Space Bros 83 ~ all the oceans are connected

November 24, 2013

crying sea turtle

“Most people know that when sea turtles lay eggs they cry”.

Episode 83 of Space Brothers (Uchuu Kyoudai) was enjoyable, and not just because it showed animation of sea turtles crying. I generally have a problem with any series that lasts this long. In my opinion, long series allow the story to meander and the production team succumbs to the temptation of adding pointless filler. Space Brothers is an example of this phenomenon, and I have considered dropping it more than once. The pace seems to drag, as concepts that don’t deserve entire episodes are given precisely that. Also “Mr. Hibbito”, might have been a cute idea, or a fun aside, or even useful for an episode or two, but it is really just filler and thus should stop.

All that having been said, there was something quite well done in this episode. The main premise was the effects of having told Mutta and Kenji that they are competing against each other for a single position on a moon mission. Kenji becomes cold (and hates himself for it). Mutta’s inferiority complex almost leads him to give up. All the while a side character was raving about sea turtles this and sea turtles that. The more sea turtles were discussed (sea turtles cry; sea turtles can’t breathe underwater; sea turtles are graceful; the sight of a sea turtle is considered good fortune; …), the more the viewer is lead to believe that an event with a sea turtle will be pivotal in leading the astronaut candidates out of their gloom. And yet that doesn’t happen.

What does happen is that a school of barracuda enter the area where Mutta and the others are constructing a mock moon base. We have been set up for a close encounter with a sea creature of some sort, but instead of a beautiful, empathic creature, it is scary and certainly dangerous. I wouldn’t say that the scene with the barracuda was everything one might want it to be, but with all of the build up, it is easy to see how it would be a transformative experience.

Obviously I do like this show, even when I can see it’s faults. At 89 episodes I’ve watched more Space Bros than I have other long-running series (Bleach, Naruto, One Piece, Prince of Tennis), which I typically drop at about episode 50. I do wish the production team would do a better job at picking specific dramatic moments to develop, rather than handling EVERY hesitation, EVERY fear, EVERY question with the same approach of dragging it out so that it takes up a whole episode. This show would be much better if they trimmed the fat. There is a lot of good stuff underneath it, nevertheless.

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