SSSS.GRIDMAN Ep. 11: Embody your inner kaiju

Don’t be so hard on yourself, girl. All gods are stupid. 

— We pick up where we last left off, so Yuta goes down in a heap and starts bleeding out. I can only imagine that everyone else is too stunned to react, ’cause he’s gonna die if he doesn’t get medical attention. To her credit, Rikka is the first to move. And to his discredit, Sho can’t move a muscle. I guess the sidekick is finally in over his head.

— Of course, he’s not going to die. C’mon.

— Akane then throws Gridman’s computer to the ground, but that’s about all she does before she slinks out of the junk shop. The others are too busy tending to Yuta to pay her any attention.

== If you think about it, Akane didn’t really do a good job. First, she didn’t make sure Yuta would die. She could have done more damage than she did. Second, she also didn’t destroy Gridman’s computer. Throwing it to the ground is, well, nothing in the grand scheme of things. But this makes sense, because the story eventually wants to redeem Akane. She goes on and on about how it just had to be this way, so rather than the girl being in complete control of her actions, the show is going to frame it as someone being backed into a corner. Y’see, she had no choice but to lash out, but deep down, she’s torn. And since she didn’t really finish the job, there’s wiggle room to forgive her if you’re so inclined. I’m not, but I can imagine many people who would.

— Everyone has pros and cons. I just don’t know what Akane’s pros are. The show has never really delved into that. Sure, she’s got a cute character design, but that’s about it.

— Yeah, I’m good, bro. It’s just a prank!

— So even though the phone lines weren’t working — and their cellphones were outta commission, too — the good guys did eventually manage to drag Yuta to the hospital. He must have lost a ton of blood, but shhh. Let’s just pretend that didn’t happen. And of course, we’re told that Akane had missed his vitals. Of course.

— Dude, he’s not even hooked up to anything. He’s just lying in that hospital bed unmonitored.

— Without the scenery kaiju, Akane’s world can’t reset itself. So everything is in disarray, and we still have that floating city hanging overhead. Rikka drags herself to school, claiming that she wants to check things out. But in reality, she’s looking for Akane. Her internal monologue claims that she can’t forgive the girl, but… well, we’ll see. It’s pretty hard to defy one’s programming.

Rikka’s friends are pretty relaxed despite the circumstances.

— How did they get such nice close-ups? Those phones must have one hell of a zoom lens.

— Elsewhere, Alexis bugs Akane about making yet another kaiju, but the girl tells the alien that she’s done. She’s done because Gridman is out of commission. The alien reminds her, however, that Anti is still a threat to worry about. What is Alexis trying to accomplish? Assuming that neither Gridman nor Gridknight is around to stop it, what exactly does he want this kaiju to do? What’s his endgame? We still don’t know. We still don’t know anything about this guy.

— Alexis proceeds to revive all the defeated kaiju. That’s convenient. Let’s get all the warriors together.

— Rikka hurries back to the hospital just to learn that the Assist Weapons won’t fight without Gridman. Didn’t they just fight without him in a previous episode?

— Oh well, Anti is here to save the day.

— Rikka’s mom is just listening in on this conversation, and it doesn’t bother her one bit. Does she know more than we think?

— Out of frustration, Sho wants to pick a fight with Anti for being a remorseless kaiju, but it’s not like Anti would even understand the concept of feeling guilty. Right now, the sidekick is useless. He can’t save the world nor can he even help his friend. He also feels guilty that up until now he’s been enjoying his front-row seats to all the action. As a result, he has “no choice” but to lash out against Anti. Sure, Anti is no winner himself, but his anger isn’t going to solve anything.

— From another perspective, it’s pretty goddamn funny for Sho to blame Anti for the loss of countless lives. Our Gridman Alliance never bothered to do any investigation. They always waited for a kaiju to show up before they would jump into action. I’m not saying that they could’ve stopped Akane, but they didn’t even try to determine her identity until the last couple of episodes.

— Rikka asks Anti if he knows where Akane is right now, but the kid doesn’t answer her. I really, really doubt that Rikka will truly hold anything against Akane. I just don’t see it. Her face looks almost pleading.

