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Space Brothers: All My Ignition

Space Brothers 01

The tone and personal resonance of Space Brothers was unexpected, and like ghostlightning, I wasn’t ready. Episode 01 displayed a captivating style of writing which I found similar to the energy of Moyashimon or Level E. Stylistically pleasing, with light humor, the episode drives the premise home by juxtaposing simple human facilities anyone might find identifiable: family, career, and dreams. There is no cunning or large mystery, merely an earnest situation concerning two youthful brothers and a common childhood dream. What’s more adventurous is the nature of the story, the momentum behind Mutta and Hibito Nanba, a dream of space exploration.

Space Brothers 01

I’ll be honest here, the OP sequence was enough to convince  me this show is personally relevant. NASA, shuttles, rockets, and launch pads bought me back to childhood. This was my childhood, the first 10-11 years at least. I was born in Cape Canaveral Hospital and my grandfather spent ~50 years as a communications engineer, from the early days of Apollo to finishing at OPF-3. The space coast had a profound impact on my life. Like many children, I also dreamed of being an astronaut, and on a fundamental level, I understand what drove Mutta and Hibito as children towards the void.

Space Brothers 01

Hibito is tough to discuss at this point as we simply do not know enough about him aside from his excellent brother qualities. But I could align with the phone call between him and the mother, seeing how conversations with my mother often include topics my brother (or sister) would prefer I ignore. Still I wonder what challenges and development will be in store for Hibito, or if the story will focus primarily on Mutta.

Space Brothers 01

Mutta is an awesome character. I like his minor eccentricities and the fact he maintains a relatively normal presence, giving off an “I’m just anybody” vibe. Also, I find it easy to identify with him as someone who lost sight of his dream along the path to becoming an adult. Most of us can identify with him. But Mutta’s personality is not on the side of dreams, for his pessimistic tendencies and disorganization encourage chaos. Just what the hell is he doing with so much stuff anyway? Compare the aesthetic of Mu-chan among boxes to Hi-chan on the sofa. We are comparing clean lines to noise. One might suggest a clear Red Oni, Blue Oni distinction between these two, but I won’t push for it. I enjoy the polarity but would prefer seeing the brothers relate rather than differ.

Space Brothers 01

Although I think the characterization is fantastic, the tone of Mutta’s existence, his current struggle, stands out and is essentially why I believe this episode is brilliant. He is an adult, has known success as an engineer in the auto industry, but seeing Mutta hit a low, especially because he Zidane’d his supervisor, speaks to youth rather than wisdom. As Mutta strolls home in the sunset, I felt the sky calling to this burning youth, or possibly the latent passion he left behind on a Denon DEON cassette. This feeling is immediately highlighted as two children appear beside him, scrambling after one another. He thinks of his role as a brother, and I feel that is where Mutta finds his youth.

These brothers have youth in each other. I love this concept.

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11 Responses

  1. When he got the acceptance papers, and we didn’t see his face but described what he looked like. It almost brought me to tears. For me, being that I feel I’ve sold out to “the job” this really hit home. Dreams are big, and for him to get the opportunity to realize his even if he was nudged into it was awesome. And for a kid, you don’t get much bigger for dreams than, “I want to be an astronaut.”

    I want to go back to my youth is a common thing in my case. I wish I had a few do-overs.

    • Pff, I love the usage of that dog’s face. The feeling of selling out is terrible, even more so when it’s over one’s life and passion. I’m stoked for Mutta since he is able to pursue a forgotten dream. He has something to fight for, and that’s great.

      I still feel pretty young, but I’m quite unsure how my passions would have turned out. Teaching was likely the only one that would have been the best of both worlds, but I fear that will never happen.

      As for astronauts, I think it’s much more difficult now with the end of the Orbiter era, but I could be wrong.

  2. Damn it! It was so damn good~~ The opening reminds of QUEEN and I love it! The animation and techniques used rock!
    I haven’t had dreams related to space but I’m always fascinated by such pictures. The broken feeling of having failed is sth that I can relate, since I’m unemployed… as well as the antagonism between siblings.

