「決・戦」 (Ke~tsu-sen)
“Decisive Battle”

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.


  1. Akane is a well-done, complex character, but I agree with you completely. Japan has a tendency to overplay the trope of the murderous sociopath that we’re supposed to feel bad for who they then redeem because they got a bad rap or something.

    I wish anime would sometimes just let a good, sympathetic villain nonetheless stay a villain.

    1. Akane is a well-done, complex character

      Not really. The Akane is by far one of the most retarded and stupid character over the past 10 years. The problem is that the anime fans, more specifically, the waifu fans tend to overestimate the female and put them at a high pedestal simply because they are generic cute/sexy girls.

      the trope of the murderous sociopath

      Akane isn’t a sociopath, but just a stupid crazy villain, she also fits into ”Loser Villain” and ”NEET/Hikikomor” tropes

      that we’re supposed to feel bad for who they then redeem because they got a bad rap or something.
      I wish anime would sometimes just let a good, sympathetic villain nonetheless stay a villain.

      Akane deserves a painful and awful death. She cannot be just forgiven and redeemed simply for being a generic
      high school cute girl with huge breasts.

      1. Generally speaking, any time you say things like this: by far one of the most retarded and stupid character over the past 10 years, you’re just engaging in silly internet hyperbole.

        Believe it or not, it’s possible to have a conversation on the internet without ratcheting everything you say up to 11.

        Here, try it with me: I don’t think Akane is a very good character at all, and I’ll be really upset if they try to redeem her. She doesn’t deserve it and really, she’s just poorly written.

        See? It’s not that hard.

  2. >Lock in for a sequel.

    Good thing we have the wonderful example of Gatchaman Crowds to look to when it comes to taking an intensely cerebral series like SSSS.Gridman has turned into and producing another season for it. In fact, I expect we might see something very similar when all is said and done.

    Or perhaps not. Another season might be fun, but only next week will tell how we look at the series overall. Still enough time for an amazing finale… or things to fall short.

    One thing I can tell you isn’t gonna happen is the only Space we’re going to see is Cyberspace!

    1. The first volume Blu Ray(Out Dec 19) is sitting at No.21 on Amazon Japan on the best sellers. Safe to say the show is a hit for Trigger/Tsuburaya. Would be surprising if they don’t announce something.

    1. For example, the latest voice drama addresses why Utsumi (and Rikka) don’t seem too shocked after watching Yuuta getting stabbed:

      “Still… Even after she stabbed Yuuta, I just couldn’t bring myself to completely hate Shinjo.”

      Meaning despite their relatively independent thoughts, they’ve still compelled on an instinctual (programmed NPC?) basis to love Akane no matter what she does.

  3. The 4ch spoilers about Yuuta regaining his memories was half-correct – it’s actually Gridman (possessing Yuuta’s body) that got amnesia.

    The episode still has very little actual backstory about Alexis and Akane, but a Redditor posited a theory of what’s happening:

    Akane and Alexis struck some Faustian deal…allowing Akane to create a digital world of her own that she could control with her kaiju, and that our gang (outside of Gridman) are recreations of (previous) relationships and her life…, now custom tailored for her. Gridman gained access though, and through Yuta and his allies, looks poised to try and “save Akane” – whatever that looks like.

    Now we’re in the endgame where the Faustian deal goes sour, and Akane realizes just how much she gave up…

    Apparently Amemiya, the anime team, and even the OP singer are hyping up next week’s episode as lit AF (not their specific words), although I think this is more in terms of tokusatsu/sakuga action over any major backstory reveals.

    Time will tell if Trigger/Tsuburaya will want to do a S2, although if they wanted to expand on unanswered backstory they might rely on OVAs or similar.

  4. Fun fact: The idea that Gridman is borrowing Yuta’s body is straight out of Tsuburaya’s first tokusatsu series, Ultraman. Viewers find out in the final episode that Ultraman had been borrowing the body of the main character the entire series and that said character was dormant within his own mind.

    1. Akane was best friends with Rikka and had a crush on irl Yuta, but Yuta confessed to Rikka and the despair turned Akane into a recluse. The reason Utsumi doesn’t do anything is because irl Akane only knew him as Yuta’s friend that likes toku.

      In Akane’s perfect world, Yuta’s her boyfriend, Rikka’s still her best friend, and she and Utsumi could talk nerdy without looking like a spazz.

    2. I recall this being a minor plot point in the Ultraman sequel manga (by the Linebarrels of Iron creators; getting a 3D-CG anime soon).

      The previous MC largely had no real memory of the time he hosted Ultraman, although he did find out the hosting changed his genes somewhat (causing his birth son to develop superpowers like strength and flight).

  5. Well now we have our answer as to why Yuta’s such a blank slate, and why his eyes have unusual patterns: …. he IS Gridman! Yuta’s just a shell Gridman uses to help his cause. But then again, we know this whole world is really a simulation and reality is what you perceive it from your five senses and your memories, which can also be programmed, so by now I’m not too shocked.


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