The brothers finally meet in Houston.
So after four episodes of seeing our two main leads apart they’re finally brought together in probably the most hilarious manner. This is done through Hibito’s lovable dog Apo—short for Apollo—as he chases Mutta around the park. It’s an interesting first encounter for the two brothers as they meet face to face for the first time since Hibito achieved their shared dream of becoming astronauts. Not surprising to me was the lack of a warm welcome by Mutta as even though he’s still immensely proud of his younger brother I figured there had to be some feeling of resentment or utter defeat by Mutta.
How can he not feel it when as he claimed as a kid that he must always be one step ahead of his brother, but now that they’re older he is the one that is one step behind. Even as Hibito moves in it’s quite obvious that Mutta is quite the nag of a brother. Despite all that he believes has changed between them with Hibito achieving his dream, he still hasn’t truly let go of his childhood, be it his dreams of going into space or his attitude of acting like an older brother to Hibito and this is something Hibito understands too. There’s a great moment for Mutta in this episode where he realizes his younger brother still earnestly roots for his nii-chan to go into space. It’s great to see that this finally sinks into Mutta’s head.
All that said, the episode does end off on a clip back to a JAXA examiner stating that if he were to choose he would pick Nanba Mutta immediately. Should that act as 100% confirmation that he passed the exam, this along with his renewed vigor and determination to achieve his dream of going into space, it’ll be great to see how he reacts to this news and where the series will go from here. Once again though, this still feels just like a feel good series with no real conflict brewing up yet. There has to be something to bring Mutta down, but at the moment it’s hard to picture what it will be.
GO Rating: 3.5/5
And it turns out I took that final line from episode five totally out of context, which was the aim of the series as Nanba’s selection wasn’t to pass the exam, but instead fail from it. Bringing back an earlier point in the series, one of the JAXA examiners brings up Nanba’s headbutting of his supervisor as a factor in eliminating Mutta from eligibility to become one of the three new astronauts. This follows along a line of minor troubles for our lovable main character and it’s pretty interesting to see how he’ll overcome this as he is stuck overseas in America with his brother.
What’s interesting about this episode is that the storyline with trying to overcome the latest hurdle for Mutta comes from another JAXA examiner—Hoshika—trying to uncover the truth behind the incident. While this is happening back in Japan, Mutta is continuing to deal with the amazing feats that his younger brother Hibito is accomplishing in America. There are some flashes of Mutta’s own brilliance and ability in this episode, as well with Mutta’s seemingly amazing observation that his brother’s second lap was 2 seconds slower than his first.
The episode’s bridge between the two separate storylines happens through a flashback in which the audience finally gets to see how and why Hoshika has been rooting for Nanba all this time. There has been a past connection between them and it is Hoshika’s genuine adoration for the two enthusiastic brothers that he has put in his faith to get them into space. The steps he takes to prove Mutta’s justification of his actions is something I would have done had I been in the same position because Mutta does have this odd sense of charisma about him. If he does end up passing, it’ll be great to see the reaction he gets.
GO Rating: 3.5/5