Uchuu Kyoudai – 35

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Truth be told, I’m a little worried about where Space Brothers is headed from here.

[HorribleSubs]_Space_Brothers_-_35_[720p].mkv_snapshot_00.13_[2012.12.02_21.12.14]This is without question one of my favorite shows of 2012, but when your favorite moment of the episode is the sign-off from Sanpei Yuuko after the preview (“Nan ja kore??”), you know it wasn’t one of your favorites.  I’m all for long series that take their time with character development and storytelling, but as an audience, I think we’ve paid our dues with Mutta enough to find out what’s going on with him without suffering through an extended torture session first.

[HorribleSubs]_Space_Brothers_-_35_[720p].mkv_snapshot_00.35_[2012.12.02_21.12.36]This was a fine (though certainly not great) episode on its own terms, but there are issues both with content and context that simply didn’t work for me.  In simplest terms, I found the ep a little boring because, to be honest, Kenji isn’t the most exciting character in the world.  To be blunt, he’s too perfect – nice guy, nice wife, great Dad, straight shooter, hunk.  Yeah, I get it – I like Makabe fine, and I’m sure he’d be a great guy to work with.  But dynamic he isn’t, and what’s more, it was such a foregone conclusion that he’d pass the exam that what was supposed to be a suspenseful buildup felt rather like a long slog through flashbacks that had their moments, but didn’t really add anything to our picture of the man.  And I could have done without the fake-out at the end, which was quite predictable and utterly unconvincing.  Usually, Uchuu Kyoudai respects the audience a little more than that.

[HorribleSubs]_Space_Brothers_-_35_[720p].mkv_snapshot_03.03_[2012.12.02_21.15.15]What’s more, it appears as if we’re looking at at least one more week of milking the big reveal, as we’re likely to get an entire ep devoted to Serika’s phone call in episode 36 with no Mutta conclusion.  What will follow – entire eps on Nitta and Mizoguchi?  I’m not prepared to rule anything out at this point, and the scenario I started worrying about with last week’s preview appears to be coming to pass.  It’s not that I don’t care about these characters, but this is Mutta’s story and it feels to me as if it’s time for Mutta to take the starring role in it.

[HorribleSubs]_Space_Brothers_-_35_[720p].mkv_snapshot_03.52_[2012.12.02_21.16.05]More and more what worries me is that we’re looking at an adaptation that will end – more or less – with Mutta walking in the door for his first day on the job with JAXA.  I hope not but with little more than a cour left and no conclusion to the announcement arc for at least two more weeks, it’s s possibility that can’t be dismissed.  It’s not so much that it’s suspenseful – it’s not impossible that Mutta won’t make it but it would certainly be anti-climactic – but that for me the emotional payoff for all this development will be severely curtailed if we never get the chance to see Mutta living out the dream, at least for a while.  I’ve staunchly defended the choices Watanabe-sensei has made with the pacing (and I’m assuming he’s mostly following the manga faithfully) but the direction they’ve chosen for this arc seems quite unwise to me.  Perhaps time will prove me wrong, but at the moment I’m not especially looking forward to next week’s ep – and this is probably the first time I can say that about this series.

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14 comments

  1. K

    Haven't watched the episode yet (although I think in this case the result is not much of a spoiler lol).

    Honestly I think flashbacks like this are fine. And I think it is actually good to learn more about the other characters, but this should have happened AFTER all the results were announced. It's just silly to drag this out.

  2. K

    And at this point I do kind of expect the series to end with Mutta just starting his training as an astronaut. I mean with the series pace I don't see how they can realistically have Mutta go into space.

    Look how long it took Hibito to get into space and he had already passed the exam at the start of the series.

    The only other thing I can think of is the series skips ahead at the very end and shows us Mutta in space, but I expect fans will have to read the manga if they want more then that.

  3. I'd be satisfied even with some time spent with Mutta going through astronaut training – I never realistically expected the anime to get past that. But now I'm not sure we'e going to get it.

  4. D

    Hmmm, I too find this episode not that necessary and I am as big as a fan of this show as anyone.

    Aren't they supposed to pick 5 people out 9? So I too am afraid that they will just milk next 4 weeks in a similar fashion as this week, going back to each chosen person's background before finally allowing Mutta to do some silly thing for 18 minutes for 5th episode and then tell him he passes. I shudder at the notion and likelihood of this… Considering it's forgone conclusion that they will get into Serika's background, I fully expect they will do the same for Nitta and Mizoguchi (my pick for the 5th and last selection; I don't like his character particularly, but other than him, it's some old geezer, two uninteresting women. Besides this guy REALLY wants this. Like REALLY REALLY wants it. well better give it to him then since they don't want to be stabbed in the eyes~~). I'm actually really convinced that they will do one on Mizoguchi to try to give his character a better light as he's like the closest thing this show has a villain. Sigh~.

