Uchuu Kyoudai – 13
「3次元アリ」 (3 Jigen Ari)
JAXA really seems to enjoy playing mind games with their astronaut candidates. In reality, pretty much every test being thrown at the teams (even before the dreaded third round of exams) has been designed to test mental strength and endurance as much as anything else. Even the choice of words used by each of the examiners involved in the testing has a hidden weight. For one, referring to what everyone is bound to realise is a stress level monitor as a ‘good luck charm’ puts excessive focus on why they’re being monitored. Nitta, for one, takes this to an extreme with his assumptions that it means they’re keeping watch to see who remains calm through everything and that displaying emotions could have a negative effect on the outcome. This assumption could end up being to his detriment – I’ve never really seen him as ‘calm’ from the facade he shows us. Kenji is calm; Nitta comes across as cold.
This isn’t the only phrase Nitta has to mull on – despite knowing that none of the participants are likely to step outside confinement, the examiners just had to add a rule that would disqualify the entire team if that were to happen. This rule is essentially meaningless to Nitta’s mind for the preceding reason, but it does serve a purpose as a mind game. By acknowledging that desertion is possible through the inclusion of the rule, it sows a small seed of doubt in the participants’ minds. What if someone actually does decide to leave dragging the whole team down with them? From this, mistrust, unrest, and paranoia begin to grow and more stress is piled upon those participants who question the reasons behind the rule.
The mind games don’t stop there either. All of the tests the candidates are given while in confinement are also designed to examine mental capabilities. Performing complex mathematical calculations mentally while running on a treadmill is a good way to test how well an individual is able to concentrate while their body is under physical stress. Copying walls of nonsense text into a word processor tests for concentration and endurance while performing mundane tasks over extended periods of time. Discussing and deciding on the best letter to send to anti-space travel advocates gives insights into their reasoning skills and how they react when conflicting opinions on a subject arise.
For Mutta this was rather an up and down episode. With his fundamentally flawed air abacus, he manages to perform terribly on the first of the tests. Only four questions right? Come on Mutta, you’re better than this! But while this may have reflected badly on him (and earned the ridicule of other members of his team), he did have his chance to shine and score points with Director Nasuda, arguably the most important person to impress of all the examiners. Noguchi Soichi’s musing on ants and how looking at things from a different perspective can provide new solutions is a very strong point in favour of space travel. What’s to say that space travel won’t eventually benefit humans on earth through new discoveries (particularly in medicine as Serika points out in her letter)? Unfortunately, there are people out there who will never allow themselves to be swayed by ‘mere’ words and reason; only being shown the true benefits can finally convince them to admit they were wrong. Shiokawa seems like exactly that kind of person – a well written letter would probably never be able to show her the light – only results will get her to acknowledge the benefits.
tl;dr: @MoombaDS – Mind games, mind games and more mind games! At least Mutta continues to score points with Director Nasuda! #SpaceBros
- There seem to be some underlying tensions in Team B. Tomii continues to show his vast intellect while Kenji has been designated as one of the other members’ primary rivals. Even compared to Team A, they seem to be showing a distinct lack of teamwork – only Kenji appears to be trying to keep them together.
- Team C remains irrelevant, not even getting any real screen time this week.
- I keep wondering just how long it’s going to be before Hibito actually sets foot on the moon. Something Nasuda said towards the end of this episode makes it sound like it might be pretty soon!
- With shots like these, Nitta continues to remind me of a shounen anime character!