Uchuu Kyoudai – 41

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Intense and riveting is probably a pretty good start in describing this episode of Uchuu Kyoudai.

[HorribleSubs]_Space_Brothers_-_41_[720p].mkv_snapshot_03.30_[2013.01.20_19.42.55]I’ll say again what I said after last week – this was 22 minutes that felt like 5.  This is not the Space Brothers I’m used to seeing, but it’s compelling and masterfully done – it’s impossible for me not to be reminded of the way I felt in watching Apollo 13.  That’s a good movie, to be sure, but probably not as good as most movies would have to be to get the kind of emotional response from the audience that it did.  Putting astronauts in danger is pretty low-hanging fruit from a dramatic standpoint, now as then, and you’d have to be a pretty cold fish not to be nail-biting as the events of this episode played out.  There’s nothing wrong with that, but I’m glad this isn’t the sort of drama Space Brothers shoots for all the time, because the subtler charms of most of the first 40 episodes are much harder to pull off.

[HorribleSubs]_Space_Brothers_-_41_[720p].mkv_snapshot_05.32_[2013.01.20_19.45.21]What’s clear here – as in Apollo 13 – is that when shit goes down on a manned space mission, there are a mountain of circumstances stacked against a happy resolution.  The margin of error on the moon is razor-thin to begin with, and when something goes wrong (like a buggy crashing into a ravine) it drops effectively to zero.  Once the crash happened pretty much everything had to go right for both Hibito and Damian to survive, and that definitely hasn’t been the case.  Once Damian’s suit was damaged, that would most likely have been the end of him – in real-life, miracles like finding the Gibson probe just at the moment of desperation don’t happen too often.  Add to that Hibito crashing to the ground and puncturing his main oxygen tank and it’s really lights-out – but this is manga, not real-life, and Hibito is a main character. 

[HorribleSubs]_Space_Brothers_-_41_[720p].mkv_snapshot_06.43_[2013.01.20_19.46.32]There are several interesting elements at play in the rescue attempt.  As in reality it’s all hands on deck – everyone with any knowledge of moon missions is called in to brainstorm, and JAXA pitches in by sending Houston a 3D relief map of the area where the buggy dropped from contact.  It’s Azuma who comes up with the suggestion that I suspect will save the day – send every unmanned probe within range to the crash site as quickly as possible, regardless of whether it seems as if it’s be helpful or not.  It’s not an obvious move but it’s one that makes perfect sense, and there’s one particular unmanned craft that looms especially important.

[HorribleSubs]_Space_Brothers_-_41_[720p].mkv_snapshot_07.16_[2013.01.20_19.47.07]We also see a bit of an issue with following orders, and the impact that could have on survival.  As Eddie Jay watches on from the International Space Station, praying that his colleagues won’t meet the same fate as his brother, Hibito decides to go ahead with his bold plan despite his accident.  This means strapping Damian – who’s fading quickly – to Gibson and trying to find a way out of the crater.  This presents a problem because astronauts are supposed to stay put and wait for rescue – and Damian’s flare has established the location of at least one survivor and thus the logical place to head for.  Mutta has arrived at JAXA HQ and, having seen the 3D map, asks that Hoshika-san tell NASA to send the Beetle to a spot some 22 KM away from the flare site, where the slope is less severe, because he knows his brother and he figures Hibito isn’t the type to sit tight and wait for rescue.  He’s right, but Houston refuses to go along – and if it were me, I’d have done the same thing.  Mutta’s instinct simply isn’t a good enough basis upon which to ignore the logical move – send the probe to where you know at least one astronaut was alive, and waiting for rescue.

[HorribleSubs]_Space_Brothers_-_41_[720p].mkv_snapshot_07.32_[2013.01.20_19.47.22]I wondered last week whether it was possible to switch out the astronauts O2 tanks, and it turns out the answer is no (Damian regretfully thinks to himself that he wishes it were).  If that had been the case it certainly would have made for an interesting decision on Hibito’s part, but as things stand I suspect he’s going to encounter the “Brian 3” oxygen generator that NASA sent over, and that will prove his life-saver.  With his tank running out, without the Brian 3 the tables would have been turned – it would be time to prioritize Damian’s survival as long as he was still alive.  That would mean Hibito trying to get Damian to sunlight even if there were no chance that the Beetle would arrive in time for him, and giving Damian his flare before his oxygen ran out.  As it stands the Brian 3 will likely be the main character armor, but I suppose there’s an outside chance Damian might not make it – though if I were a betting man, I’d wager that he’s going to be rescued in time as well.

[HorribleSubs]_Space_Brothers_-_41_[720p].mkv_snapshot_07.55_[2013.01.20_19.47.45]Barring a miraculous announcement of a second season or an extension of this one (the manga is certainly doing well enough) it now appears possible that this arc will prove the final one of the series.  I think it would be a real shame if we never got the chance to see Mutta actually live the life of an astronaut for a while – if not on an actual mission, then at least through some hard-core training.  After suffering through so much with him for so many episodes, I think that’s a reward both the character and the audience deserve.  As riveting as these last two episodes have been, I’m hopeful that this crisis will be wrapped up in the next episode or two so we can have an ending that’s more thematically in tune with the rest of the series.

