"Do you know the biggest difference between life and the sky? The sky doesn't belong to anyone. Your life belongs to you. You can control your own life." - Deniel Young
Space Brothers is a series that follows the journeys of brothers Mutta and Hibito Nanba on their shared dream to become astronauts. When they were children, the brothers promised each other that they would go to space together, and although Hibito pursued that goal and became an astronaut, Mutta's life followed a different path. After being fired from his job at a car manufacturer, Hibito reminded Mutta of their childhood promise and Mutta decided to give his lifelong dream one more shot. The show spans several years, and at 99 episodes, it is the longest anime series I have seen. The anime closely follows the manga, although the show ends before the story does, and I picked up the manga starting at volume 20 to continue following along.
I just loved everything about Space Brothers. The core of the series was the relationship between Mutta and Hibito, and their bond was very real and touching. We got to know them and their shared history through flashbacks to their childhood, and it was interesting to see how their past experiences shaped them into the men they would become. They always wanted to be the best they could be in front of the other, often causing them to struggle to hide their insecurities and problems, such as when Mutta worried about his chances of becoming an astronaut, or Hibito hid his anxiety disorder. However, they were unwavering in their support and belief in each other's abilities, and their sibling rivalry pushed them both to achieve greatness. Although Mutta was the main character in the series, and a very compelling and interesting one at that, Hibito could also easily carry the show and his personal journey was just as fascinating to watch.
The series had a full cast of well developed and fully dimensional supporting characters that were all very interesting to watch, as they each had their own stories that we got to see unfold. I thought Space Brothers had a very unique ability to take a character that I initially didn't like very much, and as I learned about their backstory and motivations, come to truly care about and want to root for. Pico and Vincent, for example, I didn't care for very much when they were first introduced, but through seeing their childhood with their friend Rick and their long standing friendship, it was very fulfilling to see them achieve their goals. It was also interesting to watch Mutta interact with all the characters, and to see how he left an impact on each of them as their paths crossed. He had a very special talent to think outside of the box and to leave a mark on the people he encountered, even if he didn't realize it himself. I also enjoyed watching how many of the characters were just really good people who did the best they could with what they had and followed what they believed in.
One thing I found especially refreshing about this series was that there was not a romance storyline. With so many shows relying on romantic relationships to tell a story, it was amazing to see 99 episodes where the focus was on friendships, career goals, and personal growth. Although Mutta had a crush that spanned the series in its entirety, it was really nice to see both he and Serika focused so fully on their goals that there was little room for anything else in their lives. Although something could definitely happen between them in the future, I was impressed that we got to see so many other types of relationships between characters, especially familial bonds. The story could have just as easily been about Eddie and Brian Jay as it was about Mutta and Hibito. It was also interesting to watch some of the relationships change and evolve over time or when placed in difficult situations, such as Mutta and Kenji when they had to compete against one another for their place on a lunar mission.
With so much of the story revolving around space, I couldn't help but find myself more interested than I had ever been in the topic. Before I even finished the series I started watching documentaries about various real life space missions, and it was all thanks to the show. I loved seeing Mutta and Hibito when they were kids being so excited about everything related to space - how they could recite the presentation at JAXA, were so thrilled to meet and talk to real astronauts, or how they came into and became such a big part of Sharon's life. It was a very smart series and it was really enjoyable to watch a show about somewhat older characters, especially when so much anime is about teenage characters.
This show really made me happy whenever I finished an episode. Although some of the stories could be intense, it was overall an incredibly inspiring story and had a very positive message that you are never too old to follow your dreams, and no matter the obstacle, to never give up on something you truly want. It was so inspiring to watch Hibito work to overcome his panic disorder, and never give up on his dreams to return to space, despite NASA's decisions. Or to see Mutta's determination to build the Sharon telescope, Serika's goal to reach the ISS to continue her research, or Pico and Vincent work to achieve the dream they shared with Rick. Overall this is one of my favorite anime series and I felt everything came together to form a very rich and full anime. The different style of animation, the moving soundtrack, and of course the story and characters, all contributed to a very memorable experience. And if I was ever going to get a dog, I'd want a pug like Apo!
||Mutta, Hibito, Azuma, Apo, Hoshika
||The Day Before Goodbye, Promise Sign, Sea Diver and Space Diver, Supandaman, Pretty Dog
||Mutta and Hibito, Sharon and the Nanba brothers, Team A, Vincent and Pico, Hibito and Brian, Hibito and Azuma
In my Sims 4 game, Hibito is a successful astronaut while Mutta is on his way to following in the same career path. The brothers live together with Apo.