    Enzo, has the anime caught up to the movie's plot yet? I don't know when movie start to deviate from the manga's plot since it would have to end much sooner, but I'd think the anime is pretty close to the movie's end point, at least 80-90% there.

  5. A

    Maybe I have fallen in love with this show since the start, I have softened myself and not putting my skeptical lens on as I would towards other shows…I enjoyed watching this episode. Perhaps we all expected what this episode would be about and that Kenji for sure would be chosen, I simply sat back and looked at how a story we knew would be told — and it didn't disappoint as in other episodes of Uchuu Kyoudai.

    There are two things that I got out of this episode — again, not new discoveries. The external environment doesn't affect us — what matters is how we look at the surroundings. Kenji's routine of life didn't change before and after he sent in his application — his attitude to life changed completely. There's an external factor for his change — a chance to chase after your dream, but it is a good reminder to me that life can be good depending on how we look at it and what we make of it, whether or not there is an external factor.

    The second thing that I got out is the relationship and the roles that Kenji and Yuki play — it's darn traditional Japanese… Yuki still call her husband Ken-Chan…not straight first name as in Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun. Yuki must love Ken-Chan to death — she went with every decision that Ken-Chan made…happily. She had to play the role who suggested Ken-Chan to apply and supported him…happily…although she would be the one who would pay the most cost. As the wife, this is the role that she plays, and she needs to play it…happily. This probably is only the skeptical moment that I had — Yuki has no life of her own — but then I thought, "this show is made in Japan, and what's portrayed here is a very traditional Japanese man." I guess I should appreciate other culture than imposing mine when appreciating the show.

    ~Ronbb

  6. J

    So being a housewife and raising a child full time even if one chooses to do so is not having a life of her own, eh? Well damn, USA is a binder full of women who have no life of their own, especially among rich ones who can afford to do so (Ann Romney comes to mind…). Have you thought that perhaps some folks don't work in jobs if they can afford to do so; not having a professional job=no life of his/her own is a very narrow minded view, my friend.

  7. A

    This is not what I meant and didn't mention anything about having a professional job or not, but take it this way as you wish. By the way, I am not from the USA, so I am thinking that you're jumping to conclusion too quickly, my friend.

    ~Ronbb

  8. A

    OK, so on the one hand it's padding, but on the other hand I thought this episode gave us a much deeper insight into Kenji's character than we've ever had before, both his background story and his motivation.

    And while it looks like next week will be Serika's background story and motivation, I suspect they won't be doing this for ALL the successful candidates!

  9. K

    I could not have said it better Enzo. I love this series but for sure they are ssstttrrreeetttccchhhiiinnnggg things out way too much.

  10. T

    I used to like this series, but I dropped it about 10 episodes ago. I'm sorry, I know it's good, but it just moves way too slowly. The test part was excellent, but beyond that it's just hard to find the show compelling. I felt like the entire series could have been better if they just sped up the story a bit.

  11. J

    Easy come easy go, as far as this episode goes, it's all preference.
    I thought it was a good episode. Yeah, Kenji is "perfect" but this episode was pretty good at portraying the hidden dissapointment kenji kept to himself. So to other people, he's perfect: has a good job, wife, kid, stable life. It's been made pretty clear that Kenji, Mutta, and Serika are all pretty much equally important. It's not surprising that they would give more meaning to why they became astronauts to begin with.

    There's no need to worry about the direction. This part of the story only needs to be told once, once it's said and done, the story can start looking forward.

  12. B

    Well I kind of agree that pacing wise this was maybe not the best time for these flashbacks. But at the end of the day I am happy to learn more about Kenji and look forward to learning more about Serika next week. I just hope they don't drag it out longer than that, for me Kenji and Serika are the only two supporting characters who are important enough to justify this treatment. Let's learn more about Serika, and then let's get back to Mutta, he is the main character after all.

  13. A

    I loved the episode… but at the same time, it *is* padding… and I feel like they'd better get a move on, here. We're three quarters through the series – over eleven hours of screen time – and Hibito has only just made it to the moon… Mutta is still waiting to see if he's passed the exam. Why on earth are they dawdling? We've had entire episodes dedicated to a missing dog, a storm, a phone call, a lawn mower… Don't get me wrong… I love slow paced stories and I love spending time in the characters' world getting to know them and delighting in the mundane… I am simply starting to worry that either we're going to suddenly launch into fast-forward storytelling in four or five episodes, or we're going to reach the end of the series with "Nanba Mutta, this is JAXA… You've been selected. Please report for training next week!" / "Oh wow, I did it!" ***THE END***

    I honestly doubt that we'd be going to this much trouble if we weren't going to get some major Mutta-and-Hibito-in-Space-doing-Astronaut-things episodes… at the same time, it DOES massively concern me that we've got fifteen episodes left and we're still essentially ESTABLISHING the story.

    Oh, well… we'll see.

    I wonder if they're planning to push this beyond 50 episodes…?

  14. It does seem possible. The manga had a phenomenal year and the movie was a huge success – why not milk the franchise while the time is right?

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