If you haven’t heard of the series yet, Space Brothers is about two brothers aspiring to become astronauts, and how they lead their lives into adulthood to reach their goal. The older brother, Mutta, finds himself lagging behind in his astronaut dream after losing his job as an automobile designer. Meanwhile, younger brother Hibito moves up rapidly in the ranks of JAXA and NASA to become the first Japanese citizen to walk on the moon.
To keep the summary short, both brothers find their way to be astronauts; and the series highlights more of their training operations than actually being in space (although at least half a season was devoted to Hibito’s moon mission).
I believe the purpose as to why the series decided to choose this angle on space travel is simply to make it more realistic and not so (pun intended) out of this world! Other space series, anime and otherwise, are interesting in their own right, but for an average audience, the very idea of space travel seems, shall we say, too futuristic (although this is probably debatable, considering how much of our technology today is influenced by sci-fi; but that’s for a different discussion).
Space Brothers makes being an astronaut look cool in the near future rather than for the distant future.
Moreover, this series is actually made in collaboration with NASA, most likely for the authenticity and details for everything from training exercises to some of the latest plans and ideas that are commonly discussed within the agency. I’m actually pretty certain this is the only Japanese animation that is made in collaboration with NASA!
But if the space exploration aspect isn’t your thing, there are plenty more lessons to learn from the characters. All of them. Every episode, from the first season to the eighth, felt fresh; and as always, had something more to teach us about more than just being an astronaut.
And I know the series is called Space Brothers because it focuses on the life of the two Nanba brothers; but if there’s anything that’s incredible about this series, it’s getting to know the other characters, and how much their families are involved in supporting or inspiring space exploration.
In a future review, I would like to make an extensive list of a bunch of life lessons that could be taken away from Space Brothers, so long as I hold myself accountable (and as soon as I rewatch the series in its entirety).
If for no other reason to watch this series though, it focuses on an adult main character (Mutta is in his thirties) living the “boy’s dream.” Whoever said that the prime of our lives is in our youth totally lied! Space Brothers proves to the older anime-watching audience that we can all continue to pursue the dream we seek, even in our older age. Sure, it’s lengthy to get through the entire series if you’re watching it in one go, but it’s totally worth it!