Uchuu Kyoudai – 92

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This episode had more danger signs that the perimeter of Area 51.

Let’s dispense with last week’s controversy over Hibito’s test – it’s a done deal (though I will say that if nothing else, it was the only thing able to generate any comments on an Uchuu Kyoudai post in about a year).  Let’s not dwell on the return of Racist Cartoon Theater, which appears as if it’s going to be an intermittent unwanted houseguest for the rest of the anime – nothing we can do about that either (though a little warning would be nice, so as to know when to stop the video).  No, there are plenty of other reasons to worry when it comes to Space Brothers at the moment.

I’m not especially worried that none of Mutta’s backup crewmates seem especially likeable yet, because characters can grow on you over time.  Andy has, though hopefully that’s the only growing he’s doing – it would seem as if he’s dodgy on NASA height limits already (76 inches is the cutoff).  No, the problem is that Koyama-sensei has a real problem with stereotypes (even by Japanese standards) and this crew is a walking collection of them.

We have Betty Rain, the angry broad whose curves the camera fixates on as if it had oppai radar (I was glad Mutta had the sense not to compare her tattoo to Apo’s). Carlo Greco, the classic depiction of a chauvinistic, arrogant Mediterranean male.  And worst of all is Phillipe Louis, the Jamaican-American who’s shown as having no attention span and bad hygiene habits.  There’s even a joke based on Carlo not wanting to get into a space suit after Phillipe, which hovers on the very age of being incredibly offensive but might charitably be “forgiven” as merely unintentionally insensitive.  We’ve been down this road before, and it’s not a good one for Uchuu Kyoudai – there are mines everywhere.

What might just save this is that the core idea behind this odd backup team is a good one.  Butler has assembled these four together because they each tend to be loners based on their off-putting personalities, which in itself might be dubious in terms of realism.  But the intriguing part is that he’s quite intentionally chosen Mutta to be the fifth, obviously because he’s shown an almost superhuman ability to bring diverse personalities together and make the group dynamic work in even the most unlikely situations.  The overall strategy might be unwise, but Mutta is definitely the right choice to make it work.  This is, in a sense, the perfect situation for him.

The other potential saving grace here is that at least Koyama isn’t above making note of Japanese peculiarities, too.  Like the fact that Mutta is pretty much the only person who hasn’t given his own brother a hug since his “triumph” in the test.  As well, the fact that Mutta is the only one his instructor can’t pick out as one of the five astronauts in the large assembly of backup crew members, and his inability to call attention to himself.  Making yourself stand out is so fundamentally un-Japanese that even for a unique person like Mutta, doing so intentionally is agonizingly unnatural.

All this matters, of course, because these are most likely the people Mutta will go to space with.  And Mutta notices immediately when they join the main crew for training in the Arizona desert that they’re one member short – the main crew is six, and the backup five.  The missing component is the commander of course, and Butler has a scheme on that front.  It’s our cliffhanger (also note the “Moon Telescope Building Plan” manuals on Butler’s table) – who will it be (we’re cleverly only shown the left arm, which would have the American flag on it even if it were a Japanese astronaut)?  We know he turned down the offer once, before relenting.  I had a thought that it might be Hibito but I really, really hope not – I think Mutta needs to stake out his own place as an astronaut, which he can’t do working under Hibito and his shadow (not to mention other reasons why one might be concerned about Hibito as a mission commander).  I actually hope it will be Eddie Jay, but that seems like a real long-shot.  Hopefully we’ll find out next week, and this won’t be one of those times that Space Brothers teases a cliffhanger for way too long.

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  1. G

    I was kinda hoping it might be Azuma but having 2 japanese members on the same crew might not fly. They should avoid having black people in their series if they don't know any black people so they go with racial stereotypes instead. Would they even let an astronaut have all those weave curls? You would think it might cause problems with the helmets.

  2. Betty 's Last Name is Lane?No Rain,Lane is usually,Rain is few,
    Philipe is French,but he is American ,English is Phillip,Louis is first Name,Last name is Lewis,
    So Betty Lane ,Phillip Lewis is right

  3. #216 The Mission Post Left to Right is(Philippe Lewis、Andy Tylor、Betty Rain、Namba Mutta Carlo Creco、Eddie Jay),Phillipe Louis isn't right.

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