Sunday, September 25, 2016

Staff Review: Space Brothers

If you wanted to be an astronaut when you were a kid, you need to check out Space Brothers. If you find Neil deGrasse Tyson's enthusiasm for space exploration inspiring, you need to check out Space Brothers. If you loved the near-future realism of The Martian, you need to check out Space Brothers.
I will warn you right here that this anime is only available with English subtitles, which I know is not an option for some people. However, the fact that this is an animated series should not stop you from checking this series out. While there are a handful of cartoony moments in the series, it is, by and large, very grounded in real life. Every element is either based on the realities of current space exploration technology, or on well-researched potential technology.

Seriously space nerds, this series is for us. Guys, JAXA astronaut Akihiko Hoshide recorded dialog for this series while on the International Space Station. The live-action version (which the library does not own) features a cameo by Buzz Aldrin.

Space Brothers follows two brothers, Mutta and Hibito Nanba, who decided as children that they wanted to be astronauts. Older brother Mutta abandoned that dream, and instead became a mechanical engineer. Hibito followed through and is now an astronaut in training for a moon mission scheduled for next year (2026). Mutta's feelings of inadequacy in the face of his brother's success are only complicated when he's fired. Hibito though, never doubted his brother and secretly submits an application on Mutta's behalf to Japan's highly competitive astronaut training program.

This is a slower-paced series. While parts are fairly intense, the real focus is on the characters and the entire step-by-step process for astronaut selection and training. The characters are interesting, varied, and have distinct personalities. Obviously, my favorite character is the pug dog Apo (short for Apollo).
The whole series is a commitment at 99 episodes, but if you want a heartwarming, optimistic series about the future of space exploration this is a series you need to check out.

~Sarah, Adult Services

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