「バスバス走る」 (Basu Basu Hashiru)
“Running Bus”

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.

Random thoughts:

  • 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!

Full-length images: 02, 04, 23, 30.





    1. that would actually make a lot of sense. How often do you see armored buses driving on the freeway? Okay, I guess I meant to say: do you ever? Not to mention I still don’t see the need for JAXA to have a top secret area just for test candidates. Seems unlikely haha

    2. I think that’s the point. In space or in a capsule orbiting the Earth, their pretty much going to have the exact same view during the entire duration. Either the metallic insides of the vessel or space and Earth at one of the few windows. It’s also a lot harder to tell time without a clock, since you don’t have your usual day/night cycles. The cameras I think are rather simple. Astronauts are constantly watched and monitored by the crew on the ground to make sure their okay. The candidates need to get used to being watched 24 hours a day. The talking exercise is I think has to do with space walks. Some space walks last hours and quite a few are solo. That exercise gives them a little taste of being close yet very isolated from the rest of the group and all you hear is radio chatter.

  1. I thought this Mutta will redeem himself to be a very observant man, he did not. Oh, well, just what like Hibito says he is always stuffing his mind with unnecessary details. If the judges wants to know who’ll be the calmest aside from that survey form, I think the calmest would be Mutta since he’s just focused on Serika the whole time. Next exam will be tough since they have to decide who among themselves is the rightful one. Or, come to think of it, the survey thingy is too. So, the judges will let the participants decide who will be picked? O.o
    Congratulations Mr. and Ms. Congeniality!

  2. I think this is a test of isolation with others for extended periods of time. Pretty much a psych exam – I bet some of those other “candidates” are really setups to increase pressure on the real candidates. Some will probably start a panic or get angry- and the key is how the real folks react. Given that in space travel you’ll be in tight confines with other people for extended periods- how you react to stress is critical.

  3. I have a feeling they’ll make the lists the candidates made public during the test to see how they’ll react. For example put people who ranked each other poorly in the same group, make the lists available to see, and then see if they can still co-operate after that.

  4. I didn’t think the bus “test” was much of a test… They got on a bus ride and were told to engage in a simple icebreaker. These kinds of things are done at summer camps with middle school kids (ride the bus to the camp, do an ice breaker at the camp lol). I am also surprised to see that the short guy with the orange/brownish hair has made it this far?!? His personality seems more akin to a low-life thug in a shounen anime. Perhaps JAXA figured they might as well make use of the long bus ride, hence the ice breaker. Granted, it wasn’t much of an ice breaker for people who already knew each other ! I am still really addicted to this show though.


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