The desert trek continues on and is fraught with new dangers and rising tensions.
What They Say:
The astronaut candidates continue their survival training in the desert. Team E has fallen behind the others, but after Nitta takes the lead, they try to pick up the pace.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The more primary return of focus on Mutta in the last few episodes has certainly been welcome, especially now that it’s gotten past the get to know you phase and into the actual training. With the candidates all headed out to the desert for survival training, much earlier than normal since Vincent is intent on shaking out some of these he feels are unworthy, the Japanese team isn’t doing so well overall. Vincent’s push against all teams is straightforward since part of it is all about gender equality, and with more women on the Japanese team there’s certain things being done that they shouldn’t be – both from the male and female perspective.
The progress the teams are making is pretty decent overall, but the news does hit Team E here that they’re last in this training segment right now, having moved the least distance. With a little nod towards there being a penalty for being last and that gets the team a bit uncertain about things, though Mutta offers to take the punishment should they be that team. It’s good to see them rally in a way and some effort expended trying to figure out how they ended up last. The situation works well overall to create a bonding moment in the desert night, something that almost gets magical as it goes on and Mutta gives it a view of like being on the moon as he enjoys the stars. It’s small but solid moment that reminds us of what they’re shooting for.
The next focuses more on Nitta as leader as he takes the reins and the hard trek has him pushing them in ways that they’re not up for, especially since Nitta is practically moving so far ahead at times so as to seemingly abandon the rest of the team. And that sets tensions high over the course of the day, especially with Mutta. Nitta has a real reason for pushing everyone so hard and it gets a bit intense with the way he’s going at it with them, since he’s attempting to be motivational but in some ways comes across more confrontational and personal rather than focusing on the goal and the people on the team itself. There’s some good dialogue that comes out of it, especially as Nitta keeps pushing Mutta about his older brother, but also the mental twist that comes into play as the trek gets more dangerous and the leader of the day is assigned a handgun to protect them.
After having the lunar survival arc with Hibito going on for so long, I’m admittedly a little less than keen on an Earthbound one for the candidates. But we do get to see a very different type of event here since it’s a group mission and they’re coping with some very different issues that are fun to watch play out. The shifting to a new leader each day, the threat of punishments and the bits of character material that comes out from the trek are pretty nicely done and leaves me wanting to see more of it. The danger is growing a bit as well as it goes along and there are some good reveals about what’s happening, though it’s taking an expected twist based on the end here that will show just how far some of them will go when it’s something hugely personal at stake.
Streamed By: Crunchyroll
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.