If there were any doubts as to Hibito's popularity in his homeland, they can be dispelled as an anime series about him hits the air. No, I don't mean Space Brothers...
As Hibito returns to Houston (with more than a little relief at escaping his new-found celebrity status), so things are moving apace for Mutta. Firstly, his flight training with Deneil has now finished, allowing the old-timer to retire, but not before enjoying a final flight where Mutta takes the controls from beginning to end before taking on the time-honoured tradition of celebrating Young's retirement by dousing him in water.
With that obstacle out of the way, it's time for underwater training to simulate spacewalks, and before we know it Mutta and his fellow JAXA trainees are no longer mere candidates but fully-fledged astronauts, complete with pictures hung on the wall of JAXA's corridors and all. Of course, Mutta's photo ends up looking rather... "unique"... but then again perhaps he has every right to a lop-sided grin given the news presented him by NASA's top dog.
For all of the occasions where Space Brothers has paced itself a little too slowly, this week's instalment certainly isn't one of them as it makes for a sudden dash to the finishing line of its current arc, making Mutta a fully-fledged astronaut so we can move on in new directions. I can't really ding the series for doing so, even if I would have liked to have seen more time spent looking at the group's spacewalk training and the like, and I'm more than happy to see where the show is headed next while feeling satisfied by this amusing and joyful instalment. Maybe we'll be heading into space, perhaps. Who knows?