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Entry updated 30 August 2021. Tagged: TV.

Japanese animated tv series (2021). Trigger. Directed by Akira Amemiya. Written by Keiichi Hasegawa. Voice cast includes Chika Anzai, Junya Enoki, Daiki Hamano, Yūichirō Umehara and Shion Wakayama. Twelve 24-minute episodes. Colour.

High schooler Yomogi Asanaka (Enoki) gives his lunch to the starving Gauma (Hamano) who lives under a bridge. Later, Gauma berates Yume Minami (Wakayama) when she stands up Yomogi, to his considerable embarrassment: this is interrupted by a Kaiju running amuck in the city. Gauma invokes his Mecha, Dynazenon, but it requires four pilots: he co-opts Yomogi and Yume, adding Koyomi Yamanaka (Umehara) – a NEET who happens to be passing with his young niece, Chise Asukagawa (Anzai). Dynazenon is four independent machines that combine to form a giant Robot, which defeats the kaiju – and those that appear in subsequent episodes.

Kaiju manifest of their own accord, born from human emotions: not inherently hostile, they are controlled by the "Kaiju Eugenicists", who plan to use them to wipe out humanity. They had known Gauma 5,000 years ago and consider him a traitor. In later episodes two kaiju in human form, previously seen in SSSS.Gridman (2018), arrive to help the Dynazenon team; meanwhile, Chise befriends a kaiju, Goldburn.

Fighting Kaiju is a distraction for the youngsters: Yomogi is bewildered by the prospect of his mother's boyfriend becoming his father. Yume's personality is shaped by the death of her older sister five years ago, possibly the result of bullying leading to suicide. Koyomi meets an old flame from his schooldays, his present lifestyle a result of his running away when her audacious behaviour scared him. Chise does not go to school, a response to an undisclosed problem. In episode 10 Yume and Koyomi are amongst those absorbed by a kaiju: its victims relive key moments of their past and make different choices. Yomogi enters the kaiju to rescue them, but not before they've put their demons to rest. In the finale the Kaiju Eugenicists discover they can become a powerful Kaiju – only to be defeated when Dynazenon, Goldburn and the human kaiju combine. Three months later Yume and Yomogi are now close, Koyomi is looking for a job and Chise considers returning to school. However, Gauma might be dead, whilst Goldburn and the human kaiju depart.

The show is part of the Gridman Universe, built around Gridman the Hyper Agent (1993-1994; original title Denkou Choujin Gridman) and SSSS.Gridman; it is not revealed, as it was in the latter show, that this world is a Computer simulation. There are callbacks to these series (for example, Gauma is a mummy seen in episode 18 of Hyper Agent) and to other anime including Mobile Police Patlabor and the Ultraman franchise. Episodes invariably end with a kaiju fight which, though reasonable fun, is are the least interesting part of the show; nonetheless, the kaiju are important plot elements. There is also much Humour – Gauma's attempt to kidnap a Kaiju Eugenicist at a swimming pool is thwarted by a lifeguard's exhortation, "No running!" Possessing good characterization and themes arguing the importance of growth and forming bonds, this was a strong successor to SSSS.Gridman; not reaching that show's heights, but still meritorious. [SP]


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