Give me an S!
Give me an S!
Give me an S!
Give me an S!
Okay, so maybe this isn’t the best show to do a cheer for, but SSSS.Gridman has been a huge success early in its run, attracting viewers of both seasonal anime and live-action Japanese action shows. Tokusatsu fans may occasionally wonder why we here at Honey’s Anime don’t cover more of their media. After all, the genre is a staple of the otaku community and has had several successful localizations in the West (Even if it’s now mostly just limited to Power Rangers). And to that we say… well, here’s an article about a tokusatsu anime adaptation. Close enough, right?
SSSS.Gridman plays off the 1993 live-action series Denko Shoujin Gridman and has stuck extremely close to the style and spirit of the tokusatsu classic but mixes it with a heavy mecha anime influence and still somehow manages to take itself in a unique direction. So let’s see what other shows we can find to appeal to our visiting toku-fans.
Similar Anime to SSSS.Gridman
1. Garo: Honoo no Kokuin (Garo: The Animation)
- Episodes: 24
- Aired: Oct. 2014-Mar. 2015
Just like Gridman, Garo was originally a tokusatsu franchise and just like Gridman, it received an anime adaptation that used CG to replicate the movements of a live action actor in a costume. There are some differences in the styles, though. The Garo franchise focuses on armored warriors who fight with swords instead of fisticuffs and this particular anime uses a dark and moody color scheme with a medieval European setting in contrast to Gridman’s saturated palette and fresh, urban Japanese locations.
Does it pull off these things as well as Gridman? Well… sadly no, but if the stylistic differences can get you excited, Garo will still be able to deliver a quality viewing experience.
Garo: The Animation Trailer
2. Captain Earth
- Episodes: 25
- Aired: April 2014 - September 2014
The eponymous Gridman isn’t a mech but his new anime takes some pretty clear inspiration from mecha anime like Captain Earth. This series focuses on a very similar team dynamic and moves at a similarly fast pace with extended transformation sequences complete with lots of flying and posing, just like SSSS.Gridman.
It’s hard to put into words how similar the shows feel (especially without spoiling the coolest moments) but we can guarantee that if the effects and animation in Gridman please your senses, you’re sure to have fun with Captain Earth as well. This isn’t an accidental similarity either, as Gridman’s director Akira Amemiya was an animator on Captain Earth. And while the latter doesn’t have quite as many masterful Obari-esque cuts, his style still shines through.
Captain Earth Preview
3. Uchuu no Kishi Tekkaman Blade (Tekkaman Blade)
- Episodes: 49
- Aired: February 1992 - Februaru 1993
Speaking of Masami Obari, he’s one of, if not the most influential animator in the mecha genre, responsible for creating such important techniques as the Obari-punch, or Obari-sword pose, both of which we’ve seen used in SSSS.Gridman. Yes, as we said before, Gridman is a transforming hero and not a mech, but Obari didn’t only lend his talents to the mecha genre, like the 1992 revival of Tatsunoko’s transforming hero Tekkaman. Actually, this show’s animation was directed by another legendary mecha animator: Ichiro Itano of Macross fame and inventor of the Itano Circus. It’s like if Stallone and Schwarzenegger co-starred in a movie that didn’t have any action in it.
Anyway, the talents of the staff are put to extremely good use in this show, regardless of the lack of pilotable robots. It’s pretty moody for a story in this genre, but it’s still a very strongly executed show, having even earned a Western TV broadcast in 1994, an honour bestowed upon only a few series at the time. Be sure to track this one down for a bit of Japanese, and American, otaku history.
Any Anime Like SSSS.Gridman ?
4. Denkou Choujin Gridman: boys invent great hero (Lightning Superman Gridman: boys invent great hero)
- Episodes: 1
- Aired: May 2015
The Japan Animator Expo is probably the single best thing to happen to anime this decade, not only showcasing the best animation talent in Japan, not only giving us some of the most memorable moments of animation in recent memory, but also leading to the creation many great full-length anime series, including SSSS.Gridman.
The short in question is an extended action sequence starring Gridman, animated in 2D by the hands of Akira Amemiya and his fellow Trigger animator Yusuke Yoshigaki. These two did a lot of work on Gurren Lagann and it’s extremely apparent in this short’s visuals, which also include the previously mentioned Obari-esque flourishes that make Amemiya’s style so impressive. There’s not much to this besides a cool action scene, but if you want more animated Gridman, this is where you’ll want to go.
5. Samurai Flamenco
- Episodes: 22
- Aired: Octubre 2013 - March 2014
Samurai Flamenco is not based on any pre-existing tokusatsu franchise, but it does take some pretty clear influences from the genre. And even though that inspiration may come more from series like Super Sentai rather than Gridman, the anime nonetheless presents the upbeat action focus viewers will be expecting. But then, it starts doing things differently. Things that we’ll just say viewers won’t be expecting at all.
This show takes the tokusatsu genre through a deep look at itself, but we don’t want to spoil anything more about it, so we simply recommend you go marathon this show as soon as possible if you haven’t already.
Samurai Flamenco Preview
6. Tiger and Bunny
- Episodes: 25
- Aired: April 2011 - September 2011
If you’re a visiting tokusatsu fan looking for a good gateway anime that fits your tastes then this is probably the ideal choice for you. It’s a story of two transforming heroes from different eras who need to team up, not because it’s their destiny, but because one’s sponsors are concerned about his dwindling popularity. Yes, this show speculates on how the real-life commercialization of henshin heroes would affect their lives if they too were real.
Classic Gridman fans will appreciate the references to companies like Tsuburaya and Bandai while all viewers will be drawn in by the action and blossoming friendships between the cast. Tiger and Bunny is frequently heralded as a classic by those who have seen it, but it’s almost never brought up by otaku, as though the new guard of viewers may have passed this treasure by. So, we think it’s about time this show gets the love it deserves.
Tiger & Bunny Trailer
It’s pretty hard for superhero media to stand out now that the genre is pretty oversaturated, so it’s good to know that Japan has so many superhero shows that are not only different but also very good. Whether you like manga, anime, tokusatsu or whatever else, you’ll have tons of great heroes to choose from the likes of which could only come from Japan and we’ve been very happy to have showcased a few of them here.
What other anime makes you think of Japanese superheroes like SSSS.Gridman? Be sure to let us know in the comments below and while you’re there, why don’t you let us know what your favourite tokusatsu franchise is? And of course, since SSSS.Gridman is still airing, be sure to stick to Honey’s Anime for more on it and all other anime too.