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Space Brothers opened strong for me in the first episode, but I kept putting some brakes on my enthusiasm for it because I could easily imagine it going off the rails. The cast of characters it introduced has a lot of potential but it could really go in some awkward ways, especially with Mutta and how he could view his brother who achieved so much more. The envy could introduce some ugly elements that while realistic would detract some from the enjoyment of the larger goal of getting into space. With Mutta’s mother having made the secretive push to get him into training after things went wrong for him at his previous place of employment, there’s a sense of hope in his life now that wasn’t there for awhile. And after the kinds of defeats he’s had, real and imagined, it’s something he definitely needed.
Unfortunately, Mutta is not the type to really deal well with hope, at least in this particular instance because his chances are so slim. And there may even be a sliver of a feeling inside him that he may not be the best suited to doing this and would take away a position from someone more qualified. Things do of course turn in the right direction and he starts down the path of taking the proper tests to see if his application can truly move forward with JAXA since there are numerous medical things that have to be covered and checked first. And that’s not a quick or easy thing in the end as it takes several weeks for it to be dealt with, which is good that he has a job as a repair mechanic of great skill that surprises others. It has a cute element to it when played against the backdrop of the big changes his life could be going through.
While the show is playing with some big and momentous changes, it’ll also do some silly stuff such as having him lose his phone down the toilet while talking to his mother. It may seem counterproductive but it’s one of those humanizing elements that he needs as he goes before the panel of people that are checking his qualifications and so forth. It’s a difficult moment as he’s questioned heavily, especially as he does try to do what he normally doesn’t by riding his brothers coattails a bit and being rather nervous, which is to be expected but could also be a problem. You really get caught up in the way he gets tense and handles the situation as it also helps to further humanize him as we get a better look at some of his quirks. It’s not exactly endearing but it is most definitely very human.
While the show focuses again largely on Mutta, we do get a mild Hibito moment or two that helps to showcase the other brother in a good light. The use of Mutta is very well done here overall, making him a very fun character to watch while not making fun of him. He has his quirks but we see how they may be an advantage to him while also potentially being a disadvantage. His struggle to see if he believes he’s truly capable of going the distance is an important part of the story early on here and it’s well played without being dragged out too far or dealt with too quickly. And that’s what gets me about the show in that it does feel like even if it condenses certain things, it’s dealing with them in a natural and normal way without exaggeration or going in bad directions. The show is quite simply a lot of fun with its tense yet laid back way that it deals with things. Mutta is a great lead character that we don’t often see except in shows like this, which makes it all the more charming and gives me hopes of it having a very good run.
Streamed By: Crunchyroll
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