— Anyways, Gridknight shows up and makes short work of some of the revived kaiju. By themselves, they’re nothing special. The only question is if Gridknight has enough stamina to defeat the entire gauntlet. Probably not. I’m sure Gridman will show up eventually in this episode.

Dude, that’s too meta.

I would like to know this, too.

— All of a sudden, the Assist Weapons grab Rikka’s mom and runs off with her. Caliber is literally carrying her in his arms. That’s the only way he knows how to do it. But they seem to be onto something. Maybe Yuta can’t wake up because Gridman’s computer is broken.

This is quite a shot. This show has a lot of cool shots I haven’t really bothered to screencap.

— Oh, so the name of the computer was just Junk? Okay…

— It sounds like the Assist Weapons have come to a conclusion: Yuta and Gridman are one and the same. Really? I don’t know how I feel about that…

— On the other hand, Yuta just transferred here, right? His friends have only known him for about a year? So I guess that also lines up with Gridman being from another world…

— But still, Akane acts as though she’s also created Yuta… I think. Eh, I don’t feel like rewatching the older episodes in order to try and connect the dots. I just don’t like this show enough to do that.

— That’s a mouthful. Just call it a graphics card.

— Back at the hospital, Rikka suddenly remembers where she might be able to find Akane, so she takes off and leaves Yuta with Sho. The guy just slumps into his chair and mopes.

— We then see Yuta talking to Gridman, but the scanlines suggest that they’re in a computer. Moreover, the story confirms the fact that Gridman is Yuta… or to be more specific, Gridman is in Yuta’s body. But wait, who’s the one who actually has a crush on Rikka? Yuta, right? But it was Gridman in his body. So was Gridman just pretending to be Yuta, and as a result, he also felt compelled to crush on Rikka?

— So why did Gridman pick Yuta? Unfortunately, his answer gets cut off, so we’ll have to wait until next week’s episode. I hate withholding information like this. It’s just so cheap and lazy. Withholding information in general isn’t a problem. That’s just a part of storytelling. But deliberately cutting away from a conversation that’s taking place? C’mon.

— As soon as Calibur finishes putting the final pieces into place and turns Junk on, Yuta wakes up at the hospital. But since it’s Gridman acting as Yuta, I don’t know if I should just start calling the kid Gridman instead.

— Back on the battlefield, Anti is slowly running out of juice. Fighting these kaiju one-by-one is easy, but a whole gauntlet is another story completely. Maybe Alexis should’ve tried this from the start.

— Gridman proceeds to tell Sho the truth about himself. More importantly, we’re told that the real Yuta is still asleep somewhere. Huh… Let’s say the kid wakes up one day. Will he even know what had transpired while he was fast asleep?

— The hero reminds us that there’s still something that he needs to do. Of course. We’ve known this. What we don’t know is what he needs to do. And of course, the story still isn’t ready to tell us about his true mission.

— Meanwhile, Sho wants Gridman to stop, because the real Yuta might die if this keeps up. But what’s the alternative? If Gridman doesn’t do what he needs to do, which is to presumably save the day, then what? Are we just gonna sit here and do nothing? I just don’t even know what Sho is trying to accomplish right now.

— Gridman then insists that Akane had no choice but to stab him. Yeah, you can say that all you want, but I dunno… you’re going to need one hell of an argument to convince me. This current one isn’t cutting it.

Rikka’s mom stares as Gridman and the Assist Weapons jump into action, and it doesn’t seem to faze her one bit. You gotta wonder if Rikka’s mom is actually more important than she seems. For instance, why is Gridman’s computer just sitting in her junk shop?

— Finally, Gridman shows up to lend Gridknight a hand. I also wonder about Anti’s connection to Gridman. Sigh, so many questions. A longer series wouldn’t necessarily guarantee quality, but it would allow for more character development. And I think that’s my biggest beef with the show. It has a lot of intriguing potential, but I’m just not drawn to any of these characters. I’m not convinced to root for them. It doesn’t even have to be all meaningful character development. Just give them more personality in order to give me more reasons to become emotionally invested. For example, I wouldn’t mind getting to know the Assist Weapons a little better. Or hell, just Yuta himself. I know he likes Rikka, and like most protagonists, he probably has a strong sense of justice… but that’s about it.

— With both heroes now fighting together, the League of Kaiju goes down pretty quick.

