32 CommentsFirst Impressions, Space Bros / By Scamp /

Space Bros episode 1

Something is awfully strange about this spring. Normally a season lays out all its crappy fanservice titles right at the start so everyone can judge it to be crap after 3-4 days, proclaiming anime to be going downhill and all that usual rubbish. Instead, what they’ve decided to do is lead the season off with Space Bros. I know the translation says Space Brothers, but fuck official translations, I’m still calling it Space Bros.

Space Bros is one of those rare anime that doesn’t deal with the story of some group of teenagers and their power fantasies. Rather, it’s about middle-aged dudes and their midlife crises. Think of it as some sort of cross between Tiger and Bunny, PlanetES and Black Heaven (even though the amount of people who will have seen all 3 of them amounts to about 1% of the those reading this post). Middle aged guy loses his job and tries to regain his youth and chase after his dreams all over again. The PlanetES side comes from the hyper realistic sci-fi angle, set barely 10 years in the future.

One area Space Bros excels at is it has a great sense of humour to it. The first episode was frequently sentimental, but it never felt overbearing because the show never took itself too seriously while doing so. There’s a mix of goofy humour, such as the main character’s cry of ZIDAAAANE when he headbutts his boss, to a dryer form of humour where he notes that the balding man whining at him owns a car he designed. One of my big problems with PlanetES was that it gradually lost its sense of humour as it went on and became stupidly over dramatic, but it doesn’t look like Space Bros will fall into the same trap. It really is too goofy to enter that kind of territory. Mind you, if it does, it will be even more jarring because of it.

Pre-season I noted the director was some guy who had only previously worked on Doraemon, the anime director’s equivalent of training in the mountains. So I was unsure how good a director he would end up being, especially since he’s also working on Mysterious Girlfriend X this season. But there was honestly nothing to worry about, it was very competently directed. I’d read a small bit of the manga, and the director changed the composition of a fair amount of the scenes, almost always for the better. It’s little things that don’t really need mentioning on their lonesome, such as the pan across to the Japanese flag on the brother’s shoulder, or the gradual run down quality of establishments until the reveal of the McDonald’s logo, but these touches build up and make the overall experience that much better.

There’s not a huge amount to say about the first episode, because it wasn’t particularly awe-inspiring or epic or anything. It’s planned to run for over 50 episodes though, so it doesn’t need to be. A human drama series like this excels on the strength of its characterisation and development, which won’t become apparent for many episodes yet. But the characters are lovable and has set itself a very solid foundation for the rest of the story.

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31 Comments

  1. SENSEISHUN
    Posted April 1, 2012 at 6:41 pm | Permalink

    Very Solid episode. It reminds of the kind of “serious humor” they talked about in Bakuman 2.

    • Posted April 1, 2012 at 10:20 pm | Permalink

      For that matter, the whole show itself reminded me of Bakuman. The animation style, the sense of humor, and especially the shonen “to fulfill my dreams” quest being applied to a modern, bureaucratic world.

      • Scamp
        Posted April 1, 2012 at 10:30 pm | Permalink

        I was about to say “except without all the sexism” until I remembered all the astronauts were men…

      • Posted April 1, 2012 at 11:00 pm | Permalink

        One of the astronauts was a woman (the short haired blonde) and her name was Linda Cliff.

      • Scamp
        Posted April 2, 2012 at 7:44 am | Permalink

        Huh, I’ll have to take your word for it

      • Lickety
        Posted April 3, 2012 at 5:45 am | Permalink

        Absolutely, just because one of the astronauts is female automatically makes it not sexist at all.

        (At least wait and see if it passes the Bechdel Test.)

  2. luffyluffy
    Posted April 1, 2012 at 7:15 pm | Permalink

    Yes, this is exactly the kind of thing I wanted! More 30+ guys doing 30+ things.

    I wasn’t expecting Hiroaki Hirata to voice Mutta though, which is beyond cool because that voice fits the guy perfectly.

    Basically, this is the show I’m looking forward to so far.

  3. Posted April 1, 2012 at 7:43 pm | Permalink

    What I loved was that nasa made them put an english disclaimer in the credits.

    And there was no japanese translation of it.

    • Thrashy
      Posted April 4, 2012 at 2:15 am | Permalink

      Noticed that too, and puzzled for a bit before I decided to shrug and forget about it. Maybe they knew it was getting an R1 simulcast.

  4. Posted April 1, 2012 at 8:02 pm | Permalink

    I like how this show deals with drama and humour in such a skilled way. They never interfere with each other like in Angel Beats! or Persona 4 (Seiji Kishi, you suck). The humour is also very well done with all those authentic/realistic gags.

    And yeah, the director is a true hero. He clearly knows his job which makes the storytelling really superb.

    Btw: “Tiger and Bunny, Plan­etES and Black Heaven (even though the amount of people who will have seen all 3 of them amounts to about 1% of the those read­ing this post)”
    Hell yeah, I’m so fucking awesome.

  5. Mr. Anon
    Posted April 1, 2012 at 8:46 pm | Permalink

    Really solid first episode.

  6. TheG4Be
    Posted April 1, 2012 at 10:09 pm | Permalink

    As far as first episodes go, I think Space Bro’s was pretty damn good. Funny in a way that is rarely seen in anime, which is good, since the anime-scene is wont to repeat and copy itself nowadays.
    I’ve always liked the style of first-person narrative that was used here (there’s probably a word for it that I’ve never heard of, there usually is).
    And that’s all I have to say about that.

