One of the rules of the anime industry is, you can never tell ahead of time which new series will catch the eye of fans (and fan-artists) and blow up in popularity. That’s certainly been the case with SSSS.Gridman, an anime based on Gridman the Hyper Agent, a 1993-1994 era live-action kaiju series by Tsuburaya, the legendary company that made Ultraman and whose founder created the effects for Godzilla. It’s exploded in recent weeks, in part thanks to cute anime thighs.
I like the idea of bridges, where two separate genres are deconstructed and combined into a new thing that has broader appeal. Sailor Moon is a great example, cleverly combining the (then) only-for-girls magical girl and only-for-boys sentai (“costumed fighting team”) genres into one, which allowed one show to be accessible to everyone for the first time. SSSS.Gridman is the first series I can think of that successfully bridges the tokusatsu monster-and-hero-battle genre with modern anime in a way that captures the classic feel. A big reason for the popularity of Gridman: anime thighs, specifically the thighs of Rikka and Akane. The show’s director specifically requested that the thighs and butts of the girls be made large and cute so that fans would obsess over them. And we have.
I also like SSSS.Gridman because it’s the closest thing we (currently) have to an Ultraman anime, which was an early influence on me growing up. The pantheon of the various monsters from the original 1966 series—Alien Baltan, Gomora, Pigmon, and my favorite, Dada—were dear to me growing up, and they’re as deeply embedded in Japanese pop culture history today as the various heroes and villains created by Stan Lee over the years. It’s nice that the classic Tsuburaya-style kaiju can be translated into the modern era with updated storytelling by Trigger…and those lovely anime thighs are fun, too.
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