What They Say:
After completing the second JAXA exam, Hibito invites Mutta for a free trip to Houston, Texas, through NASA’s family support program. Upon arrival, he finds himself chased by a pug named Apo, and is then reunited with Hibito.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
With the invitation to NASA not something you can pass up, Mutta is excited to be there at their invitation to visit Hibito, but the whole idea of being there while not knowing if he passed his second exam is gnawing at him in a big way. But the idea of being in America is appealing to him and he can’t resist, though you get the feeling that he might have wanted to resist better after a completely goofy but kind of necessary moment of lightness early on here where he’s chased around the park by a pug. A relentless pug, but a pug nonetheless. Of course, it turns out that the dog, named Apo, is actually Hibito’s and is used as the catalyst to bring the two brothers back together again.
While we saw the brothers together when they were much younger, as adults there’s a bit more nuance to things and little quirks that get to them. It’s rather amusing to see how Mutta finds Hibito be lax in dealing with the details of life whereas Hibito finds him to be too anal about things that don’t really matter. The personalities are made fairly clear from the start, but it’s not a detrimental kind of thing which is welcome. But there are issues each have, and Mutta’s is one that does come out more since he’s the lead here and it lets us into his mind more, especially with his problem where he’s viewed at home as just Hibito’s older brother. Not that Hibito can do anything about that, but it’s something the two have between them to some degree, as all siblings often have something.
The progression of their relationship here definitely has a lot of moments to it as Mutta pushes back in different ways and we get a better look at more of their past. The exploration of how Hibito changed come middle school is definitely interesting and I’ve had friends that went through similar as well when it came to grades and the social changes as well. Seeing Mutta struggle with this still after all these years isn’t a surprise and is pretty natural considering just how far Hibito went. His push back against him in his own home is admittedly childish, but it’s also how brothers act in these instances. While we see all of this and the mild but cutting back and forth, we also get to see more of how Hibito handled his transitions over the years and understand him more. We also get a lot of good time with his pug, Apo, and that’s one of the best parts of the episode.
Houstonites will sound off I’m sure, but from what I can see they did a pretty good job of bringing the city to life here, even momentarily. Though as some commenter’s elsewhere noted, there’s a definite lack of humidity to be had in the show which would totally screw with Mutta’s hair. That said, the show works through a lot of very good material here as it deals with the struggles the brothers have had over the years and where it’s put them at this point in time. The issues between them are well handled and feel natural and honest, not forced. It may be cliched, but when it comes to anime we rarely get brothers of this age as the series stars, so it has a very welcome feel to it as it unfolds. The episode may not stand out in a lot of ways, but it’s a key episode that deals with who these men are.
Streamed By: Crunchyroll
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