Uchuu Kyoudai – 12

[HorribleSubs] Space Brothers - 12 [720p].mkv_snapshot_08.20_[2012.06.17_11.55.37] [HorribleSubs] Space Brothers - 12 [720p].mkv_snapshot_10.09_[2012.06.17_11.57.25] [HorribleSubs] Space Brothers - 12 [720p].mkv_snapshot_21.19_[2012.06.17_12.09.19]

If “less is more” is your mantra, I imagine this episode of Space Brothers was right up your alley.

I’m very pleased that Uchuu Kyoudai seems to be drawing a very good audience in it’s Sunday morning timeslot (the manga is also selling phenomenally well) but I’m quite sure it’s drawing a non-typical anime audience.  I wouldn’t think either kids or otaku would be the main demographic here – there’s plenty for kids to enjoy, but the subtlety and bittersweet notes are surely targeted at adults.  It’s an undeniably slow mover, usually a death knell for anime popularity, but I appreciate the way it takes its time to savor the small moments in life that make it worth living.

Nanba Mutta is, among other things, a very good liar.  Even then I knew damn well he’d looked at the dashboard clock last week (why bother to animate it otherwise) he almost had me convinced with his elaborate cover story.  The air abacus was a nice touch, but it’s not to hard to believe that an auto designer would have noticed such things as engine revs and speed.  “Ozzyitis” or not, Nanba seems to be on a bit of a lucky streak, and whether JAXA knows the true reason why he knew the time was 3 Am or not, the point for me is that he still knew it either way.  It was his crush on Serika that (mostly) was the cause of his making up a story, but it was his obsessive curiosity that caused him to notice the clock – just as it caused him to notice and fiddle with the loose screw in the chair (not surprising, really, that Serika and Kenji were the other two to notice).

If any of the other candidates are JAXA plants they sure aren’t acting like it, and the internal monologues we’re privy to seem to suggest that everyone is legitimately in this to win.  Team A seems to consists of the odd socks in the load, big personalities that don’t quite blend in.  Team B looks very professional and on-point – though it was Tomii’s oddball Rubik’s Cube habit that allowed him to calculate the time using a method almost as impressive as the one Mutta made up – and Team C is still pretty much a mystery at this point.  Every team has someone thinking ahead to the endgame already, which I’m not sure is such a good idea this early in the process.  Team A seems the most laid-back about it, which will probably serve them well in the end.

Mostly this was an episode to flesh out Serika’s character a little more.  She’s quite the charmer in her odd way.  I loved the way she drew a rice bowl on her journal to try and stem her hunger – the same hunger were kept her stomach growling all night, which the others blamed on Mutta (and I notice she didn’t own up to it the next day).  I’m not sure the further background on her name and relationship with her father (Takashina Toshitsogu) was strictly necessary to the story in any way, but it’s the sort of luxury only a long series can indulge in – just that little bit of extra color that makes the character seem more real.  It also serves to strengthen the bond between she and Mutta, although him repeatedly reminding her of her father might not be the healthiest basis around which to build a romantic relationship.  That prospect continues to hang over the exam, because honestly, I can only thing romantic feelings between two candidates  – or astronauts – can only be a problem.  At the very least it should serve to guarantee than they never serve on the same mission, should both of them be selected.  Well – it was still pretty hilarious when Mutta’s afro did the wave when she said he could call her “Serika”…

And that was your episode – Mutta’s lie, Serika’s name, stomach noises, making breakfast.  It’s a lot like the Exam Arc in Hunter X Hunter if Netero weren’t quite as much a sadistic old bastard – just a little sadistic.  This whole exam is obviously about relationship dynamics, and who might be best suited to survive being confined with each other without going crazy.  If these guys weren’t materially qualified they wouldn’t be here, though obviously those qualifications are varied (chimp researcher, sports medicine expert, mechanical engineer, doctor, etc.).  It’s small stuff that will make the difference – stuff like Mutta’s obsession with trivial details, and Kenji’s calm demeanor and analytical detachment.  Next week should be a good one, as we’re going to have an appearance (as himself) by the real-life Noguchi Souichi, a JAXA astronaut who’s been both a shuttle crew member and visited the International Space Station.

