Uchuu Kyoudai 01 – The Hero Anime Needs

Uchuu Kyoudai has a premise more fitting of a Japanese prime time drama and yet it possesses a whimsical charm more often found in Japanese animation. Thankfully, Watanabe Ayumu seems like he knows exactly where he wants to go with the source material. The premiere itself is a rare gem of an episode that combines strong writing and excellent use of visuals to tell a story with a lot of heart.

Adults are usually in a different place in their lives, Uchuu Kyoudai is interesting because it shows just that. Mutta losing his job and practically being blacklisted from the Automobile industry was a great reality check, the news travels fast and at the (subjectively) young age of 30, he’s lost major career opportunities. Hibito on the other hand is only a few steps away from his dream of flying to the moon.

I think it’s a fact that most of us end up trapped in the rat race without truly pursuing what we want to do. We can’t all abandon our hopes and dreams because that’s not how life works. You need a job, you need to pay for the rent– your parents are old and they can’t provide for a fully grown adult all their lives. This is some serious depressing stuff. The reality of a real adult in a real working environment experiences is a wake up call. We all have dreams, but not all of us will ever accomplish it.

However, the first episode isn’t all about Mutta’s misery– It’s great to see a show balance drama and light hearted humor. The show maintains a light yet never obnoxiously optimistic tone all throughout. Life is both happy and sad in the world of Uchuu Kyoudai.

Somewhere near the end of the episode, Mutta gets selected for the Astronaut Selection Examination unaware that it was his mother that sent his papers. The family quietly supported Mutta, Hibito wanted to make his older brother remember that they both had dreams as a child and Mutta still has a chance to fulfill that. The brothers’ relationship is one of the most believable ones I’ve seen in anime so far, there’s friendly competition and at the same time they’re there to support and defend each other in times of need.

In terms of technical merit, Uchuu Kyoudai applies the split screen technique in a way I’m not sure I’ve seen before in anime.

This technique is used mostly throughout Mutta’s job search and resembles an animated montage of manga panels. These parts stood out to me because it’s not everyday you see such a creative and refreshing take.

The OP in particular uses all these childlike elements of crayon drawn rockets, stars and rainbow colors but puts a playful yet mature spin on them.

The show’s timing couldn’t be any better, we all need a story about hope, determination and family support every once in a while and it’s great to see that this story is being adapted in a format more well known for its teenage angst and saving the world. Uchuu Kyoudai’s premiere didn’t disappoint and sets a rather high standard for the rest of the shows this season. Not a bad start for a show about a jobless 30 year old man with an afro for a hairdo who wants to go to Mars.

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9 Comments

  1. I do like the non-antagonistic competition between the two brothers. I can only hope that it keeps up as the series goes, along with the general level of quality. Also, I have to admit that it’s off to a fairly touching start.

    • You don’t see many sibling relationships like Mutta and Hibito’s in anime. I’m curious as to how or why this series needs so many episodes, but I’m just going to be cautiously optimistic for now. It’s hard not to feel for Mutta at this point of the series.

  2. Yay! I’m glad Uchuu Kyoudai is as good as I was hoping it to be! (I haven’t read the manga so I was a bit worried about getting carried away with my high expectations.) It’s only been one episode and I already like all the main characters (especially the parents – that scene with the strawberries was so cute). I can really empathize with Mutta’s woes. I agree with you that this seems like a perfect series for current times.

    While the show could well be ideal material for a prime time drama, surely they wouldn’t be able to do the space stuff justice with their crappy CGI! Also, the near-future setting was unexpected but pretty neat. I quite like those cars that Mutta designed. :)

    • The people in Uchuu Kyoudai actually feel like real people. Not just real in a flawed sense but rather they seem like people you and I interact with everyday. I loved that scene with the strawberries, it was perfect! I hope this show does well, we could all use shows like Uchuu Kyoudai, especially now these days.

      I’d like to think it’s a blessing in disguise to have this long running adaptation in animated form. Mutta sure makes some sexy cars…

  3. It’s VERY rare for me to see a character my own age in anime, whom I actually can relate to. (The unemployment, being disheartened after trying for job after job after job etc.) and even rarer for a show to be FOCUSED on him. If we see adults in anime, more often than not they’re the mentor type characters, or they’re supposed to raise cute little girls while trying not to fall into the lolicon trap, etc. This? This I LOVE! ♥ (And yeah, okay, Hibito is cute~ ♥) I’ll just try my best not to listen with my Swedish ears when I hear the name ‘Mutta’… Because uh. It’s a slang word for the female genitalia in Swedish. Oops? >>

    • It’s nice to watch a show where it tackles slightly more mature problems and themes.

      I’ll just try my best not to listen with my Swedish ears when I hear the name ‘Mutta’… Because uh. It’s a slang word for the female genitalia in Swedish. Oops? >>

      Poor Mutta!

  4. This series may very be my favorite of the season, It was so unexpected, I kinda like the brother rival because it makes you want to know more plus one being unlucky and the other living the dream we cements my interest, Lets see if he can realise his dream and go to mars…

    Me too Im unemployed.. Ill cry when I go home ^^

    • I’d love to know why Mutta let go of his dream to become an astronaut, seems like pretty heavy stuff.

      Heh. It’s okay, we all have those days feeling useless and unneeded. Damn society!

  5. Mutta’s a very good character in my opinion. A lot of the darkness in this series is reflected through his own pessimism of what his future holds. I think he’s probably made the mistake of never finding anything he really wanted to settle on in his life, which is why he finds himself struggling in his early 30s. I hope the series continues to be inspirational.

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