This recap contains spoilers for the SSSS.DYNAZENON episode “What Is This Thumping Heart?”
It would seem that love and pathogens alike are in the air.
“What Is This Thumping Heart?” will probably go down as a fairly minor episode of SSSS.DYNAZENON. That’s not to say it’s inconsequential, since there’s actually a potentially important plot point made explicit here, but it’s on the goofier side. Most of what we learn here isn’t the sort of Capital-L Lore that gets episodes pegged as “important.” Also, the driving plot of the episode is that Yomogi gets a cold. You do have to admit, that’s pretty silly.
Love & Rockets
But the common cold isn’t the only thing Yomogi’s caught. “What Is This Thumping Heart?”, as its title implies, is also the first episode to directly confirm that Yomogi has feelings for Yume. His manager at his part-time manages to needle it out of him over the course of what looks to be just a few minutes.
A classic anime trick (that many people, though not yours truly, find deeply annoying) in the form of an unfortunately-timed loud noise prevents Yomogi from straight-up confessing at the end of the episode, but the development here is still pretty quick. Yomogi deserves some credit for not being in denial about his feelings for half the series, as is still sort of the norm in anime.
Yume herself spends part of “What Is This Thumping Heart?” in a
Starbucks “Starbows” talking to one of her late sister’s classmates. She seems to reflect on whether or not she ever really knew her sister, but this reflection is only hinted at here. Presumably, it’s to be explored more thoroughly in a later part of SSSS.DYNAZENON. Coupled with her oblique comments at the close of last week’s episode, this is certainly becoming a running theme with Yume’s character.
Jets & Dinosaurs, Too
In its less serious moments, “What Is This Thumping Heart?” is probably the funniest of SSSS.DYNAZENON‘s four episodes that are available so far. Most of this humor is pretty deadpan, but the real highlight is one of the Kaiju Eugenicists being transferred into Yomogi and Yume’s class. This would be a little amusing on its own, but the fact that he’s still wearing his military uniform the entire time pushes it to downright hilarious.
Of course, everything serves two purposes in an anime like this. Sizumu, the KE in question, both serves to highlight the surreal, blasé attitude that most of this setting’s residents take to its more unusual aspects and, briefly, to cryptically needle Yomogi and Yume about why they’re really fighting the kaiju. His comment that kaiju “free people from something” echoes a similar sentiment from the original SSSS.GRIDMAN. It’s an interesting callback, one that I’m sure fans (myself included) will be mulling over until the next episode drops.
Temporary Giant Robot Pilot
Lastly, the episode’s obligate fight features Yomogi out of the picture. So Chise, Koyomi’s excitable, diminutive cousin, has to sub in. She has the enthusiasm to pilot the Dyna Soldier, but not any experience, so it’s only Yomogi eventually being air-lifted via Yume’s Dyna Wing that saves the day here. Complete with the sounds of Yomogi sickly coughing his way through the usual “Combine!” shouts and such.
All this to say, “minor” episode though it may be, write “What Is This Thumping Heart?” off as “filler” at your own peril. Humor has a value all its own, but the more intriguing tidbits here — Yume and Yomogi’s relationship, and Sizumu’s lingering questions — are what really make “What is This Thumping Heart?” worthwhile. As for that ending scene where Yomogi’s interrupted mid-confession, well, maybe he’ll get a chance to tell Yume how he feels next week.
Until then, anime fans.