    • Oh, I’m glad to know you enjoyed the episode. The OP is very slick all around, and the music is catchy. I’m glad the theme is something people can relate to because it offers insight from different directions. I’m sure many of us will feel a bit different with the story, but I’m fascinated by what those different impressions could be.

  3. As for someone who’s currently hunting for a job as well right now, I find Mutta very identifiable. I really enjoyed his “I’m just anybody” aura, as you’ve said despite actually having designed cars! I honestly think that such thing is damn attractive in one’s resume, and yet we still witness how hard it was for him to find a job. Damn real world.

    Will stick with this show since it leaves me an impression that it’ll be somewhat an inspirational show about following your dreams, in a not shounen-esque way.

    • Well, his skill isn’t questionable, but actions, social behavior, and personality play heavily in landing a job. The office isn’t a place for violence so Mutta shouldn’t have headbutt the supervisor (I’m glad he did).

      Straying away from the shounen-esque vibe will be great to see. Thanks for mentioning that.

      Good luck in your job hunting!

  4. I’m not familiar with Moyashimon, but I also liked the way that Space Brothers reminded me of how unexpectedly energetic and tightly-told I found Level E to be when I first saw that (isn’t is great going into something without any expectations and then watching such awesomeness unfold? ^ ^). The mix of humour and pathos, as well as the unusual and fab visuals, was just great. I didn’t really notice the difference between the brothers’ living spaces until you pointed it out, so I enjoyed your observations about this too. Also makes me think of all those boxes as possibly symbolic of Mutta’s unresolved projects and hitherto unfulfilled former ambitions (the clutter as important things that one intends to sort through eventually, rather than just junk that’s been piling up, perhaps). Overall, I thought it was a great first epi, with wonderful characterisation of Mutta so far. And apparently, he’s also voiced by the same V.A. as Wild Tiger’s – loving the +30 guys doing +30 things, haha!

    • Also makes me think of all those boxes as possibly symbolic of Mutta’s unresolved projects and hitherto unfulfilled former ambitions

      This would be highly sensible. A very close friend and I used to have a saying, “we get caught up in the things we do.” It was a way of putting off everything that wasn’t what we were doing just then. This was a disorganized way to go on living, although much was accomplished, but projects were everywhere, cars were disassembled and never put back together, and none of it was very enlightening. In this way the boxes make sense to me at least. Nice thought, Hana!

      loving the +30 guys doing +30 things

      Tiger is a great character and we need more of this stuff.

      As for Moyashimon, it’s going to have a sequel this summer! I’m not sure I can recommend it, but I do have fond memories of the series. Attractive production, cool main character(s), college setting (may or may not work for you), and bold. It’s a little bit slice-of-life, but not very sentimental. There is fanservice, but it’s …special in it’s own way. I’m not sure I can consider it the typical ecchi type stuff. But good energy, and was also adapted into a live-action series. You should at least watch the OP: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MaaVNxbwGqA

      Cheers!

      • Oh, I was also thinking that the last anime character I saw surrounded by boxes that had a deeper significance than one might’ve first thought was Takashi Natsume and his ‘Takashi’s things’-labelled one, so it made me wonder how important the items in Mutta’s boxes are to him. If they represent precious memories, or just incomplete projects, or both. I guess ‘space(s)’ in Space Brothers has even more connotations than I first thought!

        Moyashimon with its moe microbes was a pleasant surprise (college setting is fine as long as I don’t find (too many of) the characters too irritating, lol). I enjoyed watching the first epi earlier, particularly the quirky idea and use of humour, so I’ll probably check out a few more eps at least, at some point (always on the lookout for interesting (classic?) recs). Thanks, Ryan!

        • Ah, Takashi. I think his one box of stuff carries more nostalgia/sentiment than reflection/failure. And I hope you enjoy Moyashimon, it really has a positive atmosphere.

Continuing the Discussion

  1. [...] around the anisphere when the first episode of Space Brothers, aired. Thankfully, as Ghosty and Ryan noted at the time, the reaction was a positive one. A very positive one. To say that I was [...]