Gridman Universe

Gridman Universe

Gridman Universe is a direct sequel to both SSSS.Gridman. and SSSS.Dynazenon. It continues the plotlines and character arcs of both series, tying up loose ends for some and giving epilogues to others. However, if there is a single main character, it would be Yuuta. Of course, this Yuuta isn’t the one we met in SSSS.Gridman; that Yuuta was a fragment of Gridman’s personality controlling Yuuta’s body.

While Yuuta is aware of the events that transpired, thanks to Rikka and Utsumi, this has caused him to have a bit of an existential crisis. Over the last year, he has befriended (and fallen for) Rikka. However, Rikka already saw herself as his friend from the start, thanks to the adventures she had with the Gridman-possessed Yuuta. Because of this, Yuuta is unsure of where her feelings for Gridman end and her feelings for him begin—especially as she doesn’t seem to distinguish between the two. This has given him a bit of an inferiority complex towards himself; he’s worried he can never live up to the Gridman version of himself. So when the kaiju and Gridman appear again, he believes it’s his chance to regain what he has lost—to be who he feels he was and should be. However, that alone doesn’t fix his self-esteem issues. Luckily, he has a group of new friends to support him. A group of teens who have been through a similar experience and came out the other side as much healthier people: the cast of SSSS.Dynazenon.

Thanks to the barrier between their worlds wearing thin, the characters from SSSS.Dynazenon find themselves stranded in the world of SSSS.Gridman. This allows us to see how they have all moved on since the end of their show—with the most pivotal development being the continuing relationship between Yomogi and Yume, as it shows Yuuta an example of the kind of healthy relationship he longs for with Rikka. But as happy as he is with his love life, Yomogi is still struggling with both the loss of Gauma and the fact that he is a kaiju user, and all the guilt that stems from that.

As our two groups of heroes come together to save not only their realities but also overcome their issues, there is one other entity looming over the plot: Akane. She is the god of their world and has not been seen since the events of SSSS.Gridman. Only Rikka and Utsumi remember both Gridman and her. Because of this, the two are determined to tell what happened in SSSS.Gridman through a class play. This way, even though everyone will think it’s fiction, they will know the truth, and—most importantly to Rikka—know that Akane existed. However, as kaiju start appearing to wreck the city, the unspoken question becomes obvious: Are these new kaiju related to Akane? And if they aren’t, why isn’t she intervening to save their world?

With a runtime of two hours, Gridman Universe is a rather substantial film—especially when you consider how much of the film is focused on interpersonal drama rather than kaiju battles. There are only three kaiju fights in the film, and while the final one takes up almost a fourth of the film, the other two only take up a few minutes each. In addition to the character building and dramatic moments, this also gives us plenty of time to enjoy fun interactions between our two groups of heroes, like everyone’s reaction to seeing Yuta and the Neon Genesis Junior High Students sucked into a computer screen or the chaos that ensues when a dozen people try to live in Rikka’s house.

Visually, the film is exactly the quality you’d expect from Studio Trigger—only turned up to eleven for the big screen. The kaiju battles are especially amazing, with well-choreographed action and dynamic camera shots (my favorite being the often-used street-level camera looking up at the battling giants). On the music side of things, much of the SSSS.Gridman and SSSS.Dynazenon scores are reused throughout the film. However, the standout song of the soundtrack is the newly penned theme song, “uni-verse” by Masayoshi Ōishi. It’s an awesomely triumphant song and one heck of an earworm (which I’ve had on repeat while writing this entire review).

When it comes down to it, Gridman Universe is an excellent sequel. It creates the next chapter of the stories set up in SSSS.Gridman and SSSS.Dynazenon while retaining the things that made those two series such an entertaining watch. Every character from both shows gets their own time in the spotlight and there is just as much fun as drama to be had as the two casts interact. It’s got great action, solid plot twists, and a banging soundtrack to match. If you’ve seen SSSS.Gridman and SSSS.Dynazenon this film is a must-watch—and if you haven’t, watch those two series and then check out this film. You’ll be glad you did.

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