Hello, just my fangirling this week, as Comrade Crusader is buried under more projects and midterms than you can shake a cell phone at. So… I thought that this was a lovely ‘transitional’ episode, focussing on the immediate events surrounding Mutta and company’s end-of-the-second-round-interviews at JAXA. As usual, the viewpoint was Mutta’s, with a few brief, but satisfying moments from Kenji and Serika’s perspectives. Also, the exploration of Mutta’s thoughts on joining Hibito’s side as an equal, and of Hibito’s request for Mutta to join him in Houston before Mutta’s next interview and Hibito’s next mission, adding nicely to the development of the brothers’ back story and relationship.
Mutta continues to grow on us as a realistic, yet utterly endearing character, and I particularly liked how he handled his feelings of jealousy. It’s a very difficult emotion to express and exorcise in a healthy way, given how it can eat away at you and yet leave you unable to talk about it without sounding childish or unreasonable. Thus, it was great to see how Mutta channelled his jealousy in order to continue to motivate him and to view his brother as someone to stand alongside as an equal, rather than someone who he needs to stay one step ahead of. Which leads us to the idea, raised in this episode, of putting on ‘an act’ in front of others.
Clearly, and especially regarding interviews, it’s a good idea to ‘present’ oneself at one’s ‘best’ at most times. Thus, Mutta, especially as an older brother dealing with all the expectations that come with that role in his social and professional circles, feels keenly the need to project the right mix of confidence and honesty both during the interview and around his peers. In contrast, as is evident from their differering behaviour during their own interviews, Kenji and Serika seem more confident and at ease with the process (one actually seems to find it ‘fun’, and the other seems just as content to ponder what to eat afterwards). Neither comes across as overconfident, though, as we see from Kenji’s sense of thorough preparation and the strength that Serika draws from her father. And so both seem to behave in ways that are true to themselves, from what we’ve seen of them. However, despite his greater nerves, Mutta’s answers also reflect thoughtfulness and his personality, so I’m guessing that he did well enough to progress onto the next round.
Meanwhile, Hibito has been busy preparing for his up coming lunar mission over in Houston. Thus, it was even more satisfying for us, due to our empathy for Mutta, to see Hibito request his big brother’s presence at NASA’s expense, given all the people he could’ve asked to join him/ keep him company instead. And while Hibito’s actions were thoughtful to say the least, it was Mutta’s reaction that almost made me melt. His gleeful reaction to Hibito’s phone call and subsequent ‘NASA is calling meee!’ was a moment second only to his joy at Kenji – who is clearly also a bro – when the latter writes down Serika’s phone number (amongst others’) for him when Mutta is otherwise cellphone-less and clueless during the end-of-the-second-round-celebration party. Which reminds me, as much as I am enjoying seeing more of Hibito interacting with Mutta (flashbacks aside), I also look forward to seeing more of Kenji and the role that he will play in Mutta’s journey in the future…