Have you been watching SSSS.Dynazenon? While I love the characters, insights, and animation in both that show and SSSS.Gridman, the S^4 series have remained a hard sell for me, and this even though my earliest memories of anime (and TV in general) include another giant robot series, Voltron. In fact, it’s the whole giant robot / kaiju parts that I have difficulty getting into. That aspect is culturally very Japanese, and not a part of nerd culture that I’ve sunk much into since childhood. I’m expected to easily accept a storyline about mecha fighting kaiju, much like the S^4 characters do, as displayed in their cavalier attitudes towards the events of the series. Kaiju attacking the city? Ain’t no thang—this is Japan, after all. Combining to form a giant robot? We’re Japanese—we’ve been preparing for this all our lives. Yomogi, Yume, and the rest are totally unfazed.
But I don’t think it’s just the cultural perspective that leads the Dynazenon crew to be at relative ease with everything that’s going on—I think that it’s also the attitudes imbued in their characters, etched there through experience. For instance, in episode three, when Gauma reveals he’s operating the unit to try to reach someone of the opposite sex, the rest of the team is like, “Yeah, we get it. We’ll help you,” which is nice and all but, ya know, you could die out there, all to help a weird guy get reconnected with his lady friend. Who but this ragtag group would make such a decision?
Maybe this lackadaisical attitude points back to one of the thoughts I mentioned earlier: These pilots have been waiting for this moment all their lives—of if not that long, at least since some singular moment in their pasts. Maybe they haven’t been exactly preparing to fight kaiju, but they’ve been ready for something momentous, something that uses what they’ve learned and experienced and puts that to work.
Take a look at Yume. She’s developed a reputation for stringing guys along at school—Yomogi most recently. It’s soon revealed, however, that she’s actually quite a decent person, and that her behavior is likely connected to home and personal difficulties that arose after the death of her older sister several years ago. For her, fighting kaiju in a giant robot is not the preeminent event of her life—the loss of her sister was. Flying an aircraft that joins with other vehicles to form a giant mecha dinosaur, as incredible as it is, is merely the next major event in her life. And she’s surprisingly prepared and eager to do it.
Episode three, which delves a little deeper into Yume’s tragic past, reminds me of a family member of mine who likewise experienced an unexpected death. In his case, it was his best friend, randomly murdered as a young adult in a shooting that remains unsolved to this day. This family member is a brilliant guy, and up until then was very driven to do “big things” with his life, and had a reasonable but ambitious plan to accomplish it all. He was also, in all honesty, pretty self-centered. If you thought differently from him, if you were in the way of his plans, well, get out of the way. His friend’s death, however, transformed him completely—he’s since become far kinder and in fact, turned into one of the most selfless people I’ve ever known, someone we depend on and love. When he later married and had children, it really wasn’t a game changer for him—he had already changed. He was ready.
My experience with parenthood was different. As I’ve related many times before, having children forced me to confront my shortcomings and realize that this dream I had since I was young, of being an incredible father, wasn’t coming true. To my surprise, a desire to be a good dad wasn’t enough—I needed, you know, skills and characteristics to become one, and I was lacking in so many necessary areas. The struggles I had with parenthood were my big transition point in life, the event that forced me to grow and move toward everything else that followed.
In that way, maybe I’m more like the NEET in the group, Koyomi, the only one for whom it seems piloting a mecha is his turning point, the singular event that could change everything from here on out. Perhaps, like me, he’ll come to take more responsibility, to put himself out there despite the risk of failure, and to keep moving forward even when it hurts. Because whether it’s by piloting the Dynazenon or being responsible for an infant’s life, it’s sometimes the overwhelming events in life that lead to transformation.
What’s your singular event, your piloting of Dynazenon that has transformed your life? Please share with us in the comments below.
SSSS.Dynazenon can be streamed through Funimation.