Simpler is sometimes better.
Sometimes I find myself thinking “Wow, that episode felt really short.” when the end credits roll, and it’s usually a compliment. But with Space Brothers it’s actually true – this week, when the 4-minute recap, racist cartoon theatre and OP/ED are factored in the actual content was only about 15 minutes. I don’t like to harp on this but this was one of the worst weeks yet, and it’s really starting to grate on my nerves. I don’t see this as a matter of source material running out – yet. There are still roughly 80 unadapted manga chapters to work through, which amounts to at least 40 eps worth of anime material.
The thing is, the content we did get was excellent – I just wish there were more of it. I love watching Mutta in his element, doing things Hibito for all his flair and charisma could never do. We’ve seen over and over that what makes Mutta special is that he’s a square peg – he doesn’t think the same way as the people around him, no matter who those people are. There’s a perverse side to the guy that comes out whenever he’s presented with a problem, because first, he doesn’t like unsolved problems (thank you, OCD – see the loose screw in the chair episode) and second, he doesn’t like to fall back on conventional solutions because he knows they prevent people from thinking of something that might be even better. As he says himself, people are always saying bold ideas are for someplace in the future – but when they were kids thinking about bold ideas for the future, the present is that future they were talking about.
Now of course, what we’ve seen is that more often than not this has caused Mutta problems in his life, because most of his superiors have been unable to get comfortable with his way of thinking. The fact that he’s not especially confident in himself doesn’t help either, but what he lacks in confidence he belies with belief in his ideas. I enjoyed the fact that the series really brought everything full circle here with the looping in of the Miracle Car Corp. days, and the flying car fiasco which opened the series 17 months ago. The fact is that idea, as presented, was probably impractical in context, visionary as it was – but it yielded useful results anyway, in the windshield technology. And now we’re seeing Mutta pull together all the people who were smart enough to appreciate his unorthodox was of thinking – his kouhai from MCC, Hoshika from JAXA – called in to help him draft the presentation that will determine his future.
As to that presentation, the idea is refreshingly simple – some might even argue too much so, given the time setting for the series. 3D mapping from JAXA’s Kaguya satellite (which saved Hibito’s life), the windshield tech from MCC (thrilled at the great publicity and thus willing to work cheap), and some retrofitting of the buggies’ suspension. Hell, Mutta even works in a plug for himself – all the modding can be done on-site on the moon by an astronaut who knows how to work on vehicles (gee, where would NASA find one?). Frankly, I don’t see a whole lot of reason this wouldn’t work tomorrow, assuming we had the capacity to go back to the moon tomorrow (which we don’t). For NASA’s specific problem it certainly seems to make sense. I think we may have just seen the blueprint for Mission Specialist Nanba Mutta’s first trip to the moon.