Gridman Universe

Movie (1 ep x 118 min)
3.826 out of 5 from 68 votes
Rank #1,953
Gridman Universe

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Much like the movie itself, this review is going to assume you’ve seen both previous SSSS.Series. SSSS.Gridman, while disguising itself as a simple action romp, was an exploration of Akane’s character and her escapism via media into a reality she can have control of that allows her to escape her real depression and situation in life. Gridman Universe tries to follow that thematic thread to expand into the relationship between people and stories and how one can affect the other. The fulcrum of the plot is a stage play being written for the Cultural Festival by Rikka and Utsumi with the help of Yuma about the events that surrounded Gridman and their world, the ones that everyone else forgot in their world. Much of the thematic discourse between creators and media is expressed in reference to this stage play. In particular we find a slight conflict between the more carefree Utsumi that mostly wants to focus on the big flashy and enjoyable action scenes, meanwhile Rikka is trying her best to manage to share across what she wants to say with her work. This ordinary activity is of course then interrupted by the arrival of kaijus, people from other universes and the chaos that ensues. Much of the appeal of this movie relies on how much the audience cares about seeing all the various characters interplay with each other, how they changed since we last saw them and obviously, in the big flashy battles. If you enjoyed the fight scenes in the previous works it is hard to dislike seeing the Super Dragon King Combined Superman! Rogue Kaiser Gridman! using his Kaiser Power Charge Dynamic Big Blade Rogue Kaiser Power Finish! Move. No matter how stupid that jumble of words sounds, it is still cool when played with cool music and flashy fights. Speaking of which though, I have to admit that it is a bit disappointing to see the production quality of this movie being simply on par with the previous entries, despite the theatrical production. The entire show feels like a big long episode of a tv show, no particular upgrade in neither the directing nor visuals. Nothing bad, but still frankly a bit lacking. Despite the clear theme about the effects of storytelling on both creators and the audience, the message of the story gets lost in the middle of all the action and plot events. Something the story itself is seemingly self aware about, since towards the end after our cast managed to put on the play we get this small back and forth about it. Rikka: You came to see our play.Yuta: Yeah, everyone loved it!Rikka: But I don’t think they (the audience) got what I was trying to say.Yuta: But they all laughed.Rikka: So it was worth it, I guess. The general message that something is valuable if it’s simply enjoyable would feel, while true, very cheap and unremarkable in most places. In the context of the story however it felt both more nuanced in how it comments on how media only develops worth when being experienced but also completely undeserved as a message because of how little it was actually explored. Just how the plot itself gets very meta with the characters writing about their own story, the themes of this movie get just as much self-referential. The message being both about wanting to share a message, but also about how it doesn’t matter if a message is shared as long as emotions and feelings get across. Which is the message of the show itself. It gets quite paradoxical and might sound high-brow, but in general this whole aspect is something the actual script just stumbles through rather than explores. In the end, is this just a stupid and reference full action movie? Is it a very nuanced thematic exploration on the nature of the relationship between audience and stories? I’m not really sure about either.  What I do know is the final two lines of the post credit scenes do fully convey what I emotionally feel about the whole movie. “Do you like it?” “It’s fine.”

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