Gridman is Better the Second Time Around

Past Aria would be shaking her head if she saw this title…

Gridman didn’t particularly pick up steam for me until episode 9 the first time. Initially it was a lack of consequences, but I admit the apathy mostly stemmed from the fact I care diddly-squat about direction unless it is constructed in a way that looks like sakuga…or I rewatch it to pay more attention to such things.

Well, hindsight is 20/20, as they say. Let me explain why Gridman is better upon subsequent watch:

1) You pay more attention to certain things as they happen.

This is particularly notable with Akane and how she is framed in relation to others. In episode 2 in a flashback of when she loses her Special Dog, you only see the hand that held said Dog, thus creating the idea she’s not significant, even though you know at this stage in time she’s wiped out Tonkawa, Toiko etc.

Not focussing on the plot and knowing the end means you can see the seeds of the end in the beginning, such as how the mid-season plot twist is foreshadowed by how the monsters don’t have innards – just electrical lines on black – and how Yuta doesn’t talk from Junk once Samurai Calibur has optimised the bulky computer. (There’s another example later on in this post as well.)

In a similar way, apparently Anosillus the 2nd (the green kaiju girl) appears in shots before she’s even introduced…although I haven’t gotten far enough into a second viewing to spot her yet.

2) Why things happen the way they do becomes more of an “a-ha!” moment.

If you’ve listened to any Gridman voice dramas, they sometimes change perspectives on certain moments or add in little details such as having Rikka and her mother interact at the cultural festival. Knowing the content of said dramas, as provided by barnnn, means you can apply point 1 over a bigger span of the Gridman canon.

Similarly, Easter eggs such as Transformers Shattered Glass references become easier to spot.

3) Musical cues become more badass.

I have the odd habit of watching shows on mute most of the time.

Sidebar: That habit of not watching anime with the volume on, except when I’m testing them out or when the plot is reliant on a song or few, is still something I need to explain the appeal of one day or another, but not now.

To tell the truth, you don’t know the appeal of Gridman’s music until the animation and the audio come together – it’s actually kind of magical to hear the opening song Union come over the speakers as Gridman kicks the first kaiju’s butt, but…I obviously didn’t listen to it, so the impact was lessened. Plus, Union is about escaping the tedium of everyday life, so it makes sense to play it when the barrier of “normal” comes crashing down.

Similarly, it enhances the horror of Arcadia being hunted down and eventually being reduced from 4 to 1 in episode 4…but it does remind me, what happened to Arcadia after that kaiju was defeated? That, there, is what I mean by “lack of consequences”.

Sidebar 2: What is the name of the song Rikka hums while serving the Neon Geness High students in episode 4 though? Is that from OG Gridman?

4) Getting to see the characters all over again, just as you remember – or might not remember – them.

I honestly didn’t expect my anime club to screen entire series until they actually started doing it. Y’see, they normally stick to episode 1s and have done so for the past 2 years, which leaves a lot of incomplete series on my list. However, come episode 2 on the 14th of March and Samurai Calibur was back, proving they had changed up the screenings for good.

Now, Gridman was a fall 2018 show, meaning everything was still pretty fresh in my mind, but it’s the last hurdle in the week before watching Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukushii (a new show for me, although it aired in 2014)…so it’s forgivable that I have to revisit the good and the bad of the first runthrough of Gridman to get there.

That means getting hyped for Samurai Calibur being stuck by his own sword again (LOL)…and being disappointed by how darned lazy (but still kinda hot) Vit is, even though he’s Gridman’s fighter jet…extension…person (?)

Yeah…Gridman is complicated, no matter whether it’s your first or subsequent viewing. Don’t think about it too hard.

So, do you have any fond memories of rewatches, if not SSSS.Gridman itself? No spoilers if you discuss a non-Gridman show, though!

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