Deep down, I really want to like SSSS.Gridman. I’m actually a sucker for tokusatsu so the idea of making an anime re-imagining for one has a lot of appeal to me. But when I saw Trigger’s name attached, I found myself looking at Gridman with massive skepticism. I am so goddamn tired of this studio or least their track record as of late. Little Witch Academia was horribly inconsistent and the less I talk about Darling in the FranXX here the better. At this moment, some caution is necessary, hence why I put Gridman under “Surprise Me” in the Fall season preview.
But, as always, I aim to give any anime a shot and truth be told, I actually quite liked the first episode. That admittedly could lead to anything. Maybe this anime will be really good or maybe we just haven’t reached the part where Trigger fucks it up. Who honestly knows but whatever. Optimism is still optimism so I’ll take it for now.
At the very least, I do like how Gridman‘s plot just screams “tokusatsu”. The protagonist Yuuta Hibiki (Yuuya Hirose) is an amnesiac but stranger than that is that he can see a sentient robot named Gridman (Hikaru Midorikawa) on an old computer owned by his classmate Rikka (Yume Miyamoto). When a kaiju suddenly appears and terrorizes the town, Yuuta agrees to merge with Gridman and takes on the threat himself. It’s very much a classic set-up for a tokusatsu series, one that’s ripe for weekly monsters fight to boot. There’s even some of the same quirks that you may have seen in these types of shows. I won’t lie; this show deserves a thumbs up for having the school repaired the following day. Nice to know the amazing insurance policies tokusatus seemingly have is present in this anime.
Obviously, I’d like the characters to be the ones carrying the show and while they could use some more depth, they seem to be off to a pretty good start. I particularly took to liking Rikka. I just find her sensible and nonchalant personality really charming. Contrasting that is another one of Yuuta’s classmates, Utsumi (Souma Saitou), who offers a more excited perspective over there being a giant robot fighting monsters. It’s really Yuuta and Gridman that I need more convincing over especially since they’re the main duo of this show. Both just seem to be your standard noble types at the moment.
Mind you, I wouldn’t say this episode is perfect. There are a couple of scenes that just seemed odd and not in a good way. The scene where Yuuta tries to persuade Rikka that Gridman is real is an amusing conversation though I think the jump cutting with the characters’ body language was unnecessary. Another specific scene I can think of it is when Yuuta gets a free sandwich from a classmate (who seems to be important) only for the meal to get struck away for a ball. The pause for silence just lasts too long.
One general aspect where mileage may vary is its progression. For the first two thirds, this episode possesses a very mellowed tone and it paces very slowly until the monster shows up. I personally didn’t take much issue with it. I’d argue the build-up allowed for the fight to feel even more exciting (and this is Trigger so you know, the animation will at least be good). Still, I can definitely see someone getting impatient with this episode and hopefully, the remainder of the show isn’t always like this.
Who knows; maybe Gridman will be a mainstay in the watch list. On one hand, it does have appeal for me and this premiere is pretty good. But alas, it’ll be a while before I can fully shrug off the fatigue Trigger has left me in. At the very least, this anime is only twelve episodes so if I did stuck with it and did jumped the shark, at least it won’t be an agonizingly long descent into madness like its predecessor.
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