SSSS.Gridman – Episode 9

Ding ding ding ding ding ding ding 

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You hear that? That’s the sound of the hype train coming our way.

I should’ve changed this post’s title to SSSS.???? because I think I just got my mind blown. I honestly don’t know where to start, so let me just get it out of the way that this episode was absolutely well-done and is trippy as hell (as if SSSS.???? wasn’t trippy enough before). Major props to whoever supervised this. I’ll leave it at that as you folks are better off reading Sakugabooru’s post with regards to the technicalities of this episode’s production.

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There were multiple and simultaneous threads going on during that dream sequence, with each one of them offering a significant hint as to where the story is actually heading. And there are multiple “theories” too explaining what the hell is going on, what the hell happened, and what the hell is going to happen. I spoke before as if this anime is like an open book, then here comes SSSS.????‘s 9th episode which proves me otherwise. Thanks a bunch! Nah, seriously. It isn’t as if the previous assumptions were entirely off the mark, it’s just that we were just scratching the surface the entire time as what this episode suggests. Probably the most ridiculous discourse that resulted from this episode is, uh, a love triangle. Yup, the “revelations” in the episode (if you can even call it that because it only made this a tad more complicated than they already are) were obscure and open-ended enough for one to think there’s a love triangle brewing in the background. It isn’t even a joke either because it does make sense, and at the same time it also doesn’t. Regardless of how you trace the available facts and hints, it could lead to either of the plausible conclusions which is what makes this episode really interesting. Right now it is easier to say why it doesn’t make sense just because there’s no indication or convincing reason yet why Akane would be into Yuta, nor why she would try to seduce both him and Utsumi at the same time. Her teasing could be interpreted in another way if we consider that she has a complex with Rikka which is likely the case here.

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Rikka is everything what Akane wants to be. She has a lot of friends, fashionable, hip, snacks on egg benedicts (whatever that is) and she doesn’t even need godlike powers to draw people to her. One of the dream sequences we saw was with Yuta and Akane in a re-enactment of the first episode with the latter taking the place of Rikka. This could easily be seen as Akane’s desire to be what Rikka is. And what/who Rikka is involves the history she has with Yuta which is where the love triangle part comes from. The dreams also appear to be recollections from the past, yet we see Rikka and Akane wearing the uniforms from the ED which could only mean that it is indeed 99% canon.

Basically, it could be summed up into two possible scenarios: Akane and Rikka were the closest of friends — where Rikka is possible the only person she would even call a friend — and Akane likes Yuta for whatever reason but the guy confesses to Rikka instead which causes the falling out. Or, Akane doesn’t really have the hots for Yuta, but she might’ve felt that she got cucked/NTR’d by him when he confessed to her best friend. Yeap. Long story short: it’s either het or homo. Seriously. Having said that, I don’t think there’s a love triangle here and that Akane isn’t infatuated with Yuta or anything. Her reaction in episode 6 where she was expecting Yuta to act as if she is his friend is still suspect because “friend” is too specific of a word to have been used here for someone who’s supposedly expecting something more romantic. Hence, Akane replacing Rikka in that dream feels more like the former taking the role of the latter and not exactly replacing her entirely. Perhaps Akane was only teasing Yuta because it’s her assumption that he is dating Rikka or is just fully aware there is something going on between the two.

It’s also interesting to note here the mom’s lethargic/dazed-like state could be an indication that Akane probably doesn’t know what to make off of Rikka’s mom which could’ve resulted from a lack of parent figure in her life, or she just doesn’t like mothers/parents in general. Whatever the case is… it’s quite clear that Akane must’ve had a very troubled past. What exactly entailed that troubled past, I don’t know, but having seen a couple of anime that dealt with the subject of bullying, it wouldn’t be far-fetched to say Akane may have been a victim herself which fanned her desire to have friends and be liked by others. Either because a not-so-popular person like her got too close with Rikka, or she’s just plain unhinged and different from others could be a reason why, though I think this is too shallow of an explanation when compared to the degree of angst Akane is wallowing in right now. I’m not sure if I should even sympathize with a murderer but… yeah, her loneliness is just palpable during this episode. Especially at that part where she’s hunched down on the table playing with toys — a grown person playing with robot toys alone brings to mind someone who has a few screws loose, but I see this gesture more of a vulnerability than anything. Whatever she may have done wrong, I’d still very much like Akane to be redeemed… or at least see her in a happy ending.

Short thoughts:

  • It’s got to be aliens.
  • No death flags, please.
  • If Akane is jealous of Yuta then she’s done a damn good job at hiding it. Couldn’t she have just removed Yuta from the picture? Was his amnesia her doing?
  • Better not fuck up now, Trigger.
  • There’s this shot from the OP of what looks like a kaiju that wrecked the city. What if this is some sort of ‘first impact’, and the original city was already destroyed with everyone in it, including Rikka and the others, gone? Maybe Akane survived and Alexis gave her the power to rebuild everything from scratch.
  • As much as I like the fight scenes here they’re mostly just there to pay homage to its toku and mecha roots. It isn’t exactly their focal point but rather it’s Akane who’s the one running the show.
  • Was about to unanimously give Zombieland Saga the AOTS, then SSSS.Gridman came along as a contender with this episode. I guess it’s all going to depend on whose climax would go nuclear.
  • I’d like to rewatch the previous episodes just to refresh my memories but meh.

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