Initial Thoughts: Uchuu Kyoudai (Space Brothers)

With The 90s Are All That block being a hit, and the slow but steady push for the rebirth of Toonami, it looks like we’ve entered an age when the bigwigs at the TV stations are paying attention to the manchild demographic. And from the looks of things, it seems like Japan’s not an exception.

While the shonen genre of anime is pretty much a staple and widely known even outside of Japan, the seinen genre has just started to make its first pokes into the mainstream, thanks to manga-ka like Naoki Urasawa and Inio Asano, blending elements of sci-fi with the older themes of nostalgia and the occasional forgetfulness when looking back on your childhood. Uchuu Kyoudai (Space Brothers) takes things a step forward, dropping most signs of fantasy to focus more on the successes and failures the mundane world presents itself with.

Mutta and Hibito Nanba are brothers separated by three years, both with dreams early in their life of becoming astronauts. However, while Hibito was able to make this dream into a reality, older brother Mutta has settled for a more down to Earth (no pun intended) job… until he headbutts his boss after hearing him badmouth his brother. You’re easily able to relate to Mutta as he moves back home with his parents and tries to figure out what to do next in his life and the plot doesn’t come off as trying too hard to push the story forward. Absolutely everything in Mutta’s life from his relationship to his parents, his brother, and how he views himself is absolutely ordinary with no senseless melodrama trying to push the plot forward. It’s this sense of familiarity in the mundane that makes for an interesting watch.

The only real bit of (possible) sci-fi comes in the form of a flashback when the two brothers see a UFO in the middle of the night sky hover for a while before shooting off towards the moon. The event is referenced multiple times in the first episode alone, and yet neither character has any reasonable explanation for the event. It’s this interest in the unknown that pushes both brothers on and has the viewers root for both brothers. It’s the perfect mix of the mundane and the fantastic that would appeal to the young adult audience that’s probably going through the same internal struggle.

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About daemoncorps
Gabe (daemoncorps) has been writing about anime and the like since 2005, but has been babysat by it for much longer. He primarily spends his days distracting himself on twitter or writing for Fandom Post until he realizes he has a weekly webcomic (tapastic.com/series/scramblebouquet) to work on. He also just finished writing his first full-length graphic novel about unemployment (https://tapastic.com/episode/293804).

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