I really find myself wishing that SSSS.Gridman had been set up as a two cour series, because it’s so jam-packed full of interesting content that 12 episodes just can’t hold it. That is what it is, clearly Trigger wasn’t expecting this show to be their big hit of 2018. And it may not seem like such a big deal when a sequel is a virtual lock, but the fact is this season was almost surely written with the idea that it was one and done. That means things may happen too quickly in the finale, or things which can’t be undone may happen. We’ve seen studios exercise the do-over privilege before – just ignore what happened in the finale of an unexpected hit when the sequel comes out – but I’d hate to see them have to take that bogus approach here.
It says something about how engaging Gridman is that I’m totally cold to the Akane pity-redemption angle that’s clearly a lynchpin of the conclusion, and it doesn’t even detract that much from my enjoyment level. That can be close to a deal-breaker for me, but not here because the ride itself is so enjoyable and the rest of the cast is all meaningfully involved in the finale. Every major character had a role to play here, with even a nod to the syndrome of the overlooked sidekick. The writing for this series is remarkably efficient in that sense, which has allowed Gridman to soar despite its one-cour length.
Of course it’s impossible to start anywhere but with Yuuta, who’s bleeding out on the floor after Akane stabbed him (with a box cutter, that’s cold).
Haruko Mom tries to call 999 but all communications are down – hardly surprising as the city is a smoking disaster area (there’s a great FLCL homage in this dystopian landscape). The repair kaijuu are all dead so the reset button is off, but the surviving… NPCs, people, whatever you call them are dutifully going through the motions of disaster response (hey, this is still Japan). Yuuta has survived, but he refuses to wake up for reasons the doctor isn’t able to fathom.
As the Chuugakusei and Yuuta’s circle sit helplessly watching over him, Shou has a bit of an existential crisis. This is extremely clever actually, as it’s really the dilemma of the best friend character – as Shou ponders his existence and realizes there’s nothing really essential about it. There’s not much time for navel-gazing though, as Alexis re-animates all of Akane’s attack kaijuu (after she says she’s done making new ones) and they rain havoc down on what’s left of the city. There’s still a huge hole in the story here, which is the matter of just why Alexis keeps doing this – what’s his endgame here? If it’s eliminating Gridman he’s after he’s certainly choosing a roundabout way to go about it. And what possible value could repeatedly trashing a Lego landscape have for someone like him?
Fortunately for Bricksburg, Anti shows up at the hospital and offers up his services. With Gridman down, Gridknight is the only viable option – and Anti declares that he’s been taught (by Rikka) that it’s “good manners” to repay your debts (this elicits a first-ever laugh from Kalibur, which Mom finds adorable). Despite predictable resistance from Borr-kun, there’s no doubt of what has to happen – Gridknight has to step up. Anti has clearly left whatever connection he felt to Akane behind him at last, and embraces the role of protector of the city with relish. Which is a good thing, because despite Gridknight’s power (I think he’s stronger than an unaided Gridman) he’s outnumbered massively.
It’s here that the Junior High squad finally realize what’s going on with Yuuta – as long as Junk is “unconscious”, so is he, and Akane trashed it right after she stabbed him. Why is this the case? Because Yuuta is Gridman, apparently – that is to say, he’s Gridman having borrowed Yuuta’s body to complete his task. I’m still not sure how I feel about that twist but Grdiman has cleared all the hurdles so far, so I’m keeping the faith on this one. What does that make Yuuta, then – a “real” person, presumably? We have many questions and few answers – why Yuuta was chosen, what sort of boy the actual Yuuta is (much like the one we know, I’m betting – his nature likely infused Gridman’s version of him), what kind of memories he possesses.
So many questions indeed heading into next week’s (season) finale. Heck, we’ve still never gotten to the bottom of the Yuuta-Rikka history that was alluded to way back in the first couple of episodes, never mind Alexis’ true motives, the nature of all these seemingly artificial characters and everything else. Alexis plays his last (for now at least) card as the episode ends – when Akane again refuses to make any more kaijuu, he turns her into a kaijuu herself. Again, her whole self-pity schtick is doing nothing for me and I don’t really care what happens to her, but I do care how it impacts the rest of the cast and story and undeniably, she’s at the very heart of all of it. Next week is going to be a very interesting – and eventful – one indeed.