Trigger and Tsuburaya Productions' SSSS.Gridman has been a popular anime among fans this season for its many homages to tokusatsu and giant mech series, but now a certain scene has fans debating over whether or not its homage has become plagiarism.
Animator Masami Obari has accused Trigger of plagiarism for a scene that allegedly matches one he drew for the Gravion series, and without his consultation.
Animator Masami Obari is accusing Studio TRIGGER of plagarizing his work in Gridman. According to Obari, he wasn't consulted at all for a cut that's basically as 1-for-1 match for one he drew. pic.twitter.com/2T2CHMNyxC— E-Kon (@out_sall) November 25, 2018
As noted by @out_sall on Twitter, Obari has tweeted his concerns over a scene in Episode 8 of the series, in which a fully powered, fully combined Gridman defeats a kaiju with a mighty sword swing. Stating "this is a little bit too much..." (according to translation) on Twitter, Obari elaborated his concerns on Chinese social media site Weibo. When fans asked if they had his approval, Obari responded with "Nope, I thought it was a tribute as well but it turns out they are plagiarizing."
Noting scenes that referenced The Brave Express Might Game and most notably the Gravion series with the sword scene in Episode 8, Obari says he was not consulted and alleges that Trigger has stolen many of his frames. With as many homages the Gridman anime has, fans of the series are split as to whether or not this is plagiarism. But there is a distinct, clear cut difference between homage and copying.
@out_sall also shared a side by side comparison of the two scenes in question, and while one can argue that there's no tracing (as what has been the conventional definition of plagiarism in animation), it's hard not to see how much was taken from Obari's original scene.
The cut that Masami Obari is accusing Studio TRIGGER of plagarizing in Gridman. Original on the top. Watching it side by side, it's impossible to say that this wasn't an intentional copy. TRIGGER is known for homage, and this scandal raises questions about the distinction. pic.twitter.com/hP6XGSLjHC— E-Kon (@out_sall) November 25, 2018
SSSS.Gridman has had homages to other franchises throughout its run so far, but one can argue that this might have been a step too far. Regardless of the circumstances from which the scene was born (and whether it was out of respect for Obari's work), this does open up a new conversation in animation over who certain storyboarded scenes belong to.
If you're curious about SSSS.Gridman, the series currently can be found streaming on Crunchyroll and FunimationNOW (with English dub), and it is described as such:
"You're not alone. On any day, anywhere. Yuta Hibiki, a first-year high school student living in Tsutsujidai, one day wakes up to find he has lost his memories. He meets the "Hyper Agent Gridman" on his old computer, and Gridman says that Yuta has a mission he must fulfill, so Yuta sets out to find the meaning to those words and his memory loss. Yuta's friends, Sho Utsumi, Rikka Takarada, and Akane Shinjo, would always help him and spend their days with him. But, their tranquil days are suddenly and easily crushed with the appearance of kaiju."