Few things I can fathom to be as treacherous as a bored god. All-encompassing ability to create and destroy in an environment they can only comprehend as a sandbox. This isn’t a new concept when it comes to mediums but it remains one of the most curious to me personally. How would, an all-empowered being act in its own creation? Would they become impassive, watching as their creation evolves? Or would it be the star of Lila, acting on a stage forgetting they are a god at all? When I sat down to watch Triggers 2018 collab, SSSS.Gridman I wasn’t expecting to have these questions bubble to the top of my mind. To ponder on the complex emotions that would come out of such a story. But as the amnesia-suffering Yuta Hibiki discovers his charming classmate Akane Shinjo is much more than anyone could imagine, there I was, thinking about the actions of a jaded god.
In a collaborative effort with Tsuburaya Productions. SSSS.Gridman was set to be a one-season original spanning 12 episodes. A homage to the early 90s series, Hyper Agent Gridman. Now to be completely frank I know little about the series or anything that fell under the Ultra Series over the years. That is a part of action cinema that was never very interesting to me enforcing my ignorance when it came to this show. Following the before mentioned Yuta he wakes in a junk shop run by classmate Rikka Takarada, of course, he doesn’t know this because he sadly doesn’t even remember his own name. Explaining to him she had found him passed out and took him to his family shop, she gets a little annoyed at his claims that he has lost his memory. Stating that he better not be messing with her.
After going to the hospital, then being escorted to his home Yuta is confronted by his friend Sho Utsumi the following morning before school. Exacerbated by his friend’s amnesia he decides to make the best out of it leading him to school. Arriving and taking his seat next to Akane Shinjo the day plays out indifferently until lunch. Yuta not bringing anything was offered food by Akane, a package that was then smashed by a volleyball as some of the club members were horsing around. As these things go apologies were made, the food was only smushed and still edible and they all went about their days as if nothing happened.
Then a kaiju attacked the school and the volleyball players died.
Infusing with Gridman Yuta manages to fight and destroy the kaiju but it wasn’t without consequences. The city is in ruins and people’s life upended but as the newly formed hero trio Gridman group is ready for the following day they find the city untouched, the school rebuilt and people’s minds wiped of the events completely.
Actually, the only thing that had changed was the victims who had died, wiped from memories of their classmates and history altered the volleyball club members who had smashed Akane’s gift the day before never made It into high school. Leaving the world in different ways years before.
What follows is a day in and out of Kajuis attacking, Gridman defeating and Akane getting angrier about the whole ordeal. She would eventually confront Yuta, stating that she is god and that this city is her creation to do with as she pleases. That every single person that exists within it does solely to idolize her.
This a thought that really fucks with her childhood friend Rikka as she comes to terms with the fact her memories are false and her love for Akane was implanted with her existence. It’s in the latter episodes Gridman actually gets interested in tackling these concepts. What would people do when they discover their lives are set to a pre-determined course? That their will means nothing?
Or better yet, what will a depressed god do in a world she had created but still bring her misery? It is in that misery Akane’s darkest desires build as she lashes out at her own world, her own creations. I think this is where the bread and butter of the series exists. In this fight between Gridman and Akane but not in the way, one might think. What initially is set up as a classic mech vs monster series shifts into more of a psychological nature. It becomes less about Yuta’s ability to fight or Akane’s ability to make kaiju and more about can a god leave their own creation for the better of it.
Through the power of friendship, of course, this is anime.
When I sat down to watch this series I wasn’t sure what to expect. I love Trigger but that was all I had invested in it and as I finished the series I felt fine. SSSS.Gridman is a solid series but nothing really else. The world was interesting enough that the characters filled their roles and the only thing I found annoying was Yuta’s lack of memory. But that is a trend I dislike in general.
SSSS.Gridman was followed up by another season which is prepping for a third go at it at the time of writing this. I am not sure if I am going to follow up on it simply because I lack the time going into the holiday season, hell I’m struggling to make weekly posts at this point. More book reviews are on their way as well as some manga so until then, thanks for reading!