「3次元アリ」 (3 Jigen Ari)
“3-D Ant”

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

Random thoughts:

  • 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!

Full-length images: 01, 06, 07, 09, 10, 11, 13, 16, 21, 28.





  1. This week seems to be the week of inspiring speeches. First it was Mutta’s recollection of Noguchi’s speech using ants to describe the process of stepping outside the box to gain a better perspective. Then you had Tomii’s insight into how we are seeds to be propagated around the universe. Finally you have Mutta’s own thoughts, that they should just let their actions speak for themselves.

    On a separate note, isn’t Serika just lovely? There is real and growing chemistry growing between her and Mutta. I’m feeling so anxious waiting for them to acknowledge each other’s feelings.

  2. What happens when one of the team members become sick and had to get treatment from outside the confinement? I think this is one of the reason for that condition. They also had to take care of each other for the good of the group. They’re competing with each other but also had to act in ways that would benefit the group.

      1. Its the same, as if you deep underwater. With no change dive out of the Water. You just have Radio or Video, for contact. But the real choices are done in group. Yes, it can be stress full. So the Tests are about to get the “best working” team. So to reduce this “Envy/Hate/Enemy” Feelings. There is no such place for that

      2. I think, i only can be a Astronaut in my Fantasy. I am very bad to add or subtract Numbers in my Mind. Numbers just “disappear” out of my Mind… So this Test of Running and Solve Mathe Solutions. i would get 0 Points XD

  3. Hey, I just realized that the dude in team B who constantly twitching his legs and super-nervous all the time (and he took quite some time before signing up that consent before the final test started as well) might snap and walk out and bring down his whole team and Kenji, disqualifying them. I don’t see anyone walking out from team A, but team C is sort of irreverent at this point. Why else they wrote in that rule anyway?

    1. I think you’ve nailed the plot of one of the coming episodes. I think nervous guy will want to leave. I think that will be the moment Kenji shines. He seems to have a rapport with the more odd members of the team.

      I think one of the things we will see is how JAXA values candidates who bring the best out of their teammates. That seems a logical thing that JAXA would want to see.

      NASA fan
  4. I’m mildly surprised that “the eldest member” of the four horsemen of new atheism got mentioned. BTW, he looks at least 20 years younger than his actual age (71)! I can believe Dan Dennett’s age, but Dawkins’? Nah. (No ideas of what “Hogan’s Heroes” and “Family Feud” are. Sounds like some oldie TV dramas. Never seen them. I’m known to dislike period dramas).

    And ah, the classic “why are spending money up there when you have problems down here…”, the go-to-line Neil Degrasse Tyson says in preparation to counter-argue his case, in his every youtube clip available. (seriously, I checked… trust me. So is the half-penny and cutting a US dollar argument regarding on NASA budget).

    I say poverty and other classic human problems will probably NEVER get solved. It has always been will humans. NOT when people are multiplying like freaking bunnies and rats in every continents. The stupid religious folks arguing against contraception surely doesn’t help at all, of course. Still clinging to some medieval beliefs against contraceptives. The whole thing is…well… I’d better check myself here or the floodgate will open~!

    Anyway, my argument is that humans can’t and won’t solve problems down here, no matter how much money they pour into them. Not unless they volunteer to stop reproducing their off-springs like crazy (fat chance, octomom and Duggar family), which get into that good old “freedom issue”. And you can’t just force the issue (i.e. sterilization) for the obvious reasons.

    So is the warfare, the black-hole for money spending. So is stop people eating so damn much meat. The list goes on. It isn’t happening. Some people will suffer and die no matter what. Some may argue that a difference of saving 1 more life is a difference enough and that’s valid argument. But to me, ignoring or slowing down human race progress over a few more lives in this endless cycle is just a nonsense (I may get flanks for this, but so be it). I’d rather spend endless capitals to extend human races rapidly forward, rather than stuck in that wheeled-in hamster mindset, ever so slowly, barely moving forward. Space exploration will do that. Stem-cell research will do that.

    But then again, I know that it probably won’t happen in any foreseeable future. The world is dominated by dogmas (beneficial or poisonous) and when a majority rules a democratic society, a certain rapid change (good or bad) just won’t change soon enough for humans with limited life-time span. I just have no patience since human lives are all so limited.

    doddle god
  5. And here I was thinking that it was rather straight forward that opening and leaving the capsule would disqualify the whole team -.-” I mean what would happen if you suddenly open the door mid space (as they were told that they should act as if they were in space like the fake windows)…. I guess the whole team would die. So this really becomes a test for endurance with other people at least I think I would get mad if I were to be locked up with 5 different people (who I don’t really know(Man I really am not suited for jail)) for more then a couple of days.

  6. Mutta and his faith in Hibito! even though he’s jealous of what Hibito is accomplishing way ahead of him, he is still proud of him. especially with the way Nitta keeps referring to him as “Onii-san”, you would think that he’ll not want to talk about his brother so much. but i love how determined he is to make Nitta want to call him “Mu-chan” at the end of the two weeks. go Mutta!!

  7. “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.”

    I wouldn’t even be able to quickly multiply those huge numbers sitting down. Up until now, every test Mutta has gone through has seemed like something I could do, but this treadmill math while running I could not do. Somewhat embarrassing, given that I’m a physics major in college (doing quick mental calculations is not at all important for doing well in my classes, in case you’re wondering).

  8. After team 3 getting so little screentime and the re-mentioning of the ‘If one person leaves it means that the whole team is out’ I keep thinking that this team will have one person leaving thus eliminating the whole team. So they don’t want us to bond with any of those characters, which is why they don’t get any screentime.

  9. Ahaha! I really love Mutta! As expected of him to mess up because his ‘mental abacus’ is too realistic!

    Also, it looks like next episode would be trouble in Team A. Glasses breaking and sole stomping. Conflict in Team A. I don’t like this. I really like that old man. (I don’t have any ‘deep’ comments to add since I’m a business student. Though the speeches are really thoughtful.)


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