SSSS.Gridman Episode 1 [First Impressions]

Look at me just going down the list of Trigger shows to blog about lol. SSSS Gridman was a very interesting experience. Just coming off Darling in the Franxx, which I didn’t even finish but kept up with Eva’s updates on the series and yikes that series was an absolute train wreck, I didn’t have much hope for this series. While Trigger’s animation has always been on point, their writing has always been a bit hit or miss. Even with my favorite Trigger series being Kiznaiver, I still admit that the series had some pretty serious narrative and writing flaws. So I went into this new series warily. And just from the first episode, I was all sorts of confused and put off by it.

This first episode was really odd on a first watch. Right off the bat, I had so many questions in regards to what in the world happened to Yuta. How did he lose his memory? Why is he at this girl Rikka’s house? What did he say to her prior to losing his memory? Were they dating? What is happening??? Though they cleared it up fairly quickly that the two hardly ever talked. Though I did find the way she didn’t answer Yuta when he asked if something had happened. Which made me think that he was about to confess or something. Even after the series ended, I’m still left hanging what that was all about. The way this episode was structured and shot just felt really weird to me at first. Like that one dialogue scene between Yuta and Rikka where it seemed like there were several cuts while they were talking. It was super jarring a lot of the time and it honestly felt like Yuta and the audience were in the same boat of just being uneasy and not understanding what the heck is going on. Not to mention that Gridman just randomly shows up on the computer screen and I’m like: Whomst??? There was just a lot of things going on that left me completely confused. Especially since I’m not familiar with the original Gridman series.

Though I will say that Rikka caught my attention fairly quickly in regards to how she is written. A lot of characters tend to fall into “anime stereotypes” when it comes to portraying teenagers. Which causes them to feel more like a representation and/or a trope rather than a normal person. But in Rikka’s case, she felt like an actual teenage girl. From the way she talks to the way she acts, it all felt very real and hardly any exaggeration. It was almost Odd Taxi levels of real but not quite since all the other characters felt like “anime characters”. I liked her before all the “thick thighs save lives” nonsense lol.

After going through a rough day at school with amnesia, Yuta finds himself in quite the predicament when a freaking Kaiju just spawns in the middle of the city. And man, I have THINGS to say about that scene of SOMEONE carving out the Kaiju in the dark with a crazed look in their eye. But I’ll save it for next episode because wow, that was a sneaky little cut they did. While the CG for the monsters are jank, it definitely adds to the nostalgia of those monster costumes that were worn in those early power ranger esque shows and they make it work for this show. They really did nail the movements to make it seem as if the monsters were just a person in costume. And as someone who typically doesn’t really like CG in anime, the way they animated Gridman was actually really good. Both the Kaiju and Gridman blended really well with the 2D style of the show and actually felt like they belonged in this world. Kudos to Trigger for being able to make CG look good in a 2D space. I absolutely love the fighting choreography and movements of the Kaiju and Gridman. Both demonstrate movements that match their massive size and I can’t help but be amused with how the Kaiju used its long neck to hit Gridman. That’s definitely how someone in that monster outfit would fight lol.

While it did feel silly for Gridman and Yuta to regain strength after Rikka typed out a message to them on the computer, I still found the situation to be very fun. We also find out that the Kaiju is more of a robot-like creature rather than a living being. Which makes sense as to why it looks so derpy lol. I never watched Tokusatsu, but I did grow up with power rangers, so this was a very interesting and fun experience to see an anime like this. And while I had my gripes about several things in this episode, the Kaiju fight was a lot of fun and there were certain things that held my interest enough to want to continue.

After watching the first episode back in 2018, I had already written it off since I wasn’t particularly feeling most of the characters and I wasn’t used to the rather jarring cuts and overall flow. Not to mention I absolutely hated how it seemed like all that damage was undone and there wasn’t any permanent consequences. It was also a little weird how things felt like they were happening for the sake of happening, similar to how the Tokusatsu shows often feel where we get a monster of the week type of situation. But in hindsight, it was a great set up for the second episode where the series really takes off and was most likely shot that way on purpose to force a sense of unease for the viewer. And while that I do feel like certain things were still awkward and weird like them cutting through Yuta and Rikka’s conversation, I can now see that they were artistic choices to push certain scenes. Such as that awkwardly long pan out shot after that one girl accidentally hit the special dog out of Akane’s hand. I remember losing my mind at what the point of that was. Looking at it now, I now understand why it was like that. To which I will address in the next episode’s post.

I also noticed A LOT more foreshadowing and symbolism on this watch. Especially that shot of Yuta and Rikka standing in the fog with Yuta standing mostly in the clear while Rikka was completely fogged over with an obstruction in the foreground separating them. Obviously showing that Yuta is different as he was able to see the Kaiju immediately while Rikka didn’t end up seeing it until the end of the episode. Almost like a representation of how Yuta can see clearly while Rikka can’t see what is beyond the fog. Persona 4 is that you? There were several shots of them being separated by something, similarly to how Yuta and Honoka were constantly separated by something in the foreground or background in Kiznaiver. Trigger out here playing their absolute best with the foreshadowing and symbolism game. There was also a WHOLE BUNCH of foreshadowing in regards to Akane, but I will talk more about it in later posts.

I’m actually excited to revisit this series since it has been a while and after seeing just how much foreshadowing there was in this first episode, I’m eager to see what else I can catch in the other episodes. Not to mention, the release of the movie, Gridman Universe, got me all kinds of excited for this series again.