When Mutta and Hibito were children, they made a promise to become astronauts together after spotting a UFO one night. Now adults, the duo's path couldn't have diverged more – Hibito is about to travel to the moon with NASA to help simulate the future exploration of Mars, and Mutta is unemployed, having recently headbutted his boss at an auto company. Still, the man can't shake his desire to surpass his younger brother, and soon, he becomes an applicant for Japan's JAXA space program. His ultimate goal, to get one step ahead of Hibito and go to Mars. But the path to becoming an astronaut is long and fraught with tests and challenges. Will Mutta and newfound friends Kenji and Serika manage to persevere and achieve their dream?
I have now watched 43 eps of this series and still have 20 to go until I'm up to speed with the series because it is still running. (65 eps right now) But I can probably give a decent review having watched more than two seasons now. First of all, Space brothers is slow, so if you're looking for action, go watch something else. But if you like slice of life series with deep character development and slow pacing, welcome! The very first thing that hit me when I started to watch this series was the serious approach to space exploration, science and reality. NASA is in on this show, that’s for sure, otherwise the story would fall flat. NASA have probably also contributed a lot with information and photos. This is really good because it gives the show substance that is based on facts not fiction. There is no mecha robots or fantastic space crafts that defies physic laws, just plain and simple working science and realistic stuff. (Of course, some things are not exactly scientific but hey, it's an anime.) The story is as you probably already know about two brothers who is trying to fulfill a lifetime dream to become astronauts. It sounds pretty simple but the road there is long and full of obstacles. Especially for Mutta, the older brother who at some time gave up on the dream and pursued other goals and become involved in the car industry. Hibito, the younger brother stayed on his course and have just become an astronaut when the series begins and is going to the moon as the first man from Japan. Mutta is fired from his job and is more or less lost about what to do. He is still living with his parents and have no girlfriend and is quite miserable. He then set his mind to follow Hibito and his old dream. He apply to JAXA and is invited to be tested among a lot of other applicants. Here his journey starts for real. In the show we will often hear Mutta talk to himself and there is a lot of flashbacks to his youth but that will flesh out the characters. The struggle Mutta have with himself and his choices in life is fun to watch but sometimes a bit longwinded. If they had cut these parts shorter it would have been more effective use of time and we would still understand him well enough. The many flashbacks to his and his brothers childhood when they visited JAXA, dreamed about going to space and so on is a bit repetitive but hey, it’s a long show. The producers probably don't think we could remember all if they don't fill up with some repetition. I personally enjoy to follow Muttas struggle to become an astronaut and the perhaps even bigger struggle, to find himself. He's having his core values tested and are faced with challenges perhaps too big for him, or are they? The animation is good but not fantastic, the show is not suffering for it but sometimes it could have been better. But I'm not complaining, the story grips you so you don't have time to think about such small details. The sound is in my opinion very good, the characters are well matched with the voices and the music through the series is enjoyable but there is not big hits. Overall, an enjoyable series that keeps you glued to the screen and just keep watching episode after episode. Sometimes a bit slow but still good enough to keep up my interest. I am personally interested in space exploration from the beginning so this is definitely a series for me, that’s for sure, but if you don't have an interest in that area, you probably wouldn't last the whole show.
THE STAFF - Animated by A-1 Pictures. They usually have great production values but they went easy on this one, so it doesn’t look as amazing as their other works. - Directed by Watanabe Ayumu, who prefers to deal only with retro-style anime (Doraemon movies and Nazo no Kanojo X). - Based on an award winning novel. Not a light novel, so there is going to be some quality here. PROPER MINDSET The show is in a nutshell about two adult brothers trying to fulfill the dream they had as kids -> becoming astronauts. The younger brother kept on to that and managed to be the first Japanese astronaut on the moon, while the other gave up and became a simple worker, until he got fired and now lives with his parents. After his younger brother insists, he decides to give it another shot, as there is an upcoming project to send a crew to Mars.The series combines two seemingly very different genres. The first is sort of a motivational story of two boys trying to fulfill their dreams despite all odds. The other is a somewhat realistic slice of life where they face all sorts of everyday problems and issues. On paper it feels extremely interesting, as it is neither JUST a silly teen adventure with superpowers and improbable physics, nor a simple sitcom where nothing of importance ever happens. On screen though, it fails on both cases to be amazing, as it is neither exciting without the cool action, nor soothing enough to make you giggly inside. SCRIPT & CAST The main problem with this show is how easy going it is to the point