This recap contains spoilers for the SSSS.DYNAZENON episode “What’s Your Reason for Fighting?”
SSSS.DYNAZENON is only two weeks in, so it’s surprising we’ve already got so many interesting mysteries to chew on. “What’s Your Reason for Fighting?” adds a few more and doesn’t provide any easy answers for last week’s outing. None of this is super surprising. SSSS.GRIDMAN played its cards close to its chest until its final third or so as well.
Still, we do have some idea of where things are going to go. “What’s Your Reason for Fighting?” is, as with last week’s episode, mostly moody buildup to an explosive and sudden climax in its last few minutes. Along the way, we learn a fair bit about two of our characters in particular — Gauma and Yume Minami. Yomogi gets some development here, too, but it’s tied closely enough to both of these characters that I feel comfortable counting them together.
Gauma’s revelations are the more straightforward ones here. He doesn’t explain at length how the Dynazenon itself works, but he does ask all four of its pilots to show up daily to train with him. Everyone accepts (sans Yomogi, as we’ll get to). It’s his reason for wanting everyone in top shape to fight the kaiju that’s truly interesting. He drops some minor exposition here about a group quite alarmingly called the Kaiju Eugenicists. “Eugenicist” is a pretty heavy word to throw around in your anime world-building.
I initially wondered if the scriptwriter (or perhaps the translator) for SSSS.DYNAZENON didn’t actually know what the term meant. However, later in the episode, we’re shown what the KE’s do, and its usage suddenly makes a decent bit of sense.
They take control of a kaiju by simply resting underneath a bridge and it’s through their actions that it goes on a rampage. SSSS.GRIDMAN implied that kaiju exist, in some capacity, as natural creatures, and are only driven to violence through external actors. This matches up with that pretty nicely. To the KE’s, a kaiju is only useful if it’s currently causing violence to further their own ends. What those ends are is a question we’ve yet to answer, but the wheels are certainly set in motion here. It’s no wonder Gauma wants everyone as prepared as possible with all this in mind.
We learn Yomogi’s reason for skipping training fairly early into “What’s Your Reason for Fighting?.” He’s, well, just that devoted to his part-time job. Or, as Yume implies in the part of the episode that spotlights her, he’s afraid of coloring outside the lines. SSSS.DYNAZENON pulls off an interesting trick throughout this part of the episode.
One might assume that if a, say, new flashy transformation sequence was introduced, that it would be during a fight. Instead, SSSS.DYNAZENON shows us Yume and Yomogi’s components of the Dynazenon (the Dyna Wing and Dyna Soldier, respectively) for the first time while the two spend time together.
Yume apologizes for skipping out on Yomogi the previous week, but it’s her (possibly inadvertent) interrogation of why he won’t commit to protecting the city that’s the most interesting. The two have a two-line exchange I’m simply going to reproduce here in its entirety because I think it’s both really interesting and quite telling about where SSSS.DYNAZENON is coming from.
SSSS.GRIDMAN had a theme of self-realization even through adversity. SSSS.DYNAZENON seems to be intent on expanding this. We don’t just have a responsibility to take care of ourselves, but also each other. It’s a subtle piece of thematic work to slip in, but “What’s Your Reason for Fighting?”– a question this exchange actually answers — makes it work. I would be unsurprised if it comes up more explicitly later on.
It’s not all pondering, though. There’s also a welcome amount of dry humor in this episode. This example, where Yume and Yomogi try to puzzle out what the combined form of the Dyna Wing and Dyna Soldier should be called, is probably my favorite.
Your Samurai Sword
It’s telling about where SSSS.DYNAZENON‘s real meat lies that discussing the impressive fight at the end of “What’s Your Reason for Fighting?” almost feels like an afterthought. It’s visually quite impressive. Though I do note that the 3DCGI portions have a habit of making anything that’s not the Dynazenon itself or the kaiju it’s fighting look like tossed-around toys. Something that might actually be intentional, given this series’ affinity for action figures.
This is also where the Kaiju Eugenicists are actually introduced properly as a quartet of new arrivals in town dressed in white military garb. They waste no time in controlling the kaiju under the bridge and turning it on the Dynazenon. It’s eventually defeated, but not without Yonogi finally committing to his role as a protector of the city.
SSSS.DYNAZENON remains, in some aspects, a puzzle. But “What’s Your Reason for Fighting?” brings to light as many things as it raises questions. SSSS.DYNAZENON is only just getting started, and I have a feeling it has yet to show its true peak.
Perhaps we’ll learn more about all of this next week. Until then, anime fans!
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