This recap contains spoilers for the SSSS.DYNAZENON episode “What’s Our Reason for Coming Together?”
Let’s not beat around the bush. “What’s Our Reason for Coming Together?” is SSSS.DYNAZENON‘s best episode so far. It’s deeply melancholic despite being bookended by a pair of explosive fights, and it points toward possible answers for a few of our questions while raising many, many more. It is about as close to perfect as a three-quarters mark for a series can get.
“What’s Our Reason for Coming Together?” is a high point for SSSS.DYNAZENON as a series, but a low point for the Dyna Soldiers themselves. It opens with Gridknight, newly arrived, stomping the kaiju the Dyna Soldiers were struggling with flat. Gridknight, as we learn later in the episode, is an outside actor. He doesn’t know who the Dyna Soldiers are, so after forcing the Kaiju Eugenecists to retreat, he promptly attacks the Dynazenon too. This puts the robot out of commission for most of the episode.
SSSS.DYNAZENON uses its title ‘bot being out of commission to center an episode on the characters’ relationships to each other. The Dyna Soldiers have been a team for a long time at this point, but the end of “What’s Our Reason for Coming Together?” is the first time they really feel like a family.
It takes the remainder of the episode to get to that. So a perhaps surprising amount of “What’s Our Reason for Coming Together?” is instead haunting and eerie. It takes place entirely over a single night, and many of its scenes are set during sundown or after dark.
In The Rubble
The first of these involves Koyomi, separated from his comrades and coming upon Inamoto’s husband, badly injured, his car under a pile of wreckage. Koyomi seems, briefly, tempted to leave the man to die. The small-talk dinner conversation from last week plays in his head, in yet another case of SSSS.DYNAZENON making excellent use of close-to-mic voice acting. He does, in fact, rescue him, but the moment of hesitation he displays haunts him for the rest of the episode.
Koyomi is a sort of character I have to admit having a weakness for. He struggles to do good because he knows it’s the right thing to do, but he does struggle. It’s not fun or cool for him, as a 33-year-old college drop out, to have to pilot a giant robot, despite the apparent appeal. His character arc has largely been slow and understated, in comparison to the more obvious one shared by Yume and Yomogi. In general, I appreciate it when SSSS.DYNAZENON takes the time to depict a bit of his inner life. He’s not an obvious hero, but he’s a worthy one, and I like that.
This comes back around, too. Later in the episode when he’s talking to Gauma, he admits that even though he saved Inamoto’s husband, he still hates him, admittedly irrationally, for marrying his high school crush. Gauma laughs it off, advising him to “live honestly” with his feelings. It’s a piece of advice the redhead attributes to the mysterious woman he’s mentioned several times, and a solid one at that.
Yume and Yomogi get a great showing in “What’s Our Reason for Coming Together?” too. In particular, a scene where Yume finally opens up to Yomogi while they’re hanging around a dock is one of the best of the series so far. It doesn’t have many moving parts; Yume is essentially just explaining to Yomogi how she feels about her sister’s death, something we, the audience, already know.
But the poor boy absolutely breaks down crying upon hearing it, and it’s hard not to feel for the both of them in that moment. It’s the rare piece of emotional acting in an anime that feels very un-dramatized, as opposed to the melodrama that the medium usually reaches for. Neither approach, of course, is superior to the other, but the former is done wonderfully here. I wouldn’t be surprised if it remains a fan favorite for a long time.
Dynazenon vs. Grid
Gridknight doesn’t just disappear after the opening act of “What’s Our Reason for Coming Together?” He (and an assistant) reappears throughout the episode. Knight (as he’s called here) and his assistant are very strongly implied, though not outright said, to be SSSS.GRIDMAN characters Anti (who became Gridknight near the end of that series) and Anosillus II. This raises a whole mess of questions just on its own, and we get some hints here but no outright answers to any of them.
Knight makes reference to a world “developing” both kaiju and resistance to them, all at once stating that this has happened to many worlds, and that this phenomenon isn’t unique. If you saw SSSS.GRIDMAN you knew that already, but it being restated here completely seals the connection between the two series. Whether this is meant to imply that SSSS.DYNAZENON, like SSSS.GRIDMAN, takes place entirely inside a “cyber world”, if it’s the same “cyber world”, and so on, isn’t presently clear. But the sheer amount of stuff this all implies gives fans (including yours truly) a lot to chew on.
Also worth at least briefly mentioning is the continually mysterious nature of Chise. Nothing has been explicitly pointed out about her, but her behavior is suspicious in a way that’s difficult to describe. Furthermore, she’s at one point shown to be riding a train in a shot that is almost identical to a similar depiction of Anosillus II in SSSS.GRIDMAN. I’m not necessarily saying that she, too, is a kaiju-person, but it wouldn’t be out of the question.
There’s also the mysterious possibly-organic thing Chise found. What it could possibly be is still anyone’s guess, but we’re definitely supposed to be thinking about it, at the very least.
Shocked to Life
Even the antagonists get a bit of shine in “What’s Our Reason for Coming Together?” Onija and Mujina have a sort of villainous heart-to-heart here. In particular, Onija basically spells out the group’s ultimate motive; kaiju aren’t for killing people, they’re for killing humanity. It’s admittedly not clear if he means that literally or metaphorically. Either way, it certainly puts the Kaiju Eugenicists’ upsetting name into perspective.
The two of them also spend the night recharging / strengthening the kaiju under their control, which eventually leads to the climax of the episode. That being a rematch between the Dynazenon, Gridknight, who is now aiding the Dyna Soldiers, and the KE’s pet lion-dragon sea monster.
What’s Our Reason for Coming Together?
And what a final few minutes it is. “What’s Our Reason for Coming Together?” has the best fight scene in the entirety of SSSS.DYNAZENON so far.
Seeing Gridknight and Dynazenon slug it out with the massive kaiju is the kind of thing that more nuanced language just can’t capture. It’s awesome, plain and simple. The Dyna Soldiers and Gridknight do, in fact, eventually defeat the creature. Hearing Yume jokingly call the Dynazenon’s shoulder cannon attack the “Something Beam” again after so many episodes is just a delight on top of a delight.
Knight and Second depart after the battle, leaving any future involvement in SSSS.DYNAZENON an open question. Either way, “What’s Our Reason for Coming Together?” is just an incredible episode top to bottom. It’s the kind of thing that, as a writer, I love covering, because this article could easily be three times this length and still not go over every little thing I liked.
But, for now, the future of The Dyna Soldiers is still uncertain. Four episodes remain.
Until next week, anime fans.