Its been a long time since I’ve written an episodic post, but I thought this episode of Uchuu Kyoudai (Space Brothers) deserved one. For those unfamiliar with the series, it’s about a middle-aged man named Nanba Mutta who is pursuing his childhood dream of becoming an astronaut after some encouragement from his younger brother, who has already become an astronaut. This episode focuses on Makabe Kenji, a friend that Mutta made during the astronaut examinations. We get a flashback into Kenji’s life leading up to his decision to apply to being an astronaut as he’s waiting to hear the final decision from JAXA.
I appreciate anime that are realistic, and Uchuu Kyoudai is about as realistic as it gets. Kenji’s story is that of millions around the world: a man seeking purpose beyond being another cog in the machinery that is modern society. He is by no means poor or working a bad job, and he has a loving family. What he lacks is adventure and a sense of achievement, instead being stuck with the mundane and ordinary.
A lot of children are told that they’re special, that they can and will have anything they desire. I think this lie that parents tell their children is severely damaging to their future. How many people have you seen believe that they are entitled to something without earning it? An allowance? a higher grade? a girlfriend/boyfriend? government handouts? a job? None of those things should come for free and anyone that expects them to will be in for a shock in the future. That’s not to say that all of those things aren’t achievable, you just have to work for them and work hard, something that Uchuu Kyoudai shows very clearly.
In episode 35, Kenji’s coworkers have all lost their ambition while he still strives for something greater, which helps to set him apart. Ambition will only get you so far though, you also need to put in lots of hard work, dedication, and stay optimistic. Kenji never faltered when it came to any of these areas, and that is how he made it to the final round of the astronaut selection exam. This really struck a chord with me because of how much it reminded me of my own life.
For a long time I had always strived to climb higher, reach further, and move faster. People always commented on how lucky I was to have this or be that, but luck had nothing to do with it, it was all hard work. At one point though, I grew satisfied and stopped climbing, stopped reaching, and stopped moving. I watched as one-by-one, people surpassed me in every possible way. It wasn’t until this year that I realized that I had become another cog in a machine, and I was ashamed of myself. I have spent a good part of this year trying to regain my ambition and strive for something greater.
Uchuu Kyoudai has been a good reminder of why I work hard in life and this episode in particular epitomizes why you should never stop striving for something. People are not destined for greatness, they earn it through ambition and hard work, and if you have enough of it, even the stars are within your reach.