As their time in the capsule nears its end Mutta dreads how they will have to select two members to go on, while at the same time Kenji has finally been able to bring his team together.
Finding themselves bound by the same sorts of childhood dreams that still drive them to this day, Teshima speculating what life on other planets would be like and Kitamura revealing her fascination for science fiction novels. Having seen this Hoshika reveals to his co-worker that this was what he wanted to see from them, and finally gives Kenji and Yamato their Green Cards.
Back on Mutta’s side of things he continues his usual routine with even Nasuda noting the harshness of it, however in what appears to be JAXA’s way up for it they give his team some flour, allowing Mutta to take charge by revealing that while they may have run out of food they can make udon together. So without a moment to spare they gather up what they would need and get started, Mutta remembering how he and Hibito had made Udon with his Aunt Sharon when they were kids, as he leads his team in making it.
However when he explains who his Aunt Sharon is, he finds that she’s actually quite famous among his team, known to them as the famous astronomer Koneko Sharon. Taking Mutta by surprise as he’s reminded of his highschool years where his classmates showed no interest in space let alone visiting an observatory, and as such he eventually drifted away from his dream, however in the present he realises that there always had been people as interested in these things as he was, his team members being such people. This moment of unity between them however is ruined when they’re reminded of the choice they’ll soon have to make.
In the next episode the teams have reached their last day within the capsule, Serika recording her thoughts within her diary while Furuya goes over the scores he had been keeping track of to help with the decision he will soon have to make, reading the emails he had exchanged with a Professor Baba Hiroto to whom he’s grateful to and has been able to make it as far as he has. After which their team finish up the udon they had been making and eat it together, JAXA then contacting them to tell them that they’re free to do what they want so long as they make their decision. In this time they decide to partake in their usual activities, Mutta struggling with the decision, throwing out his air abacus and finally beating Nitta’s score.
Taking Nitta by surprise as he now has to refer to Mutta by his first name. Back on Kenji’s side of things he and Yamato are finally able to see eye to eye, putting everything between them in the past as Yamato works at reconstructing the scores from Tomii’s memory, affirming that such an unbiased method is the only way, and revealing that none other than Teshima sits at the top. At this point Mutta’s team works about ensuring that their capsule will be as clean as it was when they found it once they leave, remembering the fond memories they made as they struggle with the idea of selecting only two of them to continue on.
Eventually they run out of time and have to make their decision, each struggling with just how they will do it, knowing that each is more than qualified and that this will be the last chance for the likes of Serika and Fukuda, however in the long run they wouldn’t be able to contribute as much as the others could. Nitta declaring that a vote would not be as impartial as it would seem. In the face of this however Mutta remembers what his Aunt Sharon had told him to do in these sorts of situations, to quit thinking and let your heart decide, and as such he realises that the simple solution is to decide it by a game of rock paper scissors. Taking the JAXA control room by surprise, Nitta sure that JAXA would pick out any candidates that didn’t get selected, while Furuya stands against it, revealing the scores that he had been keeping track of that place him dead last.
Mutta however reminds him of what he had said and declares that they all have their strengths and weaknesses that outweigh any way of ranking them equally, and as such they carry out their decision.
Another nice two episodes on quite a few levels really, with this arc drawing to a close it was really just heartwarming to see the teams come together the way they did. While it may be too late Kenji has brought his team together, Mutta has found the friends he had been looking for all along, and was able to come up with the perfect solution to their problem.
Really just in terms of bringing the teams all together the way that they did these two episodes were great, the whole thing about making Udon together for Mutta’s team was kind of odd but it really showed that by the end of the exam their team had all grown a lot closer, they all went in barely knowing each other and emerged as close friends regardless of the competitive atmosphere and everything that JAXA threw at them. Secondly with that the nicest thing about it was how it sort of portrayed them as the sort of friends that Mutta had been trying to find all along, even detailing how he had given up on his dream and settled for a standard engineering job once he and Hibito had separated, we knew that he had drifted off at some point but we hadn’t known just how it happened until now, something which should be extremely important for his character. It’s really just a shame that he, and they as well to some extent, only realised this towards the end when they would have to go against one another.
The same could really be said for Kenji’s team as well as his team too was able to connect in the last few stages, and even if Teshima’s scrapbook was kind of cheesy I still liked it, it just seemed to further cement that theme in this show where all the characters are being driven forward by their childhood dreams. Let alone it’s hard to believe that someone could just suddenly wake up one day and decide to be an astronaut without them. It’s probably the part I love most about the ending as well, the cardboard rocket that bursts out can’t embody much else. Alongside this it was also nice to see Kenji and Yamato reconcile, more so that they had been at each other’s throats beforehand, but after they got their green cards they were able to understand and see eye to eye. Yamato was even redeemed a bit as his insistence on the score system was suggested not to be a way of placing himself above the others but to avoid his team falling into what Mutta’s team had.
Where in they’ve become close friends but are now incapable of decisively selecting two of them to go on, however once more you have to hand it to Mutta on how to decide the matter, by proposing that they decide it by a simply game of rock paper scissors he managed to do it in such a way that completely bypasses that struggle altogether and ensures that their friendship isn’t torn apart. Furthermore even if someone did extremely well and wasn’t chosen JAXA would have allowed them to pass anyway. If anything choosing to decide it that way actually bought their team closer together, they were able to see all the sides to it but decide without any regrets.
Overall this has just been a great arc, cramming the characters into a capsule for ten episodes may not sound compelling, however alongside covering some interesting topics we saw characters go in that were effectively blank faces and emerge fully developed, with dreams, aspirations, and struggles of their own. In some part it was even more than what I was expecting, sure Team C was abandoned (yes, there was a Team C), but we got to know and grew to like these characters in that time with each episode being just as uplifting as the last.