This show is so under-rated. I don't know how it's rating is so low on MyAnimeList. Big shotout to PhenomSage for recommending.
It proves that you really can't judge a book by its cover, or review on MAL.
So to start off, a lot of you will probably look at this anime and think: "Ew, its UltraMan animated". This is for kids... Next.
But not so fast, while this anime does borrow a lot of inspiration from UltraMan, it is in a differnt league. The story is very fresh and creative, with it's own spin on the UltraMan genre that is obviously intented for a more mature
audience. The closest anime I can think of is Madoka Magica and its adoptation of the SaliorMoon genre.
The story started off awesomely and is getting more and more interesting every episode. You just need to watch it without any prejudice. Yes, it's about a boy who transforms into an UltraMan-like hero and fights monsters, but this is only a cover-up for a deeper underlying story. There's is clearly some dark mystery going on in the background, but the story doesn't draw more attention to it than it needs to.
I need to applaud the storytelling so far, it's so on-point with its humour, pace, and suspense. The characters are also very interesting and beautifully created. They are super relatable and realistic. They are never oblivious to their situation and stalls out the story. Instead, they are the key driving force of the plot. The whole "battling monsters" acts as more of a background entertainment, which can be pretty nostalgic for those of us growing up watching UltraMan. The art is amazing! Top-tier along side animes like Code Geass and Macross Frontier. Music is awesome too! You can tell the creators are putting a lot of thought and efforts into this.
But seriously, you've got to watch it to believe it. I don't want to spoil anything. And trust me, you won't regret it.
After 25 years since the original Gridman TV series debuted in 1993, Studio Trigger and Tsuburaya Productions, the company behind Gridman and Ultraman, have collaborated to produce the magnificent tokusatsu inspired reboot SSSS.Gridman. For those who are new to Gridman and tokusatsu entertainment, it is the Japanese term attached to any sci-fi/fantasy live-action series that uses an abundance of special effects. More specifically, practical effects; think people wrestling in rubber monster suits smashing through model cities and stop motion animation.
That leads us to SSSS.Gridman, the love child of first-time director Akira Amemiya and Keiichi Hasegawa, famed screenwriter of the 1990s Ultraman. Filled to the brim
with references and callbacks to the live-action series, SSSS is a lovingly crafted modernized take on the original series. The new story takes a theme relevant to today’s audiences and focuses on the youth of Japan and their relationship to technology.
The show opens on Yuta Hibiki, an amnesiac first-year in high school who’s just woken up in the home of Rikka Takarada, a girl in his class. With no clue who she is, or who he is for that matter. His standard introduction no doubt had people rolling their eyes, including me, and it does detract from the story, at least until we learn why he lost his memory. Yuta sees hallucinations of a robot named Gridman in an old computer in Takarada's family store, later called ‘Junk’ in reference to its name in the original show. Afterward, he meets Sho Utsumi, his friend before getting amnesia. Sho helps him with his memory loss, which is more or less his role in the series, being Yuta's support. He's a decent character, with a minor arc and some development. Throughout the first episode, the information we’re being fed by the characters is incongruous with what we observe from Yuta’s perspective. Rikka and Utsumi easily accept Yuta’s amnesia and when he sees Kaiju looming in the distance they assume he’s joking because—like his Gridman hallucinations—he is the only one who can see them at first. In spite of the mundane reactions of people around Yuta, the directing of nearly every scene communicates dread. It constantly feels like danger is just off the frame and the next scene will change everything.
Amemiya lingers on long shots too long for them to feel normal, instead, they communicate anxiety, you constantly are waiting for something to happen that will break the mundanity. Lighting is oversaturated during the daytimes to convey the crushing heat of the summer, and at night is subdued with fog and the monsters are constantly shown looming in the distance over the heroes. In the first episode, a radio playing is placed in between scenes to shift the tone. It bears so much similarity to Neon Genesis Evangelion, it's unsurprising the director is a Gainax veteran. No doubt, SSSS.Gridman's greatest strength is the tone, it balances the mundane life of high school students with the dread of a Kaiju attack. Eventually, when the Kaiju do attack, it is equally satisfying to watch play out. The three main characters are together in Rikka’s family store when the first Kaiju begins wreaking havoc on the city, forcing Yuta to work with Gridman fight off the monsters in giant robot form. Together they create the Gridman Alliance, dedicated to defeating any Kaiju that threatens their city.
Animation is fluid, characters are incredibly expressive, the camera work is dynamic and it keeps the action exciting, even the CGI used during many of the fight scenes is superb. The sound design is especially amazing at giving audio feedback during these scenes, a vehicle being crushed, the ground crumbling under a monster, and all of the attacks sound so visceral and lifelike. From time to time the show's incredible opening is used as background music in fights, and this would typically grow tiresome but because the song is so good and relevant to the story it never bothered me. At times the monster's movements look janky, but it never feels unintentional, watching old tokusatsu series shows that this is how the monster/giant robot fights looked, they move in ways that make it seem as though someone is inside a suit navigating them. 2D animation could never have achieved the authenticity of the monsters they were aiming for here. Not every scene is exploding with action, but even when the pace slows down, the directing and intruiging storyboarding are still visually arresting. One qualm I would bring up is the overabundance of fanservice placed at awkward moments, this thankfully only happened in certain episodes around the midpoint of the show. All around, this show is incredibly faithful to the original series, visually, audibly, and narratively.
The story is at times too standard to the genre and could have used more originality rather than reliance on the source material. It delivers it's story beats confidently and plenty self-aware of the nostalgia it's evoking, but the times it updates the script to a modern audience are worthwhile. Important information is shown to us rather than told, a characters motivation is never told to us before it is shown, a twist never comes that wasn’t foreshadowed heavily. This showing rather than telling comes across the most in Akane Shinjou's scenes, a classmate of Yuta’s. She offers the most exciting writing in the show. In the first episode alone, her scenes convey more fear than any of the Kaiju scenes. She’s subtle with her dark side and when she gets her quiet moments of angry reflection you get to see how bitter she is. Her psychotic tendencies and lack of care for others are made all the more frightening by how much power she proves to have.
If I'm being entirely honest, Rikka and Akane are both better protagonists than Yuta. Rikka gets more development than Yuta and becomes a remarkably sympathetic character right away. While Yuta and Utsumi celebrate their victories against Kaiju she worries about the fallout of the city being attacked and if her friends are safe. She's the most nuanced character in the show, and it often feels like she is a normal person who was placed into the plot of a wild sci-fi kids show. Her apprehension towards conflict and her contemplation of the effects of what's occurring in the story are what makes her so believable. Yuta and Utsumi are at first, ecstatic to escape the mundane life of being a student, then the shock of the danger they’re in forces them to face reality and change their mindsets. Whereas Yuta accepts he has to overcome challenges at face value and follows through like a typical protagonist, Rikka is constantly questioning why she’s in such a dire situation and where her place is in all of it. Her development throughout the show is intertwined with Akane's and they both change in ways that are very engaging to watch play out.
The themes of Gridman are showcased throughout the story in the elaborate technology the villain has, all alone in her room, contrasted with the beat-up old computer the Gridman Alliance use. Yet even with basic technology, they prove to be formidable foes to the Kaiju, and they enjoy working together. What the screenwriter is trying to say is rather basic, but it’s nonetheless a well-reinforced theme and consistent throughout the show, you don’t need an abundance of technology to have good relationships and valued friendships.
The passionate heart at the core of SSSS.Gridman is what hooked me upon my first impression, it wears its love for the original series on its sleeve. This passion may not be as clear to western viewers who are unfamiliar to classic tokusatsu. Due to this, it will likely be underrated. Nevertheless, as a modern anime, SSSS.Gridman stands as one of the best mecha in recent memory.
SSSesth Gridman is the newest name monster from the studio everyone knows and which creativity after Inferno Cop has been entirely limited to their ability to make up shitty names that don't mean anything. eSeSeSeS. Gridman's biggest achievement is confirming that the future won't be changing this to any direction, especially not for better.
Dude who has red hair starts hearing his computer talking to him and claiming he is this thing called Gridman while girl who he has never seen before in his life is now living with him or something. Then they start arguing over if the pc really talked. Less than half way
into episode 1 and I was already confident that this is going to be a veeery long show despite its 1-cour length.
Rest of the writing centers around student life, chats about sandwiches, monster of the week epicness, reveals regarding the daily life of our cast, some mystery elements that are mysterious because they don't make any sense, mecha fights and new things that matter even less than the events before them. Also aliens with swords and yu-gi-oh arm bands, because more > less, apparently.
Did I mention the dude has red hair? Well, that's not exactly important, but I just can't figure out what else there supposed to be to him. He also suffers from a memory loss which is the single worst trope invented by man, which is great because that's exactly the type of lame shit this show deserves.
Rikka is the best girl because she sighs every 3 seconds and sounds both disinterested and bored, which is also great because I imagine she has become self-aware and has realized she is a character in this fucking thing. *sigh* "this out of all anime"
There are also other characters here. One of them stares at the sky and it looks like she is finding it very fascinating, she is also insane or mentally ill / both. Another has glasses so that's kinda cool, always need that one motherfucker who can't see shit. I would love to mock all of these characters for more meaningful and less shallow reasons, but they are shells whose presence is entirely limited to their character models.
Gliddoman's animation consists of completely still background images, extremely slow tempo walking scenes and character interaction / dialog moments where the character animation is like 2 frames-per-second and there is no in-between animation at all: what we see is teleportation without any continuity. I have personally never seen anything like this in my life, but I am sure they managed to execute the whole thing with 70% less animators than is normally required, so if we are looking into pros: very few people have been required to waste their time working with this awful piece of anime. Kudos.
The monster design is great. The first thing that appears is basically oversized, pink colored Donatello who has a dragon head in the place of a navel. Which is amazing since its shell is so full of spikes it well get stuck on any surface it lays on its back and if it falls on its stomach, its neck will break. This is pretty much why I am finding this show to be worth of watching, I have had a blast imaging this fking thing yelling "I am invincible!" then tripping over and never moving again. Its movements are even better. Waddles from side to side and occasionally looks like a passable, decent quality slide show....
Why would anyone even want music amirite. It's so much more pleasant to listen teenagers acting like they are surprised. I can't figure out if this is really supposed to be voice acting or a parody of the seiyuu industry. Dude sees a Gozilla in the sky and gets almost as excited about it as a house wife who is ironing her husband's socks. "Oh wow, this shit's great." Except that's the first time he ever sees one. Or maybe not because he suffers from memory loss. On the other hand, I care way too little to consider more possibilities.