    Also: I am the 1%!

  7. Posted April 1, 2012 at 10:58 pm | Permalink

    I’d really like to see this!

  8. Posted April 1, 2012 at 11:06 pm | Permalink

    I agree with you. The director did an impressive job on the first episode, I daresay it’s even better than the manga right now.

  9. Posted April 2, 2012 at 12:12 am | Permalink

    I’m glad I’m in the 1% of something!

    I think shows about 30+ year olds (men or women) are better because they have the perspective on life to realize they could easily never amount to anything. Working in a crappy job isn’t just something you do until your dream comes true. When you get old enough, you realize you aren’t gonna be number one at jack (or that there is no prince on a white horse that will make all of your dreams come true). Reality is that you are stuck where you are. This makes everyday a struggle in a way that a life of unlimited possibility never can be.

  10. Posted April 2, 2012 at 12:51 am | Permalink

    Since you’ve mentioned just about everything I wanted to say, I’ll just agree with you.

  11. Posted April 2, 2012 at 1:01 am | Permalink

    As everyone else said it was a damn solid ep, really like the balance of humour and drama. The music was a little too soppy at times, but that’s my only real criticism.

    40+ episodes seems like a lot for series with such a premise, be interesting to see what they do with it. I’m definitely sticking around for the moment at least!

  12. Posted April 2, 2012 at 1:58 am | Permalink

    I was expecting it to be boring, but this is how a realistic slice of life should be done.

  13. Ando
    Posted April 2, 2012 at 2:42 am | Permalink

    Yep, a great first episode that gave me lots of hope for the rest of the series. The scene where Hibito lights up the cockpit(?) got me so excited. Also I especially loved all the sports references! (I never expected to see Matterazzi in an anime! And as a fellow eldest child with over-achieving sibling, I could totally relate to Mutta’s pain. Having said that, being a chief engineer for a major car company and the designer of an award-winning car at 30 is pretty awesome in its own right (in a way moreso than being an astronaut), so I wonder where his huge inferiority complex comes from? I guess that’ll be explored further in the series.

  14. Anonymous
    Posted April 2, 2012 at 5:27 am | Permalink

    (even though the amount of people who will have seen all 3 of them amounts to about 1% of the those read­ing this post)

    I am the 1%. Thankfully you didn’t add another requirement to the list or I would be alone.

  15. Teela
    Posted April 3, 2012 at 1:44 am | Permalink

    I don’t really know why but seeing Muta feeling overtaken by his younger brother hit close home in a really weird way because I’m a younger sister, who looked up to her older brother… and now I am unable to see how could he even begin to get up from the slump he is in, Damn… I already love this anime.

  16. Adrian
    Posted April 3, 2012 at 3:51 am | Permalink

    I really liked this beginning. Similar to 20th century boys, where they showed the main characters as children full of dreams playing around, until they grew up and realized they became slaves of a boring routine and a normal job. And then something incredible happens, taking them away from those boring routines and normal jobs, and renewing their determination. Unfornately, most anime and manga do not talk about childhood and adulthood, but that period that comes between the former and the latter.

    • Scamp
      Posted April 3, 2012 at 8:55 am | Permalink

      20th Century Boys also sprung to my mind, back when I read the manga. However I didn’t want to add another anime to my list

  17. Posted April 3, 2012 at 8:34 am | Permalink

    He yelled Zidane whilst headbutting his boss!? Already am I regretting not watching this show!
    In all seriousness though, nice to see an anime whose cast doesn’t consist totally of highschool students- as Joojoobees pointed out, adults have a far more cynical outlook on life something I’d much prefer to watch than a whole load of idealistic nonsense!

    Eurgh, why hasn’t my first show started yet!? The anticipation, it’s killing me!

  18. RogerMoore
    Posted April 3, 2012 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

    Shame it seems like it’s probably only going to last one season now, rather than the 48+ previously reported.

    I really liked the first episode. I just hope it can keep it up.

    • Scamp
      Posted April 3, 2012 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

      Where are you getting that info?

      • RogerMoore
        Posted April 9, 2012 at 10:20 pm | Permalink

        http://www.animenewsnetwork.co.uk/news/2012-04-02/space-brothers-anime-projected-to-end-on-june-27

        “lists the projected end of the Space Brothers anime on June 27.”

      • Scamp
        Posted April 9, 2012 at 10:34 pm | Permalink

        Read it properly. It just says there’s an announcement on that date, not the end of the show

      • RogerMoore
        Posted April 9, 2012 at 11:58 pm | Permalink

        It changed since I last read it. The first time I saw it, it definitely said that it was ending. The second time, I figured it wouldn’t have changed and just quickly scanned it.

        Obviously I should have been more careful, and I’m sorry. It was just a mistake on my part. When the news was originally posted, it said it was ending.

  19. RogerMoore
    Posted April 10, 2012 at 12:00 am | Permalink

    If you read the forum posts made before the edit, they are all clearly talking about the show ending, which was the original content of the news the first time I read it.

  20. Mr.RR
    Posted April 10, 2012 at 7:29 am | Permalink

    Interesting and there aren’t high school people in it, amazing. Either way I’ll keep tabs on this.

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