Well, not really. Still – it is getting pretty hairy in there. I can’t help but wonder at the total exclusion of Team C from the last few episodes – it’s possible that they’ve been spared Hoshika-san’s torture via “the green ones”, or that they’re simply being ignored because none of the central cast are in that group. But that would seem like an odd narrative choice, especially for a series that seems so meticulously plotted as Uchuu Kyoudai. I think there’s another shoe to drop when it comes to that group, and we’ll see it soon enough.
Any doubt that JAXA was behind all the weird happenings in the other two pods is pretty much dispelled now, though their exact methodology it the critical component still not revealed. In Team B things are definitely the uglier, with Yamato and Kenji’s pitched battle growing ever more intense and bitter. Yamato continues to try and cast suspicion on Kenji whenever possible, but Kenji finally strikes back at him this time. “You’re only four years younger than me, but you seem much younger. You’re too raw.” Damn, that’s cold – but at least Kenji had the decency to say it to Yamato in private. And in fact, even that cutting and sharp rejoinder was out of character for Kenji – a sign that Yamato’s jabs about his daughter are starting to get to him (something we see the hard evidence of as Kenji lies sleepless in the hallway).
We now know that it was Tomii who’s been setting off the alarm, of course – and now someone has removed the hands from the clock, just as someone in Team A starts to set off alarms in the middle of the night. The same sabotage in both teams is the proof of JAXA’s guilt – though whether the switching of the order has any significance I can’t say. It’s also interesting to speculate on who altered the clock for Team B, considering that Kenji was in the hallway on alarm duty – the implication is either that he did it himself, or that somehow someone from JAXA sneaked in during the night (seems unlikely).
One main difference between Team A and Team B is that there are multiple people attempting to put team unity first in the former case. In fact Serika and Mutta have exactly the same idea about how to do that, but Serika’s greater sensitivity to potential embarrassment stops her from saying “We can’t fix the clock but we can fix our friendship”, leaving the more uninhibited Mutta to shoulder the humiliation when the line goes over like a lead balloon. I found Fukuda’s cryptic response when Mutta confronted him – “If you can figure out why I did it, I’ll shake your hand” – quite puzzling. It seemed as if the working was quite intentional, though just what Fukuda was trying to say I’m not quite certain. Judging by Furuya’s low-key reaction when Mutta confronted him later with the fact that he knew who was responsible for the clock but didn’t want to say, it seems very likely that he’s the one who was told to set off the alarm – especially as we briefly see him in the pass-through room, presumably being given the alarm remote. For me the best part of the series continues to be Mutta’s delightfully skewed world-view – basking in the “sun” chirping like a skylark and remembering his naturalist missions with Hibito being this week’s prime example of “Mutta being Mutta”. Even here his obsessive nature is revealed in his reaction to Hibito’s (and Furuya’s) “A bird is a bird” attitude. All of these weird qualities make Mutta a bit of a square peg, but that obviously also help him cope with stressful situations (like the one he’s in right now).
All this is clearly having an effect, as stress levels are on the rise – which they would be anyway after ten days, even without Hoshika’s tactics. Nasuda’s surprise tells us that he didn’t order Hoshika to use the green ones when he did, though he presumably knew they would be used at some point. I sense all of this is inching towards a breaking point, especially with the food situation in Team A now becoming a problem. Serika is blaming herself for that, but I wonder if that too could be JAXA meddling – possibly in not giving the team enough food to last 14 days to begin with or somehow depleting the supply during the test. Perhaps it’s unrealistic that astronaut candidates wouldn’t have come up with a food-rationing plan on Day One, so if Serika indeed simply used too much food because of her own weakness for eating that doesn’t reflect well on her preparedness to be honest – I’d rather think that’s a JAXA plot too than think it was simply Serika to blame.