Posted by SuperMario on 17 October 2018 with categories: Currently Watching:, SSSS.GRIDMAN

Me blogging a Trigger show? Well, I’ll be damned myself but life does take some strange turn. Not that I’m a Trigger naysayer but if I’ll be honest, Trigger shows tend to rub me in a wrong way. The studio is seen as the successor of Gainax for one thing, and the overhyped reactions from anime fandom regarding their shows certainly don’t help. I always find their outputs full of cliche with one-note characters, along with expressive animation. So my point is that after being extremely down with Darling in the FranXX, another original anime that takes inspiration from Power Ranger-style Tokusatsu show didn’t interest me at all. But GRIDMAN caught me completely off guard. The most prominent thing about it so far, and that’s what makes it different from the rest of the pack, is that it’s very offbeat – to the point it’s risk sacrificing the audience’s involvement. For me though, it works in the service of the story and it makes the ride wholly unexpected and rewarding.

It starts with Yuta waking up with an amnesia. It’s a well-worn trope to the bone but here, amusingly every single character treats it like no big deal. This sense of a lucid dream where you can’t tell apart what is dream and true is further added up by many strange events that function almost like a dream: its kaiju monsters standing in the middle of the city, but no one but Yuta sees it or the school is back to normal after the big destruction the day before. What I’m impressed the most so far in GRIDMAN is the commanding direction. Many beats sometimes stay for almost too long, but until much later should we know how these scenes are integral to the narrative. Take the scene happened early in episode 1 where Akane (the blue hair girl) offers Yuta a bread roll that is immediately swept away by the random ball for example. GRIDMAN literally pauses on the scene for few seconds, creating a deadpan affect. Until episode 2 should we learn that the single moment IS the reason for the kaiju outbreak and the disappearance of the girls in second episode. That also explains some weird shot placements to those girls earlier.

Similarly, the dialogues are offbeat as hell, but they all complement to the tone of GRIDMAN. at one point, Yuta’s friend Utsumi says, “the situation hasn’t sunk in yet”, everything happened so far function with the same sentiment. This works in both good and bad ways. On the positive side, the air of mystery is still there and we get a clear sense that everything is more than what it seems. Moreover, GRIDMAN nails it at the deadpan tones that occasionally gives me a chuckle or tow. The appearance of Samurai Calibur for example, or how we eventually learn that he’s the grand soce sword for Gridman is hilarious. On the other hand, I could see why the audience can’t feel personally resonate to it. It’s decided so. But what it lacks in term of realistic dialogue or plot, it makes uo by the strong visual presentation. They communicate more by glances rather than words. By Rikka’s look we can clearly see her affection to Yuta, although the show smartly doesn’t play it up so far. A single image of Akane’s room with piles of trash and glass cupboard of kaiju monsters inform you more than enough about her character. In a sense, the first 2 episodes of GRIDMAN can be seen as an anti-Trigger, it’s understated in tone and storytelling and instead relies on visual to enrich its world and characters. If GRIDMAN can maintains its tone it could very well be the surprise hit of the season.

And did I mention the general plot of GRIDMAN? In an essence, it’s a battle between a mecha Gridman piloted by Yuta and Kaiju monsters created by Akane. As simple as that. The trick here is the unconventional way it tells the story.

2 Responses

  1. Avatar Amagi says:

    I already mentioned it in the chat but some little things are really hinting at upcoming plot parts or twists I can’t really guess yet. See Akane’s house here for example which was missing in episode 1, but is there in the neighbourhood of Rikka’s shophouse in episode 2:

    What’s weird here is that the mains didn’t notice any change, so their post-reset memories probably aren’t as correct as they seem to be. Add that to Yuta’s memory loss and you can be sure the series is up to something.

    • SuperMario SuperMario says:

      Damn it, I didn’t catch that at all. Thanks Amagi. If that is the case that akane’s house is literally next door (girl’s next door?), it explains why Yuta passed out in front of Rikka’s house.

      I watched the first episode again yesterday and I’m totally impressed of how many scenes become much clearer/ make a whole lot sense when we have the knowledge of the second episode.

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