Uchuu Kyoudai – 40

[HorribleSubs] Space Brothers - 40 [720p].mkv_snapshot_14.14_[2013.01.13_14.49.26] [HorribleSubs] Space Brothers - 40 [720p].mkv_snapshot_17.11_[2013.01.13_14.52.23] [HorribleSubs] Space Brothers - 40 [720p].mkv_snapshot_20.43_[2013.01.13_14.56.13]

That was an episode of Space Brothers quite unlike any other, for more reasons than one.

[HorribleSubs] Space Brothers - 40 [720p].mkv_snapshot_02.40_[2013.01.13_14.37.52]I confess I had a certain suspicion of this episode, as I felt the path taken to get here was somewhat contrived by the admittedly lofty standards Uchuu Kyoudai has set.  I’m not a huge fan of the dramatic cliffhanger as it was used in episode 39 (and 40, as it happens) and I think there are some logic holes that point to the likelihood that Koyama-sensei simply wanted Hibito and Damian isolated somewhere out of radio contact, forced to think and act on their own volition – though with memories of training by Brian Jay to help along the way.

[HorribleSubs] Space Brothers - 40 [720p].mkv_snapshot_03.40_[2013.01.13_14.38.53]But let’s side that aside as irrelevant now, since we’re where we are, and judge things from the point this episode started.  And despite what I might consider another handicap – the complete absence of Mutta for the first time in the series – it delivers a pretty darn gripping 22 minutes I have to admit.  22 minutes that felt like 5 (another SSY, in that sense) of Hibito in a bad way on the moon, trying to figure out a way to survive after the crash of the buggy into a deep crevasse – deep enough in fact to prevent radio contact with Houston or the moonbase.  The spirit of Brian Jay hangs over this episode in every way, from his words to the influence he had on the men now fighting for their lives on the moon.

[HorribleSubs] Space Brothers - 40 [720p].mkv_snapshot_05.37_[2013.01.13_14.40.50]The fact is that given as he was lucky enough to be both uninjured and to have his suit and oxygen tanks undamaged, survival for Hibito wouldn’t be a terribly big problem.  He has oxygen for 10 hours, and it will take only 2.5 or so for the others to fire up the “Beetle” and arrive at the location where he dropped out of contact.  He also has a flare to let them know his location once he’s given them enough time to arrive.  The problem is Damian – first in locating him (which Hibito only does after Damian sets off his own flare) and then in trying to save him.  Damian is injured, but far worse, his suit’s temperature regulation system is shot and he’s rapidly freezing to death.

[HorribleSubs] Space Brothers - 40 [720p].mkv_snapshot_06.33_[2013.01.13_14.41.45]While I might take issue with some of the specifics with which this scenario is enacted – it’s a bit heavy on dramatic convenience and plays into the occasional problem the series has in making Hibito out to be too much of a superman – there’s no denying the raw power of the drama playing out.  There’s surely few things as elementally gut-wrenching as watching astronauts struggle for their lives – it’s a reminder of just how hostile are the conditions under which they work, and the risks they take every day on a mission.  This crisis is all about raw practicality.  How long can one survive based on conditions, health and equipment?  There’s no way for Damian and Hibito to talk, so they use “voice writers” – a very cool device that plugs into their suits and acts as a voice recognition display.

[HorribleSubs] Space Brothers - 40 [720p].mkv_snapshot_07.21_[2013.01.13_14.42.33]Hanging over all this are the words of Brian Jay about triage – “Once you’ve decided you can’t make it, prioritize the other astronauts life.”  With the buggy unusable there seems no way to save Damian and he tells Hibito to save himself, but Hibito has (perhaps too conveniently) located the Gibson probe that was the object of their search in the first place, and he thinks he can use the intact battery from the dead buggy to power the intact but powerless Gibson with the dead battery, using it as a gurney to carry Damian to safety.  Is this realistic?  I’ll leave it to those more knowledgeable than me to decide – I can only say that the drama of the situation is very effective in an Apollo 13 sort of way.

