So, this week’s episode finally shows more of Itou Serika, the mysterious third character in the eventual trio of Mutta, Kenji, and of course, her. Oh right, Mutta. I almost forgot about him. Anyways, episode three sits firmly in the middle of the second examination “arc”. Let’s get started, shall we?
The first half of the episode goes through some of the physical examinations that Mutta & co. undergo as part of their evaluations. Endurance tests to stress the heart, hand grip strength tests, weightlifting tests, and most importantly, a thorough inspection of all bodily orifices and appendages. Yeah, you heard me right. Poor Mutta, reclining on a bed, the bespectacled doctor poking and prodding away at his genitalia while restraining inopportune thoughts of Serika. Poor Mutta, on all fours, while a doctor inserts a tube into his posterior. Apparently, life as a prospective astronaut is quite trying indeed.
Typical of Mutta, he puts out some rather middling scores in all his tests, aside from one: the lung capacity test. It’s exactly as it sounds. You take a deep breath, and exhale continuously into a liquid-filled tube, while keeping a ball floating above a certain line. Anyways, Mutta does well, easily surpassing the attempts of almost every other participant, except…?
You guessed it! Only Itou Serika matches Mutta’s red-faced attempt, and even continues after he lets his admiration distract him, causing him to spit out the tube (thus cutting his attempt short).
That night, when all the prospective astronauts begin to leave JAXA for their hotel, Mutta peers into the lobby display cabinet, which contains a spacesuit. Wondering if the reflection of his face in the visor would create a convincing illusion of being inside the suit, he is dismayed to find that science rues the day, and that his reflection in this decidedly convex object results in hilarious distortions. Disappointment, however, is not the only thing that strikes him. Unbeknownst to him, Serika had just entered the lobby, and stands there, mouth agape.
While Mutta bemoans his loss of masculinity due to being seen doing such a seemingly juvenile thing, Serika thinks otherwise. Her later flashback to her childhood visit to a JAXA open house reveals that her father once did the exact same thing, arms spread, face pressed up against the glass. Happy that she remembered a happy childhood memory, she resolves to press her face up against the cabinet the next day, to see what both Mutta and her dad were up to. As fate would have it, Kenji and Mutta walk in just as she does this.
Ever the gentleman, Mutta steers Kenji away, before breaking into the biggest shit-eating grin I’ve ever seen.
First things first. Given that these past three episodes have followed the manga to the letter, I’m going to assume that the rest of the forty-something episodes will continue in the same fashion. Basically, 2-3 chapters with 1-2 storylines per episode. I’m not saying this is a bad thing, but if you’re watching the anime (and have never read the manga), I’d suggest staying away from the source material. With some adaptations, the studio enhances the source material (i.e. Sakamichi No Apollon) rather impressively, while other adaptations somewhat disappoint with noticeable differences in art quality (case in point: Tasogare). This adaptation, on the other hand, does things exactly the same as the manga. Everything, from specific scene progressions, to Mutta’s gags and reaction faces, to even the rather sparse art. I’m not saying this is a bad thing, but it sure does make for some real déjà vu moments if you’re familiar with the manga.
As iterated earlier, this is the first episode where Miyuki Sawashiro finally makes an appearance. It’s only one episode, but I think she’s a fairly good fit for the part. Her voice is a good blend of girly and womanly, with a good dollop of breathiness thrown in for good measure. However, she might be putting a bit too much effort into her lines, since her expressiveness juxtaposes with Serika’s simplistic art a bit too much at times. It’s really quite jarring.
Given the pace of the anime, it’ll only be a few more episodes before it catches up to the currently translated material. I have to say though, I’ll be really glad when the examination arc is over. The later material is much more interesting!
Till next time.