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Space Brothers Episode #01 Anime Review

When two young brothers set out to get into space some day, the real world shows just how difficult it can be.

What They Say:
The year 2006. Two brothers, Nanba Mutta (age 12) and Hibito (age 9), happen to spot a UFO headed for the moon. The experience inspires them to make a certain promise.

The Review:
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Based on the seinen manga Uchu Kyodai by Chūya Koyama which began back in 2008 and has fourteen volumes published so far, the weekly manga series has now gotten an anime adaptation with twelve planned episodes that comes at the same time that a new live action film is due in May 2012 as well. Seinen series have long been a draw for me in a way that josei series are since they tend to play thing a little differently even if they use characters that are typically aged from the shonen realm. It just tends to be more story and character driven rather than action driven. And when you have a show named Space Brothers, it brings in one of my favorite things about anime from when I first became a fan.

The series starts off with some fun ways to introduce us to characters as we see some of the circumstances surrounding the birth of two brothers a few years apart from each other. When it shifts from the mid 90’s to 2006, we see them together playing space adventurer in the woods at night as the moon shines down, bringing back fond memories for any that did such things like myself. A night of fun and adventure has them being among the first to discover the UFO that has come to Earth, leading to a moment of real beauty there. And it provided the impetus behind their already strong desire to get into space by going even further, which takes us to 2025 in Houston where things are gearing up for the big Moon mission designed to establish a permanant base there.

The focus on Hibito at first is important for a number of reasons since he’s the one that managed to get into the programs to be in this position, but also because it’s a national point of pride since he’ll be first Japanese person on the moon. And one who has at least claimed to have seen a UFO, though he plays it cute enough that it’s not a problem (though in reality you know it would be!). His older brother Mutta hasn’t made out as well though as he’s stuck doing things that are fairly mundane for a job by being an office worker, though one with some good credit to his name. Of course, things have gone bad there and he’s now back at home with his parents who aren’t exactly enamored with him being there as long as he has now. You get a good feel for both of the brothers positions pretty quickly and their personalities, past and present.

The focus for the episode is largely on Mutta, which is good since it shows someone really dealing with a difficult situation. While he’s had his accomplishments, there are things stacked against him to some degree and it comes with a brother who is achieving their shared dream. He hasn’t exactly lost his way over the years, as he did have things he focused on, but there are things he forgot that have kept him from truly being happy. Something that only his brother can remind him about it seems, giving him the push he needs to achieve that dream. It’s a great bit of brotherly love and the kind of push he needed in order to remind him of where they once were and where they truly want to be. There may be problems between them yet to be revealed, but there’s also a wonderful underlying relationship that the two share.

In Summary:
Charming. Simply charming. Space Brothers may not have sold some when it comes to the promotional videos that came out, but the first episode is exactly the kind of series that I wish we got at least one of every season. It’ll be easy to make comparisons to other real world style science fiction series of the last few years but it’s one that looks to stand firmly on its own as well as a strong character driven piece. The focus on the elder brother here is good since it’s in relation to his younger brother succeeding with their shared dream while he struggles in just trying to get by. But it’s not the usual kind of angry and resentful thing that it might be. Taking that as its focus, pushing in the bits with the UFO and some other good establishing elements such as the brothers family and the result is a very fun, cute and quickly endearing show where you want to know just how far it’ll go in seeing if their dreams can come true.

Grade: B+

Streamed By: Crunchyroll

Review Equipment:
Sony KDS-R70XBR2 70″ LCoS 1080P HDTV, Dell 10.1 Netbook via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.

Chris has been writing about anime, manga, movies and comics for well on twenty years now. He began AnimeOnDVD.com back in 1998 and has covered nearly every anime release that’s come out in the US ever since.

He likes to write a lot, as you can see.

Chris Beveridge – who has written posts on The Fandom Post.

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