SSSS.Gridman Episode 9

SSSS.Gridman Episode 9

Dream

Akane Shinjo’s perfect world is falling apart. Not only do the “friends” she created struggle to fight against her in the “real” world, but they even dismiss her friendship in her dreams. This episode chronicles Akane’s spiral downwards to her eventual defeat by the hands of those she wants to be closest to.

But, if you’ve been paying attention to my past SSSS.Gridman episode reviews, then you should be able to see how my predictions are continuing to come true. Anti continues to be pushed towards the Gridman Alliance and Akane shows us her true intent and motive.

This episode includes four different “timelines” as far as we’re concerned. One is the true timeline, and the other three are all dream timelines created by Akane which follow a different one of our heroes. So to make this post efficient, let’s take a look at them in that order.

Akane Shinjo and Alexis Kerib from the anime SSSS.Gridman
Akane Shinjo and Alexis Kerib

The true timeline is essentially the real world, although how “real” it actually is is up for debate. In this timeline, Akane has created a new type of Kaiju which doesn’t interact with matter. But, although it isn’t damaging the city, it has a power which placed our three heroes in a deep sleep.

This means that although there’s technically a Kaiju attack, Gridman isn’t appearing to defeat it because Yuuta isn’t awake to combine with him. And, because Gridman isn’t appearing, that means Anti isn’t able to defeat him.

Due to the circumstances he finds himself in, Anti decides to attempt to defeat the Kaiju so that Gridman will appear, but is unable to deal any damage to it because of its special abilities. After seeing Anti struggle, the Neon Genesis Junior High students decide to take matters into their own hands and defeat the Kaiju by combining with themselves without Gridman.

Unfortunately for Anti, although the Kaiju keeping Yuuta asleep is now defeated, there’s no longer a need for Gridman to appear anyway because the threat is gone. But, what’s really important about this timeline is that it shows how Anti is continuously becoming more willing to work with the Gridman Alliance, despite their conflicting motives.

I still stand by my early prediction that he’s going to officially join them at some point.

Yuuta

In Yuuta’s timeline we see a sort of remake of episode one, although this time Rikka is replaced with Akane. I’ve argued in the past that Akane is actually jealous of Rikka’s relationship with Yuuta, and this timeline only serves to reinforce that theory.

Not only does Akane insert herself into this timeline in place of Rikka, but she also tells Yuuta that the two of them are dating. If you recall, my original reasoning for Akane being jealous of Rikka was that she actually liked Yuuta, but then learned that Yuuta likes Rikka instead.

Throughout this whole timeline, Yuuta is getting flashbacks of Gridman and has the feeling that something isn’t right. However, it isn’t until he sees the Tonkawa family grave (Tonkawa was Akane’s first victim) that he remembers everything that happened.

I have to say, I really like how Tonkawa wasn’t just a throwaway character to start of the story as I thought she was going to be. The fact that she’s actually been brought up multiple times and seems to be an important source of motivation for our heroes is pretty cool.

I’m interested to see if she and the rest of the people killed by the Kaiju are revived at the end of the series, or if they’re actually gone for good.

Utsumi

Utsumi’s timeline is quite different from Yuuta’s, and even Rikka’s which I’ll talk about next. Although Yuuta’s timeline focuses on him, it’s really about Akane. Instead of Yuuta’s timeline being what he wishes the world was like, it’s depicted as Akane wishes it was like.

However, Utsumi’s timeline seems to not only focus on him, but also seems to be depicting the world as he wishes it was, instead of how Akane wishes it was. That said, the argument can be made for the opposite being true as well.

Utsumi has been in love with Akane since the beginning of the series, and this timeline plays to that side of him. In an earlier episode, Utsumi and Akane go on what’s essentially a date which ends when he refuses to answer her questions about Yuuta. This timeline, however, is a version of that date that doesn’t end prematurely.

The two have fun buying mecha manga and merchandise together, and in the end Akane invites Utsumi over to her house to watch some of the series she has. Up until this point, I would say that this timeline depicts Akane’s wish for Utsumi to be her friend since they have common interests.

However, Akane then uses the old, “by the way, my parents aren’t home and you can stay over for the night” line, and this is when I felt that something didn’t add up. Akane likes Yuuta, so I don’t think she would say this in her ideal version of the world, but in Utsumi’s ideal version of the world, this makes sense since he likes her.

Perhaps I’m reading too much into it, but this Utsumi timeline doesn’t really line up with the Yuuta or Rikka timelines in that regard.

In the end, Akane inviting Utsumi over to her house is what caused him to realize that something wasn’t right. He realizes that too many good things were happening between him and Akane in a row, and that all of this wouldn’t really happen so quickly.

Rikka

The final timeline, and the one which reveals the least new information, follows Rikka. Rikka is already aware of Akane’s creation and manipulation of the people of the city, and so nothing we see in her timeline is a big reveal. Instead, we just see Akane attempting to be Rikka’s friend as she’s done in the past.

However, while this isn’t anything revolutionary, this version of the world is almost like an in-between of the Yuuta and Utsumi timelines. Yuuta’s timeline was all about what Akane wants, and Utsumi’s timeline was all about what he wants, but Rikka’s timeline is a mix of what both she and Akane want.

Both girls want to be friends, so in that respect their goals are aligned. That said, Rikka knows about Akane’s manipulation of the people in the city, including herself, and because of this knowledge, she is unwilling to accept Akane’s friendship in its current form.

In that regard, this timeline is an Akane-centric one just like the Yuuta timeline, because although both girls want the same thing, only Akane’s version of how to reach that end goal is being depicted.

Conclusion

In the end, all three of these dream timelines show that Akane wants to have close relationships with our protagonists, and other than the fact that she’s currently their enemy, our protagonists don’t really have an issue with Akane. In fact, Utsumi even says that if they had originally met under different circumstances, they could have been close friends.

This then connects to the end of the episode when all three of our heroes wake up from their dreams. Together, they decide that although they’re now awake, they have one more friend who needs their help waking up, and this is Akane.

What I’m assuming they mean by this is that they need to wake Akane up to the fact that she doesn’t need to recreate the world to make people be her friends. Instead, people already want to be her friends, and all she has to do is accept them.

And with that, what did you think about this week’s episode of SSSS.Gridman? Personally, I thought it was a good episode, albeit one which was formatted significantly differently from any we’ve seen before. Let me know your thoughts in the comments or over on our Discord server.

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My review of the next episode is available here.

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One Reply to “SSSS.Gridman Episode 9”

  1. Actually, some of the creators has specified that the dreams is what Akane THINKS relationships are like. Therefore it has little to do with what Akane wants herself, but what she thinks they want and what she thinks relationships are meant to be like. So boys are meant to be in love with her and date her, girls are meant to love her and be her friend. That’s sort of how she thinks relationships are meant to be and how she tries making there dreams. So I don’t think Akane has feelings for Yuuta but it’s what she thinks he has for her.

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