[HorribleSubs] Space Brothers - 40 [720p].mkv_snapshot_08.40_[2013.01.13_14.43.52]We’re left with yet another cliffhanger – as Hibito climbs towards the idled Gibson the rock face breaks and he falls, puncturing his main O2 tank.  This gives him 80 minutes of life – not enough to make it until the others arrive.  I wonder if it would be feasible for Damian’s tank to be swapped out for Hibito’s under those conditions – if so, I expect Damian to suggest it.  All this is definitely a very big change for Uchuu Kyoudai, but I do think it’s important for this show specifically to take pains to remind viewers of just how horrifically dangerous space travel is.  There’s a tendency for the romance of the notion to win the day, and that’s not a flaw – Mutta and Hibito’s passion for the idea is communicated wonderfully and it’s very understandable.  At the same time I’m pleased Koyama takes pains to make sure the audience understands the other side of the picture as well, and although Hibito (and most likely Damian) will surely survive, bringing death so close to the orbit of a main character is a way to really make that other side hit home.

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  1. A

    I just finished watching this episode (twice). I wasn't 100% comfortable with the change starting in the last episode, but I have to admit that it's gripping…one cliffhanger after another. It's not the kind of drama that we normally see in Uchuu Kyoudai, but at least I don't feel it forced or overly illogical. Most importantly, my bond with the characters is well established, and that makes me care so much.

    One thing that I liked about this episode is how Hibito's thoughts, including his memory of Brian Jay and Damian's family, was shared with us…brilliant way for connecting with the viewers.

    I guess there may be a need to throw in some drama when the show is marching to the end. It's good that we are reminded about death, but I hope that it won't drag till the end — it will be too much to take, as I felt like I had made friends with the cast. I also want to know more about the progress with Mutta and his life as an astronaut. I wanted badly for this show to be an on-going one, but I will be a happy viewer if we know at the end that everyone lands at a good place and is progressing positively and happily.


  2. K

    I'm wondering if its possible for the 2 men to somehow share the oxygen supply? Can they somehow rig Hibito's suit up to his and they share his 10 hours of oxygen?

  3. A

    I feel like a big part of the writer is intention is to educate general public about the manned space exploration from the beginning (with the great story telling+character developments), thus putting Hibito into this crisis here. Not much really happened plot-wise in this episode, but we got to see nitty-gritty of the manned space exploration in this aspect. It's not really logic hole if the author intended to put them there all alone to explain further on the manned space exploration. Personally I don't find this as an issue at all since I am of course fascinated, but for those whom don't really care and just want to see the plot moves forward, it may not be their liking.

  4. A

    I hear many complain why they didn't have a detailed map of moon before driving off, etc. But without GPS, a map is limited and they don't have a GPS satellites on moon. Also I'm sure they don't have a detailed map yet since that's why they bothered to send the probe to explore in the first place. Lastly moon is not at all like earth; very different geography.

    Space exploration, on a place where it will kill you so many different ways, is incredibly dangerous. It'd be weird if something doesn't go wrong. And it's known fact that these craters on moon doesn't get sunlight at all, which is why it has iced water in there instead of it vaporizing into space (no atmosphere/air on moon). There are many deep craters on moon; I can totally see them falling into one by a mistake and the radio signal not reaching. It's definitely not logic hole if you think logically. It's more than plausible. If there is logic hole, it's these two cats not being mortally injured nor being dead after crashing since even slightest hole on their space suit would've killed them instantly. I'd say one of them up and running right away after being throw up in that manner is very convenient for the plot.

  5. K

    If Damien gives Hibito his oxygen that would allow Hibito to carry him again but it would only give them 40 mins to get back to the base or meet up with the others. That doesn't sound like its enough time.

    Karmafan's suggestion is ideal but I don't know if that's possible.

  6. B

    Hopefully we can get past this pretty soon and get back to Mutta. I see what they're trying to do with it and don't disagree with the idea but they also don't need to drag it out too long.

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