Saturday, January 10, 2015

Rewind: Space Brothers

I underestimated Space Brothers (Uchuu Kyoudai) when it began airing in Spring 2012. The frame Crunchyroll used to represent the first episode looked annoying, perhaps even crude—at least to me. But others around the 'net seemed to like it, and the summary made it sound decent. So I gave it a try, and I was pleasantly surprised.

Mutta and his dog Appo watch a rocket in one of the EDs.
Screenshot taken at the end of ep 85.

Here's what I wrote in my "first impressions" post that spring:
Space Brothers:
(1) Hey, this is pretty good...
(2) Go, big brother, go! As an older sibling myself, I identify with the main character wanting to stay ahead of his brother.
(3) It's not too late to follow your dreams. I believe in you, Mutta!
(4) Eh, predictable romance. Oh well. Hope it won't take away from achieve-dreams-in-space and brother angles.
(5) I'm really, really going to like this one.
Now that I've finished all 99 episodes, here's my response:

(1) Yep, it was pretty good.

(2) Sure enough, I continued to relate to Mutta, the main character, throughout the show. Sure, he's a Japanese man with a few years of career life under his belt, and I'm a young American woman in college. But we both are older siblings, and we both have pretty awesome little siblings. I wrote a post on the topic in June 2013.

(3) Dreams. That's another area where I relate with Mutta: we both gave up on our dreams at some point, and we both regained determination to pursue those dreams. (And then, for me anyway, a bigger dream)

(4) I wasn't thrilled with Mutta's crush, but it wasn't too intrusive... and it wasn't completely dismissed either. Altogether, they handled relationships pretty well.

(5) I did really, really like this one... for the first several dozen episodes. By the end, the excitement was pretty much gone.

Honestly, I'm impressed that a seinen show like this one reached 99 episodes. I expect that length for flashy shounen like Hunter x Hunter or Naruto, but this was a surprise. Space Brothers is not flashy. It's set in the near future, and it deals with outer space, but it doesn't really fit in the sci-fi genre. Still, it is very suspenseful at times, complete with literal cliffhangers. (I got a kick out of that.) It's heartwarming.(I'm a sucker for good familial relationships, especially between siblings.) It's relatable and promoted beneficial reflection for me. And it's often fun.

Still, the last several episodes—perhaps the last cour or even more—were relatively ineffective. I went months between episodes, and then I'd only watch a couple at a time. The ending didn't even feel like a proper ending. Sure, questions were answered, and loose ends were acknowledged... mostly. But goals weren't met. I realize that the manga is still ongoing, and perhaps no proper ending has been written just yet. But I can only react to what I've seen, and the anime ended weakly. There was no climax, no emotional high or low... just waiting for a big event that never appeared on screen.

Don't get me wrong. I greatly enjoyed most of the show, and I recommend it. It just lost my interest at the end. And part of that could be due to my own mood. My anime-watching habits can be finicky.


  1. Yeah, I thought the anime needed another 50 episodes at least to finish things off...the manga itself is still going 50+ chapters ahead and still running.... I hope they make another season of the anime eventually!

    1. Thanks for commenting, Tammie!

      I, too, would enjoy another season of Space Brothers. If they do make one, I hope they can recapture the sense of excitement that they fostered earlier in the series. :)


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