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 started reading this manga when I was seventeen. I'm twenty-three now. For all the years that have passed by, Space Brothers was a guiding light as I continued to pursue my dreams. Because every single character has been an inspiration, unique in their troubles and triumphs. I don't think there's been a single character featured that I've truly hated, because the author really gives justice to their backstory. Or even if the author doesn't touch upon their background, you look at a character and think, "yeah, there's something more than what meets the eye." I've kind of given up on relying on first impressions with the story as much as I have in real life - I've learned a second impression or even a third gives me so much more about a person. It's just one of the many life lessons I've gotten to pick up through Space Brothers. I'm also crazy about the depth they put in understanding modern space exploration. The setting is a little in the future - 2025 or so, although there are plenty of flashbacks. So you see some technology in the works right now that is being put to use in the manga, like 3d-printed food in space. Besides that, they've went in-depth on not only JAXA and their inner workings, but also that of the major outer space players, NASA and Roscosmos. They all have their key differences, both in terms of work flow and work culture, but the author does a great job showing them all in equal light. I recommend this manga not only to those who love space, but also to those who are mad crazy about dreams. Whether you have it figured out or not, if you're looking for passion, then this story is for you. On a personal note, I've related the most to the main protagonist, Nanba Mutta, who's a little quirky and bears a bit of a confidence problem. And as the years pass by, I've got to see him grow as I've also grown myself. I'm very proud of him for coming so far, and with that said, I'm a little proud of myself, too. I haven't done anything like Nanba yet, but I've got time. Funny though, it's ocean exploration that calls me right now, although I still look up to the stars and smile. Who knows? Oceanographers go to space, too.
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