Also I kinda lied. There are songs, but they mainly exist in action scenes and don't work very well. First one lasted like 15 seconds and was terrible trailer-music-tier stuff but lacking anything that makes them good. The second lasted approximately 4 seconds and I am still uncertain if it was really a song or the sound of a siren just before its battery runs dry. The third song was an anime opening you hear typically in seasonal slice of life shows except here it was inserted in the middle of an action sequence and its vocals were more visible than the action itself. I am not sure why anyone would want to make something like this or think this is a good idea, but whatever, since everything else is already terrible, why not make the sounds awful, too, I guess.
SSS Gridman Sucks. The last S. is really supposed to be moved at the end of the sentence, hence the dot in title. Thanks Triggarh
Hey, are you feeling down because you have this great idea for an anime but keep getting rejected by every studio that you try to sell your pitch to? Well it's time to turn that frown upside down, because Studio Trigger will gladly produce your anime for you, as long as your anime contains a few specific things of course. Here are the three easy steps that you must follow in order to have your anime green lit by Studio Trigger!
1. Make sure to have a LOT of steamy hot fan service. It's best if your main source of sex appeal comes from your leading
female character, because being hot waifu material > having a personality and depth.
2. Have your main character (who has to be an edgy teen btw) fly around in a giant mecha all the time because BIG ROBOTS ARE AWESOME!!!
3. ADD ALIENS! Especially as twist villains for the final arc of your story, because there's nothing better than kids in giant robots fighting against aliens in FREAKING SPACE!!!
Follow these simple steps and your anime will be practically guaranteed to end up as Trigger's next unsuccessful imitation of great anime like NGE and TTGL just like SSSS.Gridman is!
...On second thought, maybe you should just try your luck with a no-name studio.
I'm starting to think that creativity died at Studio Trigger. Yet although they seem to consistently recycle the same exact ideas, I've still enjoyed their works. I loved Kill la Kill because it somewhat deviated from the traditional Trigger formula and was just a great and fun anime all around. I even really liked Darling in the FranXX up until they butchered the ending because Trigger just HAD to have aliens. But with StopSoundingSoStupid.Gridman (Seriously, are the four S's supposed to mean something?), it just felt hollow. I never got the impression that this anime was trying to stand out and make a name for itself, and it unfortunately ended up being painfully average because of it.
Interestingly enough, my score for this anime fluctuated several times throughout its run time. I actually did find some episodes to be enjoyable and even thought provoking, yet others were the embodiment of mediocrity equipped with bad character interactions and bland scenarios. The only things that remained consistent throughout were Rikka's sexy legs. But even those thick thighs weren't enough to salvage the dysfunctional plotline of this anime.
The setting is quite bizarre. Our protagonist has come down with a rather unfortunate case of amnesia that is poorly explained near the end of the anime and finds himself in a city surrounded by a bunch of giant kaiju that only he can see. But he doesn't really seem too concerned about any of this. In fact, he doesn't seem to care about anything at all except for getting in Rikka's pants. And when other characters finally realize that our hero Yuuta isn't insane and see the kaiju too, they also don't seem to care too much about their situation. And that's one of the glaring issues with this anime. If the characters are completely nonchalant about basically everything, then why should we the viewers care about what's going on? Not that the story itself is anything exciting. It's just a typical monster of the week that Gridman and Yuuta beat up and then everything resets (the damage to the city and the memories of everyone who isn't an important character) because plot. And despite what you may be thinking, there really isn't much more to this anime than that. If anything, it just became even more confusing and convoluted by the end of the show.
For the most part, the characters are pretty stale. Gridman is the most bland sentient robot ever conceived and is piloted by the most uninspired kid imaginable. Utsumi is that typical freind guy who never does anything useful except crack a joke or two every ten minutes. Rikka is the attractive female lead who's personality unfortunately isn't as good as her looks. Alexis is some random alien that's randomly in this anime because Trigger has an alien fetish. The other characters bar one aren't even worth mentioning.
*This short segment contains spoilers as well as positive thoughts on this anime*
The one person who keeps this anime from falling below average in my eyes would be Akane. She takes the role of the antagonist, making all of the kaiju herself and trying to kill Gridman and people she doesn't like with them, and the anime literally revolves around her since she is, you know, a god. She seems like a fun and energetic girl at first, but after peeling away her mask, her true colors as a heartless, attention seeking psycho are exposed. And the anime even further sheds light on her intricate and delicate psyche later on in the show. The dream sequence episode, while weird, was one of my favorites from the anime simply because of how it portrayed Akane. She's just a really engaging character who I enjoyed watching. Her body is also pretty hot, I'd say even more so than Rikka's (Yeah, I said it). Akane is definitely the highlight of SSSS.Gridman for me.
*End of spoilers and positivity*
Despite my obvious displeasure with a decent chunk of this anime, it was still semi enjoyable to watch. Sure, the anime doesn't have much heart, but watching a giant robot beat up giant monsters is always fun, despite how repetitive it gets. And Rikka and Akane were a pleasure to watch (for more reasons than one~), so that's always a plus.
Show'sStorySeriouslySucks.Gridman is underwhelming. It never really went anywhere and just felt sort of pointless. A lot of things didn't make sense and when the anime did try to explain something, it usually just made it even more confusing. Let's hope that Studio Trigger is able to improve with their next project.
When SSSS.Gridman first began, people really didn’t like it. I think a lot of the surface-level elements turned people away, especially since the first few episodes were fairly slow and predictable. But once the show actually got going, the actual content there kept us coming back week after week, and it ended up being not just one of my favorite shows of its season, but of the year as a whole.
Gridman is a precarious mix of genres, balancing seemingly everyday school life against giant mecha fights. The former goes against what people expect from mecha anime, and is likely responsible for the show being labeled
as slow. However, these two disparate halves somehow built off each other, with the tension of the daily life feeding into the catharsis of the action scenes. Since it's the more mundane material that seems to have garnered the most criticism, that'll be the focus of this review.
Interestingly enough, this means I really don’t need to talk about Yuta. While he may pilot Gridman, his amnesiac protagonist bit gets in the way of him having a particularly interesting school life, and instead Rikka steps forward as the protagonist. Rikka is the more emotionally-driven of the two, and while she’s aware of all the kaiju shenanigans going on in the show, it’s never really her main drive.
Instead, Rikka’s conflict is her trying to reconnect with Akane, the antagonist of the series with whom she used to be close friends. Akane creates the kaiju that terrorize the city, and it would be so easy to just view her as the villain, especially since this is how she presents herself. But unlike the other protagonists, Rikka doesn't look at her through this lens. By refusing to play on Akane’s terms of mecha and kaiju, she is the one who is able to genuinely reach out to Akane and save her from her isolation. This story of reconnection could have been treated as secondary to the main action, but instead it’s given the same level of attention, receiving much of the show’s expressive animation and relatable character moments.
Also, the show absolutely nails atmosphere. Though everything seems mostly normal for the first half of the run, the show's use of its claustrophobic camera and tendency for long pauses serve to constantly instill a sense of discomfort in the viewer as they try to figure out why the world seems off. The summer heat is tangible and oppressive, and the rainy days are all the more miserable. The soundtrack goes a long way to sell these scenes, and the opening and ending are both fantastic.
Briefly, I’ll talk about how the show handles homage. I think a lot of the criticism leveled at the show is based on it being too steeped in references to other shows, to the point that animator for the original Gridman Obari Masami complained that they weren’t doing anything new with the material. With that said, I don’t mind having these callbacks as fanservice to fans of the original, especially since they don’t conflict with the story being told. Plus, how upset can I really be over all of the character designs being based on obscure Transformers? That’s adorable.
In conclusion, Gridman is just really good, you know? If you’ve been on the fence about watching Gridman because of the initial negative reception, I'd say it's worth trying for yourself. I'm still not entirely clear why so much of the community is down on this show, but I absolutely loved it, and I hope that more people will give it a chance.
SSSS.Gridman is really another Mechca anime genre that fails to deliver any good plot or even likeable characters at all. Now, I'm not saying all Mechca anime is bad because that's true. There are some good one out there... but there is more bad than good. SSSS.Gridman has such a simple plot. Kaiju comes, transform into Gridman, and done. Rinse and repeat pretty much. They might add a bit more "drama" to the mix but the formula wouldn't change since it's so simple. I'm not saying "simple" is also bad, anime such anime "Yuru Camp" is so simple but so satisfying
to watch because the characters make up for it. I see a lot of people be like Rikka is different or something about her is special. What in the hell are you even looking at? She's literally those typical character where she value friends and whatnot and will do her best to save those relationship ties that she has with them. And trust me, Yuuta isn't any better. This anime is literally a cover of a book with no story inside of the book itself.
SSSS.Gridman is an anime inspired by the old tokusatsu series Denkou Choujin Gridman. It takes what's interesting about the genre and adjusts it to fit the modern day's standards. Thanks to that the final product turned out to be an interesting mix of old and new. Add to it the outstandingly good execution and you get a masterpiece that can keep you glued to the screen with every episode.
The main character of the anime is Yuuta Hibiki - a high school boy that wakes up at Rikka Takarada's home having no memories at all. At the Junk Shop, which belongs to Rikka's family, there's an
old computer called Junk. And inside of it there's Gridman - the Hyper Agent telling Yuuta there's a mission he needs to fulfill. Yuuta lets his school friend Utsumi in on what's happened and when huge monsters called kaijuu start attacking the city, these three form the Gridman Alliance and with the help of the robot inside Junk, they start fighting said monsters and begin the journey to discover the truth about the city and everyone in it.
Since the very beginning there's a feeling that there's more to the show than it might appear at first. In what could be labelled as a naive show targetting the younger audience there's always the feeling that something is off and with every episode the eerie atmosphere becomes more apparent, which only makes the experience better. I loved the mysterious atmosphere of the weird, closed off city and the scenery filled with giant monsters reminding you that even the calm days aren't how they should be.
What adds to the atmosphere is the background music, or rather the frequent lack of it. Because of that (and of the animation) some scenes look pretty slow, but I wouldn't call it a bad thing in this particular case. The music does always appear during the fight scenes, though, and it's fitting and good. I also liked both the opening and ending song. There's a song I liked even more, though, and namely Yume no Hero - the original Gridman's opening song - which the original version of we can hear in the last episode and there was also a rearrangement of it played before.
As for the fights, what's much more outstanding about them than the soundtrack are the visuals. The fight scenes are super good and in my opinion they only get better with every episode. The CGI used during them looks clean and good quality and it also makes Gridman and the kaijuu look kind of heavy like they are supposed to be. We also get to see lots of cool transformations and gattai. Many cool combinations appeared throughout the show.
