This recap contains spoilers for the SSSS.DYNAZENON episode “What Is This Wavering Emotion?”

Do giant monsters have souls? That’s the question that “What Is This Wavering Emotion?” puts forth. The titular “wavering emotion” is the determination to fight. It’s much harder to heroically stand your ground against something that has thoughts and feelings.

We don’t actually get an answer to any of this here. Indeed, SSSS.DYNAZENON demands enough attention from its audience that we are probably expected to come up with an answer ourselves. But that it directly poses the question in the first place is a good marker of what kind of episode this is. And, on top of that, what it might mean for both SSSS.DYNAZENON specifically and the broader Gridman Universe going forward.

Little Monster

The episode begins with the Dyna Soldiers coming upon a tiny, “failed” kaiju. Or rather, it finds them. Gauma awakes from a nap under the bridge to find his head covered in bluish-purple gunk. It’s a little thing, only about the size of a small dog. Furthermore, its only ability (to make said colorful gunk) is pretty harmless. It’s not that odd that the Dyna Soldiers are reluctant to kill the thing just for being a kaiju when it seems so unlikely to hurt anyone. 

the tiny kaiju (SSSS.DYNAZENON season 2 episode 8)

The tiny kaiju, in front and out of focus.

This kicks off two things. One, the episode’s lingering question of if kaiju have hearts and emotions. Two, a series of playful attempts by the Dyna Soldiers to “instance dominate” it, which ends in a rather alarming fashion when something happens to Yomogi.

a matrix of some sort (SSSS.DYNAZENON season 2 episode 8)

Yomogi is startled (SSSS.DYNAZENON season 2 episode 8)

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Fans of SSSS.GRIDMAN will remember that the fish-eye camera closeup is not usually a good sign. (Really, it never is in anime in general.) The match cut here almost seems to imply that Yomogi himself is a kaiju. Or perhaps that he will become one or bring one into existence.

Shattered Glass

That latter point is explicitly raised here. Kaiju come from peoples’ emotions. We’ve known this since SSSS.GRIDMAN. But SSSS.DYNAZENON specifically has been a little cagey about saying who, exactly, causes the monsters we’ve seen so far. In GRIDMAN this wasn’t really a mystery; they were almost all Akane’s doing. Here we’re not really sure where they’re coming from, and “What Is This Wavering Emotion?” raises a few disturbing possibilities.

When the kaiju inevitably escapes the tiny cage Gauma was using to hold it and becomes large enough to be a threat, Gridknight and Yomogi end up as the two in the best position to take it down. This leads to a particularly harrowing scene where Yomogi hesitates to destroy the creature for two reasons: one being the lingering question of whether or not it can think and feel, and the other being much more immediate.

the kaiju's hand smashing the window (SSSS.DYNAZENON season 2 episode 8)

The building the creature scales is also where Yume happens to be, and it’s only by lining up his shot just so that he’s eventually able to take it out without potentially harming Yume, too.

Even stranger, just before he does, the kaiju reveals a hidden eye and gazes at him while he briefly tries (and fails) to control it. His eyes light up, which does lend credence to the idea that he either is a kaiju or is a kaiju user. Heck, maybe he’s both.

Yomogi using instance domination (SSSS.DYNAZENON season 2 episode 8)

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What Is This Wavering Emotion?

Koyomi’s ongoing existential crisis continues here, too. The curious flashbacks that have punctuated his character arc are brought to a head in “What Is This Wavering Emotion?” The shocking thing that he was shown in past flashbacks turns out to have been an enormous bag of dubious money. His crush puts forward the idea that they should run away together.

Instead, he bolts, laying the groundwork for the insecurity that’s plagued him for SSSS.DYNAZENON‘s entire run.

There’s also Chise, who in “What Is This Wavering Emotion?” is still holding on to the strange plasticky globule she picked up several episodes ago. By now, it’s developed into what looks an awful lot like one of Akane’s kaiju wireframes from SSSS.GRIDMAN. Is Chise about to create a kaiju and not even realize it? The possibility is certainly there.

In general, “What Is This Wavering Emotion?” provides few answers and raises a ton more questions. It’s a curious episode and one that’s full ramifications I suspect we won’t understand until the end of the series.

You may wonder, incidentally, where the KEs are during “What Is This Wavering Emotion?” The answer is pretty simple: they spend the entire episode at an entertainment complex.

the villains at the bowling alley (SSSS.DYNAZENON season 2 episode 8)

Occasionally, as a commentator, there is nothing you can add. They went bowling and saw a movie, what can I tell you?

Until next time, anime fans!

Keep up with our SSSS.DYNAZENON recaps here and stream it on Funimation here.

 

SSSS.DYNAZENON Recap: (S02E04) What Is This Thumping Heart?

 

 

 

Jane Auman
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