After spotting what they believe to be a UFO, two brothers Mutta and Hibito vow to become astronauts. Fast forward to their adult years and Mutta’s life isn’t going as expected as he toils in an automotive company while the younger Hibito is well on his way to be the very first Japanese man on the moon. When Mutta loses his job and is given a chance to catch up to his brother by joining the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency, he jumps at the chance.
Despite a long history with Gundam and other space shows, Space Brothers is one of the rare examples of a realistic space series while also featuring relatable comedy and a good “follow your dreams” message. If you are looking for anime recommendations similar to Space Brothers, then look no further.
For Fans of Working Hard Towards a Dream
As a child, Moritaka Mashiro wanted to be a manga artist like his uncle. However, after certain events transpired, he refocused his efforts towards studying in middle school. One day, aspiring writer Akito Takagi notices some detailed drawings in Moritaka’s notebook and approaches him to propose they become a mangaka together. Realizing that he might be able to get his crush if they make an anime adaption of it with her as the voice actor, Moritaka agrees, and thus, the mangaka Muto Ashirogi is born.
Although focusing on two different sort of activities (space versus manga), they focus on the relatable theme of working towards your dreams. However, any anime series can just throw that in, but where both Space Brothers and Bakuman excel is in weaving it into a thoughtful, interesting, and realistic story.
The five members of the Kaminoyama High School animation club all make a pledge to make their project for the school cultural festival a huge success, then afterwards move to Tokyo and work in the industry. Fast forward two years in the future and two members have made their dream a reality, but making anime is no easy task.
Sometimes when anime displays adult life, they don’t exactly make it quite so realistic. They add in other elements to make it funny, weird, or otherwise interesting. Yet, in both these shows they display people chasing after dreams while living relatively normal lives. The comedy in each comes not from fan service or gags, but that occasional bout of normal insanity that everyone experiences as an adult.
Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu
Former Yakuza member Yotarou is fresh out of prison and looking to keep his nose clean. In order to stay out of trouble, he aspires to the stage of Rakugo, a traditional Japanese form of comedic storytelling. Inspired by a man he saw perform while incarcerated, he seeks out the man to mentor him, forcing the unwilling, but distinguished Yakumo Yuurakutei to take on his first apprentice.
In both shows you have people that either are or are as close as brothers who have very different personalities, but together are in search of a dream. Of course this leads to all those fun conflicts of envy between them too. Despite that unifying theme, both series are also incredibly detailed in the subjects they portray. You will learn a lot about space travel as well as rakugo.
For Fans of Space Realism
With space travel an everyday reality and corporations taking over, Ai Tanabe satisfied her space ambitions by joining the Technora Corperation. Unfortunately she finds out that her department, one responsible for removing space debris, is just a big joke. Yet Ai is undeterred in making a difference.
If you are looking for space realism, then Planetes and Space Brothers are both considered the best of the bunch. Not only do they provide a certain amount of grounded reality to this area, but they do so with humorous flair. While the Planetes premise starts of silly then becomes more serious, Space Brothers maintains a certain amount of seriousness throughout.
After successfully climbing Mt. Everest, Saruwatari and his climbing partner Jack spot the ISA space station. There and then, they make the vow to reach outer space. When Helium 3, a new energy source, is discovered on the moon, NASA forms the Nexus project to harness it. However, while the two friends become entangled in it, they both take different paths to reach space.
When you reach what you believe is your pinnacle, you can always go further. This is the main theme of Moonlight Mile and, to a certain extent, Space Brothers. In both shows, you follow two different people that are bound together in one way or another as they chase after a goal they set for themselves.
When Kamogawa Asumi was a baby, her mother was greatly wounded in a rocket crash. Five years later when she finally passes away, Asumi struggles to come to terms with her death. However, in her turmoil, she eventually comes to the decision to become a rocket pilot.
While Twin Spica is aimed at a younger audience, it has the same themes as Space Brothers, but with a coming-of-age story added on top of that. Unfortunately, the whole space thing doesn’t go as deep as it does in Space Brothers, but if you liked the message, you’ll like this show.
For Fans of Warm, Fuzzy Comedies
Yuugo Hachiken is a hard-working, studious student, but he is tired of trying to live up to the academic expectations that are placed on him. So when it comes time to go to high school, he enrolls in the Ooezo Agricultural High School in Hokkaido. Being so clever, he thinks he will excel in the institution, but soon learns that farming is much harder work, both physically and emotionally, more so than he expected.
While their plots and setting differ greatly, what Silver Spoon has in common with Space Brothers is the sheer feel of its slice of life nature and its comedy. I usually hate to say “they feel the same” because it is so incredibly vague, but in terms of this series, it really is so true. You get a great meld of everyday life, spot on comedy, and that warm, fuzzy feeling throughout in both shows which creates common ground despite wildly different plots.
After being briefly kidnapped by his sister as a kid and shown the wonders of freshly-baked bread, Kazuma became obsessed with it. After the bread maker discovers that Kazuma has the “Hands of the Sun,” which are of the perfect warmth for making bread, he passes on the trade. Now Kazuma seeks to make the best, most unique Japanese bread to rival all other breads.
Like Silver Spoon, the bread-baking wonder that is Yakitate Japan has little to do with Space Brothers in terms of plot. This time, while you have a same style of comedy, Yakitate Japan is, like Space Brothers, about following a dream and the many struggles it takes to reach what you consider is your pinnacle.
Daikichi Kawachi is a 30-year-old bachelor that works long hours at a respectable job. However, upon hearing the news of his grandfather’s death, he returns home for the funeral only to find out that his grandfather had an illegitimate daughter named Rin. Shy and unapproachable, this young child is shunned by the other members of the family. In his anger that no one will take her in, Daikichi steps up himself and begins his days anew as a single father with no prior childcare experience.
Space Brothers and Usagi Drop focus on older adults that aren’t quite were they want to be in life. However, through some sort of plot catalyst character, they slowly discover what they want out of life and work towards building that. On top of all that, warm and fuzzy is the feel throughout each series as you watch the character trip up and do a little better each time.
Do you have any more anime recommendations for Space Brothers? Then head on down to the comments section and let us know.