These two episodes represent a turning point in Mutta’s story. Presenting us with the possibility that Mutta will not pass the second round of the JAXA astronaut selection process, all of Mutta’s insecurities are brought to a head (no Zidane-ing pun intended), before being resolved in the second of these two episodes, while also revealing more about the relationship between the brothers and about Mutta’s internal thought processes. And though the outcomes of the fire-extinguisher-robber story and of the second round interviewers’ decisions were somewhat predictable, Mutta’s development was nonetheless enjoyable, and it was also great to see him regain his confidence again.
Episode 7 was certainly an angsty affair, which basically revolved around Mutta stewing over the news that he might not make it any further in the JAXA interviews due to everyone finding out about the Zidane-ing of his boss. Despite the angst, though, I enjoyed the bubble imagery, which symbolized how fragile and fleeting one’s (bubble) dreams can be, but this is also interesting in the way that Mutta feels he is going to ‘disappear’ in the face of the news. It’s almost as if Mutta feels the only thing really ‘anchoring’ him has been his dream, and when this is about to be snatched away from him, he feels completely weightless and insignificant. The subsequent presentation of ‘Rolling Mutta’ through Hibito’s eyes and the latter’s reminders to Mutta regarding dreams and giving up were thus an effective way of developing and strengthening the brothers’ relationship for the audience, and also a way for Mutta to ragain his sense of self, or at least of one of his selves; his desire to be able to give similar advice to Hibito instead highlighting how much he still wants to be a ‘good big brother’. We’ve seen Mutta’s previous ideas about big brothers and how they should stay ‘one step ahead’ of their little brothers, but Mutta’s thoughts here also seemed like he wanted to regain his sense of responsibility, to ‘legitimately’ advise Hibito as an older and wiser figure, rather than simply be seen as better than him.
Episode 8 picked up immediately where episode 7 ended (well, sort of), with the aftermath of the fire-extinguisher-theif’s latest apearance at the restaurant where Mutta and Hibito’s neighbours were eating. Predictably, perhaps, Mutta saves the day and is commended on U.S. national and international T.V., however the details of Mutta’s heroism were not as predictable and it was certainly fun seeing Mutta’s reaction and Ozzy’s thoughts on the whole thing, not least of all the reappearance of the headbutting motif. In fact, there were lots of lol, LOL and LOLLL moments in this episode, with Mutta’s unintentional reenactment of the move in the first place, then with his bemusement at the Americans’ cheering of him, and then with his eagerness to simply look good in front of his pretty female admirers. As ‘luck is what you make of it’ seems to be the sort-of-moral of this episode, Mutta can clearly be forgiven for bending the truth regarding his actions in the diner, as Ozzy’s words show that he was, er, trying to save someone (Apo) after all, as opposed to just himself. Clearly, to be able to work out enough of what was going on during that blinding attack again shows Mutta’s attention-to-detail-skills, and this alone is enough to show his worthiness to be an astronaut. However, I particularly liked this whole sequence/ its aftermath because it also shows the ‘everyday heroism’ that people are capable, if not aware, of; at the end of the day, Mutta risked his life to save a dog that has done very little all season except make really weird faces. If nothing else, you gotta love him for that.