Yuri Quickie: SSSS.Gridman

When it comes to mainstream sweetheart anime, specifically “sweethearts”, I rarely give in to the hype and join the party. It didn’t happen with C.C. (Code GEASS), Hestia (DanMachi) or 002 (FranXX). If spinoffs like Sword Oratoria or Gun Gale Online did not exist I would not have cared. Attack on Titan was one of the few exceptions for an obvious reason. Then something happened when the poster girls for the following anime popped up. Their show peeked my interest but I was not fully convinced. Then a super dood of mine jumped in and her reports were encouraging up until the end. Finally another super dood binge watched the show and was left with a solid impression. That did it. I had to see for myself and draw my own conclusion. I initially labeled the show as a “dud” on Twitter without having seen it. Now that I have I will give the interested a quick rundown of what to expect and then go over the main attraction.

SSSS Gridman.jpg

Plot Summary: Yuta Hibiki awakens with amnesia and the ability see things that others cannot. He first encounters a Gridman in the reflection of his friend Rikka Takarada’s computer and it tells him to “Remember his calling,” but Yuta doesn’t understand what this means. Later, in the distance, he sees an extremely large monster but it doesn’t move. It’s only when Yuta gets to school that the two sightings make sense: a monster attacks and the hero Yuta saw in the computer screen pulls him within the computer and transforms Yuta into a giant hero named Gridman.

Gridman xs Kaiju.jpg

Gridman’s first battle.

Let us briefly go over what the show entails. On the surface it is a Tokusatsu homage show with many references to Ultraman, Godzilla and other series in the kaiju subgenre. Reminds me of Action Heroine Cheer Fruits paying tribute to Super Sentai/Power Rangers and its ilk. Gridman starts off formulaic in the first half as the main story progresses:

  • The heroes are trying to figure what is going on and live their daily lives in between.
  • The villain creates a kaiju to attack the city.
  • The heroes manage to save the day in the nick of time.
  • Rinse and repeat till episode 6.

The tokusatsu part of the show is solid. It neither blew me away nor bored me. The fights were cool and some of them had me all giddy but I personally enjoyed others more like Rinne no Lagrange. I have a feeling longtime fans of the genre will appreciate the show more. I will say it was interesting seeing the mystery of what was really going unfold. Its presentation is pretty good, its soundtrack has some nice tunes here and there. One theme that comes to mind I will talk about in a bit. The OP’s good and the ED is really good.


That is all I have to say about the Tokusatsu stuff. Now it is time to talk about the REAL main plot and the main protagonists. Yes. Yuta Hibiki is not the main character. The following two ladies are not only the main reason (I am 99% certain) most people watched the show but I am not exaggerating or being biased when I say they are the main characters.

ssss gridman rikka x akane 3

WARNING! Spoilers coming up, specifically the red text.

Watching Gridman felt similar to watching Kannazuki no Miko and to an extent Ga-Rei Zero where the main focus was the relationship between two girls. Everything and everyone in between were as important as the viewer wanted them to be (be it of great importance or not at all). I will say there were two side-characters I liked, HAAS and Rikka’s Mom…and maybe the female member of the Neon Genesis Junior High Students (who I am sure to not be the only one reminded of the Elite 4 from Kill La Kill by them).

SSSS Gridman Rikka Bikini 4.jpg

Rikka.

Anyway on to Rikka and Akane. Rikka, or as I dubbed her the Thigh Princess (who surprisingly did not get as many sexy angle shots of her Aphrodite blessed thighs as I thought she would) is a chill, aloof beauty and a friend of the people though she prefers not showing it very much. She cared about her friends, even other classmates, very much and despite not being a fighter (Sadly she did not hospitalize anyone with a roundhouse kick) she contributed a lot to the Gridman Alliance despite her not believing it to be so. She has personal conflicts from time to time but that is because she is not very sociable despite already having friends. Something I can relate to.

ssss gridman akane bikini

Akane.

The second protagonist/antagonist is Akane, kaiju fangirl and creator of most of the kaiju the Gridman Alliance faced. One of the sexiest villains of 2018 Akane has a cute and kind exterior but in actuality has a twisted mind and heart. Funny thing is she is one of the cutest “psychos” I have seen. First example on the show: A girl accidentally hit a volleyball on one of her sandwiches. Moment of silence before she was like “It’s cool” but in episode 2 she was like “The girl ruined one of my sandwiches. She had to die, yes.” Even when she laughs maniacally it is not because she is out of her mind but because to her it felt like winning a hard fought campaign against a worthy opponent. Socially awkward to the extreme. Not exactly a sociopath. Also she knows how to toy with people. Keep this in mind.

