「バスバス走る」 (Basu Basu Hashiru)
Round 3… Fight! Immediately on return from America we’re launching into the third round of testing.
It would seem Mutta, despite having made it all the way to the third set of exams, is still having some form of confidence issues. We’ve seen it happen many times over the course of the series so far – one moment he’s in high spirits, the next he’s questioning why he’s here, whether he should be here. I suppose this continuously wavering resolve is a part of his character as an adult, though he certainly didn’t seem to show any such traits as a child! Of course, Mutta is extremely lucky in that he has so many people he can turn to at times like these, all of whom know exactly what to say to refill his resolve meter. This week, for the second time, Sharon was chosen for this task.
Where Mutta felt he shouldn’t celebrate with the others since, in his view, his reasons for wanting to be an astronaut were not as strong, nor as worthy as theirs, Sharon argues that it’s likely they each shared the same motivations as him at some point. No matter how noble their reasons may have become over time, they were all children with dreams once – it’s perfectly fine if he searches for an answer after he becomes an astronaut rather than feeling bad about not having one now. Noble achievements can be attained even if one does not originally have a noble goal.
So on to the third round of tests. It certainly doesn’t take long for the first of them to begin – quite the torturous experience in a heavily armoured bus. There’s currently no sure way to know exactly what they’re looking for in this part of the exam – the surveillance cameras are placed quite obviously and the many stages are confusingly out of context (as I imagine they’re intended to be). There does seem to be an overarching psychological theme to the test though, ranging from the knowledge that the cameras are there but not knowing their purpose, to the constant tension of being unaware of how much time has passed and their surroundings. It seems very much like another of the ‘how well do you fare under pressure’ tests that we’ve seen in varying forms over the course of the series so far.
For most, merely knowing that the cameras are watching them should apply pressure, and we can see several of them begin to crack very early on. The addition of having each person talk to someone for ten solid minutes while a single member is left alone perhaps sheds light on how well each individual can maintain their composure under pressure, while also adding the additional worry over why one person is being left alone each time. Last, but certainly not least, each member is expected to rank all fifteen candidates (including themselves) based on how suitable they seem to be an astronaut. To me, this seems like the hardest part of the exam – I imagine at least some of them will rank themselves as number one. Conflicting emotions come heavily into play… if you write your own name down as number one do you come across as overconfident? If you don’t are you under confident? What if your list is entirely based on prejudice against some of the less scrupulous or less talkative members? What if your list doesn’t match the examiners thoughts?
From the preview it seems that this self-evaluation is going to continue throughout the tests and I can’t help but wonder whether the eventual results will be based on the choices made by each candidate in this regard, or whether the entire thing is an elaborate method of psyching them out and ramping up the pressure to help with team building.
- Now that we know Serika has a Star Wars ringtone, I want to hear the Star Wars theme! I imagine there would be some licensing issues on that front though…
- Kenji mentions that there were only eight candidates the last two times… third time’s the charm eh? He also seems pretty nervous about something this time around too – I’m surprised to see him without his usual calm image!
- Director Nasuda reminds me a little of Inspector Cabanela from Ghost Trick, if only for that one spin.
- Typically, Mutta has completely the wrong idea about the purpose behind the cameras and once again comes across as super confident. It’s always interesting to see how differently people see him compared to his inner monologue.
- It’s been a while since we last saw Kenji do his age-guessing trick. Good to see he still has it in him!