This prequel movie to Space Brothers anime is definitely not for viewers who are not familiar with the original anime. However that being said, as a huge Space Bros fan this movie didn’t work much for me either.
First let’s look at the plot of the movie. It’s set 4 years before the start of the anime and tells a story about how Hibito (the younger brother) dealt with his astronaut training while Mutta (the older brother) dealt with his work problems and getting transferred to country side. It’s a promising premise and a great opportunity to expand the history and flesh out all
known characters (most of the NASA characters get a cameo as well as some JAXA characters).
This is sadly where the movie falls apart. The focus on both plotlines turns uneven. Hibito’s plotline is cut short 70% into the movie and we then get to see the consequences on one of the key events in the series. This event is fully fleshed out in the anime so I don’t really have a problem with them cutting it short and straight up skipping it. Mutta’s plot however suffers greatly because of this. The first half of the movie is mostly about his transfer and him becoming familiar with his new environment. Mutta then obtains a goal and works on it for the rest of the movie. We however don’t get to see this work. Only short montage of it. Which is pretty sad considering we don’t get to know the new characters outside of the most basic of visual gimmicks (cool older dude, cold intellectual with glasses, young woman who’s fan of boy bands) it’s not that I really care about them since they are non-canon, but if the movie introduced them I would like it to work with them. Mutta’s plotline is resolved with quite a significant jump (as I said there’s a short montage) and that’s about it. The movie then ends with a short connection scene that redoes few scenes from the first episodes of the anime.
The movie suffers from 2 things: uneven plot and cheap writing. As I already said the plotline is all over the place. What’s worse is however the cheap writing. You know it very well. It’s when a movie tries to retcon stuff into the source material. We get introduced to few key elements at the start of the movie only for them to work as plot devices and winks towards audience at key moments later in the movie. I am usually indifferent with this kind of stuff but this time it just felt so cheap to me. Not that they are horrible but they bring a sense of predictibility with them which somewhat ruins the enjoyment for me.
Quite honestly I think this movie should’ve been a short OVA prequel series of 6-8 episodes. The plot would be done more cleanly and the cheap writing could be justified with better pacing.
Which brings me to my next point and that is production. Considering this is a movie, the production is quite mediocre to straight up subpar. Voice actors do good job but it’s nothing really special. The drawn animation gets pretty funny at times (especially the scene with tractor on the field, I had to include the picture because it’s really funny https://i.gyazo.com/2902c80a153dba2619107f9dafa3bacd.png). The animation is mostly on the anime level. It’s not unwatchable by any means, but it’s not really movie quality either. The soundtrack is the soundtrack from the anime. Mind you, it’s been quite some time since I’ve watched the original anime so there may be some new songs, but nothing significant from what I’ve heard.
This is fans movie only. If you are thirsting for more Space Brothers watch it. It’s not BAD but it’s not really good either. I would say add 1 to the score if you are Space Bros fan.