- Episodes : 12
- Genre : Action, Sci-Fi, Mecha
- Airing Date : October 7, 2018 – December 23, 2018
- Studios : Trigger
In a suburban part of Tokyo, a lot of strange things are happening. For starters, Yuuta Hibiki, the main character, mysteriously has amnesia, but with the help of his classmates, Shou Utsumi and Rikka Takarada, they do what they can to help him bring back up to pace. However, monsters are attacking the city and inside Junk, an old home brew computer for sale in Rikka’s family story, is a superhero named Gridman. In order to fight the monsters, he needs to borrow Yuuta’s body to appear in the real world. Little do they know, the mastermind behind these monsters happens to be Akane Shinjou, another classmate of theirs.
What We Liked About SSSS.Gridman
For some of you 90’s kids, you may recognize the design of Gridman as Servo in its US adaptation, Superhuman Samurai Syber Squad, which co-starred Matt Lawrence (younger brother of Joey Lawrence, 90’s heartthrob, and most famous as Jack Hunter in Boy Meets World) and Tim Curry (most famous for the Rocky Horror Picture Show). As a matter of fact, the SSSS is a reference to the American adaptation, while Gridman is the original name of the TV show in Japan. So if you’re someone familiar to both franchises, it may be fun to enjoy since the homages are simple. For example, the Inoue Hospital is a mainstay from the original Gridman series, where one of the main character’s parents ran. However, if you have no familiarity to both Gridman and/or Superhuman Samurai Syber Squad certain elements may be difficult to understand.
3. For Kaiju fans
If you’re someone who loves Kaiju, or Japanese style monster movies such as Godzilla, SSSS.Gridman is certainly that anime for you to enjoy. Many of the monsters featured are very elemental like in a traditional Kaiju and much of this anime makes countless reference to the Ultra series. If any of you readers are familiar with Ultraman, then it’s obvious to conclude that Gridman is based on him. As a matter of fact, Tsuburaya, the studio that makes Ultraman, made the original Gridman series nearly 25 years ago!
2. Excellent soundtrack
UNION, the opening theme song, is very energetic and suits the heroic nature of SSSS.Gridman excellently. It talks about facing the unknown and believing in your “nakama,” or friends. It’s very uplifting and whenever you feel down, it’s a great song to put you back on track. Youthful Beautiful, The ending theme has more of a feminine touch to appropriately reflect the female characters featured in the clips and also shares the same messages of looking forward to tomorrow. In the final battles, it even features the opening theme to the original tokusatsu series for original fans to get a kick out of.
1. Hikaru Midorikawa
For those that love Hikaru Midorikawa, who we’ve done a Top 5 Best Roles Of, he happens to play Gridman in this anime. So, why is this such a big deal? If you’ve seen the original tokusatsu series, Midorikawa actually played Gridman in that series as well. Since the anime brings him back after 25 years, it’s nice to see more connection to the source material beyond the Gridman brand name. As Gridman, he still has presents the original charisma and knows how to appeal to its appropriate audience as if he never left the role.
2. Dub does not feature Tim Curry
Since the dub does not feature Tim Curry, who played the villain in the original Superhuman Samurai Syber Squad, the dub is not worth watching. Considering that the Japanese version briefly has Masaya Obi, who played Naoto, Gridman’s original host body, for a cameo voice role as a random character, fans of the original Superhuman Samurai Syber Squad should be given the same treatment by at least bringing back Tim Curry, or Matt Lawrence. If any of these names are not in the dub, then the dub you’re watching is fake!
1. Elements of the ending feel forced
A lot of the reasons to what’s going on in the story such as Yuuta’s amnesia, Akane’s “godhood,” and the Neon Genesis Junior High Students aren’t really explained until the last two episodes. Given the 12-episode format, the pacing is understandable, but it makes certain elements just feel a little forced and anti-climatic. If it was given a 24-episode format, the story and characters could have been fleshed out a bit more. If you haven’t seen Superhuman Samurai Syber Squad, you probably won’t be able to understand how the Neon Genesis Junior High Students can turn into vehicles and weapons, but when the anime ends, it just tells you. We understand some anime viewers enjoy a shorter format, but a 12-episode format doesn’t effectively balance showing vs. telling in stories, and SSSS.Gridman is an unfortunate example of that.
For those that haven’t seen the original Gridman or Superhuman Samurai Syber Squad series, the skies and the ending will also be difficult to interpret. If you have, it’s a very excellent callback to both versions. We’re not saying it’s mandatory that you watch the source material it is based off on, but it can help. On the other hand, we can also give SSSS.Gridman props for telling its own story and introducing a good number of its own distinct qualities for new and old fans to enjoy. So if you love tokusatsu, Godzilla movies, Ultraman, but with a modern digital gimmick, then SSSS.Gridman is the anime for you.