SSSS.Gridman and the Lack of Consequences

I voiced my complaints I would drop Gridman back in my first episode impressions if it didn’t have any consequences. That’s the problem – it clearly has some consequences, but not enough to make the show stand on its own. That’s why I sometimes end up venting about Gridman in Scott’s comment section.

One of the main problems attached to this is that it’s started (as of episode 3) to become isolated from technology in certain ways, possibly deliberately as a throwback to the days without modern computers. This is both a pro and a con, as it means while Sho and Rikka are in possession of much more modern tech, they don’t remember to use it for the sake of ~mood~ and ~conflict~, instead relying on a 70s computer Sho has termed “Junk” (an explicit acknowledgement of it being outdated). Basically, if they’re teenagers with smartphones, they should probably have grown up with more computer savviness and should act that way.

Additionally, this throwback would be nice if it were either set in the 70s or even the 90s (and scrapped having smartphones) or aiming at nostalgia for those who were children in the time period the tokusatsu Gridman was airing, but it doesn’t work out in either of those ways. Trying to marry the feeling of isolation, more typical to one’s adolescence, to the tokusatsu fights of one’s childhood makes a show feel uneven, especially for someone who didn’t experience the original Superhuman Samurai Syber Squad (urk, that spelling…!).

“Why would it make it feel uneven? Certainly, the execution is what makes it work, right?” you ask.

Tokusatsu, like any other storytelling genre, works on suspension of disbelief, which is part of the “execution is key” argument. What I was referring to when I said “campy” in the first impressions is the sort of tokusatsu normally sold to kids, the kind with clearly evil villains and destruction of cities, only to be restored the next day without explanation. Gridman has an instance of that in its first 2 episodes, but brings back the characters in episode 3, which may indicate it’s going for the slower pace of its predecessors. This makes me worry if it’s got 12 episodes…because it’s trying to take its sweet time, which it clearly hasn’t got. Tokusatsu shows normally have more than 12 episodes to develop their characters and world, so getting half that amount may be a serious problem going forward.

On the other half of the campy scale, you have “serious” stuff. Evangelion is probably the most prolific example I can think of in that vein (it’s not tokusatsu but it’s close). What makes a show fall into that category is consequences, which help to buy into the tone the show is going for. Taking the example from the first impressions post, people talk casually about Yuta’s amnesia but don’t act upon it, which thus breaks suspension of disbelief and thus doesn’t work as a proper consequence. So even though this show is trying to channel Evangelion in regards to how isolated it feels, it’s not quite hitting its mark yet because the consequences don’t match. (I’m not saying “Gridman should not strive to be a combo of genres or tones” – many of my favourite shows are just that, but they manage to hit their beats without compromising the story’s tone or credibility. Gridman is currently kind of failing at the latter part.)

So why do I continue watching, despite my misgivings? Well, aside from what I said at the beginning, it introduced 3 new characters to the Gridman Alliance as of episode 3. I want to see what they bring to the table. I also want to see if any of the characters are able to pull their own narrative weight, as Yuta has his amnesia, Rikka has a need to justify her position in the Gridman Alliance beyond “I’m not that stupid with computers” and the rest have character underdevelopment (Sho may have interesting ideas, such as the “what if we’ve been fighting humans all this time?” line, but he’s little more than that – he does have “I’m not great at computers” to justify why he doesn’t handle Junk though). Plus, it’s still early days yet – there could still be better writing later on.

Even after all that, there’s still the robot vs. kaiju fights that will keep me coming back, if nothing else…

Sidebar: Some of the talk around this show is about Rikka and the amount of fanart of her, but I’ve seen surprisingly little about that. Then again, it’s not like I really bother with that stuff anyway…after all, there are enough fictional boys in the metaphorical sea to occupy my time instead. Like the black-haired bishonen that was introduced in episode 3, alongside Borr and tractor guy…but until he’s introduced properly, Samurai Calibur is best boi. Fite me.


…my ranting is over for now, so is anyone, aside from Prattle, taking issue with SSSS.Gridman? Or is there a viewpoint that will help me to appreciate the show better?

11 thoughts on “SSSS.Gridman and the Lack of Consequences

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  1. I love Gridman for the most part because the dissonance between the cheesiness and melancholy nature is… appealing to me, in some way? it’s weird, because I know something is a little tonally “off,” but I almost like the way that fits in with the ~mystery~ of it all. I never really thought about it until I read your post…maybe I need to write about this, too, lol

    Anyways. Really what I came into the comments section for was to say that you’re right, this show would be better set in the 70s or something. It would be cool to have more anime “period pieces” like that, it seems that’s kind of rare because I feel like there’s waaaaay more anime set in the future than in the past. But yeah, I do think that this would make more sense if it took place in another decade. I like the series a lot, but I think the “modernization” aspect isn’t as strong as it could be. I think most fantasy/sci-fi/etc stories work a little better when you take smartphones out of the equation, tbh

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I beg to differ on how many anime are set in the past (you’re probably underestimating the amount of anime involving the Shinsengumi or otherwise set in the samurai era), but I like some shows /because/ they’re period pieces of their time (or in the case of Saiyuki Reload + Reload Blast, evoke the image of the 90s from which it originates), so I do share your sentiment on that.

      Arguably, it depends on the fantasy or scifi piece as to whether removing smartphones would work. There are some mahou shoujo works where the “phone” is the transformation device, thereby necessitating the use of regular smartphones to hide the magical girl’s identity…but I digress.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh yeah, I should have specified that I wasn’t counting the samurai stuff, haha. And that’s true, some works incorporate the technology really well, but it is true that I don’t think Gridman is one of ‘em

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m glad i’m not the only one who’s a bit turned off by this show. It looks great, and is an awesome throwback, but the story and characters feel so poorly handled, I honestly find myself bored by each new episode. Especially when we have other shows this season that are doing amazing work with characters and story.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I dropped this at episode 2. Episode 1 didn’t do a great deal for me and I found the style kind of off putting (then again, I am not a fan of Trigger at the best of times) and once I saw how episode 2 dealt with the fallout of episode 1 I kind of just shelved this one. Maybe I’ll end up binging it at the end of the season, but honestly I’ll probably just pass.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I completely agree. The show’s Gridman sequence always clashes with the rest of the show’s melancholic mood. I thought I just didn’t get it because I’m neither a mecha fan nor a fan of the original, but it seems to not be the case. Also the characters feel a bit static, like there are bits missing. Rikka is the only character I like so far, because she’s the only one that seems to change.
    That said though, it is the most interesting show I’ve watched this season, so I’ll stick with it, cos I feel it’s gearing up for something big 🤔

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m not much of a mecha fan either, which I chalk down to Star Driver being my entry point into the genre. I was actually thinking of addressing both that and my issues with SSSS.Gridman in one post, but then the post got out of hand and I was left with what you’ve read after some salvaging.

      “…the characters feel a bit static, like there are bits missing.” – I seem to remember either Prattle or a Reddit user said something similar…hmm. It makes sense for Yuta, but not anyone else.

      Like

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