Uchuu Kyoudai – 21

[HorribleSubs] Space Brothers - 21 [720p].mkv_snapshot_05.05_[2012.08.19_10.28.31] [HorribleSubs] Space Brothers - 21 [720p].mkv_snapshot_08.12_[2012.08.19_10.31.39] [HorribleSubs] Space Brothers - 21 [720p].mkv_snapshot_11.11_[2012.08.19_10.34.52]

Man, they’re certainly drawing the suspense out on this damn selection…

[HorribleSubs] Space Brothers - 21 [720p].mkv_snapshot_02.05_[2012.08.19_10.26.11]One of the things I’ve noted about Space Brothers is how easy this show is to enjoy – in fact, for me it’s almost impossible not to enjoy it.  There are many reasons for that, and I think one of them is that it’s a series that can be enjoyed on many different levels.  It has sharp comedy, excellent character dynamics, suspense, science geekery, and unapologetic sentiment.  In watching this episode, I’m struck by just how humanistic the show is – like its main character, this is a series that genuinely has an affection for the human race. 

[HorribleSubs] Space Brothers - 21 [720p].mkv_snapshot_04.26_[2012.08.19_10.27.53]Have you ever been walking down a busy street crowded with people, or driving in heavy traffic, and thought just for a moment “Every person I can see has their own story.  They’re the center of their own universe.”  That’s how watching Furuya’s tale play out this week made me feel, and it’s a sensation I’ve often had with this series, especially since the third exam started.  Uchuu Kyoudai takes on only a small segment of the population too, and probably one that’s more interesting than average – but there’s a clear message here that everyone is important.  Everyone deserves a chance, and everyone has dreams – that what unites us is stronger than what divides us.  That was a strong part of the Group A dynamic, and that’s why it’s going to be so hard to say goodbye to the characters that don’t make it.

[HorribleSubs] Space Brothers - 21 [720p].mkv_snapshot_05.35_[2012.08.19_10.29.02]While we still don’t know who the six candidates selected by their teams are, we know a lot more than we did last week.  For starters, as I (and many others) speculated, the bus trip at the start of the test was a ruse – everyone is back at JAXA and there’s no “top-secret facility” (Nasuda certainly enjoyed the moment of the big reveal).  We know that Kenji wasn’t selected from Team B, and that Mizoguchi was (I’m guessing Teshima was the other).  We know that Mutta and Furuya lost at Jan-ken-pon, and that the winners came the group of Fukuda, Serika and Nitta.  And for me, the surprising thing we know is that the team selections really did matter – the surviving group isn’t limited to those six candidates, but each of them is guaranteed a spot.  I really expected that selection to be all about the process and not about the results, so it was a major surprise.

[HorribleSubs] Space Brothers - 21 [720p].mkv_snapshot_05.40_[2012.08.19_10.29.07]What’s more, if the preview is to be believed, only one additional candidate (Mutta did say “man”, though I don’t know if that’s significant) will be added to the final selection, the winners of which will go to Houston after a round of interviews with current astronauts.  There’s some harsh math here, if that’s true – at the very least we know Mutta, Kenji, Furuya and one of the other Team A candidates will be fighting for one spot, and given that this is his series, it’s hard to imagine it wouldn’t me Mutta (and you can bet Hoshika will be in the trenches fighting for him).  Fururya might end up working with Baba-san (Hirose Masashi) on spacesuit development (that was a terrific side story) and as Baba says, there’s always next time, and the final cuts would seem to have a leg up.  But for now, they won’t be astronauts – and in the context of the show, that’ll be a really sad thing.

[HorribleSubs] Space Brothers - 21 [720p].mkv_snapshot_05.46_[2012.08.19_10.29.13]As usual, in addition to the main story Space Brothers really did itself proud with the small touches that bring life to the show.  I loved the round of applause everyone received when they exited the pods, Kenji’s signed puzzle, and the humorous interplay surrounding Ka-pe and her “acorn soup” – which ended up plopped into Mutta’s tea – was beautifully done comedy, as was the bit with Mutta prettying his hair in the restaurant window (the obaa-san applauding when his “date” showed up was my favorite moment”).  This series may not bring much flash, but it sure has substance – and it’s one I can definitely rely on the entertain me, make me laugh, and move me pretty much every week.

