I kind of understand why Space Brothers has a huge overlap with fandoms of various battle series. One, it’s an objectively good show with very understandable messages. Two, it’s been on crunchyroll for a year, so it’s had plenty of time to catch the eye of the people who come there for Naruto (i.e. the majority of users). Three, similar to a good battle series like Hunter x Hunter, it can set an arc based on a very rigid set of rules and ideas, but grow very complicated very quickly, while being a thrillfest the whole way. The sealed-capsule arc was a great example of that approach in action, as was the more recent lunar-crash arc. The comeback competition is really just the latest example, this time featuring Engineering, but knowing that it’s somewhat formulaic doesn’t make it any less exciting to watch.
Bonus points for viewers who happen to have built a robot before
Hibito may have been running on a tighter deadline on the moon, but this is probably as rushed as we’ve ever seen the ASCAN group. It’s interesting to see who has a real sense of urgency under pressure, versus who stays calm. Oh, and we got to see Amanti do this:
As usual, Mutta was rushed, but had the right idea. The minute he showed he was aiming for the Janitor’s closet, I knew he has a winner (for the record, I expected WD-40). Caulk was a pretty interesting way of going about fixing their tires; it’s both in most maintainence closets and a flexible material. Him reflecting on the true meaning of the project as he hurried, bringing back Nasuda’s great analogy from something like 20 weeks ago, was another moment reflecting how great a head it is he’s got riding on his shoulders. But it wasn’t even his best of the episode. I loved, loved, loved that moment where he boldly declared there was nothing unlucky about his name; it was him crossing the finish line of a long road he’s been on all series to get back his self-confidence. That is exactly the kind of thing episode 1 Mutta would never, ever say. And speaking of great character poses:
Meanwhile, the series of failures we got to see from the various other teams going before group E did a really great job of building up the tension prior to their inevitable huge success. I again draw the analogy to battle series, which tend to build up a main character’s latest opponent as undefeated and unbeatable. Whether that’s by giving him a better record of ring-outs than the main character (i.e. Neji before his fight with Naruto) or making it a prison that hasn’t been escaped in its entire history (i.e. Impel Down, One Piece), having that history makes the success all the sweeter. Lest we forget that Ayumu Watanabe is directing this series and knows how to build up to moments.
Plus, Pico gets to grin smugly at their incompetence
The comeback competition arc has been really great, both in terms of technical accuracy and the different sides of characters it let us see. I’m legitimately psyched for whatever phase 3 of the ASCAN training is going to be. And Hibito meeting Mutta again ought to be something to see.