After a one week break, we return to the world of Space Brothers still uncertain as to who has succeeded and who has failed in the wake of JAXA's latest astronaut qualification exam.
Thankfully, we aren't kept on tenterhooks for too long, as we quickly learn who has made the great thanks to that bizarre game of rock-paper-scissors from the team occupied by Mutta as the entire group goes out for a meal together. But what of those who didn't manage to win out in that game? While the others seem at least somewhat relaxed in the wake of their failure to qualify from the exam (including Furuya, who we saw plenty of last episode), Mutta appears restless as he ponders what to do next, certain that his luck has finally run out.
This attitude isn't changed when he hears the news of how many individuals from the last exam will be heading off to Houston - with eight astronauts picked in total and three of them confirmed to be female, Mutta quickly realises that only one additional place is left amongst the selection for those who didn't qualify automatically. Given that good friend Kenji is also on the list of those fighting for that final place, Mutta has well and truly written off his hopes.... but perhaps just this once it's going to be his ability and personality that triumphs over good luck to ensure that his dream doesn't come to an end?
Slow-burning though it might have been once again, this week's episode of Space Brothers (as so often seems to be the case with this series) still works really well - its method of revealing Mutta's future and the final exam result was carried out in a slightly odd way, but one that proved effective to the point of being quite touching in the midst of an instalment that made good use of its characters despite not really going anywhere with them. It's the ability to make the viewer root for and empathise with its characters that makes this series what it is, and it's a goal that it shows no signs of losing sight of, which is undoubtedly good news all around. Roll on a trip to Houston, although it looks like we'll have to wait at least another week before we make it there...