The story follows their developments:

  • Rikka trying to understand her role in life and what it is she wants to do or can do in the Gridman Alliance.
  • The layers of Akane’s madness slowly peeled away revealing what kind of person she is.

Then there are their few but effective interactions.

Rikka and Akane's relationship.jpg

It’s complicated.

The spoilers are coming up so for I will sum up Rikka X Akane with the following:

Thing is, Rikka cares about her buddies but there is one she cares about and wants to talk to the most, Akane. When it comes to Rikka Akane shows the strongest reactions compared to other people be it her allies or enemies. Rikka is the one who has the strongest influence on her throughout the show. However, the curious must be patient. Readers who thought Bloom Into You was slow…yeah. Patience and awareness are required. Solid mecha show with an interesting main duo.

Spoiler time.

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rikka and akane's last conversation

Akane was not only the creator of the kaiju but the world Rikka and friends lived in. It was her world to do as she saw fit when the mastermind Alexis * Kerib appeared and granted her that power. He took advantage of her dark thoughts to create a perfect world of her own where she had kaiju destroy and rebuild until it was the way she wanted. If there was someone or something that annoyed her she would mold a kaiju and then Alexis gave it life to dispose of the nuisance. For a while Akane thought little of her crimes but she did show a small bit of concern for Rikka whenever she was in the way of a kaiju attack. Later it was revealed the people of the perfect world were also created by Akane’s kaiju, including Rikka. However, as is often the case in sci-fi storylines about “creators and creations” Akane realized she could not control everyone to love her unconditionally. Even Rikka, who she thought only cared about her because she was “programmed” to, did it voluntarily, much to her surprise. In spite of her crimes Rikka hoped to reason with Akane, which became easier when she learned it was Alexis pulling the strings. Akane thought it was too late for her but thanks to the efforts of the Gridman Alliance they got through to her. Akane realized there was no place for her in this perfect world and was about to leave. Rikka had one last conversation with her, encouraging her to make a great impression in the “other world”. She also had one last request, to be together with Akane forever. While it seemed impossible both had a feeling deep down it might happen one day.

Here is my head-canon. If the very last scene is an indication that everything that happened was a dream (or happened in a dream world) she had (Just guessing here)…then there is a “Rikka” in the “other world” Akane wants to be with. The experiences in the dream world gave her the courage to leave her room and approach the other Rikka.

Update: Ivn brought up a good theory. What if the ED was secretly the epilogue the entire time and Akane hooked up with the “other world” Rikka as shown during said ED? If the writers want to go all “open for interpretation” with the finale then until proven otherwise we can go with lvn’s theory.

I await manga prologues and extras to learn more.

About OG-Man

Yuri and Slice of Life are my anime passion.
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34 Responses to Yuri Quickie: SSSS.Gridman

  1. LuzeriP says:

    I’m glad I jumped to this one because I enjoyed it. I was afraid that Akane x Rikka was just a bait like many other mainstream shows I’ve watched. I never let my guard down almost the entire episodes. Don’t wanna get burned. And I think just like me, the writers of this show didn’t care that much about Yuta as a person. They cared for Yuta as a Gridman and the action scenes were really good. I too liked the Elite 4 of Gridman. Fyi, the female member was voiced by Aoi Yuuki.

    Now back to Akane x Rikka. They had a few moments but we can see Rikka cares about Akane a lot. She mostly spent her day thinking about Akane. The yuri was there. About the ending, I’m so confused about this btw, in one episode where they were all dreaming Akane was asking that “wouldn’t you rather just dream forever?” so my thought is Akane who is an introvert kaiju’s fan, created a fanfiction about a perfect world where she can be in it. The world is solely what she wants to be and kills everything she doesn’t like. The Alliance of Gridman is actually her friends trying to help her face the real world. Maybe one of her real-world friends is Rikka. I don’t know. I don’t like how the show ended, honestly. Although I don’t really care that much. Right now I’m waiting for Akane x Rikka doujins.

    Liked by 3 people

    • OG-Man says:

      Thanks for helping out with the reports. You and a certain other cutie coerced me into giving it a go.

      Ohoho. I didn’t recognize her voice this time. Silly me.

