Let’s take Gundam 00 as an example. It has this rather cliche Hollywood theme that pits man’s unity towards an external harm as a survival instinct, a rational course of action that brings the world together in order to survive in the harsh deep space. Kuroda’s “Celestial Beings” is that artificial, external factor, that leads to the corny plot factor we discover in the Gundam 00 Movie. What goes around comes around in full circle!
A united world is hardly something unusual; Star Trek made it a known backdrop, and I think SF-attuned minds world-wide took it to heart since decades ago. But as we continue towards the future, and actually trying to go to space or make the world a better place, we experience and see first-hand the true problem with humanity’s hangups. It’s no longer fiction if we have to live it, right?
And I think Space Brothers subtly explores this “true problem.” It uses this kind-of hamfisted sort of framing around Mutta’s struggles to contrast it with his youthful past about going into space. (Well, maybe it was better in the manga.) If we take a look at Mutta and his turmoils do we see the real hurdle between man and the infinite? Does his pride issues and tendency for violence (however justifiable) reduces his chances to go to space? Do our pride issues and tendency for violence reduce the same?
This is pretty classy. But also really shallow in a way.
What’s kind of amusing is that it’s also an irrational perspective. Mutta is sympathetic and he is a protagonist you can easily root for. I think it would be great if he can fulfill his dreams of being a space dude along with his brother. But it certainly doesn’t have to happen in order for the future to continue to progress. The plot takes its cues through Mutta, but the world does not revolve around any one person. In fact that is the, like, satori, to overcome Mutta’s problems. And I think he knows this; it’s just that he cannot live with it (yet). The world may be a better place if Mutta fulfill his deepest wishes, but we aren’t presented with an equal or better alternative unlike how it is in non-fiction.
I wonder if Space Brothers will explore that theme. It has tried in a way, but it could be more honest. If JAXA and NASA can cooperate, will there ever be space for the rest of us?