[HorribleSubs] Space Brothers - 12 [720p].mkv_snapshot_08.13_[2012.06.17_11.55.29] [HorribleSubs] Space Brothers - 12 [720p].mkv_snapshot_09.18_[2012.06.17_11.56.35] [HorribleSubs] Space Brothers - 12 [720p].mkv_snapshot_10.13_[2012.06.17_11.57.29]
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[HorribleSubs] Space Brothers - 12 [720p].mkv_snapshot_13.17_[2012.06.17_12.00.34] [HorribleSubs] Space Brothers - 12 [720p].mkv_snapshot_13.33_[2012.06.17_12.00.49] [HorribleSubs] Space Brothers - 12 [720p].mkv_snapshot_14.46_[2012.06.17_12.02.02]
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[HorribleSubs] Space Brothers - 12 [720p].mkv_snapshot_17.12_[2012.06.17_12.04.28] [HorribleSubs] Space Brothers - 12 [720p].mkv_snapshot_18.04_[2012.06.17_12.06.04] [HorribleSubs] Space Brothers - 12 [720p].mkv_snapshot_18.18_[2012.06.17_12.06.18]
[HorribleSubs] Space Brothers - 12 [720p].mkv_snapshot_20.03_[2012.06.17_12.08.03] [HorribleSubs] Space Brothers - 12 [720p].mkv_snapshot_20.23_[2012.06.17_12.08.23] [HorribleSubs] Space Brothers - 12 [720p].mkv_snapshot_20.44_[2012.06.17_12.08.44]
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10 comments

  1. s

    Typo in the 2nd sentence of 3rd paragraph: …he almost had be convinced with his elaborate cover story.

    "he" should be "me".

  2. A

    Is it me or the voices of Mutta and Kenji weren't made by the same voice actors as before?
    Anyway for me, this episode was kinda a deception, you know, it let me a "meh" impression. Hope the pace will be faster in next.

  3. N

    I think Mutta has crossed the line with his lies, this time. What he did in press conference was one thing, and I can't blame him for wanting to look good in front of the cameras, but lying to your teammates like that is quite a different matter in my book. If he's going to make a habit of munchhausening his way into Jaxa, then I'm afraid I will lose sympathy with him :

  4. J

    As you could tell, he was ashamed of himself too haha

    it's all ozzy's fault :

  5. f

    Anybody else noticed production quality drop in this ep? The drawing and moving images (such as, the way mouth and eyes moving from frame to frame on faces) felt very amateurish. It looked to me, they're missing half of frames they usually had and thus the mouths & eyes were jumping too unnaturally in transition. I never felt the same shortcoming from previous 11 episodes. It almost felt like a student youtube clip and not the professional production it should be.

    Uchuu Kyoudai never was Fate/zero, but it was quite distracting and took me a while to get used to it for me this week…. I will try to go back to previous episodes and re-examine some of them, but seeing how no one else mentions this, maybe it's just my sharp eyes!

  6. f

    hmmmm, on the 2nd thought, maybe Uchuu Kyoudai's production quality has ALWAYS been bad and I just didn't notice until now…. It's just that there were happened to be more noticeable inconsistencies in drawing and such in this ep particular that bothered me.

  7. A

    I really enjoyed this episodes. I love these sort of team exercises blended with psychological battles. The slow pace suits me fine – I imagine if it were any faster we'd lose any sort of characterisation of the minor characters and I enjoy seeing those. In each group a natural leader seems to be developing (A: moustache guy, B: Kenji), and surprisingly in C it's the old guy.

    It's true Mutta was dishonest this week, but he also showed off his talents in order to pull it off: super observant (spying the odometer or clock – it's the same really), very quick mental maths (to calculate the distance and required speed in reverse), smooth liar.

  8. A

    I thought I saw Guy sensei for a moment :)

  9. B

    Please, please. Mutta isn't a "good liar", he's a "skilled diplomat". When applying to be an astronaut it's important to make even your weaknesses seem like strengths!

    Also, even though Serika let him take the blame for the stomach growling, since he lied about the odometer thing just to impress her I think they're even ;).

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