Space Brothers

One small step for the Japanese…you know the rest

When Mutta Nanba unexpectedly loses his job, he returns home to his parents. Whilst he is there, his younger brother Hibito gets in touch, reminding him of a promise they made to each other as kids to become astronauts. Hibito is on his way to fulfilling his part of the promise, already a trained astronaut and awaiting his first outer space assignment to be the first Japanese astronaut on the moon. Mutta remembers his promise as a child to outdo Hibito and go to Mars, and decides he will begin the process towards becoming an astronaut himself.

Based on the long running manga by Chuya Koyama, Space Brothers is 99 episodes long, as it follows Mutta’s long journey towards fulfilling his dream with painstaking accuracy and attention to detail. For starters, the show refers to NASA and JAXA, rather than making up fictional space agencies. The astronaut application process shown is also extremely accurate to real life, with Mutta taking part in exams, interviews, official and unofficial tests all designed to intensely scrutinise his suitability for working in outer space. I found this makes the anime hugely enjoyable in its own right. Even if you don’t have an interest in space, being able to watch the entire process and see the kinds of tests that are assigned – some simple, some amusingly clever – is a fascinating insight into what it really takes to prove you can become an astronaut.

However, what really stands Space Brothers out as a classic anime is the combination of this scientific testing process with complex, fallible human characters. Mutta has dreamed of being an astronaut since he was just a wide eyed kid going to talks to see astronauts he admired. But everyone else applying alongside him wants it just as much. Mutta’s perfect blend of a serious passion for his goal, and a slight daftness when it comes to social situations makes him easily relatable, and it’s easy to connect with the other characters through his relationships with them.

Sometimes silly, always's hard not to like Mutta
Sometimes silly, always earnest…it’s hard not to like Mutta

Space Brothers details the terrifying and awe inspiring process of following your dreams, and all the fear, heartache and excitement that goes with it, whilst keeping its characters grounded and emotionally honest. This is a must see anime for anyone, especially if you’re a space fan.


Five Great Anime Tunes!

One of the things that has often helped make an anime memorable is its music. Anime theme tunes have really become popular in their own right, with opening sequences often featuring amusing dance routines or other quirky gimicks. Having watched a lot of anime over the years, I wanted to share my favourite anime music. If listening to these great songs and backing soundtracks doesn’t inspire you to give these anime a go, I don’t know what will!

Goose House – Hikaru Nara

The above song was used as the first opening sequence for Your Lie in April (Shigatsu Wa Kimi no Uso). Your Lie in April was an anime I reviewed earlier this year, which revolves around the lives and loves of a group of friends – two of whom are budding musicians. It is fitting then that this should be such a great musical number in its own right! The contagious energy is a perfect match for such a vibrant anime.


A Lull in the Sea – Cry for the Moon

Although I have fallen in love with a few anime this year, A Lull in the Sea (Nagi No Asukara) has really stolen my heart. The graphics are stunning, and the love stories are emotive – which are helped very much by a truly stunning soundtrack. It was hard to choose just one piece but this simple piano piece really captures the raw, honest emotions of the characters.


Sakura Trick – Won’t Chu Kiss Me

I find it impossible not to bop to this theme tune for the shoujo ai anime Sakura Trick. If you can sit through this ten hour loop of it….well, I applaud you.


Space Brothers – Feel So Moon

I am currently working my way through the epic 99 long anime that is Space Brothers – revolving around two brothers and their quest to make it into space, a dream they have shared since childhood. This theme tune is light hearted but passionate, just like the show. Feel so mooooon!


Paprika – Parade

Paprika is easily in my top five anime for an outstanding, inventive story (that supposedly inspired the movie Inception), and this piece is as wacky and joyful as the dream sequences it depicts.


There’s so much more great anime music out there but I hope you enjoyed my selection! I tried to cover a variety of music from the boisterous, to the beautiful, to the downright goofy!