Note: This may contain spoilers for SSSS. Gridman up to episode 11 and as much as the title might imply it, this will not be related to Spiderman~
Reaching out is a hard thing.
It’s a kind of problem that comes with being an anxious person, especially on the internet when connections feel so transient and so impersonal. And yet, the desire to reach out to others, especially those that you care about, so greatly weighs on the side of hitting that ‘Send Tweet’ button. But more often than not, the result lands on resounding silence.
This is something I’ve been thinking about a lot recently and in no small part because of a certain SSSS. Gridman.
Gridman’s been quite the breakout show this season and for very good reason. The mix of the old school giant-monster-of-the-week fighting, the visually impressive production, and the not-unfamiliar but certainly unique plot have been grabbing the attention of most of the community over the last couple months, myself included.
But more than anything else what captured me about the show was the trajectory of Rikka in the series and the dilemma she’s had to face in her relationship with Akane.
For Rikka, Akane Shinjo is someone special. This is made clear to us well before we learn about the true nature of Akane’s world and not quite through traditional means. The two are never framed physically close together, the happy moments they share feel cold at best, and their conversations early on in the series are few and far between. But even still, Akane is special.
Special enough to wait for at the bus stop, but not too long otherwise it’ll get a little weird. Special enough to get a gift for – one that will definitely-maybe-eventually, be handed over. And special enough to want to stop her from destroying their world and herself in the process. If only it was that easy.
“I made sure you were set up that way.”
“Everyone that lives here loves everything about me.”
“That’s why you and I are friends, Rikka.”
Akane says – a fundamental dismissal of the validity of Rikka’s kindness. Having her feelings called into question sent her in a haze and only compounded on her anxieties about her contributions to the Gridman alliance and to her friend.
How much of her kindness was her own? What would her words even mean to Akane? What could even she say to change her mind? Would her words even make a difference?
As we barrel towards the end of the season, the answers to these questions are not quite set in stone but all signs point to an affirmative “Yes”. In fact, with Yuta and Utsumi’s roles self-selected as the arbiter and the bystander, perhaps Rikka is the only person that can meaningfully extend a hand out to Akane – and she will.
The pair’s relationship of neither near nor far parallel a lot of the connections that I’ve grown over the years. In nebulous relationships like these, it’s easy to be caught in a spiral, forever calculating the distance between one another and never taking the important first step. With the show moving in this direction though, I’ll be very happy to see this small act of kindness and courage be rewarded.
Thanks for reading,
This is the fourth of twelve posts that I’ll be publishing as part of the 12 days of Anime event. Be sure to check out all other amazing writers that are participating in this year’s event here.