This recap contains spoilers for the SSSS.DYNAZENON episode “What Wish Can’t Come True?”
“What Wish Can’t Come True?” is what we in the trade call a sad episode. In contrast to last week’s abstract but triumphant turn, the penultimate episode of SSSS.DYNAZENON is restrained, melancholic and a bit upsetting. To explain why we must first understand a key distinction between SSSS.DYNAZENON and its predecessor. SSSS.GRIDMAN was a series, primarily, about the internal. A popular reading of that show frames all of its characters as part of the main antagonist Akane’s own psyche. Perhaps even literally so.
In SSSS.DYNAZENON, the key relationships are external, and such a reading doesn’t hold as well. Be those between the Dyna Soldiers, the Kaiju Eugenecists, these groups to each other or either of them and the wider world. There’s a tension here, one with a long history in the medium. That being the relationship between people, their passions and the world around them.
The plot beats are so simple that going over them almost feels like over-explaining. The last of the kaiju is defeated. The KEs, in turn, are also defeated. Knight and Anosillus plan to leave, and they’re taking Goldburn with them since “irregulars” like them no longer belong in this world. Gauma, too, is fading. His life force was evidently also tied to the kaiju, and throughout “What Wish Can’t Come True?” he is obviously sickly, despite trying to hide it.
The lives of the Dyna Soldiers are changed too. Koyomi seeks a normal job for the first time in his adult life. Chise is distraught that her days of adventure are over and fears losing the friendships she’s built. Yomogi asks Yume out. The KEs are listless and adrift, except for Onija who, offscreen, tries to continue their mission sans kaiju by stealing a cop’s gun, landing himself in jail.
A bittersweet tone purveys “What Wish Can’t Come True?” The danger has passed, but so has the excitement. There’s a real “the last days of magic” sort of feeling at play here. One gets the sense that for as grateful as the characters are that all this is over, they’re not sure what to do next. Giant monsters have defined them for so long that they struggle to know what to do in their absence.
It’s not hard to see this as a metaphor for growing up. What we do changes, so we change along with our actions. It is this more than anything that makes “What Wish Can’t Come True?” feel so melancholic. A sense that something is ending. Which, in a very real way, it is. Given that SSSS.DYNAZENON certainly counts as “something.”
But things are, of course, not truly over yet. “What Wish Can’t Come True?” is the second to last episode, remember. So it’s not that surprising when Sizumu launches one final kaiju on the city: himself. Yes, through means unknown the young man transforms himself into a giant white lizard. Gauma is nearly killed beforehand, so Knight alone takes on this final kaiju, only conscripting Goldburn for help. The episode essentially ends here, a genuine cliffhanger, to be resolved next week in the finale.
Until then, anime fans.