SSSS.GRIDMAN Ep. 7: Castle in the sky

More surprises await our heroes. Hm, now I kinda wanna rewatch that Studio Ghibli film. 

— After last week’s major revelations, Yuta tries to fill his friends in on what he’s learned, but of course, they don’t take him seriously. Rikka is especially skeptical, because she’s been trying to reach out to Akane as a friend. She’s not going to see the girl as someone that they need to stop. I don’t know, man. After everything that these three have been through, shouldn’t they give Yuta a vote of confidence? I’m kinda disappointed in Rikka and Sho.

— Look, there’s nothing outside of the city, right? So let’s get on the train and see it for ourselves. This doesn’t need to be a discussion.

— Rikka thinks that there’s no way a high school would be into kaiju. Sho literally just had a conversation with Akane about kaiju, but he decides to keep it to himself! Ugh, I’m really disappointed in these two.

— Yeah, my friends have died, I’ve seen the city get destroyed up close and personal, and um… you literally transform into a giant robot in order to fight kaiju. But I dunno, man, what you’re saying about Akane is disgusting and totally unbelievable!

— Afterwards, Yuta wants to confront Akane, but he doesn’t quite know how to broach the subject. Not only that, Anti decides to show up and give our hero more grief. Our protagonist then foolishly tells the kid that Gridman can’t show up unless a kaiju threatens the city. With that knowledge, Anti storms off (along with Yuta’s lunch). Well, way to go. You just put the city in danger.

— It turns out Anti can’t turn into a kaiju at will, but what he can do is give this information to Akane. The kid might not be able to draw Gridman out, but she can.

— I’m not a big fan of Anti, so I’m also not a big fan of where his character arc looks to be headed. It seems to me that the writers want the good guys to eventually redeem the kid. Why else would he constantly fail and thus be subjected to Akane’s rage? Why else would we see Rikka treat the kid with so much kindness? Why else does he keep surviving this battles when all of the other kaiju end up being destroyed? I feel like he’s going to flip sides at one point, and I won’t care for that one bit.

Eh, it’s still in its wrapper. It’s still good, it’s still good!

— Once again, we see Alexis following Akane around. He’s getting impatient. Or worried.

— After school, Yuta tries futilely to convince his friends again. Unfortunately, Calibur is no help. None of them are. Not even Gridman.

— The only thing Yuta can do is ask Akane directly. Luckily for him, she somehow manages to sneak into his empty apartment. Well, she is a god…

— Still, if she’s a god, why does she need to use kaiju in order to remake the world? I guess that’s just how it works here, but that’s not a very satisfying answer. Plus, she’s a god, but she’s not omnipotent or omniscient. Took her forever to figure out that Yuta is Gridman.

— Seems like every girl I’ve ever known does this.

— So we get the obligatory “Join me, and together we will rule the galaxy!” talk, which of course goes nowhere because good guys aren’t supposed to join the bad guys.

— It’s just weird to hear Akane complain about the city, because it’s her city. If it’s so bad, isn’t that, uh, her fault? But again, I guess I don’t really know how any of this works, how she and this city even came into existence, so on and so forth.

— They say that she destroys and rebuilds. But other than the city, what has Akane honestly rebuilt? She never seems to replace the people whom she’s killed. In fact, that would’ve been a bit of a head trip. Imagine coming to class and seeing a complete stranger in your friend’s place. Not only that, the complete stranger acts as if they’ve always known you…

Yo, Rikka… do something. You did nothing last week, and you’re doing nothing again this week. Do you even care?

— Rikka’s friends want to copy her notes, so… I guess that’s something.

— Hell, Akane even drags our hero to that Chinese restaurant. Looks like business isn’t doing so hot. Pork belly fried rice sounds good, though…

— Akane reveals why she’s been killing people (or erasing them), and Yuta can’t believe that she can be so cold. But eh, he’s trying to reason with someone who doesn’t appear to have any empathy.

— Oh good, Alexis just shows up to the restaurant like it’s no big deal. Yo, the Assist Weapons must be keeping a close eye on Yuta, right? They’ve been doing that for the past few episodes now. It’d be weird if they suddenly took a break, ’cause it looks like the kid is in real danger right about now.

— Yuta is shocked that the restaurant owner isn’t the least bit bothered by Alexis’s presence but we ain’t in a normal world anymore. Not after last week’s revelations.

— The kid’s about to take a bite of food, but all of a sudden, his armband goes off. Usually, this means that a kaiju is attacking, but Akane insists otherwise. She would know, right? When Yuta heads outside to check, he doesn’t see a kaiju. Instead, he just sees a UFO. Well, Alexis is an alien…

— But even the UFO surprises Akane. And when she turns around to question Alexis about it, the alien is gone. She’s in for a real surprise, I guess. Even though Alexis is technically on her side, he has his own aims and motivations, whatever they are. But again, like with Anti, I feel like it’ll be sort of lame if we end up showing Akane the light and redeeming her somehow. She’s been so unrepentantly evil, I don’t know if I want to just forgive her. In general, however, anime has a hard time punishing cute, pretty characters.

— Yuta hurries home to merge with Gridman in order to deal with the UFO. But I mean, the UFO hasn’t actually, uh, done anything. Do we even know if it’s a threat?

— When Gridman destroys the thing, it just came right back. And now, it’s retaliating. Technically, our heroes got aggressive first, so…

— But according to Alexis, the UFO belongs to Anti. And when Akane hears that Alexis had assisted Anti in creating the kaiju (does a UFO even count as one? I thought you had to be a giant monster) she smashes her monitor. I think she’s mostly pissed off at the fact that someone was allowed into her room.