nothing feels important enough to care. The story is presented almost entirely through the eyes of Mutta, the elder brother, who has a ton of issues to solve in his life. He has no job, he has no girlfriend, he lives with his parents, and the younger brother is way ahead of him instead of seeing his elder brother as a role model. One would think he would try really hard to fix all that, and that he would undergo vigorous training or face perilous challenges that would make him constantly angry, anxious, or sad. Instead of all that, you barely get anything worth raising your eyebrow. To the most part he calmly criticizes everything with an internal monologue, and does his best to make it all sound silly and superficial. He is practically a comic relief in a show that has no tension to need relief. His dog is funny, his parents are easy going, his brother is always cheery, his love interest isn’t doing anything, the whole space exploration project looks as dangerous as writing a school exam; there is practically nothing to worry about in here. A guy with a ruined life plans to go to Mars and it feels like he is going for groceries and makes fun at the potatoes’ shapes. That is not motivational or interesting at all.It is not that good as an elegiac type of show either. Mutta is constantly having flashbacks of his childhood, when he and his carefree brother were having a great time playing and making oaths of becoming astronauts when they grow up. And now he is none of all that, as his life is in ruins. Yet look at that, there is practically NOTHING for you to feel sad about, since he gets more than a little push by his brother and parents. And he is quite humorous about all that too. He is breezing through his problems with no suffering or much anxiety, which again ruins the mood. More problems include pacing and duration. For a story with has close to no plot or tension it is far longer than most action or adventure anime, plus it moves way too slow, and even has summary arcs. As if we can’t remember what the hell they WEREN’T doing for the past 50 episodes. Just how stupid do they think modern viewers are? This is almost offending, but I was too bored to even care enough to hate it. LEGACY All the themes in this show were presented in a much more elaborate and interesting way in a similar older anime named Planetes. Compared to that show, Space Brothers is nothing but a lukewarm time killer and nothing else. The production values are ok but nothing amazing, the characters are ok but nothing amazing, hell EVERYTHING in it is just a lukewarm soup. As much as nice it feels to have a show that is not trying to be mainstream by having lolis instead of adult men, or improbable superpowers instead of a mostly realistic setting, it still fails to keep you interested for long. I mean, ok, it looks extremely more realistic not to have teenagers learning how to pilot huge super robots in a few minutes but rather adults that need years of mostly easy going tests just to steer a shuttle properly. It still ends up being another one of those relaxation series you watch after a hard day and not something you watch to be motivated in pursuing whatever dreams you have. And it surely doesn’t try to make you feel nostalgic of the dreams you DIDN’T fulfill either. A completely mediocre show, despite looking so different next to whatever else was airing along with it.And now for some excused scorings. ART SECTION: 5/10 General Artwork 1/2 (typical) Character Figures 1/2 (generic) Backgrounds 1/2 (basic) Animation 1/2 (basic) Visual Effects 1/2 (basic) SOUND SECTION: 8/10 Voice Acting 5/5 (mature tone) Music Themes 3/5 (not great but fitting with the feeling of the series) STORY SECTION: 5/10 Premise 2/2 (interesting) Pacing 0/2 (terribly slow) Complexity 1/2 (not much) Plausibility 1/2 (so-so) Conclusion 1/2 (cheesy) CHARACTER SECTION: 5/10 Presence 1/2 (average) Personality 1/2 (typical) Backdrop 1/2 (generic and simplistic but it’s there) Development 1/2 (overblown but it’s there) Catharsis 1/2 (probably overblown but it’s there) VALUE SECTION: 3/10 Historical Value 0/3 (none) Rewatchability 1/3 (low because of too little plot) Memorability 2/4 (feels different than most modern shows but still quite unimpressive) ENJOYMENT SECTION: 4/10 Art 0/1 (looks typical) Sound 1/2 (sounds ok) Story 1/3 (good premise but dull presentation) Characters 2/4 (they are ok but not interesting in any way) VERDICT: 5/10
I really did love this show; enough to watch it about three times. Though it is true that the whole series doesn't weigh much on seriousness, it is truly enjoyable. I'm not a critical reviwer and I won't review it critically, because really, everything that is wrong with this show is something that one would normally overlook because of how compelling it is. It destroys your aility to enjoy it properly. First of all, the characters are all great. Mutta being my favorite. He is far from perfect and this anime makes sure that it's audience knows that. Despite all his faults though, he does try. He desires the opurtunity to go to space more than anybody else in the show. He doesn't think highly of himself and his low self-esteem makes him overlook a lot of his abilities and talents which others tend to notice and envy. The art isn't bad, but it isn't amazing. In my opinion, I would've enjoyed it far more had the art been better, but e can't have everything, eh? The story is mostly slice of life if yyou disregard the first episode in which a UFO showed up; a fact that still hasn't been brought to light in the ongoing manga series, let alone the anime. Overall though, I think it's something worth watching and enjoying.
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