31 CommentsAnime Analysis, Space Bros / By Scamp /

Space Bros beating the same gong

Upon returning from my self-imposed hiatus, the first anime I caught up on was Space Bros. The intent was to do a quick post summing up my thoughts on the latest batch of episodes so I could get back into the groove of episodic blogging. I figured this might be difficult though. Trying to cram in 3 episodes worth of content into one post? Impossible! Well, not really, as it turns out, because Space Bros beats the same gong over and over again.

Let’s talk about episodic blogging for a second, because I feel many people get the wrong impression of what it is. It’s not a summary of what happened in the episode. Nor is it a review of episode. At least, that’s not the approach I take. It’s using the events of the episode as a springboard for further discussion, whether it is relating to this specific anime, the world of anime in general, or larger societal issues. A good story should do this naturally, although often it requires a bit more brainpower on your part to get the most out of it. This is where discussion and episodic blogging helps. It challenges you to think about the episode, and reading someone else’s posts can increase your enjoyment of the anime as well.

The issue comes in trying to come up with something new to say about every episode. A naturally episodic anime means there is always something new with each episode to talk about, but continuous stories often tread the same points over and over again. There’s a reason why my Steins;Gate posts were half the length of my Durarara posts. Steins;Gate was the building up of the same general ideas gradually. It made for absorbing viewing, but difficult to come up with new things to say each week. Meanwhile Durarara’s naturally episodic nature, notably more in the first half than the second, meant there was always a new perspective to see the series through.

And then there’s series like Space Bros. Space Bros has one message it has been beating ours heads with over and over again with. Follow your dreams. Believe in yourself. Try your hardest and you will make it. The American Dream! Except we’re in Japan, but whatever. That’s a lovely story and all, but it’s repetitive and gets dull quickly. It’s also not evolving as it goes on. Now a lot of stories often have one core message going through them that drives the show. Let’s take Infinite Ryvius and say it’s about how teenagers buckle under responsibility (a rather reductionist way of looking at the series, but bear with me). In Ryvius, the characters evolve to reflect this message. In Space Bros, it hasn’t felt like the message has evolved, nor have the characters, to reflect the passing of time. It’s like listening to song that repeats the same few bars over and over again with the same lyrics repeated each time.

…huh, I think I just described the majority of dance music.

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  1. Posted May 15, 2012 at 11:07 pm | Permalink

    “…huh, I think I just described the major­ity of dance music.”


  2. G.S
    Posted May 15, 2012 at 11:53 pm | Permalink

    I only watched the first 2 episodes of space bro and I was already getting bored. Should I continue? Based on your post, I’m feeling even less optimistic. Hmm, maybe I’ll just wait til the whole thing is out on crunchyroll rather than wasting bandwidth and downloading each episode. I usually find a show more enjoyable when I’m able to watch it in one setting. This weekly thing really kills the momentum.

    • Scamp
      Posted May 16, 2012 at 8:01 pm | Permalink

      Not sure how marathoning will suit, since you’ll just be getting the same message repeated at you over and over rather than once a week, which sounds more painful to me

  3. Thrashy
    Posted May 16, 2012 at 12:16 am | Permalink

    Isn’t this true of most multi-season shows, though? It seems like writers have a hard enough time these days with 2-cour schedules, and I can’t think of a 50+ ep show that didn’t drag at times. I don’t think the message of Space Bros is unevolving so much as it is plodding, and showing every sign of being stretched to fit a 4-cour schedule.

    • Embok
      Posted May 16, 2012 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

      Legend of the Galactic Heroes didn’t drag and it was a bit more than 50 eps.

    • Scamp
      Posted May 16, 2012 at 8:04 pm | Permalink

      Nah, plodding implies it’s at least moving a bit, while Space Bros is moving on the spot. Same messages with a sorta moving story

  4. Erif
    Posted May 16, 2012 at 4:22 am | Permalink

    While I’ve only watched the first five episodes or so, I don’t think I totally agree. While Space Bros. does stress some of the same themes over and over again, I feel they approached from different angles and perspectives. I also believe it is a very entertaining show, with a cast a realistic, relatable characters.

    • Scamp
      Posted May 16, 2012 at 8:04 pm | Permalink

      Slightly different perspectives, but it always boils down to the same point, which gets very tiring and predictable

  5. luffyluffy
    Posted May 16, 2012 at 4:28 am | Permalink

    Yeah but it has the best opening of the season!

    • fathomlessblue
      Posted May 16, 2012 at 7:03 am | Permalink

      You must not have seen the OP to the second season of ‘savior of anime™’ Phi Brain!

