Space Brothers 11 continues with the third test and gets interesting in a new way. The candidates are put into three groups to live in sealed environments for two weeks before deciding which two of them should be accepted as astronauts. This is a cruel way of doing things as it turns what should be comrades into rivals, but I don’t buy the JAXA story for a minute, even with their “more maybe be selected” loophole. So now, there they are, Mutta, Serika, that rude guy, the old guy and the purple head guy, doing tests and trying not to go crazy. They’re only in the capsule briefly this episode, but the show gives us scenes of them, Kenji’s team, and JAXA people watching on monitors. I assume that’s how it will go, with Mutta’s scenes getting more intense and cutting now and then somewhere else to lighten the mood, though Mutta’s thoughts are entertaining enough. And then there are the puzzles. They’re practically inviting us to help them solve them at home, and we have a cliffhanger as Mutta has a confident answer to the first one that contradicts everyone else’s. But how did he do it? Tune in next week!
It occurred to me recently that Moretsu Pirates had passed some tests of its own. It has gone from a series that I could take or leave to one that I look forward to every week. I know what to expect from the characters, more or less. And if the situations are occasionally silly, that’s part of the series and I accept it. Also, Marika is no longer playing at pirate under the watchful eye of the Bentenmaru, she’s making her own decisions in increasingly dangerous situations and the crew trusts her to do so. Twice this episode they made reference to pirates “shining,” once through the eyes of the chef, son of the legendary chef, and the other, Marika seen through the eyes of Captain Stone. Considering the stronger emphasis on pirates and their traditions in this episode, this says a lot about her. It’s like the series is about to take a step into deeper waters … while maintaining its sense of humor as a relief.
Plus, the current story arc is very interesting. Who’d have thought that the second huge threatening ship to appear would blast away at the first threatening ship? The whole mystery of the Grand Cross (first threatening ship) and the Parabellum (second t.s.) and what to do about it make the information scenes bearable. Why does this Ironbeard (heh) fellow use a big hologram and pipe noises into the other ships? Why do Kane and Bloody Misa (heh) look so worried? And what will the empire do if the pirates do band together? A lot going on here. Not to mention a further sign of Marika’s new abilities and confidence–the unexpected cliffhanger. The Grand Cross better be ready.
I had heard that Sankarea 10 was going to be another side character story episode, which would make it the second in a row during the show’s big crisis, but happily they fit Aria’s story into the flow by making it a drunken confession to a captive Chihiro. It works well enough but I wonder what they’re going to make of it. Surely there’s no turnaround for her to make that would require so much time telling her story, unless she chooses to kill Dan’Ichirou or something. Two other reasons, then. They want to show just how unhappy and twisted Rea’s home life was, and in that case they succeeded, but they still didn’t need to devote so much time to her. We kind of got her story already by watching her make drunken, bitter comments from the sidelines. That said, there were some nice juicy details. The final reason would be to invoke pity, but after seeing her motivations and behavior I still find it impossible to feel any sympathy for her. I did enjoy the irony of her trying to give some love to a cat only to learn that it, too was a zombie. How did Babu get there, anyway?
AKB0048 7, is now so loaded with girls, successors, understudies, etc, that it splits apart and tells a few different stories. The most coherent one comes when the other girls, including some 76 team would-be successors with a possible ax to grind, discover Chieri’s past, that her father’s company builds the weapons DES uses to attack entertainment. This leads to the inevitable tearful attempt to run away, stopped by Kanata, who if not for her own tearful scene a couple episodes ago, would be grinding her ax the most. Some girls are chosen to be stand-ins and get their butts worked off. Others use karaoke for practice, and then we have this week’s weird scene, where successors go under the stage an find a magical land and an explanation as to who is going to succeed whom, which I didn’t understand. I did catch that there’s been a change, the glowy mewling things have picked a Kanata instead of … er, I forget. * As I said, this show is loaded with girls. I’m frankly having trouble telling them apart now.
* Ghostlightning understands it all and explains it fully here.