Could the kaiju the Gridman Alliance have been fighting actually be…humans? Remember, if you like this article and 5 Point Discussions, please share it on Facebook or Twitter! It really helps. And if you’ve got any comments or questions, please hit me up @SageShinigami.
1. For me, part of the fun of this new Gridman series is characters in it being somewhat aware of the tropes in the genre they exist in. This episode takes that to a different level, with Utsumi wondering whether or not the monsters they’re fighting could be human. Why not? Yuta transforms into Gridman and he’s human, so why can’t the kaiju be the same? Expectedly, even suggesting this leaves Yuta distraught-if that’s correct, then Yuta’s killed two people already. It’s good the show isn’t just immediately writing this concern off, though it leads to trouble a bit later.
2. And I do mean a bit, as moments after finishing their discussion, Yuta and Utsumi find the school under attack by another giant monster. It’s a trap, as their fellow classmate has the place attacked on purpose to draw them out. It works though, and Samurai Calibur happens to be there to grab both of them and leap off to Rikka’s home (finding Rikka on the way), to get Yuta to combine with Gridman to take the kaiju out. But while Gridman fights off the kaiju fairly easily, everything goes wrong once he talks. Unable to get the idea of killing another human out of his head, he allows the kaiju to inflict far too much damage on him, and Gridman disappears.
With the kaiju surviving, Utsumi and Rikka are forced to confront the idea of Yuta having died in the battle. The episode spends a lot of time on this, showing their fracturing relationship without Yuta and the battle against the kaiju there to keep them together, and the fear of wanting to contact him if they’re only going to learn he’s going to be retconned.
3. Well, if you’re doing an adaptation of a 90s live-action series no one remembers, it’s not like you’re going to win any awards for originality, might as well go full on. Moments after Utsumi disbands the Gridman Alliance, this group of teens known as the Neon Genesis Junior High students walk into Rikka’s restaurant, revealing they’re there to aid Gridman in his battle. Rikka tries to point out how Gridman’s gone and so’s their friend, only for one of them to point out they should call him if they’re really so sure. It sounds like an absurd solution, but it falls under “so absurd it might just work”…and it does.
Gridman and Yuta’s absence winds up being because Samurai Calibur suggested they wait on standby until the kaiju shows up again. Ironically, it’s not until Gridman reappears that the kaiju even has reason to attack, since getting rid of Gridman was his only purpose to begin with.
4. Remember kids, it’s okay to kill a sentient being so long as it isn’t human! Yuta and Gridman combine once more, resulting in the copy kaiju coming back out and attacking him. Only this time there are two big differences: the kaiju explains it isn’t human, and the Neon Genesis high school brats are here to provide back up. In the same way Samurai Calibur can transform into a sword to aid Gridman, each of the others can transform into different aspects to help out. This time, one of them reveals they’re actually a truck with mounted cannons, and it combines with Gridman to give him…giant hands? Well, why not.
With Gridman given his Braun Strowman-esque power-up, Yuta’s ready to give out these hands…leaving he and the copy kaiju to have a showdown of fisticuffs. But being able to duplicate someone’s ability, doesn’t mean you’re better at it, and Gridman exhausts the kaiju’s power, forcing him to turn back into his humanoid form, exhausted.
I don’t have a problem with how this played out, but I do think it’s hilarious Yuta was all ready to take the limiters off and get back to murking kaiju so quickly. It still talks–it’s still capable of emotions, and conversation, you’d think he would’ve been more hesitant?
5. Akane is in the running for my most hated antagonist in anime for the entire year. Everything about her is despicable, like her utter disdain for humans and willingness to take any life for even the most minor of slights. The way she celebrates after thinking she’s killed Gridman is almost entertaining for how trolly it is, but fortunately settles right around infuriating–she stands in the rain proclaiming her accomplishment like a hero having vanquished a threat to the world–only in her case she just wants to continue her reign of terror. Even the way she treats her latest kaiju creation. She goes from rewarding it constantly with food and flirting with it because it’s useful, to tossing food at him once he fails.
It’s frustrating while simultaneously a welcome change to have a villain to feel disdain towards rather than pity, or worse, ambivalence.