Hibito’s time in Russia draws to a close, but not without some emotion.
What They Say:
NASA and JAXA have decided to bring Hibito back to Houston, placing him in a supporting role. Hibito has no choice but to pack up and make his farewells.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
As is often the case, just as you start to get things on track, something will happen to knock it all to the side. Such is the case with Hibito as he just started to mentally get in the right place in his head to deal with his problem, the problem that he came to Russia to solve, and now NASA higher-ups have learned enough of what’s going on and are calling him back to Houston. While they won’t fire him of course, he’s going to end up going into a supporting position there that will be useful, but it will be a dead end when you get down to it. And as noted by those who know him in Japan, it’ll be a waste of his skills and a loss for NASA overall. But with tight schedules for going into space, there’s only so long that they can wait when you get down to it.
This isn’t something that goes over well with Ivan since he had invested in Hibito at this point and is pretty angry about it all, especially since he wasn’t consulted nor his superiors who were trying to help him. Part of it just comes back to the core aspect of the astronaut/cosmonaut community in that they all look out for each other and in certain ways transcend national lines to be a part of something far greater. That has Ivan doing what he can to help Hibito since time is short and it’s important to get something done. It’s part of the Russian mentality to be sure, so having Ivan not take advantage of the single day they have left to achieve something isn’t a surprise when it’s revealed, even as Hibito is feeling somewhat light and accepting of things, no matter how much he knows it will hurt him overall.
A good part of the episode focuses on the goodbyes that Hibito has to go through, but it’s really just focused on dealing with Olga since she’s obviously got a bit of a crush on him. It’s cute in its own way, but she definitely seems a bit older than she is – at times. She does manage to provide him with some good material though in spending time talking about Gagarin as they say their goodbyes as she tries to keep herself from really getting emotional about it all. The relationship between the two has been about as expected and it’s welcome to see that it doesn’t go too far, but offers up some potential in a near future when everyone gets a little older and has a little more life experience. And when Hibito isn’t so focused on trying to actually to save his career, where he needs to keep his focus.
Similar to past arcs in the series, the heavy focus on Hibito does feel a little off and different from the Mutta time. Hibito has a different personality and presence about him and there’s a bit more of a somber mood about things, even when he smiles and is enjoying himself. What we get here is the start of the drawdown of this part of the arc as he’s being recalled to Houston and realizing that he may have to give up his dream, unless someone can shake some sense into him. It has some good time with Ivan that impacts him properly but it also spends a lot of its time with Olga, which is a bit of a surprise, as she provides him with some references and understanding to help nudge him more in the right direction. It’s good, but I’ll admit that I’m craving something meatier to chew on here.
Streamed By: Crunchyroll
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