「足りない日々」 (Tarinai Hibi)
“Days of Missing”
Houston, Texas, home of NASA’s Johnson Space Center, quite possibly the location of many childhood dream vacations. This makes it even more surprising that Mutta was unable to put aside his doubts and feelings of inferiority to visit the center during this episode. Perhaps it was the thought of following Hibito there when the older brother should always be ahead (even if it was only because Hibito woke up and left earlier than he did) or maybe he just needed some time to get his head straight. Either way, this episode took some time to knock some sense into him once again. It seems that at every turn, Mutta’s resolve wavers a little and someone needs to put him back on the correct path.
This episode, that job was shared between Hibito and an elderly couple who live nearby. It’s pretty clear that how Hibito views him has always weighed heavily on Mutta’s heart. During their childhood, they viewed each other as rivals, always competing to be the best. I can’t imagine how it must have felt for Mutta to have been so far ahead only to watch Hibito begin to pull into the lead during their middle school years. To hear that Hibito now considers him ‘boring’ for not even trying to put up a fight (I actually agree with Hibito here, not that he’s boring, but that he shouldn’t let things get him down quite so easily) must have been pretty tough.
While Mutta apologises to the Smiths for any trouble Hibito may have caused them, suggesting that Hibito has a screw loose in the process (this is pretty much a natural reaction to hearing that someone has been telling stories about you and being unaware of their contents, I can attest to that), the couple point out something that has probably been the major factor in setting him back on track: if Hibito is missing anything, it’s Mutta himself. Hibito has always expected Mutta to join him as an astronaut – he probably never even considered the possibility that they would take different paths when they were younger. It’s evident in the little pushes and the current disappointment he shows in Mutta that he believes in his brother. He knows that Mutta has what it takes to join him. At the same time, this belief is something of a burden for Mutta – things aren’t anywhere near as easy as Hibito makes them seem, at least not from his view.
In a way, the two brothers make the perfect team. Hibito is lax when it comes to fixing minor details, things like unhooked curtains and burnt out light bulbs. Mutta on the other hand obsesses over them, making sure that everything is exactly as it should be. Together they would likely cancel out each others flaws – Mutta’s attention to detail stopping problems arising from minor errors while Hibito’s greater fitness would allow him to take on the more physically challenging roles. However, looking at it from a slightly different angle, Mutta’s correction of all the minor problems his brother overlooks could be seen as no more than picking up Hibito’s slack. Instead of standing ahead or even walking alongside him, Mutta would be trailing along behind, cleaning up any mistakes his younger brother makes. This is definitely not what Mutta wants and I hope Uchuu Kyoudai doesn’t portray it like that too often in the future.
Just as Mutta finally realises that one of the main reasons he’s no longer ahead of Hibito is because he stopped trying so hard, we cut overseas for some distressing implications. It’s quite the nasty cliff-hanger for us viewers – leaving Mutta’s future as an astronaut so heavily in question – but it’s important to note that the decision to cut him from the program was specifically a ‘what if’ statement, so all hope is not lost. However… the speaker did also state that he would make the cut with no hesitation whatsoever. This, in combination with knowing that Mutta’s former boss (the headbutt victim) had told them Mutta was a poor candidate, leaves everything very much up in the air.
- I’m not sure if it was just my imagination, but I’m sure I heard another child voiced by Sawashiro Miyuki snuck in there.
- At last, Apo makes his debut!
- ‘America’s time zone is behind so it’ll be longer until the expiry date!‘ – A friend of mine used this logic once in the past. It’s not very effective. On the plus side, many types of food are relatively safe to eat after their expiry date anyway.
- I feel Hibito’s pain… when I was much younger, I used to miss out the silent p from pterodactyl. 🙁