The visuals are great not only during the fight scenes. There are rather many still frames, but I perceive them as an artistic move, which I like. But when things are moving, the animation is fluid, especially when there's a lot of action going on. The backgrounds are full of details, the characters have nice designs (I also love their eyes) and there is nothing about the visual side of the show that I could complain about.
I found the characters to be another really strong point of the anime. Our main trio is totally likeable. Although devoid of some super unique traits, they feel genuine and their actions are understandable. And that's exactly what I like about them. They are just a group of normal high school kids whose everyday life changes because of the strange events happening. One could complain about the main character being bland, but there's a reason behind that, and it's more than just the fact that he has no memories. There's also Akane Shinjou - the girl everyone loves and a friend of Rikka. The Neon Genesis Junior High Students are a crazy but lovable and useful bunch, whose eccentricity doesn't fail to make the viewers smile. There's also a certain kaijuu boy that grew on me over time. The supporting characters are also fine.
As for the references - there seem to be many of them, but as someone that has never been into tokusatsu shows, I can't say much about them, unfortunately. I feel like I'm missing out a bit, but it's not like being knowledgeable about this kind of thing is necessary to enjoy the show. I'm sure the references will add to the experience for people that are more familiar with that stuff, though. I also wanted to mention one thing I looked up before, and namely the background of a certain girl that played an important role in the episode 6. If you are interested in that, I recommend looking up a kaijuu named Anosillus. It's quite moving. Episode 6 is also the one the aforementioned rearrangement of the old opening song was played in.
To sum it up, I see SSSS.Gridman as a show made of love and care for details. In spite of it taking inspirations from other things, it feels like it has its own identity. The quality of the anime is super good. To me this show is one of a kind. Simple, yet interesting and satisfying. I found it to be extremely enjoyable and I highly recommend giving it a try!
Director [claps hands]: Okay. Thank you all for coming on such short notice. I just wanted to discuss some further details on the series that I thought appropriate.
[Staff members nod their heads and grunt in agreement]
Director [smiling]: Great! Okay. Masaru [Sakamoto], you are in charge of the character designs, right?
Masaru [nodding]: Yes, that is correct.
Director: Okay. May I see how they look so far?
[Masaru nods and shows him a clipboard containing several designs of the main characters. The director takes his time glancing at each of the female designs.]
Director: Okay. I like what you have here, but I think we
can make both of these female characters stand out more.
Masaru [intrigued]: Sure. What would you want to change about them?
Director [pointing at Rikka]: Okay. [leans towards Masaru’s ear and whispers in a serious tone] I want dat ass big and her thighs thicc!
Masaru [choking in absolute shock]: Uhh sir, I mean… are you sure about that?
Director [grabs Masaru by the collar]: Okay listen here bucko, I’ve been in this industry for over a decade. I was an animator for one of the most successful anime from this year, Darling in the FranXX, so I think I know a thing or two about what sells in this business. [Releases his grip on Masaru and returns to a light-hearted tone] And try and make the other girl look cute, but not with thicc thighs. Only one girl gets that.
Masaru [still stunned after what had just transpired]: Wh-what do you mean, “look cute”?
Director [walking away]: Just think what I would look like if I were a high school girl. Okay?
[Masaru has no idea how to respond and decides to ask mechanical designer Shigeto Koyama on his opinion. Koyama sees the designs of both girls and a slick smile forms across his face.]
Shigeto [amused]: Well, when all else fails, you can always make dem titties big!
(Inner Masaru [sighing]: What the hell did I sign up for?)
Regardless of how seriously you take the transcript written above, it’s hard to argue just how much attention to detail went into the creation of SSSS.Gridman. While being heavily inspired by the 1993 live-action series Gridman the Hyper Agent, this version is loaded with visual references to numerous tokusetsu series and mecha anime of the past – Space Runaway Ideon, Getter Robo, Evangelion, several iterations of Gundam and more receive stunning rendition scenes that serve as quick but effective throwbacks appealing to nostalgia for the die-hard fans of yesterday. Whilst on the other side of the community, Gridman had managed to conquer the ever-present “best girl” debate of the season, with each week providing more material and support for why each girl and this series is worth one’s attention. Hell, there was even a theory made halfway into Gridman about whether or not Rikka was secretly pregnant with the protagonist’s child the entire time (there’s actually a fair amount of evidence about it, not gonna lie.) But first impressions are usually not what they seem and this saying holds true for Gridman, as the very first episode comes off as anything but the fun mecha shows its constantly compared to.
SSSS.Gridman introduces its audience with several long shots lasting for uncomfortable periods of time – focusing on rather mundane things like a pile of shoes and dozens of students leaving school for the day, with only the sounds of cicadas being heard. Our protagonist Yuta wakes up in an unfamiliar room, with an unfamiliar female sitting across from him. The unfamiliarity continues as shots continue having characters fail to dominate the frames they are in, often outsized by their environment; constrained into small spaces of scenes. And when characters are allowed to dominate frames, the camera often takes weird perspectives placed either above or below their eyelines, almost intimately close to these characters. There’s a strong, distinct direction present that forces the viewer to rarely ever feel comfortable about what is being presented, coupled by a minimalist-style soundtrack that further emphasizes a quiet, environmental atmosphere rarely ever attributed with mecha shows. Its presentation is one that is more inclined to push anime fans away given just how different the show appears to contrast with the majority of anime airing nowadays. Some may call it a series with striking directing techniques that ultimately lacks proper direction. but I would urge otherwise as Gridman still has a lot of upside that helped make it one of the most popular shows of the season.
The story focuses on amnesiac Yuta Hibike, who after finding himself in the home of fellow classmate Rikka Takarada meets a robot known as Gridman inside of an old computer. This has coincided with a sudden appearance of giant unmoving Kaiji, with one abruptly attacking the city causing Yuta to merge with Gridman to battle the Kaiju. In the aftermath however, the city around them appears rebuilt, with those having died being forgotten and people’s memories being reset around this fact, all bar the main characters. Because of this, Yuta attempts to stop the Kaiji from attacking and uncover the truth behind these disappearances. The mystique behind these events is what ultimately drives the story forward, however majority of the first half of Gridman almost rigidly follows a simple formula akin to tokusetsu monster-of-the-week: slight plot development occurs, monster appears, big hero/monster fight ensues with the heroes coming out on top, maybe some followup and repeat. This is not necessarily a detriment to the show as it works well to further establish most side characters and the setting in general, but once again it’s a tool that can easily alienate more viewers looking to see why Gridman is so well-liked.
Gridman’s cast may not be seriously complex in their characterization nor development but still remain a solid aspect of the series, especially with the chemistry between more characters. The way each of the high school students are able to bounce personalities off each other is impressive and the least someone like myself can ask for of characters barely important to the plot. Although there still are some specific characters worth mentioning: Yuta as an amnesiac portrays a relatable human response in trying to carry on as usual to the best of his ability, reflecting how many of us will often try and find a sense of normalcy, coping to the best of our abilities instead of shutting out entirely despite the desire of sometimes wanting to. Meanwhile on the other side of the spectrum, Akane serves as the main antagonist to Yuta and friends, spending most of her time inside her eerie room, creating Kaiji inspired from daily frustrations and petty grudges. Underneath her outward reputation as a talented student lies a psychologically twisted girl barely able to be kept contained. Thematically, the series dangles along threads of memory and connection and both of these characters are integral to these ideas.
As far as Gridman's production value is concerned, this is where the series really shows off its strengths. Distinct character designs and colour palette that never overwhelms a single scene, detailed backgrounds that give off an ominous sense of uncertainty, subtle edits to further keep the audience away from any settled feeling. Its animation is somewhat limited considering the number of stills used in Gridman but does utilize a significant amount of 3D animation in conjuction with 2D animation, and here is where opinions can get easily divisive. From the time of Gridman’s airing, anime still has a long way to go with improving CG animation to looking anywhere near as appealing as traditional-style animation, and when both styles are used in the same show, the consensus thought is that it comes off clunky, immersion-breaking and overall detrimental to the show visually. But Gridman stands as an exception to this, with the CG-animated fights coming across more reminiscent to that of tokusetsu battles. In this way, these action scenes give off a similar sense of scale of larger-than-life monsters duking it out, destroying vehicles and buildings as if they were mere toys. These moments also encapsulate what I feel are the best parts of SSSS.Gridman.
Whenever a Kaiju attacks and Gridman, the hero and giant ass-kicking robot enters the fray, everything regarding the purposeful directing fades out: the unsettling camera angles, the absence of music, the alienation – all of the uncanniness is annihilated for this moment courtesy of the triumphant emergence of the hero confronting the evil. All of the sudden the cameras move into action, the music blares out, frames are completely dominated by the two behemoths. It doesn’t last very long but for this moment we as viewers finally are at ease and it becomes a glorious release of pent-up emotion. Expert manipulation of the audience that while it may sound simple on paper, could only work under the guise of splendid filmmaking ability. And that, is where SSSS.Gridman truly shines.
This anime is the definition of bland and boring.
Literally the most boring mecha anime out there with 0 interesting plot
and the dumbest characters around.
The only appeal here is Rikka's thighs and that's about it.
I would give it a 0 if I could.
Characters: 2 (only becuz of the thighs)
Enjoyment: 1 --> boring and bland with simple action and plot
If you really like Mecha, literally choose any other mecha anime to watch. This anime is a waste of your time and the only reason it has any hype at all is because of the main female protagonist's thighs.
SSSS.Gridman is a truly bizarre title. After the monumentally disappointing “successor” to Evangelion and Gurren Lagann that was Darling in the FranXX, and the actually worthwhile Gurren Lagann successor Planet With, it only makes sense that this show completed the holy trinity of super robot anime this year. Bafflingly enough, it does so by being a confusing mixed bag and a nightmare to discuss, especially with those unfamiliar to it. While it doesn’t go full Evangelion, there are still references, as well as stylistic similarities between the two. However, there’s certainly more to the core of this peculiar beast than that.
First and foremost, this is
a tokusatsu super robot anime. Sparing you the totally obligatory history and summary of both concepts, it’s clear that the trappings of both genres aren’t easy to deal with gracefully in an anime of today’s time, or any anime in the case of tokusatsu. Case in point, while reused animation is common for super robot shows, and even several mecha anime in general, that’s mainly in the form of robot transformations and specific attacks. Not only does SSSS.Gridman have this in spades, but there are several moments where non-combat footage is replayed for seemingly no reason. On the tokusatsu side, given that you cannot simply take a man in a rubber monster suit and directly insert that into an anime, the people over at Studio Trigger decided to make Gridman and the Kaiju CG, generally in a way in which their designs allow them to cross this uncanny valley between 2D and 3D. I’ve no idea if there is a perfect way to replicate this feel in an anime, let alone a predominantly 2D one, but this isn’t necessarily an elegant solution. Not helping matters is how these hulking titans actually swap between 2D and 3D, and how suddenly everything they interact with --i.e. the road, the cars, the debris, etc.-- becomes a tossed salad of ugly CG models. Certain kaiju tend to look nice in spite of this, but this issue certainly makes the combat a little harder to get immersed in. It’s a shame given the fun choreography and sakuga moments present within the fighting itself, which help makes the fights feel exciting.
