This SSSS. GRIDMAN review contains spoilers.
SSSS. GRIDMAN Episode 2
Now that’s what I’m talking about! More of the world, more of the characters, and an intriguing villain? SSSS. GRIDMAN may not be totally there but I can see the shapings of a good show taking form.
The biggest thing to discuss this week is what looks to be our main villain. No, not that Alexis/Kilokahn looking program, it’s Akane. That purple hair girl just seemed generic “anime mysterious” last episode but here? YO THIS GIRL IS WACK. She’s straight up trying to kill people!
It’s like the old “Malcolm wants revenge” plots of Super Human Samurai turned up to an eleven. It’s especially effective because it isn’t just empty threats. Akane has already “killed” several of Team Gridman’s classmates and she’s not finished. This girl is unhinged. A teacher doesn’t say sorry to her and she’s ready to bust out a new Kaiju!
Her whole room of Kaiju toys (or are they all statues she made?) paint a picture of someone that isn’t quite in reality. Whereas Usumi looks at series like Ultraman as the fantasy they are, maybe Akane can’t distinguish fiction from reality. I don’t want to get too deep into theories without more episodes to work with, but I can’t wait to see how it plays out.
We’re also introduced to Mr. Samurai, who actually turns into a giant sword for Gridman’s use. The idea that people can somehow shoot themselves into a computer and becomes weapons is so wild and anime-tastic I love it. Is Mr. Samurai even a real person? Does he come from… wherever Gridman is? I don’t know! With the bevy of armaments seen in the opening sequence I guess we’ll have more humans turning into Gridman’s arsenal so hopefully we’ll get more insights into this soon.
It does call to mind, once again, Super Human Samurai. In that series Sam’s friends would pilot vehicles that could power up Servo. Is this a possible reference to the American adaption of Gridman? Like everything else in this episode, it’s a question that’ll hopefully have answers down the road.
Read and download the Den of Geek NYCC 2018 Special Edition Magazine right here!
What we do get some insight on is just how Yuta is helping the city. I don’t mean kicking Kaiju butt (although he is rather good at that) but on a more personal level. After everyone’s memories are reset, the teacher who didn’t say sorry to Akane apologized to Yuta. Does this mean if Yuta is able to stop the Kaiju it gives people another chance to fix their mistakes?
That doesn’t exactly track with the girls who died last episode but it speaks to something deeper. That Yuta’s ultimate goal isn’t just beating up some monsters but to make people better, or at least give them the chance to do so. If that’s the direction SSSS. GRIDMAN is heading in I can get behind it. It adds some depth to the stock Tokusatsu plots.
Gridman is heading in the right direction and hopefully next week can continue to improve the series, perhaps finding a groove where it can really start to shine.
Also, look, I’m easy. When Yuta yelled, “ACCESS FLASH” I cheered. Some Tokusatsu staples, like having a transformation call, always work.