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SPACE BROTHERS #11-12 -- Watch & Learn

A fate waiting for all compulsive Cheetohs snackers.

Seeing as how I was just about to catch up with the simulcasting of this show, I figured I might as well hasten the happenstance by doing a double-sized column. Also, in light of how my commentary’s had to become a little repetitive, I figured covering twice as much material as usual might yield more discussion points.

Or maybe not. Like any competent piece of episodic TV, SPACE BROTHERS has settled into a regular rhythm and formula. I feel like even I got to the 50 or 60 episode, I’d be making all the same comments about how this is a great story that’s been rather tediously stretched out, and that I’d probably prefer the plot in the abbreviated form of the live action movie. I mean, at this point, I really shouldn’t be so bemused by how one of these episodes’ cliffhangers actually revolves around Mutta explaining how he solved a math problem, or how the other episode centers on Serika coming to peace with how her name means nothing.

The latter actually speaks more to how this show’s interest in pulling great pathos out of small details can feel like some obsessive-compulsive fixating on less-than-consequential minutia. Really, the message of the episode is the sort of non-event - - her name means nothing - - that gets screen time when the crew’s got plenty of episodes to fill.

That said, the ways that Mutta’s OCD fixations are shown to be positive demonstrations of attention to detail do continue to be ceaselessly endearing. I just wish the show would dispense with hanging the bait out since everybody’s know when the switch is going to come. That is, you don’t have to try to trick us into thinking that any of his quirks are detrimental at this point.

On the plus side, Mutta’s cheesy poofs-induced nightmare was a stitch, and the cantankerous shorty has been a welcome addition to the cast. I’ve commented a lot about how this show makes me think of an anime directed by Mike Judge, and damn if that guy doesn’t make me think of Cotton Hill from KING OF THE HILL. It seems pretty obvious that Mutta and Serika are going to be the one who pass this selection process, but it’d be a lot more entertaining. The prospect of being trapped for months in a dangerous space shuttle with an asshole like that feels like the premise of a good sitcom.

Alas, we come to my break point with SPACE BROTHERS. Much like MUSHI-SHI, this is a series I can wholeheartedly recommend whilst, at the same time, stressing how it’s a difficult show to review. Hell, whenever it gets dubbed, it might actually be a great “entry level anime” to get the “outsiders” in your life hooked on this stuff.

Watch these episodes, “Trapped Rivals” here and “"My Name is Serika Itou" here, and decide for yourself, then read my comments on the previous episode here.

Tom Pinchuk’s the writer of HYBRID BASTARDS! & UNIMAGINABLE. Order them on Amazon here & here. Follow him on Twitter: @tompinchuk

AURON570on June 27, 2012 at 6:34 p.m.

Yeah it would make for a happy ending if Mutta and Serika end up becoming astronauts, but at this point it's too early to tell how each team will come to a consensus about who will become an astronaut.

Also I don't understand why you continue to insist that next to nothing happens in these episodes, or that entire episodes are centered around "non-events". Yes, Episode 12 happened to be named "My Name is Itou Serika," and it explained the story behind Serika's name. But we also got to see part of Serika's relationship with her doctor father. Not only that we also saw how each of the teams dealt with their first 2 tasks, determining the time and making breakfast.

To make things more interesting, it's almost like we as viewers are JAXA staff. Trying to determine who are the best candidates to be astronauts. If we have names in mind, then we should ask why we choose that person, what did they do or not do, or what qualities do they have that would make them good astronauts? But if we want to be fair, it's it clearly too early to pick names at this point. I'm really excited to see more of what these characters do over the next number of episodes, what tasks they do, and how they work together.

Dig Deeper into Space Brothers

Nanba and Mutta Hibito are brothers who dream of becoming astronauts. Nanba, the younger brother, has become an astronaut. Space Brothers follows Mutta as he struggles to achieve his dreams of becoming an astronaut, and more importantly being a model big brother.

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