      Indubitably.

      The ending was a bit confusing but not incomprehensible. I would have preferred a post-epilogue scene of Akane and the Rikka of her world meeting similar to Kannazuki no Miko. For now I await the extra manga content like the prologue and other stuff.

      Liked by 2 people

      • LuzeriP says:

        Yes, give me something like Kannazuki no Miko and I’d be happy. Vague endings are not really my thing, but that’s not a reason to dislike the show. Overall I did enjoy it. Extra manga would be nice.

        Liked by 3 people

    • OG-Man says:

      lvn brought up a great theory. What if the ED was secretly the epilogue the entire time? With the finale being all “open to interpretation” let’s go with that unless proven otherwise by the extra content later on.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Ivn says:

      I think they rushed the ending maybe cause they ran out of time/episode or they really wanted to make an Akane x Rikka ending but in the end left it open to interpretation because some people wouldn’t be OK with that kind of finale so they went with the SAFE ending and didn’t wrap it up. Knowing there was a lot of hints about these two caring for each other very deeply.

      We can just hope the BD’s have one more episode/extra content or the story is expanded in some other way,(Mangas, drama CD’s, etc). And yeah I’m also waiting for those doujins.

      Liked by 3 people

    • Bartyblogs2018 says:

      Funny you should mention Borr actually. Aoi Yuuki said they were actually a boy. Their design is ridiculously androgynous (oh the envy I harbor) so I wouldn’t blame you for making that mistake because I did too.

      The ending is actually implying that Akane IS Rikka in the real world (given their similar physical appearance), and the Rikka in the Cyber World exists as the idealized version of herself (a reflection of the self-love that always existed deep within her but she felt was unable to obtain because it was merely “programmed” to be there and Alexis convinced her that it didn’t exist). That doesn’t rule out the possibility that there IS a Real World Rikka (who is the real Akane’s best friend/love interest/ex).

      The director of the ED sequence, Nakamura Mayumi, wrote a prequel doujin about their relationship. It’ll probably give us the answers we’re looking for, provided someone was able to retrieve a copy before it sold out so they could upload scans for it.

      Liked by 3 people

      • Ivn says:

        I like this theory, however I don’t think Rikka is the real person that was dreaming. It doesn’t makes as much sense to me at least, if I were to dream of myself I would do it like Akane, being myself and still be loved by everyone like Akane, instead of Rikka who had more flaws but still was loved.

        I think the series tries to explain this and, while Akane is dreaming of a perfect world she know everything is a dream and she will have to wake up eventually. My thoughts are that she starts to alienate herself from Rikka and the others and starts killing/recreating the world once she realizes this, and Alexis is the representation of her not wanting to wake up and keeping this perfect world as much as she can, even if it means not waking up, while Gridman and the alliance is the representation of her accepting herself and, instead of wanting to stay forever in a dream, to start accepting herself and try to make all this possible in the real world, knowing not everything is going to be perfect.

        Using your theory this would mean that the 3 alliance characters are some part of Akane herself or something she tries to embrace, Rikka being self love, Utsumi the hobbies/things she likes or parts of her that most of society tend to see as a bad thing (her Otaku side?), and Yuuki/Gridman, being the courage to accept reality, to live and fight for her ideals? (I really can’t tell what Yuuki was).

        I don’t think the appearance of the real world character is something important. This is because live-action characters tend to be a little different from their respective anime version. It may be that she’s actually the seiyuu voicing Akane (Ueda Reina) which would make sense.

        Whatever the real story is everything is just interpretation until the creators explain everything, which I don’t think will happen soon.

        Liked by 3 people

      • Ivn says:

        I update my theory if the alliance is a representation of Akane in some way it would be:

        Rikka being her feeling and sexual preferences.
        Utsumi being her otaku side and wanting to be accepted.
        Yuuki actually being herself and wanting to accept herself, having the courage to live the way she is.

        For me this would also explain the dream inside a dream sequence whhere Utsumi bonds with Akane.
        Rikka keeping her relation with her.
        And Yuuki loving Akane.

        For me this would also explain why Yuuki was dreaming and wakes up at the end almost at the same time that the real person does. Which would mean she accepted herself and wakes up to embrace reality. If we think about it this would also explain why Yuuki is relevant to the story just when the anime starts up (Once Akane perfect world starts to crumble because she realizes she’s dreaming and would have to wake up). Making Akane herself the villain (wanting to lie to herself neve doing something to mend her life) and at the same time the hero (Taking the reins of her life).

