「揺れ動く気持ちって、なに？」 (Yureugoku kimochi tte, nani?)
“What Is This Wavering Emotion?”
As with Gridman, I sometimes puzzle over why SSSS.Dynazenon is so much less popular with the English-speaking audience than it is in Japan. Trigger has proven to have strong crossover appeal (with vastly inferior series I would argue), which is an integral part of their marketing objectives. Both series have cute girls aplenty. They’re objectively very good in the limited measures one can use – visuals, production quality generally. Yet these series basically tank outside Japan while doing very well here. It’s a mystery to me, though I suppose it may just be that they’re entirely too old-school for the current generation of Western anime fans, who don’t appreciate the historical context the way Japanese fans do.
It can’t be consistency, because Dynazenon delivers each and every week – more so even than Gridman to this point. This was yet another tremendous episode, succeeding on all fronts. We had comedy, we had romantic progress, we had world-building and cracks in the mystery, we had action. Among the things we seem to have learned:
- Inamoto-san did indeed find a satchel full of money as I suspected, and Koyomi has questioned his decision to walk (run) away ever since.
- Gauma has lost his power to control kaiju. Unless he was lying and never had it?
- Gauma refers to his absent lover as “Princess” (and says she was kind to all living things). This definitely supports the theory that he’s the ill-fated protagonist of an episode of the 1993 Gridman live-action series, “The Legend of Dragon”. That man (who could control dragons) was betrayed 5000 years ago while trying to save his country, and died – turning up as a mummy in a museum in the present (well, 1993) day. His lover, the princess, killed herself after filling his tomb with ceremonial grave items.
- Speaking of dragons, of course the OP closes with one. And I don’t think I can be alone in thinking that Chise’s “potato” is starting to look kind of dragon-ish. Could she be a reincarnation of his princess, even? Probably not, but who knows.
- That potato thing is almost certainly one of the seeds that was spread around in the first episode. Which strongly implies someone spread them about hoping they would find humans and turn into kaiju.
- Yes, Yomogi-kun is definitely a kaiju user. And Anti (and Shizumu) have known that about him from the beginning.
Implicit in this episode’s focus on the nature of kaiju – is it right to kill them on sight, whether they have hearts or not? – is the fact that Anti is a kaiju himself. We know this of course but the rest of the cast (apart from Second) does not. The mini-kaiju that goes modernist on Gauma’s face (and half the city) is the test case. Yume is even about to call it “cute” until she gets a look at its face, but it undeniably seems pretty harmless at first. It just trips over itself, rubs its (curiously human) hands together, and belches up color splotches with seeming randomness. It’s Yomogi who initially suggests they not kill it, but eventually everyone falls into line and Gauma agrees to “keep an eye on it”.
As the Eugenicists have another R&R day – a trip to the game center and a tokusatsu flick (“Tarabaman“, not an actual Tsubaraya character AFAIK) – the main cast are forced to confront the difficult moral question of kaiju management. By choosing not to kill this one they end up unleashing it on the city and theoretically even getting people killed (though Dynazenon remains steadfast in not dealing with that directly). And Chise and Yume are in the crossfire, trapped in the mall when its rampage takes the kaiju there. While we don’t see anyone die, this is as close as Dynazenon has come to acknowledging the human cost of kaiju attacks.
You really have to feel for Yomogi here. He’s fundamentally an incredibly kind and empathetic boy, as is obvious from his interactions with Yume. He doesn’t want to kill kaiju now that he realizes where they come from, and why. And he especially doesn’t want to use his new-found power as a kaiju user to help him do so. But with Yume under threat he feels like he has no choice, so he acts. And it’s obvious whether that kaiju looked at him or not (of course it did) that this experience shakes him in a profound way. Anti may be one of the good guys but he’s a dangerous and hard person (as Gauma’s gut could confirm), and associating with him has its own risks and costs.
At least Yomogi does see some progress with Yume here. Their two-pronged “want to go somewhere?” conversation was adorable, and the final scene was a big moment for them. For the first time, really, we see Yume acknowledge Yomogi’s pain and show some empathy for him rather than the other way around. What he did was for her, she knows it, and I think it makes her realize that he’s special and she’s been taking him for granted. Alls I know is that if these two get any cuter I may need to drop SSSS.Dynazenon, because I’m not sure I could take it.