Episodes of Space Brothers generally fall into 3 categories. First, you have the ones detailing Mutta’s progress as an astronaut. Second, you have the ones dealing with Hibito’s career and missions. Lastly, you have the interlude episodes which serve to establish and build the series’ diverse, while introducing ideas that will become important later. This episode was of the latter variety, and raised some interesting specters lurking in the series’ future.
Before Space Brothers aired, I was kind of ambivalent on it. The director, Ayumu Watanabe, was new in the sense that his only other experience was a ton of Doraemon, and he was helming two shows that season (Mysterious Girlfriend X being the second one). Also, I knew from my research into what would later become my Manga Japanese Critics Love panel that the manga (winner of Kodansha and Shogakukan manga awards in 2011 and 2010, respectively) was over 18 volumes long, so it would be very difficult to cover that in what seemed destined for a one-season timeslot. So it was with more caution than optimism that I got on Crunchyroll in the aftermath of Ohio State’s 62-64 NCAA Tournament loss to Kansas to check out the first episode.