        I thought that this was the case however I forgot at some point this theory, maybe because the ending left me so confused.

        With this I will stop now from posting theories and will just wait to see if this is clarified in some way.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. GurrenPrime says:

    One thing I’d like to mention: the Neon Genesis Junior High group doesn’t have a girl. Borr, the feminine looking one voiced by Aoi Yuuki was confirmed to be a boy by Yuuki herself.
    But yeah, I definitely agree that Rikka and Akane deserve the title of the show’s 2 main characters. They easily had the most complex personalities, motivations and character arcs, as well as the best chemistry.
    As for the spoiler stuff: I don’t think the world was supposed to be a dream. The original Gridman (which I haven’t actually watched, just heard about) had more of a Tron setting, with a computer world that had sentient programs, and it seems like SSSS was implying that the entire series took place in a computer world that Akane created for herself. There could still be a “real world” Rikka for Akane to hook up with though.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Mauron says:

    Those ending credit animations were quite nice too.

    The dream sequence later in that series showed a lot about how Akane felt about the Gridman Alliance members. With Utsumi, she just wanted to geek out about kaiju. With Yuta, she took over Rikka’s role (I’m sure people who ship them use this as a reason to make Yuta into a harem lead). With Rikka, she invited her home and mentioned her parents weren’t there.

    For me, Akane was not only the undisputed sexiest character of the season, but also one of those stand out sexy characters that will stick in my mind for her sexiness. She was good at hitting all the right notes for me.

    Liked by 3 people

    • OG-Man says:

      Indubitably. Hence why I said the ED was great.

      Yup. I didn’t panic because I knew she was toying with Yuta over how much he wanted the holy thighs or something like that. Too easy to get riled up over. He was like the Souma Ogami of the show but not as charismatic or manly.

      She has the best traits of Mash Kyrielight (Fate/GO) and Hamakaze (KanColle) all rolled up in one Aphrodite tier body.

      Liked by 3 people

      • Mauron says:

        Ah, of course. The OP was quite catchy, and got stuck in my head a few times, so I started to think of the ED music, but drew a blank. The visuals were may more memorable.

        Akane definitely knew how to toy with people. Yuta, Anti, and some viewers (I don’t know who >_>) were powerless against her.

        Like

    • OG-Man says:

      Speaking of the ED, lvn mentioned a theory of it secretly being the epilogue. Let’s go with that until proven otherwise. You writers want “open to interpretation”? BAM!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Ivn says:

    I was wondering if you would review this.

    This show was good but I felt ending was a little rushed , or that something was missing.

    My interpretation of the story and ending in general was almost the same.
    [spoiler]That everyone was a representation of someone in the real world and Akane was dreaming of the them and the relationships she wanted to have with each one. Also that she wanted a perfect world where she wouldn’t be judged for her hobbies, sexual orientation, etc and instead of being timid/introverted? She would be loved by everyone, which I think was spot on and something that has happened to a lot of us.

    And once she wakes up she realizes that for this to change she would have to do something and do her best to attain those relationships with those people in the real world. I think the ED is part of the series finale and when we see Rikka x Akane that’s actually the real world, and the last part being dream world Rikka[/spoiler] .

    I was hoping for the ending to wrap up somewhat like this instead of going the safe route and leaving it open to speculation.

    Also I think the Akane x Rikka pair could have been developed a little bit more, sometimes it felt that Gridman was more important, for me at least Akane was more interesting.

    ‘m hoping Trigger releases an extra chapter or something where they explore this and maybe we get to see Rikka X Akane in some kind of way

    Liked by 3 people

    • Ivn says:

      PFFF. Sorry about the wrong spoiler TAG and the horrible grammar, I was in a rush. I thought I could edit the message after posting.I was wrong xD.

      Liked by 2 people

    • OG-Man says:

      Updated the epilogue discussion with your theory. Very well said dood. Unless proven otherwise the ED was secretly the epilogue all this time.

      Liked by 3 people

      • Ivn says:

        It’s nice to see more people embracing my theory, since the ending was so confusing it left me kind of sad.

        After reading some of the theories here I have pieced parts of the anime in a way that would make more sense to me (My reply to Bartyblogs2018).

        Don’t get me wrong I still I think the ED is part of Akanes life after the finale, not because of the ED being the epilogue but because the dream world before Alexis is what Akane wants in real life and in some way or another she attains it once she embraces reality.