— Elsewhere, Rikka finally locates Akane. The two girls then quickly learn that Yuta (or Gridman) is A-OK. Much to Akane’s chagrin, I suppose. But maybe a small part of her is relieved.

— Rikka continues to insist on sticking by the faulty god no matter what. Ride or die, I guess. Whether she’s doing this out of her own free will or she’s just obeying her programming, that’s up to you to decide. Still, I think this conversation might have played out differently had she not realized that Yuta is fine. But since her friend is okay, she can go back to trying to redeem Akane. It’s not like Yuta would disagree with her. He wants to save Akane’s soul, too.

— Still, wouldn’t it be funny if these two girls ended up becoming a romantic pairing? After all, what’s with this line? It feels so intimate. We see Rikka holding someone’s hand in the OP, and since Yuta has a crush on her, I naturally assumed that those two would eventually get together. But shrug, anything could happen. That other hand could belong to Akane instead. After all, the ED are all about the two girls.

— We still don’t know why Rikka was so annoyed with Yuta at the very start of the series. The outcome might hinge upon that.

— Judging by Akane’s flashbacks, she used to get along with Rikka and her friends so well. When did she suddenly become bitter? When did she start wanting to kill people just because they were rude to her? I guess we could assume that Alexis is the corrupting influence, but this is yet another mystery that continues to hang over the story.

— Probably sensing that this conversation is bad news for him if he continues to let it play out, Alexis suddenly shows up to interrupt our little bonding moment. Once again, Akane tells him that she can’t make another kaiju, but this time, Alexis is prepared. He proceeds to turn Akane into a kaiju. Well, that’s one way to do it. She’s pretty monstrous in my eyes anyway.

— I’m pretty curious as to what that might look like. Unfortunately, you know how it is: this is the perfect spot to end the episode and keep the viewers hooked. Despite the complaints, the cliffhangers in this series have been pretty on-point.

— Another episode that raises more questions than answers. I really wanted to love this show, because I like Trigger’s animation style in general. I like their flair. I like their energy. But even assuming the best possible outcome for the show’s ending, I just imagine SSSS.GRIDMAN becoming a series that I would ever want to rewatch.

5 Replies to “SSSS.GRIDMAN Ep. 11: Embody your inner kaiju”

  1. Oh, boy, oh boy! We’re gonna get a whole episode where Rikka is gonna yell at Yuta “Don’t hurt that kaiju! That’s Akane! We can still save her!” But most viewers are gonna be all “WE PAID FOR BLOOD!!!” Akane becoming a kaiju and being slain by Gridman, thus being deprived of the redemption, would be catharsis considering that the majority of the series has done a piss-poor job setting her up as a character with good traits (and would be more in line with Digimon tri’s storytelling with their new characters than what this show is trying to tell you). No, seriously, name one trait. She fed Anti, but that was because he beat up Gridman that one time, and after that, she treated him like dirt when he inevitably started losing like all recurring mooks do in sentai programs do since he failed to deliver, causing him to start wandering around like a stray dog. Not is the time to start trying to establish where your “God” became bitter and homicidal in your series because most viewers want this character destroyed, not saved. But, we aren’t going to get that destruction. Instead, Alexis is going to transform into the true boss and whatever Akane is serves as the distraction while he transforms into whatever homage from the Hyperdimension series Trigger wants to spotlight because Alexia knows Yuta won’t be allowed to hurt the Akane kaiju.

    I also expect the kaiju to probably look like something resembling a bad 8th grade science diorama while, frankly if the previous episode’s kaiju had anything to say.

  2. Yes, the two girls’ relationship is interesting. I didn’t bat an eye when I first saw the ED — assumed it was typical fanservice stuff.

    But then we had the bus scene, by far the most intimate conversation of the show, in which Akane lays Rikka’s insecurities bare — I thought at that point that maybe there was something more to their relationship. Not too long after you had the dream episode, in which the characters wear the same clothes as the ED — a few more bells rang. And now there’s this episode. Let’s see if they pull the old switcheroo!

    This show has some decent visual/sound direction, but the story is so weak. Apparently Trigger have another show in the pipeline, involving the Gurenn Lagan / Kill la Kill / Luluco director. Hopefully they’ll save anime then!

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