Uchuu Kyoudai defies what we expect of a popular, long-running series. There’s no long running plot about the fate of the world, giant monsters to slay, or cackling villains to subdue. It’s a simple, relatable story about a man who quite literally headbutts his way out of a normal, workaday job and sets out to fulfill his lifelong dream of becoming an astronaut. Perhaps, however, that down to earth feeling of the series is the key to its success.
By actually focusing on the minutia of the day-to-day preparation and training it takes to become an astronaut, it allowed its viewers to more easily connect with the struggles of Mutta Nanba, its central character. Now that the series is over, however, it’d be easy to imagine that you’ve got a craving for some more slice of life anime that depicts a realistic view of space travel. Or maybe you’ve got an itch for some down-to-earth, nitty gritty pursuit of one’s dreams that needs scratching. Regardless, we’ve got you covered with 6 recommendations.
Similar Anime to Uchuu Kyoudai / Similar Anime to Space Brothers
- Episodes: 26
- Aired: Oct 4, 2003 – Apr 17, 2004
For those who finished Uchuu Kyoudai longing to see what it would be like if the series showed more of actually living in space, Planetes has got you covered. Taking place in the not too distant future of 2075, Planetes is largely about humanity’s progression into space. Space travel is in its early stages of development, with the Moon having recently been colonized. Unfortunately, even a single piece of debris left hovering over the planet from the construction of star bases, can mean devastation for a commercial liner traveling in between the Earth and the Moon. Enter Ai Tanabe, a relatively new employee of the Technora Corporation. She, along with her other coworkers in the Debris Section, work to keep space safe by removing astral trash from the skies.
What makes Planetes work so well is how it contextualizes what most would consider a boring, routine job into the grander scheme of the narrative. Much like how Uchuu Kyoudai is largely about Mutta escaping from a dead end job into becoming a key player in shaping global events, Planetes is not so much about just collecting space garbage, but is also an interplanetary tale about how the commercialization of space has affected Earth’s political balance. We see nations scrambling to come up with their own technologies for interstellar use, not simply out of the sheer passion of the field, but just so that they can remain relevant in a world that no longer wants or needs them. Yet, it’s not entirely cynical. We can see in Hashirota Hoshino a yearning to reach further than we ever have before, and he trains to join the crew of the first starship to ever travel to Jupiter, using his job within the Debris Section as training for something greater. What may seem like a simple story ends up as an allegory for modern politicking and the necessity of both fiery passion and somber pragmatics in society, and the dangers of taking either side too far.
2. Moonlight Mile
- Episodes: 26
- Aired: Mar 4, 2007 to Dec 13, 2007
Question: anybody else think “Man, I love all these training sections but I really wish Mutta and Serika would hook up already”?
Then have we got the series for you! Moonlight Mile covers the story of Saruwatari Gorou and Jack “Lostman” Woodbridge, 2 mountain climbers who have just conquered Mt. Everest and are seeking their next great challenge. And, really, what greater challenge is there than the final frontier? Well, they certainly have their opportunity now, as the recent discovery of a new material on the moon, called “Hellium 3”, means there’s a large demand for astronauts on the workforce. Watch as the series delves into Gorou’s and Lostman’s preparation to go into the great unknown!
One look at the trailer provided below should showcase the most striking aspect of the series: the animation. Despite the series being almost 9 years old, it’s quite the looker and still holds up even today. It serves the gritty subject matter of the series, from the dangerous, adrenaline-pumping spectacles of star ship accidents, to the saucier, rampant sexcapades of Gorou. Make no mistake: Moonlight Mile doesn’t shy away from any of its material, and bares it all in wonderful detail. Those who loved the meticulous training sections in Uchuu Kyoudai but craved for them to be even showier will be in for a treat.
Trailer for Moonlight Mile
- Episodes: 75
- Aired: Oct 2, 2010 to Mar 30, 2013
Those wanting another relatively lengthy story about the realistic pursuit of a dream will feel right at home with this shounen-battle take on the art of drawing manga. Much like Mutta, Moritaka Mashiro starts off the series living an incredibly dull and boring life with no real prospects or hope of change; having given up his dream of becoming a mangaka due to the death of his mangaka uncle, Tarou Kawaguchi. Thankfully, a fellow classmate by the name of Akito Takagi, noticed his excellent artistic sensibilities and practical approach to life and bugs Masahiro into writing manga with him. Initially skeptical of the prospect, Mashiro eventually gives in once he discovers that his crush, Miho Azuki, wants to get into voice acting. He confronts her on the subject, and Azuki promises that if Mashiro can write a manga that gets an anime, she will work towards becoming a voice actress and voice the female lead of his series. Mashiro and Takagi from there on set out to conquer the world of manga!
