Huh, I’m liking SSSS.Gridman…this is Trigger right?
Seriously, are we in Earth-2 now? I’m actually that stumped over Gridman being good. Admittedly, Darling in the FranXX set the bar super low so you probably can only go up from there. Even so, I do think this anime feels very unlike Trigger’s usual shtick. The quirks are still there but the tone is often more down to earth than anything this studio has previously done, the dialogue is subtle, and there isn’t pointless eyecandy apart from the female characters just being cute. Damn it, where’s the Trigger that I know and…well, I don’t know if love is the right word…or like for that matter…
Trigger’s name being attached aside, my enjoyment towards Gridman is quite simple. It has that tokustatsu vibe completely down. Mecha vs. kaiju fights? Check. Courageous teenage protagonists? Check. Wacky villain? Check. Power ups? Check. A loose sense of logic? Double check for that one. Indeed, this feels right at home with Ultra Man and Super Sentai/Power Rangers and I can’t help but dig it for the time being.
Frankly, I’m surprised that the show actually made a plot point out of all the buildings getting restored after all the fighting. I guess you have to if you want to maintain that grounded tone all the school scenes have and to be fair, it does make for a compelling stake in the story. While the world seemingly resets, complete with mass memory loss even, anyone killed by a kaiju stays permanently dead. Our trio of heroes realize this when some of their classmates are nowhere to be seen and discover that those people’s families are all convinced they passed away years ago.
This somewhat brings me to the villain responsible for all this: Akane (Reina Ueda). I kind of figured something was up with this girl given her appearance last episode but I horribly underestimated what she had to offer. My God, this girl is just a delight. She’s undeniably a petty girl. I mean, she just killed some girls because they knocked her hot dog off a desk with a volleyball. And this episode, she tried killing a teacher for not apologizing for bumping into her by accident. That’s how petty she gets and weirdly enough, I find that a really hilarious trait for her to have as a villain. That she tries to kill them with kaiju (she appears to be a big fan of them) is just icing on the cake. Also, Reina Ueda’s performance. I hope she’s having the time of her life voicing this character.
Joining the cast today and adding to Gridman‘s quirkiness is Samurai Calibur (Ryousuke Takahashi), a mysterious man who offers to help the newly formed Gridman Alliance. Not much background is really provided. He kind of just shows up, helps optimize Junk and by extension, Gridman. Oh, and he can apparently also go Norgami-style become a weapon for Gridman to use. I’m kind of at a loss for words but the guy is an amusing presence nonetheless and his role in the fight scene of the week is very entertaining to watch.
Really, it’s the founders of the Gridman Alliance that I still need to be sold on. Actually, Rikka is probably the big exception. There’s just something about her that just clicks from how she deals with the deaths of her classmates to how she refrains from asking Yuuta to protect the town out of a fear of coming across as selfish. Honestly, she’s driving and shaping this story almost as much as Gridman and Akane do. Utsumi sadly is just here for this episode so he’ll have to wait for his time to shine. Yuuta, meanwhile, still doesn’t seem all that interesting to me. He’s becoming very selfless and serious and that’s fine but I really want there to be more to his character.
So I guess Gridman is safe again. And this early on too. I recall being unsure about Darling in the FranXX and Little Witch Academia around this time. Again, are we sure this is made by Trigger?
OP: “UNION” by OxT
Some might call this OP generic but I really dig it. It appeals to my fondness of tokusatsu and Saturday Morning cartoon themes. Also, I’m forever a sucker for whatever singer Masayoshi Ouishi is working on after he did the OP for Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-kun.
The money shot is the one where Akane is staring at a window only for Gridman to appear. Such an exhilarating moment.
ED: “youthful beautiful” by Maaya Uchida
Pointless shots of cute girls looking cute? Okay, that is definitely something Trigger would do. Actually, is there anything significant with showing Rikka and Akane together? Maybe they were former friends?
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