Anime Vice News

SPACE BROTHERS #5 -- Watch & Learn

Awwww... if only they could send this cutie up into space with them?

Ha! After 17 years, it’s so good for some other show to finally break down what all those scenes of Tom Hanks’ “blocking out the Moon” with his thumb in APOLLO 13 were about. Let me tell you, it’s not every anime that reveals the symbolic secrets of a Ron Howard movie from the 90’s. Now, I’m kind of hoping for similar references to all the “living fire” business in BACKDRAFT in the next episode of FUJIKO MINE.

I don’t know - - on the hand, it makes a lot of sense to imply that these dudes would have grown up watching APOLLO 13 on infinite loop. On the other hand, they wind up using it enough times here (and without a proper citation!) to stretch the definition of fair use some.

Shot calls aside, I’ll go out there and say that this was actually a pretty thought-provoking episode. Nature vs. nurture is a debate that’s never going to end, especially when you’ve got cases like these two where a couple of brothers with ostensibly the same wealth of good genes and advantages have varying levels of success. I don’t put much faith into horoscopes or any of that nonsense, but I do think there’s a lot of truth in those MBTI personality profiles, and I can’t help wondering if they might’ve been consulted when these characters were being worked out. Clearly, you’ve got one who’s detail-oriented, and one who’s more about the big picture, and those focuses either make them advanced or remedial at different stages in their lives.

Maybe more importantly, these differences get emotionally moving because both brothers are always rooting for one another and hoping the other will succeed. I suppose that’s the advantage of drawing the story out, like this - - they can really get into the harder-to-define nuances of sibling rivalry.

Watch this episode, "Days of Missing” 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

SergioBon June 6, 2012 at 3:06 p.m.

Regarding their relative success, Nanba wasn't lacking in any success before he was fired, for reasons you'll eventually find out about. He designed cars, and even on the day he was fired, the cab he took was a design of his. Seems he was a successful engineer until then. I can't tell which one you think is detail-oriented, since Nanba is pretty detail-oriented, but he isn't the astronaut, yet at least.

Rxanaduon June 6, 2012 at 8:12 p.m.
@SergioB: That reminds me: ever since the first episode, I've had the theory that Mutta would wind up getting only so far in the exams until he fails or opts out of the astronaut program in exchange for a D&R gig at NASA/JAXA due to his prior expertise in car design.  This, of course, would come after realizing he doesn't need to one-up his brother by becoming an astronaut.  
 
Rather, he'll probably design a round-trip shuttle that can travel to and land on Mars, which Namba will use in the first official flight to Mars with human personnel.  When Namba lands on Mars with his crew, he'll have a camera with live-feed to broadcast to the world the historical event.  The series will most likely end with a quote from either of the brothers proclaiming that Mutta finally made it to Mars, alongside the rest of mankind.
 
Although, this is all just theory.
zaldaron June 6, 2012 at 10:34 p.m.

@Rxanadu: A damn good one though and a moving way for the show to end. Though I hate to see things correctly guessed this early...that would actually be quite a good way to end this..

SergioBon June 7, 2012 at 12:35 a.m.

I just figured that him being a good engineer would actually end up being a benefit to him. There have been a lot of astronauts with engineering degrees - and not just aeronautical or astronautical engineering.

Rxanaduon June 7, 2012 at 2:21 p.m.
@SergioB: That may be true, but in terms of Mutta, the judges probably already know about his background.  At least I hope so; he was on the cover of a freaking car magazine, for crying out loud.  He's also shown he has ample knowledge on how machines work in that one scene where he fixes a car in no time flat.   Then again, Serika (the woman Mutta has a thing for) has a medical background, and I assume everyone else who's moving on in the series has some major leg up on the competition in some form or another.  
 

I'm also interested in finding out how Hibito qualified as an astronaut.  It has to be something other than his toned physique and charming personality.
Rxanaduon June 7, 2012 at 2:31 p.m.
@zaldar: I'd also like to see what happened to the alien object they saw as kids.  It'll probably end up being a simple toy they mistook for a UFO that acted as a catalyst for them to get into space.  However, it'd be pretty silly if it turned out to be an actual Martian found at the end of the series.
surdumilon May 12, 2014 at 8:19 a.m.

I'm a couple of years late with comment but, oh well. The 'blocking out the moon with your thumb' notion comes out of basic Astronomy lore. I learned about this in Astronomy 100 at university. By happenstance, when you or any other human, regardless of size, hold your thumb out at arms length, the angular distance across your thumb is very close to the angular distance of the moon. Ron Howard's Apollo 13 makes this seem mysterious and doesn't add much to clarify the notion. Space Brothers, on the other hand, gives the notion some meaningful symbolism. No citation is required. Apollo 13 shows it without adding value. Space Brothers shows it and adds meaning. I'm lovin' Space Brothers!

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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