「頭にまつわるエトセトラ」 (Dou ni Matsuwaru Eto Setora)
“Et Cetera in My Head”
At last, the moment of truth – will Mutta be going into outer space? Or will he fail the exams and never manage to reclaim his place ahead of his younger brother? Or so it would seem… but this episode manages to draw the issue out leaving his fate in question once more (though things no longer look quite as bleak).
It would seem that Mutta’s supporter from earlier episodes actually has deeper reasons for his desire to see Mutta pass the tests. Having failed to become an astronaut himself due to ‘bad luck,’ it almost seems as though he’s been living vicariously through Mutta and Hibito all this time (just like us!). As someone who has watched the two brothers since the early days of their fascination with space, I can see how he’d become attached and want to see them both succeed – he knows how strong their dreams are, that they would spend so much time at JAXA, and he doesn’t want to see them crushed for the wrong reasons. On reflection, perhaps if you stray from your original chosen path, returning to it at a much later date might show just how much determination you have – to be able to return to it after having given up on it would take more resolve than sticking to the path without wavering.
Mutta’s former boss is a dick. I can understand his anger at having been headbutted (though he had it coming), but to go so far as to sabotage Mutta’s future with tales of misdeeds, some of which aren’t even true? I’m fully aware that this is something that actually happens to people – one slip-up and if your boss has enough influence, that’s it for your career in that industry, but that doesn’t make it any less wrong. On the other hand, Mutta did assault his boss, and it most certainly wasn’t the first time he’d thrown a headbutt at someone. It was quite a poor decision and it really illustrates how a ‘small’ mistake can have grave consequences down the line. Let’s just hope that Mutta’s defender can smooth things over!
Overseas in Mutta’s ‘holy land,’ someone is having quite a bad day. If hearing of his boss’ intervention and the subsequent dashing of his hopes (Mutta has no idea that he may still have a chance at this point) wasn’t enough, the envy he must feel would probably mar what should be an enjoyable experience at the Johnson Space Center. Everyone adores Hibito, from the audiences of talk shows to the other employees at NASA. He’s even nicknamed ‘Samurai Boy,’ which admittedly fits really well given his personality. In Mutta’s words, he only looks forward, working towards his goal without letting anything distract him from it.
The amount of effort Hibito clearly puts into the physical training makes me wonder whether that’s the extent of his abilities. Would he feel the need to train so hard if he was the most intelligent of the other astronauts? Perhaps, but we have yet to really see Hibito really show his intellect – in my experience, passing exams is often as much about how much information you can memorise as it is how well you can actually use that information. Where the other astronauts jog, Hibito sprints; where they do just enough weight training to meet the required amount, Hibito sets new records. It almost feels as though he has something to prove. If we weren’t explicitly told that he always sprints, I would think that maybe he was showing off for Mutta’s benefit.
So once again it looks like we’ll have to wait with bated breath to see if Mutta will have his dreams dashed. I’ll admit that at this point I have a strong feeling that they won’t be, but we can only wait and see!
- Mutta refers to himself as Hibito’s foil which is slightly ironic when I’ve been seeing it the other way around this whole time. But it does bring up the question… who is the protagonist? It seems to be Mutta at this point, but that could easily change. The title is Space Brothers after all (the plural is important).
- What a horrible first day on the job that would be – to have two children recite the lines you’re supposed to say when you stumble over them. Scars for life.
- It’s kind of weird to hear the anime switch back and forth between Japanese and English at will – it makes it hard to decide whether we’re supposed to assume everyone is speaking ‘English’ or if most of the Americans the two brothers interact with are fluent Japanese speakers.
- ‘I fell down.’ ‘That means you headbutted the earth!’ Note to self: falling over is much more epic than it may seem at the time.