    • Ando
      Posted May 16, 2012 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

      For me it’s a three way fight between Space Bros, Tsuritama and Panda Cafe!

    • Scamp
      Posted May 16, 2012 at 8:05 pm | Permalink

      Nichibears, for all its other faults, probably has the best OP. I also like Kids on the Slope and Sankarea

    • Posted May 17, 2012 at 3:50 am | Permalink

      Gotta give the lead to Space Brothers, but I might have to swallow my apathy towards Autotuning to get AAAA SUWANAIDEEEEE to the top of the rankings.

  6. fathomlessblue
    Posted May 16, 2012 at 6:57 am | Permalink

    It was clear to me by episode 3 that the show wasn’t going to hold up to continuous scrutiny. Not that I think Space Bro’s is necessarily bad (although, by god, has it dropped in my estimations!), but it’s obviously going to take its sweet time shifting gears. The show is too sedately paced for its own good, particularly as its just repeating the same themes. So yeah, nobody’s going to have a fun time writing about it!

    Ominously enough, since episode 2 I’ve been seeing heavy similarities between Space Bros & Bakuman, not only in how it presents the story, but how subsequent posts attempt to discuss it. I’m not saying Bros is complete garbage like that show was, but there’s simply too little meat on the bone, when looking at it in short bursts. Honestly, like with Bakuman, dropping episodic viewing/posts will probably be a mercy overall!

    • Scamp
      Posted May 16, 2012 at 8:16 pm | Permalink

      I think Bakuman had way more to talk about tbh, although I get the comparisons. I learned more about manga from Bakuman than I’m learning about space from Space Bros

  7. Ando
    Posted May 16, 2012 at 11:00 am | Permalink

    I agree that the message is the same week in week out (it’s that type of show), but I do think we learn somethink new about the brothers each week as well. So far I’m not bored because I’m interested in where the story’s going, in particular the relationship of the brothers.

    (PS Kingdom isn’t a Three Kingdoms piece, it actually seems to be set a few hundred years earlier. Not that many people will care I imagine…)

  8. Nebulous
    Posted May 16, 2012 at 11:51 am | Permalink

    Meh, I dropped it a while ago. It just didn’t vibe with me. It seemed silly that a guy could wake up one day and say “I’m gonna be an astronaut” and for the entire world to curve and bend to meet those expectations. The show fell into a sort of uncanny valley, it wasn’t unrealistic enough nor realistic enough for me to get any enjoyment out of it.

  9. Embok
    Posted May 16, 2012 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

    Obviously the solution is to stop blogging it and go with AKB0048 instead. Now there’s a follow your dreams anime worth writing about.

    • diz1776
      Posted May 16, 2012 at 8:43 pm | Permalink

      This guy knows what he’s talking about.

    • lmm
      Posted May 18, 2012 at 8:21 am | Permalink

      I’m wary of getting excited three episodes in – I remember where Sankarea was at this point (it’s like the industry has caught on to the “three episode test” or something) – but AKB0048 is the best anime I’m watching this season.

  10. Overly-animated
    Posted May 16, 2012 at 6:08 pm | Permalink

    Alot of animes keep beating the same gong over and over again.. At this rate they are going to have to get a new one.

    • Scamp
      Posted May 16, 2012 at 8:17 pm | Permalink

      A nice new big shiny gong

  11. Posted May 16, 2012 at 7:12 pm | Permalink

    Space Bros has the long game in mind, and so do I. I’ve put it on hold and intend to resume closer to the end, like I did with Precure, Brotherhood, and DBKai.

  12. Posted May 16, 2012 at 9:24 pm | Permalink

    “…huh, I think I just described the major­ity of dance music.”

    No, just dub-step…

  13. Poro
    Posted May 17, 2012 at 2:27 am | Permalink

    heh i didn’t want to say it, but i told u so

  14. Posted May 17, 2012 at 3:51 am | Permalink

    Banging a shiny gong? Does this mean we can expect an animated Gene Gene the Dancing Machine?

    Posted May 18, 2012 at 9:49 am | Permalink

    i might just marathon this show. some shows that are paced differently need time to evolve and i cant enjoy a show the way i want it to if it only gives a little bit each week. Space Bros would be a lot more enjoyable if you could just watch this in a few sittings.

  16. Daniel
    Posted May 20, 2012 at 11:02 pm | Permalink

    Sorry Scamp but I’m quite enjoying 宇宙兄弟。

  17. hint
    Posted May 23, 2012 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

    go for sakamichi… its much more interesting.

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