Space Brothers is an anime that has been airing for a little more than a year and is probably one of the most, if not the most, underrated ongoing anime, at least among foreigners. Not only is it probably the best currently airing anime but it is also completely family and kid friendly, making it a great watch for all readers here that I highly recommend. I don’t know if people just aren’t discussing it due to its relatively simple nature or if it really has managed to go under so many people’s radars, but it has been the best recent anime I’ve seen in years. While it may have its occasional flaws, overall, this show is absolutely outstanding.
Space Brothers at its core is a slice of life. It has some drama on occasion, simple but fresh comedy, and sometimes touches on more serious topics that you might not expect. What shines the most are the character relationships and how characters interact with each other, but also how they deal with their own thoughts and feelings. In fact, the character flashbacks do more for the character development than the present timeline. There are so many different things that Space Brothers explores and with each one, I could draw a religious parallel. The siblings Mutta and Hibito, the perfectionism of Kenji, dreams, perseverance, luck, selfishness, relationships, the many different outlooks on life, and so on. Nearly every episode will have something to ponder on and it’s quite amazing how many different emotions this show can evoke.
As I mentioned, the flashbacks do wonders for the story. They usually depict a simple event between two characters but in that short period, the connection between the past and the current timeline is made clearly and meaningfully. These flashbacks are not even unique to main characters as many supporting characters have them and they always add so much to the situation and characters. As the characters reminisce about the past, the relationships between the characters and the connections to the viewers become stronger and more emotional, and the characters feel so much more real. The characters were all influenced by other people in some way to get to where they are. They all have their own hopes, dreams, and beliefs, but that is not a result of them alone. We see how what others have said and done have shaped these characters into who they are, what they want, and how they think. None of the characters are the way they are just because of some past but always because of a past regarding other people. It is always other people who influenced their lives that made them the way they are.
People cannot help but be influenced by others, be it small or large, positive or negative. Those closest to us are the most influential to our lives and inevitably shape our character and values. In Space Brothers, there are people who are key influences in characters’ lives to choose the path to become an astronaut. As children, Mutta and Hibito already dreamed of doing so, but it was other people who pushed them forward to truly pursue their dream. Everyone, religious or not, have people who influenced us toward where we currently are, and people will continue to influence us throughout our lives. When I look back on my life, even people who I no longer keep in contact with have influenced me in dramatic ways. The decisions, beliefs, and values we make are heavily determinate on past events and relationships.
Sometimes there is a person who stands above others in popularity, respect, and influence. In Space Brothers, that person was Brian Jay, a highly respected and loved astronaut who died in an unfortunate accident. Yet, every person who knew him and spoke to him had nothing but memories of him that changed who they were and how they thought. He was truly a man of influence. He was a person who did not have an especially deep relationship with people but what he said and did simply stuck with people. They clearly remember his words and actions, and it is that sort of subtle but powerful influence that can change lives.
However, while we are and have been influenced by others, it is also true that we influence others. It can be intentional such as when we minister to nonbelievers or something more practical like giving advice to a friend. It may also be unintentional such as saying something in passing that somehow resonates closely with another. Every person is a person of influence on those around them. Especially in today’s society where everyone with internet access can communicate and connect with each other regardless of geographic barriers, the amount of influence you can impart on others is essentially unlimited. For all I know, what I write here may influence someone twenty years from now. Whether we want to or not we can’t help but influence those we interact with. And sometimes we might just impart the kind of small, subtle influence that Brian Jay did, especially when it comes to Christ. Small, subtle influences are also the most memorable to the one it changes, even though it’s not always the case for the other. It is sometimes said that our job is to plant seeds and God will do the rest. A relationship with Christ can sometimes come from the smallest of influences, and those influences are Christians.
That said, there is more to being a Christian than only planting seeds of faith. I want to see Christians be a collective people of influence, of good influence. I want others to not think negatively or even neutrally of what we say and do but instead, completely positive. This is solely a desire to see the Christian reputation be one of love like it’s supposed to. When people think of Christians, I want them to think of someone like Brian Jay, a person who you could not help but remember, in a good way. I want to see Christians love and treat people with such compassion that others can’t help but take notice and perhaps even birth friendships from it. Some Christians already are like this while others have quite the negative reputation; however, most people are somewhere in the middle. By simply carrying the name Christian around with us, people will look at us and our relationships as representations of Christianity. In Space Brothers, the relationships and how the characters influence each other are everything. Everything we do, large or small, can influence the opinions surrounding our religion but also the relationships of all those around us. Christians are already a people of influence; how you use that influence is up to you.