Uchuu Kyoudai 16 and 17

Having awkwardly ran out of time as they work to complete their puzzles, Mutta finds himself surrounded by accusing eyes, Nitta has an unexpected outburst, and as they go to send their puzzles back through the box Serika considers saying something and is glad she didn’t when Mutta says it before her.

Meanwhile on Kenji’s side of things, having also failed to complete his puzzle, Kenji gets permission to complete it in his spare time as he offers to be the one to sleep in the hallway, responding to one of Yamato’s remarks by noting how immature he is despite their closeness in ages. Back on Mutta’s side, Mutta meets with Fukuda about the broken clock, but Fukuda simply tells him he’ll shake his hand if he can figure out why.

That night as Kenji works on his puzzle he finds himself fearing that he’ll never see his daughter grow up, Yamato’s earlier attempts to put him off taking effect, however this is interrupted by the alarm randomly sounding off as he struggles to find its origin. Having failed to do this however, Yamato uses it as a way of accusing Kenji, and soon after they find that their clock too has been broken. Teshima showing signs of nervousness. On Mutta’s side of things we then learn that Mutta’s taken a liking to sunbathing in the morning, and upon remembering how Hibito didn’t see the point in being precise when they were exploring, he sees that Furuya too shares this characteristic.

From this Furuya goes on make further accusations of him breaking the clock and his stomach grumbling all night, however at this point the culprit for the latter makes a dire discovery, they’re running out of food because she always cooks too much. So in an attempt to hide this Serika starts cooking a lot less. In the JAXA control room Hoshika reports to Nasuda that the participants are beginning to suffer from stress, who responds by asking if the green ones are the cause. Following this Mutta goes to talk to Furuya about the whole clock ordeal but finds him a lot more reasonable, and that night their group finds themselves the victim of a random alarm.

In the next episode the entire group has been dragged out to deal with this, Fukuda gesturing to the Camera for Mutta as Nitta leads a search for the alarm, during which Mutta notices that Furuya is acting really out of character and believes that he must be behind it. So when he steps out Mutta puts what Fukuda had said as he gestured towards the camera, how he broke the clock, and something he had seen when he saw Hibito train at Nasa.

Something known as a Green Card given to someone to instructing them to intentionally screw something up, and so with this in mind he confronts Furuya on receiving such a card, his reaction allowing him to meet Fukuda and proudly shake his hand. Reminding Fukuda of how he received this card from Hoshika, an old friend of his and the instructions he received, and unable to find the alarm Mutta declares that there’s no one out to sabotage them while Serika suggests that they make some earplugs in order to cope with it. However this doesn’t help Nitta at all.

In the control room their reaction to the Green Cards is noted and Hoshika and Nasuda reveal that this entire exam could be considered a way of evaluating how the participants cope with stress, Hoshika stressing the importance of team work and the Green Card’s purpose, and Nasuda all the things meant to stress them out alongside everything including the matter of selecting two members. Back on Mutta’s group’s side of things Serika faces a rather drastic problem, they’re almost out of food, and knows that if this is found out by the wrong people she’ll be in trouble. Fortunately however, the person he finds out about this first is Mutta who sees this as the result of another Green Card, and as such blames JAXA and shakes her hand as a sign of trust.

Next Episode:

Thoughts:

Another good two episodes which to a certain point worked to cover the same issue, stress, whether as a result planned actions or random screw ups, and the effect that it has on them. As a side note it’s also interesting to see just how much Mutta’s group and Kenji’s group contrast in this.

As while Mutta’s group underwent a slight moment of tension before resolving things, the same can’t really be said for Kenji’s group, Mutta’s group has managed to pull themselves back together through some partly fortunately timed revelations on Mutta’s part and some smart thinking, but over all they seem to work together far better where as Kenji’s group is pretty much at each other’s throats. It may just be because the members aren’t shown as prominentl but there system just doesn’t seem to be geared well towards working together. Yamato is close to snapping, Teshima is a nervous wreak, Tomi keeps to himself, and we’ve barely heard anything from the girl of the group so far either. Only Kenji seems to be going well so far in terms of stress, and even then his initial hesitance is starting to get to him. All together it isn’t much but just how the groups compare is pretty interesting.

Other than that I also liked the small scene that Kenji had to himself, it wasn’t much but it cemented his fears and showed that Yamato’s attempts to take him down psychologically are working, he’s now afraid of abandoning his daughter and losing his resolve towards his dream. It’s kind of like he’s geared perfectly for the task at hand, he’s excelled at everything and hasn’t shown any signs of stress no matter what JAXA throws at him, but the thing holding him back is himself. Either way this was interesting to see from him and it looks like it will be resolved in the next episode.

Moving on how these episodes have brought this matter to the forefront has put an interesting spin on all the challenges and stuff, that JAXA puts them through, some of them are bound to actually have a practical purpose in tuning their mind and body but a good number of them are sure to have been attempts just to mess with them and see how they’ll react. Even the calm and composed Nitta cracked when he couldn’t concentrate on his puzzle within the time limit, only to find out that it didn’t need to be completed at all, but even so they aren’t exactly doing it for their own amusement. They need to know who will snap and who can stand when the pressure starts to rise, and for putting everything in these past episodes in a new light I kind of liked this aspect of these episodes.

I also liked the idea of the Green Cards as well, they serve nicely as a way of making intentional screw ups and problems that force them to adapt and make do as a way of preparation for if something happens spontaneously or someone does make a mistake along the line. As we saw in this episode when Serika did ended using up most of the food a few days ahead of time and now the group is faced with either properly rationing it or appealing to JAXA for help. Other than that it also adds a nice element of unpredictability into their training as well, if they simply went through like they did in training they wouldn’t know how to react. However with this addition I think Mutta has become a little too quick in jumping to it being a Green Card if anything goes wrong,  which kind of defeats the entire purpose of them. They’re supposed to be unpredictable and hidden, to help them actually resolve problems when they show up, but shifting the blame doesn’t help.

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