When it was first announced, many didn’t give much thought to SSSS.Gridman. An anime serving as a sequel to live-action Tokusatsu (special effects show) series from the 90s? Why would anyone want to watch it except in an ironic fashion? Turns out, a lot out people would as it became one of the best shows of 2018 by having a lot to offer the viewer.
Yuta Hibiki can’t remember who he is, and now he’s seeing and hearing things that others don’t! A voice from an old computer tells him to remember his calling, and he sees a massive, unmoving creature in the distance. Nothing’s making sense—until the behemoth springs to life! Suddenly, Yuta is pulled into the digital world, reappearing in the real one as the colossal hero—Gridman!
SSSS. Gridman manages to achieve much on so many different levels. It succeeds as a level letter to the Tokusatsu genre, showcasing the story of a hero rising to defeat the monster of the day. It works as a slice of life story with mecha and an air of mystery to it all. It even pays homage and respect to the original series, taking the time to make nods to the American Adaptation, Superhuman Samurai Syber Squad (hence the SSSS at the beginning of the title as a homage). Even if you don’t have knowledge of the previous series or Tokusatsu, SSSS.Gridman serves as a perfect introduction to the genre.
The show isn’t simply a punch, kick, and explosion action series. It has a much deeper story to tell. The dynamic of comradery between the Gridman alliance against Akane with her selfish desires play well against each other. It also seems to show the psychological issues people deal with aren’t simply solved by the power of friendship. It does help to illustrate how these problems get better when you are willing to reach out and depend on others.
The character animation is tight and the effects with scale and scope spot on. The monsters, Gridman, and Gridman’s support are perfect homages to the original series. At the same time, the show makes use of its medium and offers creatures and effects which can only be presented in animation. Crisp animation helps to set the mood of the story and is filled with easter eggs not only to the original series but also to other bits of geeky fandom.
The limited edition of the SSSS.Gridman release is filled with a lot of great bits of physical collectibles. It comes with a mini-art book, a keychain (shaped like Primal Acceptor from the show), art cards, and even a sticker saying “Gridman Alliance.” These items are sure to find a home in the avid fan’s collection and there is a good chance after watching this series you’ll be a fan yourself.
SSSS.Gridman is a series everyone should check out. It is an essential series for everyone who enjoys fast action and dynamic characters. Check it out for yourself and see how Studio Trigger was able to turn a forgotten show from the 90s into something which won’t be soon forgotten. Especially like the rest of the internet you end up falling in love with Rikka Takarada and Akane Shinjo.
SSSS.Gridman is available from Funimation.