— Still, what is the alien trying to accomplish here? Maybe Alexis isn’t convinced that Akane will do whatever it takes to defeat Gridman. To be fair, she is taking her sweet time doing it.

— Once again, Gridman struggles with a new enemy. Once again, he’ll need some help. We’ve seen Calibur, Max, and Borr in action. It’s time for Vit to prove his worth. And apparently, he can help Gridman take flight in order to deal with the UFO.

— At some point, we’ll see all of the Assist Weapons together. They’ll need to fix up the computer, though. Maybe in the very last episode.

More toys to buy…

Oh, there’s the actual kaiju. We also have Anti to deal with.

— But as our heroes climbs higher and higher into the sky, Yuta and Gridman suddenly stumbles across a high-tech, flying city of some sort.

— Back in the junk shop, Sho asks, “How is this even possible?” How is this even possible? What kind of question is that! You’re in a universe where giant monsters attack the city on the regular!

— Anyways, enough playing around. Gridman and Vit split up to deal with their foes, and they don’t even break a sweat in doing so. The former immediately cleaves Anti’s kaiju in one move. Meanwhile, Vit easily takes Anti out by himself. The kid’s kinda weak…

— Then afterwards, Gridman and Vit just float back down to the surface all cool-like.

— In the aftermath, a despondent-sounding Akane is seen chatting with Alexis again. I guess she can’t stay mad that long. She also realizes something that she has to do, but of course, she’s not going to tell the audience what that something is just yet.

— Alexis thus comes to the conclusion that Anti isn’t very good at his job, and as a result, the only person who can create “true kaiju” — whatever that means — is Akane. He doesn’t sound very serious, though. It almost seems as though he cooked up this scenario in order to get Akane to focus on whatever it is that he wants her to do.

— After Yuta fills his friends in on his encounter with Akane and an alien, he tells himself that there’s more to his mission than just fighting. But like Akane, he won’t tell us exactly what he has to do. Eh, if I was a betting man, I’m sure he’ll try to reach out to Akane and thaw her cold, cold heart or whatever. Good luck with that.

— Last but not least, Alexis goes to punish Anti, so he appears to blind the kid in one eye. I still think Anti will will change sides at one point.

6 thoughts on “SSSS.GRIDMAN Ep. 7: Castle in the sky

  1. Johnathan Ochonueve (@JDogindy)

    This is sort of the problem that anime has when it comes to the ol’ “Courting the Twisted Moe Gal who happens to rule the world” storyline; how to convince the Twisted Moe Gal that becoming an emotionally stable person is better than just rampaging through her playset whenever she feels like it, and is sort of the thing that a studio like Trigger is perfectly incapable of doing, since Trigger is more about dat animation, yo.

    On the one side, you got Yuta and Rikka and the others who, failing miserably, are trying to tell Akane that actions have consequences and that these people may just be data, but to us (us meaning those two, not us in the real world), they’re living creatures and their lives are important, and on the other, you got Alexis pretty much telling Akane everything she wants to hear. Who do you think the emotionally stunted nutcase is going to listen to?! The parental figures or friggin’ Mr. Burns?

    The irony of ironies, however, is that this is all going to lead to Akane building a series of kaiju that Alexis will find satisfactory, and as soon as he gets them from her, he’s gonna dump Akane like a bad habit, leaving her to be acting all like Knuckles the Echdina going “Ooh, that there space alien double crossed me, and I fell for it!”, forcing her to reluctantly going to the Neon Genesis Evangelion Acolytes Protection Agency Nadeshiko or Something Patrol where she magically discovers the true meaning of friendship because anime. And, we’ll also learn why she lives in a mansion that somehow does not get garbage delivery… even though it’s her freaking city, and she could literally create a task force to send a garbage truck every day to pick up her waste, and has no parents in this episode.

    Anyway, longtime no chat. How’s things been.

  2. animewarcrimetribunal

    It’s almost comical how little Yuta has to actually do in the show. He figured out that Akane might know something, but only because -she- started fishing for information. He couldn’t bring himself to ask her about it, but that’s okay because a new character showed up to explain the plot to him. Then he wanted to bring it up to Akane, but again he couldn’t, and again it resolved itself when she came to see him instead. All we got out of him this time is “it’s bad to kill people because their friends and family will be sad”. Even in the fights it doesn’t seem like he has to do anything.

    And the other two aren’t much better. Like you said, they were oddly skeptical about Yuta’s story given everything that’s happened. And that’s been a pretty consistent issue: none of them act like people who’ve been involved in crazy shit since episode 1, and they seem happy to spend all day just going about their regular high school life. Meanwhile the Gridman team is either just following them around or hanging out at the shop. Everyone is so, so passive.

    Your comments did make me wonder, what is it that even makes Akane a “god”? She designs the kaiju, but apparently only Alexis can make them real. The girl last week said she created the world, but she seems to have no power over it. I’m sure these questions will be answered at some point, but right now it’s all just… not very interesting.

    But yeah, they’re going to try to redeem Akane 100%. I’d be okay with that if it was clear she was just being manipulated, but there’s not a hint of empathy in there. So we gotta save her for no other reason than she’s a cute anime girl.

    1. Sean Post author

      This just seems like Trigger in a nutshell. Their world-building and characters never feel fully realized. They’re just good at delivering hype from time to time.

  3. Adrian Saputra

    Passive main character who is just meandering around until the plot comes to them with girls who has anime tits or asses, problems with friendship or communication, and aliens… This is Darling in the Franxxx problem all over again. And because of that castle, there is a pretty much high possibility that Yuta is also going to space. Are they running out of ideas?


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