“They can’t possibly be playing up a romance angle with a 15 year-old (though I would have said they can’t possibly portray an African-American as a gorilla) apart from a schoolgirl crush, no matter that she looks 35.”
I’m pretty liberal when it comes to age-gap romances (as opposed to “What the fuck are you thinking – she’s your Goddamn sister!” romances) – love can be blind to the calendar. But a 30 year-old and a 15 year-old is basically statutory rape, so I hope this really isn’t being treated with any more seriousness than a schoolgirl crush. It sure seemed like Hibichov was entertaining some thoughts, though – I get that Olga looks a lot older than she is but the point is, she’s not – as he himself points out is obvious in the way she behaves.
Apart from that, Hibito’s rehab scenario continues to play out in pretty interesting fashion, though I confess that Mutta’s presence is sorely missed – I’m pretty sure this is the longest he’s been wholly absent at any point in the series. The new twists start with Ivan’s strategy (why exactly does he have the free time to do all this when he’s supposed to be preparing for his own mission?) of having Hibichov perform the simple act of walking the distance he couldn’t walk in a pressure suit in sunglasses, then progressively more invasive (and ludicrous) accouterments such as Groucho glasses, bank-robber mask and American football uniform. It’s pretty sound theory, actually, reducing Hibito’s fear to the level of illogic it should hold, lightening the tension and giving him a sorely-needed taste of success.
Events elsewhere intrude, though, when Butler’s boss as NASA gets wind of why Hibito is really in Russia and puts the kibosh on Butler’s secret game. This means letting JAXA know the truth (Hibito is still primarily their responsibility), which means the process of ass-covering starts in earnest. The end result is a bogus position of “Safety Supervisor” being created so Hibito can safely be tucked away to rot while it appears to outsiders as if he’s being promoted (this is, by the way, a hyper-typical approach in the world of Japanese business and government). It looks as if may fall on Hoshika to save the day for a Nanba brother yet again, but the good news is that he’s already proved to be extremely adept at it.