SSSS.Gridman

SSSS.Gridman

SSSS.Gridman anime cover art
SSSS.Gridman Cover Art

Overview

SSSS.Gridman is studio Trigger’s most recent original anime, that is if you consider rebooting an old series as original. As a mecha anime, at first glance it may seem somewhat similar to the previous series they worked on, Darling in the FranXX, but let me assure you that SSSS.Gridman is much better.

Unfortunately, SSSS.Gridman didn’t get the recognition it deserved in the West and is actually rated 0.10 lower than FranXX, which just goes to show how bad the taste of the general masses is. However, I think I can explain why this is the case without simply saying that everyone has bad taste in anime.

You see, SSSS.Gridman is a super robot series which generally follows a monster of the week formula, which automatically means a lot of people are going to be turned off by it. Super robots haven’t really been popular in the West since the 90s, and monster of the week formats are generally seen as outdated.

However, despite how it looks on the surface, and in the first two episodes or so, SSSS.Gridman is actually much more than this. But again, the problem here is that you wouldn’t know this is the case if you dropped the series after only the first episode or two.

The overarching plot of the series is that Kaiju, giant monsters, suddenly appear and destroy the city, only for it to be rebuilt the next day with everyone’s memories of the attack erased. That is, everyone except our heroes, Yuuta, Rikka, and Utsumi.

These three then meet the Hyper Agent Gridman and form the Gridman Alliance to defeat the Kaiju and save the city. However, everything isn’t what it seems and it turns out that a classmate of our heroes is actually the one behind the Kaiju attacks (I wouldn’t consider that a spoiler).

And, not only is this anime actually good, it also includes a lot of references for those of you who are into that. I picked up on quite a few references to Neon Genesis Evangelion and the original Gridman series, but I guarantee there are many more I missed from a variety of other series.

Characters

This time around our protagonist is a red-haired high school student named Yuuta Hibiki. At the start of the series, Yuuta awakens to find that he has a severe case of amnesia and that he’s the only one capable of seeing the Kaiju looming over the city.

He’s also originally the only one who can both see and hear Gridman, who resides in an old computer known affectionately as Junk. For the most part, however, Yuuta is a pretty standard protagonist; he doesn’t have any memories, but he knows there’s “something” he must do.

Yuuta Hibiki from the anime SSSS.Gridman
Yuuta Hibiki

The first of Yuuta’s two companions is Rikka Takarada, the girl who Yuuta wakes up to find himself with. Rikka is one of Yuuta’s classmates, though it seems that before the events of the series the two weren’t exactly in the same social circles. That’s not to say Rikka is the “popular” girl and Yuuta is the “nerd,” but they had different friends.

Rikka’s family owns the scrap shop which is home to the aforementioned Junk, which houses Gridman. Because of this, she becomes a defacto founding member of the Gridman Alliance despite not wanting anything to do with it to begin with.

The final member of our heroic trio is Shou Utsumi, and as far as I can remember, nobody ever actually uses his first name in the series. Utsumi is Yuuta’s best friend, and is also a lover of all things super robot, so it’s no wonder that he’s the one who officially comes up with the Gridman Alliance.

Utsumi also has a crush on the next character I’ll be going over, Akane Shinjou, which is a cause of internal conflict for him. While I mentioned that Rikka and Yuuta’s relationship wasn’t that of the popular girl and nerdy boy, that’s basically the relationship between Akane and Utsumi.

Akane is the most popular girl in school, or at least in the class which also includes our three heroes. However, she secretly hates just about everyone and is actually the one creating the Kaiju which repeatedly attack the city.

Her partner in crime is an alien known as Alexis Kerib, who I won’t be discussing in this review because I don’t want to spoil too much of the series. All you need to know is that Akane designs the Kaiju and then Alexis brings them to life.

One of Akane’s Kaiju becomes a character in his own right, Anti. Anti is basically the same character as Viral from Gurren Lagann. Well, actually there are a lot of differences between the two, but I think that’s a good enough comparison. He’s essentially the anti-Gridman, hence his name being Anti.

And, that brings us to our titular character, Gridman. Gridman is a “hyper agent” who lives inside the computer, Junk, as I’ve mentioned previously. His main goal and reason for being around is simply to save the world, as is the case with most superheroes.

The fact that Gridman is his own character is also something a bit different from just about every other mecha series I’ve seen. Typically the mechas are tools used by the other characters, but in this case Gridman is his own entity and fuses with Yuuta instead of being piloted by him.

There are also four other members of the Gridman Alliance besides Yuuta, Rikka, Utsumi, and Gridman. These four are known as the Neon Genesis Junior High students and consist of Samurai Calibur, Max, Borr, and Vit. They can turn into upgrades/weapons for Gridman.

Conclusion

Before I get to my overall rating of this series and my final comments on it, it’s time to remind you that I currently have a poll running on Twitter to determine which fantasy series get the weekly, episodic review treatment for the Winter 2019 season. To vote, simply click the embedded tweet below, sign in, and select your choice.

And now that you’ve voted, let’s get on with the rest of this review. While I first thought this series was going to be a 5 or 6, I actually ended up giving it a 7/10 as the series progressed further. It really does become an entertaining show once you make it past the beginning, and every episode introduces some new twist.

Also, the fight animation of this series is a bit different from most others. It’s actually based on those old, live-action series in which guys in superhero and monster costumes fight in replica cities. Because of this, the animation may seem “wonky” at times, but I promise that it either gets better as the series progresses, or I simply stopped noticing it.

In the end, if you didn’t give SSSS.Gridman a chance or if you dropped it early on, I highly recommend completing this series. But, if you can’t be bothered to watch past episode 3, I have you covered because I reviewed each episode starting with episode 4 (I’ll have those linked at the end of this post).

So, if you watched SSSS.Gridman, what did you think of the series as a whole? Do you agree with my assertion that the series gets a lot better after the slow start? And, if you didn’t watch it, or if you dropped it, let me know why down in the comments.

If you enjoyed this review or found it helpful in any way, be sure to click the like button ❤ down below. Also, follow me on Twitter @DoubleSama to stay up to date with all of my new content, not to mention the polls which influence what content appears on my blog.

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SSSS.Gridman episode reviews:

Episode 4 Episode 5 Episode 6
Episode 7 Episode 8 Episode 9
Episode 10 Episode 11 Episode 12
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