As their time in the capsule comes to an end Mutta’s team each throw their hands before they’re greeted by everyone at JAXA who had been recording their progress over the past few weeks, as well as the revelation that the bus they arrived in hadn’t really gone anywhere.
Nasuda rubbing in that they couldn’t even afford a secret facility to begin with while Mutta and Hoshika stick around for a bit.
Following the exam Mutta meets up with Kenji again who has turned the completed blank puzzle into a yearbook of sorts for his team and notes his thoughts towards Yamato’s arrogance, as well as the fact that he didn’t make it himself. To this Mutta tells him that they both still have a chance to move on as Nasuda had told them that a few more would be selected to be interviewed in Houston. Seemingly around the same time as this Furuya meets with the man he had been exchanging emails with, Professor Baba Hiroto face to face, finding that they share quite a few things in common other than their height while Furuya admits his failure to advance.
Mutta’s team also decides to meet up and while Mutta entertains the idea of a romantic date with Serika, the other members aren’t that far behind her, only having to wait on Furuya. Who at this point recounts how a pencilboard he won as a kid brought about his fascination with space but due to his short height he was prevented from even reaching the starting line in becoming an astronaut. It was the suit that Baba created that allowed these requirements to be lowered, with Baba noting that he too had been held back by this and that he’s fortunate to live in this time, having been given as many chances as he needs.
When Furuya finally arrives at the restaurant Fukuda makes a toast and the two who won the game of rock paper scissors are revealed to be Nitta and Serika, Mutta noting their reaction to such and that if anything their team has been brought closer together. After this they then see each other off, Furuya heading back to Kyoto while Fukuda heads on a hot spring tour, Mutta however finds himself at a loss as to what to do. Back at JAXA the selection methods made by the teams are discussed, Mutta’s method being placed under scrutiny while it’s also put forth that the other teams were divided by their rational methods.
As such Mutta attempts to tell Hibito that he had failed, reflecting on how whatever luck he had has been used up and is gone without Apo, however he then receives a message from Kenji noting that JAXA has selected two more, one male and one female to move on. Kitamura being the obvious for the female, while Mutta believes that Kenji would be the male to move on. On Hibito’s side of things at this point, Apo wakes him up for work and after finding that Mutta still hasn’t contacted him about his results he heads to work, Ozzy and a friend of his making bets over it.
After which he performs a simulation where he notes that he’ll have to keep setting goals and that Mutta isn’t that far behind him in the end. Back in Japan, surrounded by couples and families, Mutta meets with Fukuda who happens to have already completed his tour and admits that while he’s failed he has to keep setting goals. Revealing that he’s been hired by a private company to work on rockets, something which has him excited, and congratulating Mutta on making it to Houston. Hibito still in the simulation getting a call from him from which Mutta’s success is announced to him and his team members, while Mutta doesn’t know what to say to Kenji.
I probably should have saved some of my thoughts on this arc as a whole for this post as the first episode felt more like an ending to it than anything, but these two episodes were nice follow ups to it. The characters were given more detail and above anything the message that seemed to be told was that win or lose you constantly have to keep going.
For what it was I liked the detail that Furuya’s character was given, it was more or less about seeing him off but it was nice to see what had led to him deciding to become an astronaut and what had allowed him to even make it as far as he had. Not only did it tie into simply heartwarming theme of childhood dreams that this series has where by something as simple as a pencilboard he won as a kid had inspired him to embark upon his current path, but through Professor Baba he was able to realise that failing once wasn’t a reason to give up. Furthermore both unlike and thanks to Baba he was fortunate to be able to make it as far as he has while still having that ability to fall back on try again if he failed, it’s the sort of thing that really makes you put things in perspective.
The commentary on the ends of dreams was probably what I liked most across these two episodes, having seemingly fallen at the hurdle Mutta was at a loss as to what to do next, while he did make it in the end the sense of defeat had stuck with him. However through the other characters a nice message was presented, that no matter whether you succeed or fail you constantly have to keep moving and striving forward on your path. Fukuda being an example of this, while he had effectively failed his dream of heading into space on rocket he designed, he didn’t falter at all. Instead was shown heading in a new direction while taking the time to enjoy himself along the way, he might even be able to reconcile with his daughter. Despite how long he had been pursuing that dream he was able to find opportunity at the end he reached.
Hibito too was another example of this, having effectively already fulfilled his dream he was shown realising that the path hadn’t ended there and that he would have to find new goals to keep moving forward. For a character who seems to have it all but made in a series about chasing your dreams this was nice to see. Perhaps it will even open the way for him to come into the series as a secondary protagonist of sorts as opposed to hanging around on the story’s side lines, he’s an important character but he doesn’t really have much to do at this point. In all however it was the message that these two character’s actions sent that I liked, that in life a dream has no fixed ending and is something that constantly shifts and changes, and regardless of the result we have to keep looking and striving forward.