「このときめきって、なに？」 (Kono tokimeki tte, nani?)
“What Is This Thumping Heart?”
Just a few memorable one-offs from arguably the funniest anime episode of the season:
- “You have every day off!”
- (patterpatterpatterpatterpatter) “You can eat that.”
- “Something beam!”
- “I thought I was dead.”
It was also true with SSSS.Gridman, but SSSS.Dynazenon is proving to be a series with a wide gap between how it’s received in Japan and in the West. Why is this? The easiest answer is that there are simply more anime fans left in Japan who remember the era these two shows spiritually hail from, or that they’re simply too far removed from the experience of most anime fans in the west in 2021. I don’t claim to know, but I wonder if there are indeed a lot of Westerners appreciating these shows, but they aren’t the sort to make their feelings known in social media and on aggregator sites.
As to that latter point, I suppose we’ll know the answer when we see whether Adult Swim decides to add Dynazenon to its lineup on the heels of its older sibling. Truthfully it doesn’t matter that much in a practical sense, because these series are commercially viable in Japan, and it shouldn’t matter to me either because I love them regardless. Easier said than done, but I have a lot of practice loving anime that tank commercially both in Japan and the West, so this at least is a step up from that.
The sheer effortlessness of Dynazenon is really on display in an ep like this one, and it’s the true secret to why the show works. There’s no pretense, no artifice – for old-timers like me, it’s clear we’re watching the real deal where mecha anime is concerned. This episode is mostly concerned with Yomogi and Yume’s relationship, and they’ve definitely emerged as the adorkable power couple of Spring 2021. Yomogi is doing his best not to be, but he’s clearly being taken off his game by his growing feelings for Yume – the news that she’s off to “meet someone” is enough to send him into a despair spiral. He gets a push from shotacon-sempai – I don’t trust her motives and the Koyomi connection doesn’t seem coincidental, but her constant teasing actually proves helpful for once.
Yume (I suppose I already noticed that her sister’s charm was an ankh but somehow it never clicked until this week) is slowing peeling back the layers of her sister’s life, and supporting her on this quest is a good way for the romantically timid Yomogi-kun to bring the two of them closer. Next up for her (presumably next week) is a meeting with someone named Unita to watch a video of her sister at chorus practice, which I imagine will be eventful both emotionally and from a plot standpoint. Given that Yume didn’t reject Yomogi’s offer to accompany her (though she did sneeze over the reason why, I suspect she knows), I hope he tags along on that venture.
Meanwhile, Shizumu is the latest to make an approach to the heroes, enrolling as a transfer student at school. He tells Yume and Yomogi that the Eugenicists don’t create kaiju, but “want to create a world where kaiju are needed”, and that kaiju exist to free people from the bonds that restrain them from being free. That’s all pretty enigmatic stuff, but the Eugenicists are the most enigmatic part of Dynazenon so far generally. They don’t seem psychotic (apart from Onija) but what they’re doing seems pretty indefensible to me. Dynazenon is a worthy sequel in every respect but the one element from Gridman I really miss is the Assist Weapons. They were very fun and their role was easy to understand – I hope the Eugenicists grow into something similar for Dynazenon, but not so far.
We have a very cool kaiju this week – reminiscent of Gigan in fact, with the ability to make 3D objects 2D (send it to the Cestvs production, stat). And Chise finally got into the cockpit, courtesy of Yomogi’s bad cold. I was half-expecting she’d turn out to be a natural given her gaming obsession and that Yomogi would worry about being obsoleted (or be obsoleted), but no – in fact Yomogi ends up saving the day and coughing his way through the battle after Yume comes to pick him up. Her sick visit to his room was the definite highlight of the episode for me – it was incredibly sweet and authentic. And maybe a virus wasn’t all she gained from the exercise, but a partner as well…