[HorribleSubs] Space Brothers - 21 [720p].mkv_snapshot_06.33_[2012.08.19_10.30.00] [HorribleSubs] Space Brothers - 21 [720p].mkv_snapshot_07.47_[2012.08.19_10.31.14] [HorribleSubs] Space Brothers - 21 [720p].mkv_snapshot_08.38_[2012.08.19_10.32.05]
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  1. K

    "One of the things I’ve noted about Space Brothers is how easy this show is to enjoy – in fact, for me it’s almost impossible not to enjoy it."
    Oh, so true. And as always, I enjoyed this show to the fullest. Mutta's delusions are killing me, also the acorn soup.
    I think one of the many strenghts of this show is that it is actually aware of its own medium and it is using it in a very competent way – to tell a story through pictures and ambiance (BGM etc) alone and not having to rely on any forced explanation (which also means they are cutting the viewer's intellect and imagination some slack, too). I mean, the scene where Mutta is staring at the moon right after the candidats are released tells you so much about his character (and also about Hoshika-san, watching Mutta and projecting his own ambitions into him), better than any voice-over narration could do. This is also the case for the little background details, like the obaa-san applauding for Muttas date etc. And then again, they have these little explanation parts, like Fururya "background"-story etc, which do the trick in a different way…what I'm possibly trying to say here is, that this show is just doing so many things, right, it can't be legal!

    And as always, I am baffled at how I'm messing up people sizes in Manga and Anime…really, 158cm were the problem? I thought Fururya was at least at 160cm…

  2. t

    The old couple watching Mutta preening is one of the funniest things I've seen this season!

  3. D

    One of the things I love about this show is its character development. Mutta is such a wonderfully goofy everyman who's very easy to relate to, but Furuya who started off as an annoying antagonist until you see his backstory about wanting to be an astronaut but not able to because of his short stature

    There didn't seem to be any unlikeable characters, just characters we didn't know enough about yet.

  4. N

    the fact that the inner-group selection actually did matter, and in fact mattered big time (everyone selected are guaranteed, all but one unselected go home) really surprised me at first, but then… it actually makes a lot of sense.
    A few years back I helped plan an experiment in psychology that was supposed to measure how different events affect people’s generosity. Examinees were given some cash in exchange for reading different texts, than asked if they were willing to donate the money they were given to charity. So as we were coming up with the experiment, I was thinking, suppose someone donates what he earned after reading a really depressive text about war orphans or something, do we actually take the money from him or do we give it back at the end? After all, we’re only interested in the decision he makes at that moment – whether it is actually carried out ‘in the real world’ isn’t part of the experiment. It didn’t seem fair, to me, that some examinees will end up with an extra 20$ while others, who went through the same ordeal, would not.
    So that was my opinion, but I was overruled. I understood, eventually, that if I would have given the money back and say something like ‘here dude, we were really only manipulating you, so take this money and sleep on it and if tomorrow you still feel like giving it to charity, than feel free to do so’, I’d be making a mockery of the whole thing – perhaps not scientifically, but just about on every other level. And here is where the analogy connects; playing rock-paper-scissors would have been cheating the Kobayashi Maru, if the guys at JAXA didn’t take the results dead serious. If the entire B team were to go on to become astronauts, or if JAXA really did ignore the inner-group selection results (concentrating, instead, on how wonderful it was for Mutta to suggest it) then that would have been a mockery of the entire process. The teams were given a difficult task and difficult choices, and those choices matter, just like choices made in the depths of space would matter. And you can’t expect some dues ex machina ending just because you came up with a selection process that is wholesome and undiscriminating.

  5. A

    This show is the ultimate slice-of-life.

  6. B

    I mean I really can't see Mutta not moving on, which means that if there is really only 1 additional person it means Kenji is definitely out, which does suck. I would guess that Serika was one of the rock paper scissors winners, it would seem weird for both her and Kenji to fail out at the same time. But as to who the second winner from that group is, I won't speculate.

    Did anyone else catch the way Serika and Mutta both immediately looked at each other then looked away when the JAXA people were applauding them? Chou kawaii. I'm shipping this shit so hard right now.

  7. N

    I've just figured out that Nitta must have been one of the two winners, because we haven't had any back story to him yet. the alternative, him leaving the show without ever revealing anything about himself, is inconceivable for this show.

  8. Unlike the entire C Team? 😉

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