The visual shortcomings do not stop there. The art style the team at Trigger chose is not exactly one I consider appealing. It feels incredibly flat and not drawn very well, and that’s when it’s at its best given how painfully unstable and inconsistent the drawings of the faces are. At its worst, these faces look like deformed potatoes, and this is further accentuated by several of the character designs. The designs often feel incredibly plain apart from their eyes, and even the more well-designed characters such as Anti and Rikka aren’t as appealing as they could be, thanks to the art style. Another problem even the more well-designed characters share is how awkward their movement can be, specifically when trying to do expressive hand and arm movements. This is all on top of other visual oddities that I can’t adequately describe.
To get to the inevitable Evangelion comparison and lighten the mood, the direction is striking. There are several moments meant to highlight a sense of discomfort and eerie quietness between the main characters of both series, most of which are as long as the infamous pauses in Evangelion. It adds this sense of discomfort that many of the characters share around each other, which is rarely presented this way in anime, let alone super robot shows. Admittedly, the abundance of these scenes can make episodes drain on the viewer at times, but coupled with the clever framing of several shots that show off the barriers and emotional distance of most of the characters, I found it more engrossing than not. It’s certainly the most visually stimulating aspect about this show, as the directing envelops the viewer in this whirlwind of bizarre uncertainty whenever there aren’t any kaiju-related fight scenes taking place. Film buffs might find this directing standard fare, but it is certainly noteworthy in the anime landscape. The dream sequences in episode 9 are particularly fun to witness, as they are the biggest triumphs of director Akira Amemiya’s work here.
Adding to the aforementioned sense of eerie discomfort would be how the show heavily restrains its music. Throughout most of the scenes not pertaining to action, there isn’t a single piece of music to be found, leaving only the sound effects and voice acting to be heard. Thanks to the absence of music throughout a large portion of these episodes, you’d think it would give the music more impact when it does appear. Sadly, this isn’t the case, as apart from the opening theme which often gets replayed during the climax of a kaiju battle, the music Shirou Sagisu composed often doesn’t stick. This is due to some of the tracks feeling simply decent yet unmemorable, made worse by the fact that nearly every track is only played once. With the possible exception of a few tracks in episodes 10 and 11, they’re never for any scenes that could help give them a real identity along the lines of Aimer’s “Last Stardust” playing in the scene where a broken and battered Shirou stands up to Archer in Unlimited Blade Works Season 2. Fortunately, later on, the tracks do start hitting more consistently, and it’s not like the music was bad to begin with. However, the point still stands.
There is one track that stood out, that being the opening theme: “Union” by OxT. As a song, it works at being a riveting push into action, an uplifting song meant to hype you up and get ready for the battle ahead. This feeling is cemented whenever it plays at the climax of a battle, just as Gridman and co. are starting to get the upper hand against whatever kaiju they’re fighting. It’s a catchy song in its own right, and while the song isn’t always mixed properly with the action due to sometimes being too quiet, when they get it right, it’s as epic as watching the finishing move in a tokusatsu show itself. Sadly, the ED theme isn’t anywhere near as pleasant to listen to, so let’s move on.
In terms of personality and quirks, few of Gridman’s characters are memorable. For every character like Calibur, whose quirkiness comes from how much of a silent dork he is, we have someone as boring as Yuta, the main character. We have his friend Utumi who is a major Ultra series nerd, but most of the protagonists are rather dull, including the titular Gridman himself. The most interesting aspects of them are the interactions they share, which feel refreshingly genuine. The majority of the entertainment comes from the three major antagonists of the series: Akane, Anti, and Alexis. Akane is like a child trapped in her own sandbox video game world, twisted by her influence, loneliness, and creations. One of her creations, Anti, makes for a fun rival character to Gridman. He’s a self-serious edgelord so hell-bent on destroying Gridman that he ends up being incredibly awkward when conversing with anyone, and even starts fighting other kaiju because only he is allowed to kill Gridman. As for Alexis, his voice and demeanor make him seem incredibly humorous and lackadaisical, even when he takes a buzzsaw to a character’s eye and ends up being the clear big bad in the show.
One irksome trait several of the characters share is how they’ll arbitrarily restrict themselves for no reason other than contrivance. For example, in episode 3, Yuta, Calibur, and Gridman worry everyone by not showing up after they’ve been defeated, only for it to turn out that they could have returned or gone back to fight at any time given that they were on standby this entire time, but chose not to. This was the crux of the main plotline of the episode. One could make the argument that rushing back into battle or retreating immediately would have tipped the kaiju off that they’re alive, but they could have retreated after it left, given how all that happens is them warping back to the shop.
This segues perfectly into the narrative, which is honestly where a large chunk of the unease this show oozes comes into play. The mystery regarding the show’s existentially horrifying world is unnerving in the sense that the integrity of the narrative would self-destruct the more it gets revealed, a la FranXX. While I personally don’t feel the show quite crosses that line enough to destroy any investment I could possibly have --at least until episode 10-- there’s a fundamental aspect of the world-building that’s dodgy.
Tiptoeing around spoilers here, one of the major mechanics of the world is how every day, when a character dies at the hands of a kaiju, or a kaiju gets destroyed, everyone’s memories of the dead are altered apart from the memories of the surviving combatants, as the world contorts itself to make sure they never existed. It isn’t quite on the level of Re:Zero, where characters acknowledge a character may have existed but they just can’t quite put their finger on it cuz they never existed in the first place now, but it’s still a frustrating mechanic that cannot entirely make sense. It’s like with time travel, where even the safest, least narrative-destroying method would still likely cause a time paradox and possibly even an aneurysm for the viewer. As such, it makes discussing the show’s narrative distressingly convoluted, and the show difficult to ultimately recommend despite how interesting the directing and some of the twisted reveals can be. The asspulls in the second half certainly don’t help matters either
It’s a shame this show is so awkward to discuss and recommend, as despite its shortcomings and how much of a headache it is to dissect, this was still a generally entertaining mecha anime. It’s fun to witness the banter and the fight scenes, and it was generally fascinating to explore this twisted hellhole of a world. Perhaps more experience with the tokusatsu field would make me enjoy this even more than before, but I doubt it would be any less difficult to unpack, nor would it make me accept the visual shortcomings and other weird audiovisual hiccups present here. It’s an enigmatic mixed bag that I am glad to have watched, even if you’d best proceed with caution if you wish to attempt having the best experience.
Oh, and on top of the Eva references, this show makes a Gurren Lagann reference, so there’s another link between the Gridman Planet With FranXX trio.
Written/Edited by: CodeBlazeFate
Proofread by: Peregrine and Skittles
I went into SSSS Gridman with high expectations because outside of me being big fan Gainax/Trigger I wanted to see if Trigger its wounds after they got drill blasted by Darling in the Franxx by A1/Cloverworks that left a nasty wound which needed a lot of time to recover from. I actually thought the series would go back it's Little Witch Academia/Kill la Kill days where it a nice blend of style and substance. However, after watching all 12 episodes of this show subbed and the first 8 episodes dubbed I can definitely say that this is not Trigger as it's best. In fact, this
is one of Trigger's weaker shows. I know you guys are thinking right now.
> Trigger hasn't got a big library of anime.
Well if I had to personally rank every anime from Trigger, it would go as follows.
Little Witch Academia (TV)
Little Witch Academia: The Enchanted Parade
Kill la Kill
Little Witch Academia OVA
When Supernatural Battles Became Common Place
Darling in the Franxx
As you can see here SSSS Girdman is in the bottom 3 meaning that the show was clearly not triggered at it's finest. In fact, I go as far that this is Trigger holding back as well playing it too safe, This is not to say that SSSS Girdman was a awful series as I thought it was a average to below average series however after watching the trailer for Promare you can easily tell that Trigger put more effort for Promare and as a result SSSS Girdman feels and functions like a side project that the B team for Trigger decided to work on this while the A team for Trigger went to work on Promare and it clearly shows from the plot, characters, and writing quality.
The story follows Yuuta Hibiki, who is an amnesiac first-year high school student living in the fictional Japanese city of Tsutsujidai. He soon meets the Hyper Agent Gridman in an old computer, who stated that the boy has a mission he must fulfil, as he sets out to find the meaning to those words and his memory loss. The sudden appearance of Kaiju would eventually change the usual dynamics of Yuuta and his classmates. Hibiki is able to merge with Gridman to fight kaiju, but after the kaiju attacks, people's memories are reset and those who die are forgotten. As the "Gridman Alliance", Hibiki and his friends now seek to stop the kaiju and uncover the truth behind the disappearances, with assistance from mysterious friends of Gridman that can transform into weapons Gridman can use in combat.
The word dull is honestly the best word to describe the story of SSSS Girdman. While it wasn't actually awful by any means it just so dull and at times uninteresting to follow. The series basically follows your classic monster of the week formula where set kaiju comes in to cause trouble in the city then they get defeated by Girdman and the series goes back to the status quo. Rinse and repeat.
Along with the show's monster/kaiju of the week formula, the series uses a certain plot device that I have grown to dislike over the years and that is Amnesia. If you don't know what Amnesia is then is basically a person who has no memory thanks to a certain event that caused him to lose memories and they essentially walking husks on screen until set character of set series gets they memory back. It is a plot device that essentially takes a big shit of the plot for set show as set show is literally forced to follow every amnesiac plot device possible and it's honestly tedious to watch.
SSSS Girdman is no different to this and as a result, the series was a chore to watch as we just see this our amnesia protagonist defeat Kanju left and right without a second thought.
When the show finally stops being this generic monster of the week in the last couples the series is being a boring God story with our main antagonist Akame and surprise it's generic as hell just like the rest of this series. Honestly what the hell were you thinking Trigger!!!
Finally, did a forget that Trigger was completely holding back when they did decide to make this show. I understand Trigger wanted to play itself after the disaster that was Franxx but unfortunately there is a huge difference between playing itself and simply holding back for no reason and it really shows.