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[HorribleSubs]_Space_Brothers_-_41_[720p].mkv_snapshot_13.07_[2013.01.20_19.52.57] [HorribleSubs]_Space_Brothers_-_41_[720p].mkv_snapshot_13.29_[2013.01.20_19.53.19] [HorribleSubs]_Space_Brothers_-_41_[720p].mkv_snapshot_13.43_[2013.01.20_19.53.33]
[HorribleSubs]_Space_Brothers_-_41_[720p].mkv_snapshot_15.24_[2013.01.20_19.55.14] [HorribleSubs]_Space_Brothers_-_41_[720p].mkv_snapshot_15.48_[2013.01.20_19.55.38] [HorribleSubs]_Space_Brothers_-_41_[720p].mkv_snapshot_16.51_[2013.01.20_19.56.41]
[HorribleSubs]_Space_Brothers_-_41_[720p].mkv_snapshot_17.10_[2013.01.20_19.57.00] [HorribleSubs]_Space_Brothers_-_41_[720p].mkv_snapshot_17.37_[2013.01.20_19.57.27] [HorribleSubs]_Space_Brothers_-_41_[720p].mkv_snapshot_19.17_[2013.01.20_19.59.08]
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  1. I

    When I become a millionaire, I'm not going to bother with the lambos and models. Instead I'm going to make a list of all the animes that ended without a conclusion and pay to have them finished.

    How much would it cost to buy A-1 or Madhouse?

  2. I've often thought the same thing. Wouldn't it be nice if Sergey Brin was a huge anime fan? He could easily fund every great series we dream of seeing continued without even breaking into his breakfast money.

  3. D

    Well, Mutta isn't worried so he's not praying for Hibito.
    On the other hand, I AM worried that we won't be able to see more of Mutta and Hibito, only a dozen or thereabout weeks left…

    Please please, let there be a second season.

  4. A

    Enzo, I share your view how the slow building drama leading up to Mutta's acceptance to Jaxa has been the best, but at some point, they had to move to actual space exploration since this anime/manga is about that. So obviously Apollo 13 thing would and should come into mind. I don't see how they could've avoided that comparison when depicting the space mission. I don't see how they could've done the subtle charm thing especially it doesn't involve Mutta, but Hibito (not the main character).

  5. K

    I'm starting to get worried that anime makers are slowly evolving by choosing a series to animate more on how much $$$ it will make and less about doing a good job art/quality wise. What I mean is that we seem to be getting overloaded with fanboy otaku moeblob series's and less about good well made interesting series.

    If a series like this does NOT make a lot of money for the studio and typical moe trash makes good money they will all crank out the moe blob teen harem comedies. I can't remember a season that has so few good quality new shows for me to watch.

    I'm watching 31 series this season and 19 of them are either continuations of previous series or multiple cours of one I'm already watching (Magi, Naruto Shippuden, Psycho Pass). I usually watch about 40-45 series a season.

    Also whats the deal with so many shows that are 3-7 mins long? Thats another bad trend I don't like.

  6. A

    Wow, Karmafan…40-45 series a season…this is amazing. Same here although I don't watch as many. I just did the count — I am only picking up 5 new shows this season comparing to normally 10 new a season in the past… This is not good, and the weirdest thing is that we haven't heard any good things about Spring yet…

    Well, as sad as it seems, I am hoping that the industry will continue reinvesting in research and training — for established staff and up-and-coming ones to have room to explore and grow, and studios to experiment new things, new markets and new technologies. I guess they are all shrewd businessmen — they won't want the industry to decline and shrink but will keep innovating. That's just my wishful thought :).


  7. K

    America has done the same thing with reality shows. They are much cheaper to make and highly profitable so now we are overloaded with singing competitions/crapola and most good series end up going to a cable channel.

  8. A

    Well, that's true…I forgot how long I haven't watched a reality show — it completely slipped my mind that it exists.


  9. A

    Oh, thank you for bringing Mutta back — even though it's not even a minute, his charm still shined. I don't know if it meant for anything, but there were a few shots on Azuma when NAZA rejected Mutta's suggestion — I am wondering if in the next episode Azuma would step in and convince NAZA to agree with Mutta. Hibito would then arrive to sunlight and meet Brian 3 for oxygen refill while igniting his flare letting NAZA know of their new location. Just a thought…and probably I wanted this arc to end sooner. Not that I don't like it, I selfishly want the same old Uchuu Kyoudai to come back before saying good-bye…

    Talking about this arc, I guess in real life, Hibito may not be considered as a good astronaut when teamwork and following procedures are so much called for in this business — like soldiers combating in a war. However, this is not real like, like Enzo said. We actually haven't seen a lot of Hibito, and I guess we may need an arc — if not as tightly drummed as this one — dedicated to him. It's Uchuu Kyoudai at the end of the day. The only thing is that I probably would like to see some flaws — that's only human — than another telling of what a super hero Hibito is… Well, even when Hibito would come out as the hero, this would only represent a tiny dent in my heart for this show.

    As for the ending, yes, I would love to see Mutta the astronaut in action — and it's fine to see him in training simulations. This will be a nice closure to the series. I wouldn't mind bringing Kenji and Serika-chan back. Hibito is great — I do like him — but I have hung out with Mutta, Kenji and Serika-chan…and others…for the last three cours. The bond is there. Anyway, if only Uchuu Kyoudai were an on-going series…


  10. K

    I just want to see Mutta and Serika become a couple before this show ends.

  11. A

    That's just silly, Karmafan. Haven't you already watched couples hooking up 100 times in anime? Wouldn't the hooking up at some point becomes not the most important thing when you're watching? This sort of thinking irritates me. I know it's hard, but do set the bar a little higher than this, will ya?

  12. A

    @Karmafan: lol…that would be lovely, and if we can hope…why not.

    I remember Enzo watched the live-action…wondering where it ended or if the live-action covered beyond what we have shown in anime…


  13. K

    I'm curious as to why Hibito is running with the probe, instead of riding on it. Running will deplete his oxygen supply much more quickly. There seems to be enough room for him to somehow hang on to the probe, so I don't see why he has to waste his precious oxygen.

  14. K

    If he stands on the probe he can't see whats in front of it. Probably he has to steer it (with the remote control) and wants to see where it is going.

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