathoning the English-dubbed episodes first (I loved how Alexis’ English VA was channeling Tim Curry’s Kilokhan/Kilokahn) before switching to the latest Japanese-dubbed episode (this episode), but I can confidently say that whether dubbed or subbed, SSSS.Gridman kicks giga-butt. (Yes, I do remember watching a bit of Superhuman Samurai Syber Squad as a kid and I remember the show having an ear-worm of an opening song.)

    - I also loved how the anime sticks to the aesthetic of guys in rubber suits during the kaiju fights, as a homage to the original live-action tokusatsu series.
    - I’m also astounded by the amount of this anime’s mythology gags to both the original live-action Gridman series and the Westernized Superhuman Samurai Syber Squad.
    - Gridman is voiced by Hikaru Midorikawa (a.k.a.: Gundam Wing‘s Heero effing Yuy) in both the original live-action series and SSSS.Gridman?! That’s one hell of a role reprisal…
    - And OK, I confess. All that fanart of Rikka and her heavenly thighs (and to a lesser extent, the buxom Akane–”trash of the titans” and actual personality aside) on the various image boorus also drew me in… ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)
    - Had a chuckle at the lead male and female protagonists having the same (or similar-sounding) first names as Chuunibyou Demo Koi ga Shitai‘s lead couple.
    - Has anyone else noticed that the kaiju in this episode is an upgraded version of the kaiju in episode 1?
    - And a wild mass guess: The whole world in SSSS.Gridman is basically one big lotus-eater machine, hence why Yuta has amnesia. Anyway, can’t wait for the Gridman Alliance to find the crucial trigger that would finally make Yuta remember and break out of that lotus-eater machine. The mystery in this show is just as entertaining as the action scenes.

    • December 3, 2018 at 1:25 amSeph

      - Has anyone else noticed that the kaiju in this episode is an upgraded version of the kaiju in episode 1?

      Pretty sure everyone has, as Akane said it was.

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