        While my theory may not be accurate, for me at least this would explain lots of things and give more meaning to the series. Whatever everyone else choose to believe is up to them..

        Liked by 2 people

  5. Indeed, I was hesitant to watch the show myself, seeing the first episode, and thinking it “cool”, but not much more…And then, as the show ended, a person who I know has somewhat different opinions from me commented on the show “pushing Rikka and Akane together way too much” or somesuch, and my interest was piqued. Currently watched up to episode 6, so I’ll leave the spoiler section be for a moment, and come back when I manage to finish the show, maybe/hopefully some time this week…

    Liked by 2 people

    • OG-Man says:

      Yes. Come back once finished and share your thoughts then.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Mauron says:

      I always like it when the non-fans can’t just pretend the yuri doesn’t exist, and have to struggle to write it off as unimportant.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Now that I finally managed to find the time to watch the last episodes and no longer need to beware spoilers, a few thoughts:

      That ending was both more confusing, and more thought-provoking that I had anticipated. I can definitely see the theories presented here in the comments and agree with them, like that there might be a real-life Rikka out there for real-life Akane to get close to, or that the ED is an epilogue of sorts..indeed, sounds good to me.

      And I really enjoyed the show as a whole. The animation was great throughout, as well as the direction, and especially towards the end I could no longer guess what the next plot-twist was gonna be, which is an excellent thing to happen in my book. I can often guess stuff like that if it’s too obvious, so it’s nice to be surprised once in a while.

      And Rikka x Akane is certainly a great ship, and one to remember. (And hopefully indeed see some more about in extra material.)

      Liked by 2 people

  6. Bartyblogs2018 says:

    Ahhhh I’m SO glad you got around to this show. This is probably my favorite Trigger/toku anime (though I haven’t seen that many of the latter) to date. Even with no familiarity with the original Gridman the Hyper Agent/Ultra Series, I had no problem getting into pretty much every aspect of it.

    Akane and Rikka’s storyline was so deftly built up and powerful, and Akane herself was the most relatable, empowering, and soul-crushing antagonist I’ve seen in a very long time. I haven’t stopped thinking about this show since it ended. They are the only couple I’m obsessing over right now, and I’ll never get over that ending.

    I love the series’ message about believing in the power of the human spirit to do anything, even destroy the illusion of a fake universe that existed only as an escape from the trials and loneliness of the real world.

    Really great writeup even if it was just a Quickie. You definitely did the series justice IMO.

    Liked by 3 people

    • OG-Man says:

      Good to hear you enjoyed the show and it fulfilled your tokusatsu genre needs.

      The main message I did get for sure.

      Akane is one of the sexiest and most interesting villains of 2018 for sure.

      The yuri was the most important part but like other Quickies I made sure to briefly explain what to expect from the show.

      Liked by 3 people

  7. ineedyuri says:

    Akane might be my favourite villain of all time.
    You really start to understand that she’s just a depressed girl just trying to run away to her happy place that’s just being threatened.

    They may not be gay, but that ending sure is.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Ivn says:

    I’ve read a lot of interesting theories and embraced some of the ideas that would make a lot more of of sense now. In the end we all can agree on something.

    AKANE IS FREAKING GORGEOUS!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Odusseus says:

    I’ve watch the show following your advice. I find it quite enjoyabe without be exceptionnal. It purpose, althought confusing, is the most interessting part in my opinion I think the the storyteling contains some flaws, but in the same same it develops an enjoying subtext, like the famous Rikka- Akane. Many people would say that we are luring, they don’t understant the power of yuri. You all explain the principal facts, I agree with you. We can’t say that we have many proofs in order to demonstrate the reality of this ship, but the story hides some appealing hints. For instance, in the ep 9, when Rikka enters in the infirmary, we can see a LGBT poster. It’s not a big proof, but it certainly desserves our theories, even modestly.

    Liked by 3 people

  10. Sounds like Trigger’s own Hibike Euphonium. I never watched the anime, only like it for the girls and lewd/yuri fanarts.

    Like

  11. yurimylove says:

    4 weeks in, I finally managed to (slow-)”marathon” one series. Hmm, does it still count as marathon if it took 4 weeks? Anyway, I’m now ready to tackle winter season with a vengeance. I think I’ll start with Manaria friends…

    Liked by 1 person

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