Bakuman is much like Uchuu Kyoudai if we had a more linear take on Mutta’s and Hibito’s journey to become astronauts right from their childhoods, rather than starting from adulthood and cutting back to their childhood at times. For the most part, Bakuman is a pretty well-grounded take on what goes into the creation of manga, from how rankings affect what a mangaka will write, to how a mangaka will evolve their story. Fans of Uchuu Kyoudai’s attention to its portrayal of astronaut training will relish in Bakuman’s description of the Shounen Jump office and how it uses the internal systems of the magazine as a creative set-up for a battle type series where characters compete for the highest rankings in the reader polls. However, and most importantly, Bakuman is at its heart a story of a promise made amongst family, with Masahiro’s desire to follow in the footsteps of his uncle. Fans who were drawn to the genuine story of Mutta and Hibito’s promise of self-betterment will find a lot to like in Bakuman.
Any Anime Like Space Brothers / Any Anime Like Uchuu Kyoudai ?
4. Futatsu no Spica (Twin Spica)
- Episodes: 20
- Aired: Nov 1, 2003 to Mar 27, 2004
Twin Spica will go over really well with fans of Uchuu Kyoudai who may want just a touch of the supernatural. The story follows Kamogawa Asumi, a young girl with the hopes of becoming an astronaut after her mother is put into a coma due to a rocket crash. Unfortunately, after about 5 years in said comatose state, Asumi’s mother eventually passes away. Unable to deal with this tragedy, Asumi eventually meets a mysterious figure who goes by the name Lion-San, a young boy who wears a lion mask. Thanks to him, Asumi is finally able to spread her mother’s ashes and he helps Asumi realize her dream of becoming an astronaut.
Anyone really yearning for another series that goes into hardcore detail over what it takes to become a full-fledged astronaut, will immediately take to Twin Spica. Much like Uchuu Kyoudai, it really goes in depth with the programs put in place to get someone trained up to the right level. Also noteworthy, is the more nonlinear story-telling, with frequent cuts back to the tragedy that shaped Asumi’s motivations, similar to how Uchuu Kyoudai likes to cut back to Mutta’s and Hibito’s past. With dream sequences that can even get a bit on the surrealist side, Twin Spica should hopefully please.
Twin Spica Opening
5. Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu
- Episodes: 13
- Aired: Jan 9, 2016 to Apr 2, 2016
- Read More
Wanna move away from the near future into the not-so-long ago past? Rakugo Shinjuu will definitely please. Taking place over the course of 2 eras, the series begins with Yotarou finally being released from prison, and immediately tracks down Yakumo Yuurakutei, a master of the comedic theater art of rakugo, and begs Yuurakutei to take him under his wing. After some cajoling, Yuurakutei eventually agrees to at least shelter him along with his deceased friend’s daughter, Sukeroku Konatsu. Unfortunately for Yotarou, he ends up falling asleep during one of Yakumo’s performances and snores so loud it causes a disturbance. Yakumo is about to give up completely on Yotarou, until he decides to tell the story of Sukeroku in order to warn Yotarou about the dangers of the carefree lifestyle he leads.
Make no mistake, much like Uchuu Kyoudai, Rakugo Shinjuu is a story of brotherhood first and foremost. While not related by blood, the story of Yakumo and Sukeroku is one of the bonds of brotherhood and finding family in those around you. The pursuit of perfection in their chosen craft leads Yakumo and Sukeroku down two very different paths. Those craving some lengthy, in depth training sessions will be happy to discover that Rakugo Shinjuu gives some incredibly detailed rakugo performances and shows how movements and craft work. A lot of the intrigue comes not just from the plot, but the attention to detail in character movements.
Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu PV
6. Tiger & Bunny
- Episodes: 25
- Aired: Apr 3, 2011 to Sep 18, 2011
For those looking for something maybe a bit on the lighter side, Tiger & Bunny should do you well. “Wild Tiger” Kotetsu T. Kaburagi is a NEXT, or someone with special powers that effectively make them a superhero or villain. Any NEXT working as a Hero looks to either acquire corporate sponsorship or hero points, which bring them closer to becoming the “King of Heroes”. Unfortunately, Wild Tiger isn’t doing too hot in the hero circuit and risks losing his sponsorship, leading him to work with Barnaby Brooks Jr., aka “Bunny”. The two work together in order to rise through the ranks despite their conflicting personalities.
Tiger & Bunny is all about the progression of the central characters’ relationship. They go from openly resenting one another into a brotherly bond when they realized how much they depend on one another. Much like Uchuu Kyoudai though, amongst the development of the sibling-type relationship, it keeps its messages straight to the point and focuses on the characters learning to believe in themselves and in one another. Plus, Tiger, much like Mutta, is actually in his 30s and even is old enough to have a daughter. Those older fans of Uchuu Kyoudai who were just happy to have a hero their age, will be in for a treat.
Tiger and Bunny PV
It’s always refreshing to see a series that focuses on more realistic characters and settings become a mainstream hit. Hopefully, this list will help out anyone who’s still holding out hope for a third season of Uchuu Kyoudai to satiate any cravings they have, if only temporarily. If we missed any series that people may be interested in though, please, let us know in the comments below!