If there was any silver lining to SSSS Girdman to speak of it was the show was simply a fun throwback to not only the mecha anime genre from the past but Tokusatsu genre as a whole. While I personally cannot get into the Tokusatsu genre, I will admit it genre has its appeal and anyone who is a fan of the Tokusatsu genre would probably have a good time with SSSS Girdman. It's such a shame the narrative isn't all that good to back it up.
Overall the story of SSSS Girdman was shallow that was plagued with cheap plot devices.
The characters in SSSS Girdman were easily the weakest part of SSSS Girdman. They aren't terrible but they don't stand out all that much outside of a certain character trait for the most part.
Yuuta is your typical mecha/high school boy shounen protagonist that we all have seen before. Thanks to his amnesia in the narrative, he has no real personality to speak off. He doesn't grow as a character all that much and just simply a bore to watch. Even more boring than Katsuhira from Kiznaver.
Rikka started off as a decent character at first but my god did she devolved into boring ass meme as the series progresses where the only she had going for was her sexy thick tights.
Shou is just there. He doesn't offer much to the story other to be a semi-useless sidekick for Yuuta.
The only slightly decent main character in the show was Akane as she has a decent motivation of killing all the Girdman. I really enjoyed how after she had peeled her cute face as she turned into a proper psycho. She was the most entertaining thing about this subpar series.
The rest of the characters were just as interesting as watching those dumb Channel Awesome anniversary specials on Youtube.
Overall the characters in SSSS Gridman were very dull.
Compared to the unpolished Trigger+ Cloverworks that was Darling in the Franxx the visuals in SSSS were pretty appealing for the most part. The characters were very distant and pretty to look at thanks to the beautiful smooth colour palette that was used to colour each character, Kanj and Gridman mecha itself which was nicely designed. The background scenery was well drawn as it had a lot of detail.
The animation was pretty solid for what it was however at the time it got a bit choppy in certain fights least it's not as bad as Franxx second half although the CGI itself could have been a lot better as it rather janky at times.
The soundtrack is alright for what it is but not that memorable.
The opening and ending themes were decent but nothing too special.
As for sub vs dub well, this was a tricky one because I only saw the last 2 episodes subbed as I mainly watched this show dubbed and it was great and it manages to surpass the sub which was already pretty good on its own. The voice actors really did an excellent job with the roles they were given as it was well acted and nicely directed.
Why Trigger why do you do this to me...
I really wanted to like SSSS Girdman I really do, but the series was ultimately average at best and lacklustre at worst. The story was very bland that has a boring episodic narrative that was mixed with weak writing, The characters were as interesting as eating eggs with no salt as they all lack any personality to speak off other than memes and generic character traits. The only things that were good about this show were the visuals, soundtrack and the English dub everyone was mediocre at best. It was honestly sad that the way Trigger didn't put a lot of effort into this project as I feel they put more effort into the movie Promare which is set to release in 2019 while Trigger ended up giving this show to they B team and it clearly shows. This show would have been better off as a 6 episode OVA instead of a 12 episode mediocre Trigger feast that we ultimately got.
Now if I think about it I think this is Trigger second worst series that they made because least Kizaiver had some interesting elements things that made the series a somewhat decent watch despite its massive flaws. This show is nothing more but a love letter to the Tokusatsu genre and nothing else.
Unless you're into the Tokusatsu genre as well as LA HOT THICK TIGHTS MEMES XD I cannot recommend this show to people especially who are Trigger fans such as myself.
You're honestly better watching Planet With or King of Braves series over this.
Better luck next time Trigger.
Also for the love of God Trigger please do not screw up Promare I'm begging you.
Final Score 5/10
I’ll admit being fairly biased when it comes to most TRIGGER produced shows, especially with the likes of Kill La Kill, Little Witch Academia, and Kiznaiver; even Darling in the FranXX, with all the screw-ups it had down the final stretch, was still very enjoyable for me personally. So when the announcement for SSSS Gridman (or as I call it, SSSS Sleepman) came around, I was initially hyped and hoping that this series gives me a more positive outlook for mecha series in general. However, a little later on, when the visuals for the character and kaiju designs were released for the public
eye to see, a part of me thought “the show is gonna do something to really upset or bore me”. At the time, I genuinely hoped my suspicions were wrong and that I would be able to overlook this sense of doubt I had, so I kept a fair amount of optimism heading into the season of Fall 2018. I mean, even the PV made it seem really promising.
Now when I think about it, I don’t think I’ll ever comprehend why Gridman supposedly deserves so much praise, even if I understand why it does. I understand that my opinion is probably in the minority and that I might get called out by excessively sensitive fans of this show or tokusatsu-related stuff in general. Nevertheless, I want to try to at least explain why I think SSSS Gridman, which is actually based off of a retro tokusatsu series called Ultraman, is the most “over-praised” show I’ve ever watched in a long time.
The story starts off with a young man named Yuuta Hibiki waking up without any prior memories, later befriending the likes of Rikka “Thunder Thighs” (a nickname I decided to go with) Takarada amd Shou Utsumi, who said they are his fellow classmates. Yuuta later meets Hyper Agent GRIDMAN through an ancient-as-hell PC, who tells him to “fulfill his purpose”. All the sudden, a kaiju appears out of nowhere, setting the stage and course for the show.
Right off the bat, the show wants to use the “amnesia” factor, a plot device that is often misused, especially in many sci-fi shows. Yuuta’s lack of memories limited his capacity to think or act in a logical manner, and without the likes of Gridman and his friend circle, he probably would be going off making too many ridiculous mistakes. Even the eventual revelations regarding Yuuta’s memories were cheaply written to make him look even more like not just a generic “chosen one” with plot armor, but a literal deus ex machina manifestation. So you’re telling me that the Yuuta we’ve followed throughout the entirety of the show ain’t really Yuuta at all, but actualy Gridman in a “Yuuta” body that had NO memories to begin with? Regardless of the details, that’s not exactly the best way to go about with a character you’ve decided to give up making a decent backstory on. Heck, only maybe one character in the entirety of the show got a fairly good structure in terms of background….I’ll get to that later, though.
As for the structure of the show itself, it is basically a rinse-and-repeat episodic format. While I’m okay with episodic formats most of the time, this show doesn’t really know how to give much more structure outside of a kaiju/character of the week theme with 15-20 minutes of detached character dialogue and awkward durations of silence during certain frames, usually centered around adolescent school life, followed by 5-10 minutes of wonky, mostly CG-fied action coupled with intentionally cheesy names for transformations and attacks. The first few episodes seem quite fine due to the appeal of the action, but afterwards, you’d have to think it’d get boring due to lack of proper exposition and emotion. When the story finally does get some sort of progression due to the constant atmosphere the show tries to emulate, it’s very underwhelming even with the plot twists that try to be very compelling.
Let me bring some pet peeves I had with the story: apparently, Akane is a main antagonist for the majority of the show, and at one point, was considered the “god” of this apparently “fake” world that the story takes in, due to the generic backstory of “not really having many friends, if at all”, and thus wanting to create an ideal world for herself (though it’s later revealed that Alexis played a major part for that in terms of pulling the strings…typical ass villain shenanigans). Our main group did find out at some point that Akane was responsible for making the kaijus that were causing havoc. While I can agree that Akane does not seem like a true villain despite her odd, “fuck everything else” manner, and that they should not go ahead and kill her….why the hell did they not at least try to physically stop her in some other way? Logically, wouldn’t that provoke the real baddie to take action and reveal himself, so that the good guys can finally face the true adversary? Then the story wouldn’t need to try to overdose the audience with so much mystery elements and force drama at the end to make itself seem more compelling in nature.
Likewise, Akane at some point found out that Yuuta is the vessel of Gridman and the cause of her failures with the artificial kaiu, and was able to physically meet him when he is still a normal human being….why does she not, at the time, try to kill him when she’s in the perfect position to do so, or even call Alexis to do the dirty job? It really seemed like the backstory around her tried to make an excuse as to why she didn’t try to eliminate the good guys during the handful of times she had the opportunity. The rush to make her a sympathetic antagonist was not very appealing, considering that she displayed no redeemable character qualities to begin with…trying to make her be savvy in tone and mannerism is such a generic gimmick to make gullible viewers buy into her more easily. One more thing, the series’s attempts to be clever with giving clues to the mystery are just nothing more than something to try to keep the audience more interested.
For the most part, the soundtracks are honestly quite solid, but I will say that the opening and ending theme are polar opposites in nature. The opening theme, sung by OxT, is a very grandiose soundtrack that would fit more with most shounen shows...heck, it actually sounds like something that belongs in the likes of stuff like Digimon, Cardfight Vanguard, and Yugioh. The ending theme, on the other hand, sung by Maaya Uchida, who is well known for her contributions to several Chuunibyou theme songs, as well as voicing the main heroine of that show (whom is, coincidentally enough, is also named Rikka….who woulda thunk it). The visuals of the ending theme, which I want to note here in particular, showcase shots of Rikka and Akane, making them seem very close friends. This isn’t very surprising because the ending theme would be made to fit in shows centered on school drama and/or adolescent romance.
The rest of the soundtracks are nice, but very sparse and not utilized enough, because the majority of the show is filled with silent still-frames. The voice acting is kinda lifeless or bland, and any sort of emotion seemed very forced to an attempt to balance out the lack of cohesiveness and chemistry in terms of dialogue.
First off, the 2D animation is actually hella good, and felt very reminiscent of the good ol’ Trigger shows, except they look hella cleaner and more detailed. There’s nothing much else to say about that.
Now here’s a big bugaboo: the CG animation. Now before you say why I have to have such an issue regarding 3D animation, I’ll just say this: blame the number of other shows I’ve watched that literally traumatized me with their eye-burning showcases of horrible CGI usage. To be very honest, the 3D designs ain’t that all bad, but their overall movements, especially during the action scenes, felt very wonky…..in particular, the fake kaijus. Again, it points back to how much this show wants to trap the audience in tokusatsu nostalgia by trying to “perfectly emulate” how tokusatsu shows were produced. The wobbly 3D figurines of the kaijus are supposed to imitate someone walking in a monster costume, and the sequences of Gridman getting bigger are supposed to mirror how tokusatsu shows use camera tricks and angles. However, all of this supposedly masterful elements of “creating art” is simply the show choosing more “style over substance”, which is almost never a good thing in the current era of anime. Because of this, the action scenes just felt very awkward to me.
I touched upon some stuff regarding Akane much earlier, so I don’t think I’ll need to repeat for her.
The characters of this show, while not god awful, are too bland to really make enough of an impact. Considering the lack of life the show has in general, the cast themselves just don’t really have any unique perks about them would make them legitimately likable characters.
