Studio Trigger took a risk this year with SSSS.Gridman, a series based on a niche live-action series from the 90s. With the announcement and even a trailer, many were skeptical of the show being worth watching and others didn’t even pay attention at all. Luckily the show found a way to get people to notice and become one of the best series of the entire year.
Yuta Hibiki is a boy with amnesia who wakes up in a town where cloud shaped beasts are seen off in the distance. When giant monsters attack and threaten his friends, he has no choice but to combine with a mysterious computer program and become the Hyper Agent Gridman.
It is surprising how refreshing Studio Trigger was able to be with this series. Despite the fact the main theme present of “Monster of the Week” has been known to become very repetitive and boring in other shows, here it finds ways to stay entertaining. This is due to proper presentation by making sure characters investigate the mysteries of the plot which helps to establish the stakes before the giant monster combat later in the episode. Even when the monsters shows up early, the series manages to make sure the episode is fun. This could have blown up in the studio’s face but instead they managed to succeed on a constant basis.
SSSS.Gridman also features a cast of interesting characters, who address tropes but employ methods to make them seem less cookie cutter. One of the most important methods is through having the characters behave as if they seem real. Questions about the bizarre nature of the world are brought up and investigated instead of ignoring them and angering the audience. Also, the series features Akane Shinjo, one of the most adorable killer villains in recent memory.
Much like other series from Studio Trigger, this shows pays a lot of attention to colors in the artwork to help tell the story. Moments which are supposed to be energetic and victorious feature bright and vibrant colors. Scenes such as Akane’s room are harsh with reds and oranges to illustrate a feeling of discomfort. A lot of great detail went into the color work and it shows.
The show also makes sure to blend CGI and the character animation in a way which is does not diminish from the viewing experience. This is a very hard feat to pull of as usually this blending only results in moments which reduce the quality of the series. Instead, here the show finds a way to mix the process almost seamlessly.
The music for this series is very moving and great to hear time after time. The opening “Union” by OxT is highly addictive and everyone should go grab it on iTunes immediately. The ending song, “Youthful Beautiful” by Maaya Uchida is the standard fare of a show which is featured in an high school (featuring a bubbling sound and a joyful tone) but is still just as entertaining.
A shout out as well to the entire series for the use of the live action original opening in the final episode. It’s a treat for the fans of the original but it’s also just great song.
SSSS.Gridman turned out to be one of the most fun anime series of the years. It was a great series for not only everyone who enjoys shows featuring giant monsters and robots but also anyone who just likes anime which is entertaining. If you were hesitant to check out this series, you owe it to yourself to watch a few episodes and enjoy one of the best surprises of 2018. Access Flash!