5 Point Discussions – SSSS.Gridman 1: “Awakening”

by Sage Ashford

A young boy is called upon to save his city by the Hyper Agent Gridman. Now if he can just remember what exactly a Gridman is… 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. Because I don’t think I can get away with only covering shonen when the fall has so many solid series, I decided to take on Studio Trigger’s SSSS.Gridman. This series is an animated revival of the 90’s series Hyper Agent Gridman, with a few slick references to the popular Americanized adaptation, Superhuman Samurai Syber Squad. This revival project started several years back when Studio Trigger did a ONA known as Denkou Choujin Gridman: boys invent great hero.  It was a short that condensed the basic “plot” of Gridman down into five minutes, including his transformations, special weapons, and big bad. Flash forward a few years and now we have a full twelve episode television series, because nostalgia is one of the most powerful forces in the world for millenials worldwide.
Anyways, SSSS.Gridman opens with a young boy named Yuta, who wakes up in his classmate Rikka’s apartment with no memories of anything. The only thing he has is a subtle voice from an ancient piece of Junk computer, a voice called Gridman, calling out to him to tell him he needs to remember who he is.  But since no one else can see Gridman, he spends most of the episode ignoring it and trying to live his life. Rikka’s kind enough to take him to the doctor and walk him home, and his best friend Utsumi takes him to school where we meet his surprisingly normal classmates. Everything seems to be perfectly fine.  Well…

2. Not everything. We’re one episode in and this universe is already screwed. While Rikka is guiding Yuta to the hospital, he sees a kaiju standing stationary in the city a full day in advance, but much like Gridman, he’s the only one who can see it. And since being an amnesiac pointing out giant, skyscraper-sized monsters isn’t exactly conducive to people believing you, he just writes it off as a possible delusion. This definitely won’t come back to haunt the city later.

3. Since our main hero has amnesia, the only things we know about the world are things told to him, meaning anyone can lie or make anything up at their leisure. And on that note, Rikka, the girl guiding him through the first half of the episode, is almost certainly lying to him about the nature of their relationship. She claims the two of them haven’t ever spoken before he lost his memory, but also seems rather hurt that he doesn’t remember anything about the day, which doesn’t connect at all. Now later on in the episode Rikka’s friends at school tease her about how she was seen hanging out with Yuta, which could mean she was telling the truth…or they had a secret relationship. You don’t set a show inside of a high school without high school drama.

4. Once again, a genre-savvy protagonist saves the day. When the city finally starts getting attacked by a kaiju, there’s nothing Yuta, Rikka, or Yuta’s friend Utsumi can do at first. Fortunately, Utsumi was pretty interested in getting Yuta to show him the supposed “Gridman” he mentioned before, and they happen to be in front of the one computer Gridman exists in while the city’s getting stomped on. Realizing it’s time to spring into action, Gridman merges with Yuta’s physical form and they wind up outside in the city, throwing down.

But with Yuta having zero experience in battle, things don’t exactly go well at first. Fortunately, Utsumi turns out to be an Ultraman geek and starts wondering where the kaiju’s weakness is. Doesn’t take long for them to notice the kaiju’s neck glowing like a PS2 boss fight, and Gridman is able to behead the napalm spewing monster for the group’s first ever victory. But naturally, Gridman points out this is only the beginning for them after he goes back into the old Junk computer. Well, at least they survived? All they need now is a team name.

5. In true “tune in next week” fashion, the biggest unexpected surprise comes at the tail end of the episode. After several minutes of having a giant monster shooting napalm everywhere, obliterating everything from the group’s school to half their city’s skyline, the trio awaken the next day and go to school…and find it completely intact. The kids are attending it as if nothing happened, and there’s a strong possibility that only the trio who witnessed Gridman’s battle even remember what happened at all.
This is going to need a bit of explaining…especially since they had news reporters covering the attack. That said, in the American adaptation of the original Gridman, Superhuman Samurai Syber Squad, the battles occurred in an alternate “digital world” and really only affected the main world if the monster was allowed to do too much damage without being stopped. Perhaps it’s something like that?
SSSS.Gridman is available for streaming on Crunchyroll and Funimation.

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