Yuuta looks like someone that should’ve belonged to a frigging shounen series, where he would’ve gotten more of a chance for actual character development as well as a more structured background…instead, he comes off as just a bland, mostly clueless individual who is only relevant because he’s the main vessel of Gridman.
Rikka seems like a decent character at the start, due to her acting more like a realistic individual compared to the other cast members, but ultimately got sucked into the usual tropes surrounding “friendship”, which I felt deconstructed her…in the end, she is simply meme fodder due to her thick-as-f*** thighs.
Utsumi. Is. USELESS. He’s simply the typical middle man wearing glasses who feels compelled to overreact to literally anything and everything he’s not familiar with or prepared for. Ultimately, he’s just a fake main character swept up by this sh**storm of a story.
Akane is a character who actually got the most decent of backstories and characterization in the entire show, but what doesn’t feel right to me is that the show tried too hard to make her a sympathetic antagonist, as I mentioned much earlier. She can be waifu material, I guess, but she ain’t mine. Not with that twisted persona…no, not at all did I feel any sympathy for her, I’m sorry. Even with the interesting revelations at the end regarding the truth about her and the world, that by itself does not give a redeemable impression of her.
The rest of the cast just seem hella bland, too. The kids from the school really are just there for the background, regardless of whether or not they’re there cause it’s some fake world or something. Even the self-named “Neon Genesis” gang of the human avatars of Gridman’s equipment are one-dimensional and quite forgettable in all honesty. Calibur and Max did look cool at first, but the lack of depth just makes them fodder characters only made relevant due to being associated with the main characters. There is one notable character that I did honestly give a nod to: the human Kaiju. His constant drive to want to beat Gridman was initially very obnoxious, but after interactions with the likes of more sane humans like Rikka (cause f*** Akane), as well as watching Gridman’s battles from the sidelines, he started to really question himself as to what his purpose should be, and whether or not he had to find a new reason to fight and/or live. This was, however, downplayed by yet another deus ex machina implementation, where his evolution turned him into basically an entity almost exactly like the original Gridman. I don’t understand why they needed to fall back to such lazy scriptwriting like that for him. As for Alexis, he’s just a typical run-of-the-mill villain who only attempts to seem different by sounding savvy and friendly whenever possible, which is just lame way to go off the status quo.
Now before anyone tries to get at me saying I don’t understand tokusatsu….trust me, I’ve watched quite a bit of tokusatsu films back when I was very young, though I have forgotten the majority of which films exactly that I watched back then. I completely understand the nod to tokusatsu shows that this series tried to make and then emulate. I get it! Ok?! Honestly, though, tokusatsu shows are better off sticking to live action, in my honest opinion. In anime form, it just doesn’t really transfer over well.
While I will say that as JUST as a straight-up recreation of tokusatsu, this show does extremely well and would deserve at least a B+ for it. But in terms of being an anime series in general, it doesn’t cut it due to the lack of character structure, superfluous storywriting, and the constant need to puff out copious amounts of nostalgia clouds.
After around five to six episodes in, the redundancy of each progressing episode lowered my levels of expectations and excitement, to where I decided to no longer include the show in my reactions on my own YouTube channel. Despite this, watching the show on my own time was not that far off from feeling like a chore up until the final stretch, where the show tried to be interesting with the revelations and plot twists. However, it failed to really appeal to me enough outside of flashy action scenes.
While I don’t think this is a necessarily awful show, I honestly believe that this show is just “gassed up” for the most part, and is honestly tasteless. The series tends to use the nostalgia factor and mecha action appeal to try to make itself look good, but lacks in structure and depth in terms of story and characters. It’s honestly one of the most underwhelming shows I’ve ever watched in recent years.
If you do want to watch something based off retro shows that has actual depth, solid storywriting, and interesting characters, here’s one series I’d recommend: Casshern Sins (based off 1973 Casshan show). That show has heavy themes and well-written characters, and while its nature of its story pacing feels weird, thus making it a hard recommendation, there is considerably more emotion and thought-provoking elements; the action scenes in that show, while not very common, are actually quite entertaining as well.
If you’re that kind of person who will try to watch and enjoy a show with your brain turned off, I’d say go ahead and knock yourself out. Whether you like it or not, that’s your choice. I’m by no means trying to force you to not watch it or change your perspective on it. I’m simply stating my good-to-honest thoughts regarding a show that people tried to give too much credit to.
Only a few months after releasing one of the most controversial anime of the year that caused a huge stir in the anime fandom, studio TRIGGER is back with, another one! Collaborating with Tsuburaya Productions, they bring to you, SSSS.Gridman. It pays homage to the original Gridman and the Superhuman Samurai Syber Squad series from the ’90s. Also, the tokusatsu shows such as the Ultraman franchise and lastly, to good old Gainax. There are many otaku culture references throughout, mostly to do with Evangelion, especially the episodes that have the Anno Hideaki directing style and feel to it. This is an anime that is packed
with vexing mysteries, it puts forth a lot of interesting questions and conveys a wide variety of themes. If you fancy the ‘more about the journey than the destination’ type of stories than this one is for you.
The story begins with a first-year high schooler in Yuuta Hibiki, a protagonist that is already shrouded in mystery, he wakes up to discover he has no memories. After a series of events, he meets the Hyper Agent Gridman who is inside an old computer, which is referred to as, “Junk.” Gridman tells him that he is needed and he has a mission to fulfil, that only he can do it. Everything is happening so fast but with the help from his classmates, Shou Utsumi and Rikka Takarada, he embarks on a quest to realize the revelation from Gridman and to regain his lost memories. Part of this quest revolves around in fighting against these giant kaiju that have suddenly appeared and have been causing havoc and destruction. It’s later revealed that his fellow classmate Akane Shinjou has been designing these creatures who are then brought to life by a menacing being that has been influencing and guiding Akane in Alexis Kerib.
SSSS.Gridman uses the ‘monster-of-the-week’ formula where Akane designs a new Kaiju that Alexis brings to life, and Yuuta, who is aided by his friends and a special team of characters—who are essentially the Hyper Agent’s assist weapons—go out to defeat the creatures and protect the city with the help of Gridman. Yuuta is Gridman's partner and is able to merge with him through the Primal Acceptor device which then he uses the phrase, "Access Flash," to allow the inter-dimensional being to materialize in this world. What Yuuta and the others find puzzling is after the colossal-like battles, the city has seemingly been restored and everyone’s memory but their own has been wiped clean of those events. There is always a twist around every corner of this story, everyone besides the main cast also, cannot remember those that were murdered by the Kaiju or were caught in the crossfire, it’s as if they never existed. This gives our protagonist even more motivational to search for the truth behind these mysteries.
Initially, the characters felt bland but you soon realize that they just don’t have the ‘anime troupe’ kind of personalities. I’d go as far to say they are well-made seeing that they are depicted in a realistic manner—from the tone in which they speak, their vocabulary, the way they react to various situations and their decision making is very relatable to us as the audience. They talk and act like human beings, they are grounded characters who are genuine and share many similar flaws that are common in adolescence. I think the most interesting character in the story is also the one who happens to be the biggest ‘asshole’ for the majority of the runtime and that is Akane. Sometimes she feels like the main character, seeing that the source of these events is directly in service of the decisions she makes that are heavily influenced by Alexis, and, tragic experiences from her past. She’s trying to create this world where she can escape from a reality that she detests, and Rikka is very much connected to this, which you can also see from the visual messages of the ED.
There are consequences here for Akane for the power she wields, she develops a God complex, the fine line of reality and morality becomes blurred, and she becomes more unstable that her bubbly façade can’t suppress her true self. This becomes more evident the more she interacts with a Kaiju she created named Anti, whose sole purpose was to kill Gridman. He ends up becoming the stories anti-hero. Akane is clearly a psychologically damaged individual, harbouring murderous intent towards anyone that pisses her off, even over something so minor. In a turn of events, our protagonists are now the ones trying to wake her from this twisted reality she has created. There is an opportunity for a ‘redemption’ story for Akane, one that proves to be very controversial once the story reaches the ninth episode and onwards. This is where you really need to pay attention, as these episodes are some of the best directed this year, which is thanks to such an all-star team that is made up of upcoming, promising talents from TRIGGER, Tsuburaya and others.
Furthermore, director Akira Amemiya has proven to be a formidable talent, he and his team have combined the elements of tokusatsu, kaiju, mecha, and Gainax to evolve the TRIGGER model, thus establishing itself as something new and refreshing. A truly remarkable job production wise. The cinematography is outstanding, the shot composition is done so well along with various other techniques like framing, following the rule of the thirds, leading lines, the centre dominate eye and symmetry that made the imagery aesthetically pleasing, and helped conveyed the visual messages and themes, giving us multiple unique perspectives. The animation, including the CG, was top-notch, fluid, movie-like and firing on all cylinders when it came to Gridman’s encounters with the Kaiju, the action sequences and choreography were eye candy. Visually, the characters designs and layouts were impressive, the background art and architecture were alluring and helped you immerse into this world, especially given the number of details implemented in.
As you would guess, the score draws a lot of similarities the tokusatsu shows, especially when it comes to Gridman’s main theme and battle sequences. A fair share of scenes, go without background music, but when it plays, it to heighten the mood and emotion, giving those scenes the impactful punch. You’ll get accustomed to the OP, "UNION" by OxT, because it serves in many scenes regarding Gridman himself. It’s very catchy. The ED, "youthful beautiful" by Maaya Uchida, is a moving ballad. The imagery in both the OP and ED is what really makes them worth watching, they are filled with a lot of symbolism. The casting humanizes these characters, making them feel more authentic and capturing some emotion that ‘anime troupe’ personalities are incapable of.
SSSS.Gridman isn’t a perfect show, there are definitely areas that could be explored more, there are a few unanswered questions but it made a great effort to tie loose ends within 12 episodes when this is a type of story that needs 12 more. This is not a popcorn flick, it requires you to pay attention to really understand what is going on. It has a bit of everything that is generally liked by most fans of anime from relatable characters, blood-pumping action, amazing visuals, subtle-comedy that is filled with references, there’s twists, suspense and quintessentially executes the ‘show, don’t tell’ approach. After the controversy from Darling of the FranXX, this love letter to the tokusatsu era is sure to be a mark of something new for studio TRIGGER.
Is Studio Trigger aware that they are not required to produce wack-ass anime ad infinitum? It feels like they take pleasure in discovering new ways to SSSS.hit all over your computer screens, just to see how desperate we are for a new Mecha anime. Perhaps the success of Inferno Cop went to their heads, giving them a false sense of entitlement to shove even worse rubbish up our collective SSSS.hit(holes), in hopes that we would gobble it up like a bunch of mindless, horny drones. I can’t blame a player for wanting to get paid, but I can certainly blame Studio Trigger
for wanting to get paid………
…What? Why are you staring at your screen like that? Nothing to see here.
SSSS.Gridman is an anime that utilizes a formulaic approach to present a vapid adventure about a young boy who merges with a Mecha to fight outlandish “monsters” in a no holds barred, explosive battle to the death. The fights, themselves, are standard-fare. Emulating the exaggerated absurdity of Gurren Lagann, but never quite reaching the eccentricity of Kill la Kill. But while the former two attempted to stitch together (see what I did there? **Kill la Kill reference**) an acceptable narrative with their own, unique brand of action-comedy, SSSS.Gridman fails to capture the viewer’s attention in any meaningful fashion. Per the cyclical, episodic framework, each 23 minute offering utilizes a “rinse and repeat” approach, where a new “monster”/Kaiju enters the city only to be defeated by the Gridman and reset everyone’s memories (except for those directly involved), as if the crisis never happened.
By virtue of being repetitious, Studio Trigger, once again, displayed a general lack of ambition and creativity, especially with the addition of a superfluous river rafting episode, to give the staff an excuse to animate the girls in scantily clad outfits. Furthermore, SSSS.Gridman is not funny. The entertainment is lackluster, at best. The concepts and themes are tedious. And dare I mention the plot?…It’s not like the staff cared to mention it in any detail.
Perhaps the worst aspect of the show is the prosaic, uninspired characters. None of them say/do anything worth remembering, nor do they come off as likable or worth caring about. Yuta is your typical “only I can save the day” protagonist, with a plain, “nice guy” demeanor and a distinct red hair color. His rival, Akane Shinjou, is a cold, despondent female with a murderous rage that can only be quelled by generating new Kaiju to terrorize the city and anyone who has wronged her. Why, you may ask: because she’s a psychotic bitch (need I elaborate?). Akane’s manipulator, Alexis Kerib, is the show’s token evil “alien,” to guide events to their ultimate conclusion. Studio Trigger, much to my dismay, seems to excel at producing low quality characters that exude pure nothingness, except for some hackneyed quarks and superficial characteristics.
The only positive aspect about SSSS.Gridman is the OST, not that it was anything spectacular, but it accomplished its goal of being mildly entertaining. But if we consider that an OP/ED are merely shallow, trivial components of what a show truly entails, then it’s quite the condemnation to the substantive portions of the show in question.
Anime consumers typically stay loyal to certain genres or a specific franchise when they purchase goods. I’m not an avid fan of collecting anime merchandise but I've seen people with stacks and shelves filled with anime figures. Out of all the genres though, mecha seems to be one that I’ve always been fascinated by. In recent years, it seems mecha shows have caused a bit of controversy. From Full Metal Panic to Darling in the Frankxx, they can either be really, really good or pretty damn despicable.
Perhaps we shouldn’t jump too far ahead. Studio Trigger has been able to produce series with memorable quality
from their lineup. Sure, Darling in the Frankxx was a show that had a divided fan base but who can forget some of their other phenomenal work like Kill la Kill or Little Witch Academia? SSSS.Gridman got announced during Summer 2017 and to think, it also stands out as a celebration for the 25th anniversary of the original Denkou Choujin Gridman from 1993. I think if you’re a fan of tokusatsu programs, then you may be prepared for a treat. But if you’re not, be prepared for a wildly bizarre adventure.
I should say right off the bat that SSSS.Gridman’s synopsis may take a few times to read before getting a first impression of what the show may be really about. It reminds me of a bit of blending between the Western and Japanese culture. We have mecha that somehow reminds me of Transformers, action heroes that feel like they are in the role as Power Rangers, and battles that resemble Pacific Rim. When I was young, there was a time when I watched Power Rangers especially the classics like Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. However, I was never too big in the Ultraman franchise despite also being a tokusatsu classic. When people mention Ultraman, SSSS.Gridman also comes to my mind with the similar style of presentation. The first few episodes quickly unravels a dark plot about Akane Shinjo. As a central antagonist, she has a troubling personality and holds disturbing grudges towards those who “wrongs her”. She could be someone you would call a sociopath and can be highly manipulative. When we meet Akane the first time, it doesn’t take long to realize that there’s something deeply wrong about her inner personality. And honestly, a type of character like her easily brings in trouble into the main story.
Of course, our main story involves protagonist Yuta Hibiki who wakes up with no apparent memory. As the human host of Gridman, he fulfills the role of an action hero. That is, he fights the Kaiju (the main monsters in the show) and protects the innocent. You could say he is the show’s friendly neighborhood Spiderman type of guy who swings into action when trouble knocks at doors. Thankfully, he gets assistance not just from Gridman but also from his friends. These the Gridman Alliance such as Shou, Rikka, and members of the Neon Genesis Junior High Students. The show reveals more about their roles as Yuta develops an alliance between them. However, the elephant in the room should be addressed. Why should you care about a story that resembles something done over a decade ago?
As I mentioned before, most anime fans tends to favor genres that they’ve really experienced with. SSSS.Gridman blends a variety that’s draws the line of science fiction, mecha, and super hero. The plot isn’t hard to understand but may take some take to get attached to. Mainly, some of the first half resembles more of the Monster of the Week format where a hero fights against an enemy, defeats it, and saves the day. But don’t worry, the show does get more complex later on that deals with their world and Akane herself. I’m not going to throw spoilers as the show gets fairly dark as every episode progresses. Maybe that’s even an understatement because right from the start, this show had an unsettling mood. I’ll make this crystal clear now. Characters that die doesn’t just result in death but disappear completely. Erased from seemingly existing. If that doesn’t instill a sense of fear, then I don’t know what does.
Beyond the dark story, we’re also treated with character relationships that play some key emphasis on the show altogether. Akane, Yuta, and Rikka stars as the main characters and they connect on a level that is fairly important. By understanding each other, they establish character connection that the viewers can get invested in. This is especially true to learn about character motivations such as Rikka’s desire to be a hero despite wanting to live a normal life. Or in the opposite case, Rikka’s resentment and desire for revenge for those who wronged her. Indeed, Rikka is a complex character, perhaps one of the hardest to accept but also incredibly enticing to watch for her unpredictable role. Her character expressions often hides her façade like a monster would. It’s as if she’s always wearing a mask as a beautiful creature on the outside and a harbinger of death on the inside.
With 12 episodes, some questions popped to my head made me wonder if it’s really enough. Despite the show having a more serious storytelling, it still retains lighthearted moments and humor. Not to mention, we also got an obligatory beach episode to service the fans and one other particular episode to showcase Kajiu’s human-like behaviors. Viewers will also likely to poke fun at some of the character interactions and behaviors such as Akane’s hikikomori-like lifestyle. I think what the producers were aiming for is resurrecting this franchise as a way to pay homage to the original series while crafting its own story. It definitely succeeds at that when committing to its genres without stepping out of its comfort zone.
Among the many elements of the show, one that’s impossible to evade is the style of its artwork. Studio Trigger has been known to make some extravagant cinematography with its battle contents. Here, SSSS.Gridman succeeds in similar ways. The action is over the top like how a tokusatsu show should be. From the first few episodes, it manages to showcase just how dangerous the Kajiu are and what they can do. Gridman himself has abilities that can neutralize monsters such as energy lasers and is incredibly durable as a fighting Hyper Agent. Make no mistake though. The monsters themselves are formidable ranging from the debut of Ghoulghalias to the deadly Devadadan. Each of them are decorated with impressive fighting capabilities and poses a threat to humanity. Similar to Godzilla in size, it’s nightmares coming to life in their world. The CGI was easy to get accompanied to and adds a colorful style to the overall character designs. Oh and before I forgot to mention, Rikka has some really meaty legs.
I should say while SSSS.Gridman is more suitable for the Japanese audience, it can hit home for newer fans too. Prior to watching this show, I had little experience with tokusatsu related shows outside of Ultraman. Hell, Ultraman was an iconic franchise but that hasn’t been resurrected as a full anime show in a long time (2019 does have one though). Outside of Asia, tokusatsu had limited popularity so perhaps SSSS.Gridman could raise the bar. Funimation dubbed the series for the Western audience we may see more coming ahead.
First of all, I don't think Gridman is underrated. As I was watching Guriddoman I felt a sense of emptiness in the show and I started wondering about what others thought about this show. So I thought I would write my honest review of this show.
Story: The story revolves around this yung redhead lad who has amnesia. This dude goes on trip and talks to a computer and they fight together against Godzillas. This is simplified episode synopsis for the initial 5 episodes. This made it feel like I was watching some pokemon episodes where main characters are doing their thing
until obnoxious antagonist arrives and the protagonist defeats em. It felt like watching same episode over and over again. What was able to keep me watching was big bob the builder (referring to boobs) girl and the dark gurren lagann looking thing. The plot never had anything else interesting in it to keep me hooked for the first 4 episodes. In general Gridman felt like I was watching some lame ass mecha PG-7 anime for children(minus the parts where Akane ordered to kill someone).
Characters: We have a MC with amnesia. This is a good start since it fucking destroys his whole personality(not like there was any in the beginning because of amnesia). We have MC's friend who doesn't neither show almost any personality aside from drooling for Akane (big bob girl). Main heroine is a tsundere bait that in reality just doesn't give a fuck. She doesn't show much of emotions aside from time to time some cute behavior so that she doesn't seem like to be just dead inside (She also learns to smile towards the end). Then we have team Gridman support group. This consist some forgettable characters and their only reason is to be Gridman's augementations. So the cast is Optimus Prime's sonic wing and super mode (Transformers: Cybertron), Gurren Lagann drill mode and sword mode (couldn't think any reference but sword is pretty generic). Not too original. To me only interesting characters are the antagonists Akane and Alexis echo. Akane's motives are lacking so Alexis is probably controlling her for it's own purpose.
Art and Animation: I won't tackle on this too hard but the fighting animations are orgasmic and on par with Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann. High Quality CG.
Sounds: Musics are good too but nothing ground breaking.
Enjoyment and conclusion: I cant really enjoy anything in this show except
for animation and sounds. It's just overall a mediocre mecha anime in my opinion. Be sure to give me some (constructive) criticism if you feel like it, I would really appreciate it.
Opinions on SSSS.Gridman are widely divided: you either love it or hate it. Interestingly enough, those who hate it all have similar criticisms, mainly the premise is unoriginal, the title is stupid, the action just rips off Ultraman, etc. To such comments I would say: do your homework and maybe you’ll learn something. The source material (because yes, this is based on something) was a sentai show from the height of the tokusatsu era. And let’s face it, every sentai show has at least 87% Ultraman-inspired content. It just goes with the territory.
Regarding the story however, Trigger has decided to move away from the typical
Power Ranger-esque scenarios and inject more characterization and atypical pacing into the anime. This, I think is a good thing. The original Superhuman Samurai Syber Squad (yes it is a dumb name, and yes it is misspelled for the sake of alliteration. Blame DIC Entertainment, who brought Gridman to the US market for that.) was probably even less popular in the US than contemporary shows like Beetleborgs. So switching up the story for the anime gives opportunity to rise above mediocre sentai action to something with actual substance. The show mixes the expected kaiju fights with slice-of-life scenes along with unexplained plot points yet to be revealed. Is there a *reason* everyone in the town seems somewhat bland and full of ennui? Is there more to the town then appears at first glance? And WTF is with the insanely immense ever-present daikaiju that everyone just kinda ignores? Only story development and plot progression will tell. =)
And the characters themselves play a large role in that development as they themselves progress in their relationships and understanding of the world around them. And character development involves realistic situations in slice-of-life environments, not the continual amped-up, hyper, in your face action of a typical shonen anime. Heck, there’s more fight scenes in MHA, but the cast doesn’t run around in rage mode all the time (except Bakugo, but he’s... unique).
The animation is decent, granted not Trigger’s best, but sufficient for conveying the jagged atmosphere of a robot-versus-giant-monster scenario. And the music, while sparse, matches the understated feel of the characters well.
So, it’s a mecha/kaiju anime with a different slant that pays homage to its roots. It’s not Gundam, it’s not Code Geass, heck, it’s not even the original Gridman. There’s plenty of shows out there like those but there’s not many anime that feel like SSSS.Gridman. But I’m glad there’s at least one =)
Main Character has red hair and he is "special". He is your everyday high-schooler with nothing that stands out about him. You could replace him with any generic main character from any anime and it won't change a thing.
The main girl "Rikka" comes off as bored, uninterested and fed-up, all the time. She is sighing constantly and has no expressions.
May be she is supposed to reflect the audience response while watching this anime.
Only good thing about her is her character design, which is pretty good.
MC has a generic supportive sidekick. But he is only there to be
friend-zoned and not threaten the MC's chances with the girl.
Rest of supporting cast is also pretty ordinary.
A giant robot shows up and wrecks the city. MC fights the enemy with his own robot. MC wins. Next day everything resets to normal.
It is good. Most of the attention has been given to character of "Rikka" to make her look good. Too bad her personality is as interesting as a wet blanket.
Animation is often choppy. Feels like they are trying to use less frames per second to save money.
If you have watched more than a few good anime, you won't find it particularly enjoyable.
Unless Mecha anime is your guilty pleasure.
Most People who like this anime have 1 reason only. That is the design of character "Rikka". She has become somewhat of a meme for her "THICC THIGHS". (Although I disagree that her thighs could be classified as thicc. But that's besides the point)
It would have been better if the creators made an Ecchi anime or a Hentai. Atleast, that would have distracted from the weak story and bland characters.
EDIT: The main problem with character of Rikka seems to be her Japanese Voice actress. This problem is less pronounced in Eng Dub.
A red-haired guy fights a giant robot while his sidekick friend and a girl with thicc thighs watch him on a screen.
**The girl sighs, puts her finger in her right ear and rotates it back and forth. Her face without any expression**
Then she says in an uninterested tone "This is taking too long"
You’ll have to excuse the history lesson, but for those of you who don’t know, the Tokusatsu (特撮) Genre, more commonly known as “toku”, is the East Asian cultural description for science fiction TV and film that utilizes a certain brand of special effects to bring super-powered and/or overlarge action set pieces to life, which are usually in service of monstrous kaiju (怪獣). While much of this culture has remained fairly regional, some immensely popular exceptions including but not limited to Godzilla, Ultraman, and Kamen Rider have become somewhat iconic on an international scale, even including some western productions like King Kong and Pacific Rim.
If any of those examples rung any bells for you, then you already know what to expect from SSSS.Gridman. It’s good old Monster of the Week style storytelling with kaiju fighting giant mechas in bombastically destructive action sequences. That said, being a characteristically original and unique story as expected from Studio Trigger, SSSS.Gridman has far more intrigue and character than the basic toku formula could even begin to offer and uses the genre’s inherent simplicity as a solid foundation to craft their own masterwork.
I’ll begin discussion with the only aspect of the show that I could’ve and honestly should’ve had a problem with, which just happens to be the main character, Yuta Hibiki. My potential problem with Yuta, for there was really only one issue, is the fact that Yuta had amnesia at the start of the story, which is a trope that I hate to death (nor do I know a single person who likes it either.) Luckily, this is Trigger. This is a show with more love, creativity, and passion behind it than you could ever begin to imagine, so it’s not like Yuta had amnesia just to be a self-inset MC or something, it’s for plot reasons, but even with that defense it doesn’t even matter because they still forged pure gold with it. You see, while Yuta has lost all of his memories, he still has his emotions, which makes him a breeze to characterize and empathize with right out of the gate. It’s just like Trigger to take one of the most trite and overused tropes in the book, make the simplest yet most fresh alteration, and walk away with their own original treasure trove. Yuta aside, the other characters are totally flawless in their own right. Forget all the loud, obnoxious, autistic anime dialogue you’re presented with by all the other seasonal garbage your watching as SSSS.Gridman and it’s small, focused, highly developed main cast presents you with the exact same humanity, realism, and complexity you’d expect from Trigger and their past roots in Gainax. Akane, Rikka, and Utsumi who make up the remaining main character cast are extremely multilayered, flawed, and human characters reminiscent of the cast of Neon Genesis Evangelion. The dialogue is turned down to a minimum, and the strong direction and passionately drawn facial animation brings the characters to life without them having to scream about their emotions for an entire episode like you’d get from any other show. It’s quiet, emotional, tonal, and contemplative, allowing you to sit down with the characters, look at them in their beautiful detailed eyes, and really get to know them as if they were people, you know?
…AND THEN THE ACTION KICKS IN AND GRINDS YOUR BRAIN THROUGH A FUCKING CHEESE GRATER!!!
Akira Amemiya, the director of SSSS.Gridman and living legend Hiroyuki Imaishi’s up-and-coming protégé, is a fanboy of Trigger, Gainax, and mecha anime just like you and I, and boy does it show or what!?! He knew exactly how to give the fans precisely what kind of action spectacle they wanted because he is a fan too. The action direction is epic as hell, using no shortage of extrapolated perspective shots, panoramic cinematography, sweeping angels, and even grounded perspective shots to show you just how monstrous and utterly enormous the fighting mechas and kaiju really are. CG animation is employed expertly to mercilessly rip an entire city to shreds right before your eyes and then throw whole buildings in your face, to have flawlessly detailed models of mechas and kaiju alike thrown across the screen and back again four times per second, and to show ginormous mechanical limbs scrape dozens of cars up across the street only to immediately send them soaring through the air and smashing into hellish fireballs as they hit their equally destructive and killer targets. On top of the pristine CG work, the absolute gods animating this show hand drew almost all of the static-framing shots and transformation sequences that show Gridman being as legendary as The Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann himself. Jesus, it’s so awesome! I could go on for hours, but if you’re at all missing Hiroyuki Imaishi’s bombastic action hurricanes like Kill la Kill or Gurren Lagann, or Kazuya Tsurumaki’s iconic environment breaking pan-out shots of the single most unforgettable action genre staples such as FLCL or Diebuster, then you absolutely MUST watch SSSS.Gridman because it brought it all back and more!
The amount of sheer love and inspiration that clearly brought this show to life shines through every single frame of it’s display. Densely drawn artwork, poppy personable character animation, naturalistic character driven dialogue, and highly imagined direction are all there as Trigger is known for, but in addition to all that Amemiya’s fresh directing style adds so many more all-new layers that have yet to take part in Trigger’s crazy genius formula. If a character gets mad, for example, then Amemiya will bring in this weird semi-horror direction that makes the scene almost thrilling. There’s so many occasions that the framing angles, the lighting effects, the zoom effects, or the color palette will do this interesting little shift that makes the scene feel so refreshing and inspired. Sometimes it’s weirdness is a bit much, but, personally, I’d rather watch a show which fails to fit the mold due to its uncontainable creativity and innovation, like SSSS.Gridman, than watch a show which fails to fit the mold due to its sheer incompetence, like basically everything else currently airing.
Do you know why FLCL had a totally random South Park style episode?
It’s because Kazuya Tsurumaki and his team at Gainax had been watching South Park in the office and thought it’d be a funny meme to put in the show.
Do you know why the Inferno Cop anime got made?
It’s because Hiroyuki Imaishi and his team at Trigger were jokingly dared by their fans on Twitter to make it after episode eleven of Space Patrol Luluco came out.
Do you know why Ragyo Kiryuin’s hair was always framed to make her glowing hair look like horns?
It’s because Kazuki Nakashima had recently read the original Devilman manga and told the Trigger character designers to have her look “demonic in nature.”
Do you know why Akko was accepted into Luna Nova Academy even though she couldn’t use magic properly?
It’s because You Yoshinari was accepted into the anime industry before he could animate key frames, and he wanted his protagonist to be relatable.
All of these examples are able to be made because this line of creators are known for their involvement in the fandom, the fact that they actually care about the story they’re telling, and they’re equally impassioned about the way they go about telling them. Akira Amemiya has proven himself to be no exception. He’s lived up to his successors and I couldn’t possibly be more excited to see his future works with Trigger, because SSSS.Gridman was just as much of a loved and cared for passion-project as any other Trigger or Gainax show ever was! I was skeptical after suffering though A-1 Pictures in the FranXX, but this new team truly was able to bring Trigger’s genuine style and imagination without their established legendary creators holding the reins.
Fanbase of this anime remind me that Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei season II (Zoku Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei) episode 4 first part of three call "A Painter by the Roadside" when Itoshiki and his students talk about instances where people pay more attention to the trivial details of many objects rather than the main subjects.
Because all the lovers of this anime are like "best girl Akane" "Rikka doing nothing wrong" "that legs" "Plagiarism everywhere" "you check that tweet" jaja is just so insane jaja and the plot of this anime, is just an average as fuck but 10/10 because Akane and Rikka best waifus, Trigger fan
they are so alienated in their passion for the study that don't see the limitation for write good stuffs and don't put in a blender his old ideas and throw us in the face a story empty and without substance (i was looking at you Darling in the FranXX) they enter in a dynamic of trivial details
That's what's happen with this anime. is good but is not underrated, is just an average anime, very average...
Fiction overcomes fiction... and it has left me in despair