Category Archives: Space Dandy

Space Dandy [Seasons 1 and 2] [99/100]

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Episode **: I Can’t Write a Review with Stale Words, Baby

Instead of talking about just the 2nd half or rather Season 2 I thought it’d be better to discuss this in its entirety: Episodes 1 through 26, we are finally at the end [for now] one that has been a stupendous ride.  Now this is an anime that takes risks, one that says screw it with conventions; it is a series that takes a concept only to reintroduce it in an entirely obscure way!  This sci-fi adventure comedy is absolutely perfect, and if I had to nitpick something it would be that we did not get enough scenes of the Boobies restaurants or even more of Admiral Perry.  Aside from that, Space Dandy has a been monumental anime series in the genre of space opera.

Wacky, fun, weird, and downright hilarious narratives that Dandy is thrown into with tales of an alien hunter and his companions.  This series very much could have ended on episode 14 as it returned the world to a somewhat rightful place but there was a catch–  an entirely different kind of Dandy and crew!  A show that always seems to create loose ends yet explain them in future episodes.

Space Dandy is a visual feast and the stories were so eclectic– Dandy decides to become a racer, catch a big fish, sing in a high-school built on musicals, gets captured by giant talking plants, meets aliens that have no reflection only to fall in love with a woman who is the essence of a planet, joins a rock group with the leader of the Jaicro Empire, travels through a 2-dimensional world and fought off a giant omnivorous booby monster.   It took on tons of challenges by being varied, where its content was boundless in the people on screen, and animation designs it took ideas and ran with them with just about every episode delivering amazing results!

Shinichiro Watanabe [General Director] oversees the project with various animators, episode directors, scenario writers and musical artists:  what a clever idea!  So many influences that tackle each story in creating an overwhelming universal science fiction comedy series.  There were a ton of big names in the industry working on this huge project that Watanabe wanted to tell.

Masaaki Yuasa one of my favorite directors in the business helmed Episode 16 that tells the story of a talking carp and his hardships to get back home with the help of Dandy and his misfit companions!  This was one of the most unusual tales of Dandy that we had as it shifted the world that Shingo Natsume [Director] and Watanabe built up with a dose of Yuasa’s perspective and storytelling.  As hilarious as these episodes have been, one that definitely stands out is the rock and roll adventure that Dandy experiences with his galactic buddy Johnny.  Every idea of starting a rock band would’ve have been thrown in, and Sayo Yamamoto wrote a powerful piece about how much music can sway human emotions even!

One of the more surprising directors of the 2nd half had to be Yasuhiro Nakura:  this is where Dandy experiences an other-worldy dimension caught up between life and death and needs to get out of the planet Limbo!  Nakura is not only a director but an animator as well, as he was the one who drew the characters for Osamu Tezuka’s Metropolis. A fantastic cyberpunk drama film about self-discovery and corruption and with an episode of Space Dandy about the contemplation of death it was nice to have a long-time director of this caliber put to good use in this.  We also had some extremely talented animators on this episode as well–  Kazumi Inadome of UN-GO’s character designs and Chikashi Kubota of Shikabane Hime on top of the original character designer of the show Yoshiyuki Ito.  Incredible stuff!  These were just a few of the staff members behind the production of Space Dandy, but one aspect I’ve neglected to mention more notably in my previous posts are the composers that bring these tales to life!

After reading quite a few staff interviews and anime panel discussions Watanabe and his team sought out a lot of people for this project that some even turned down: one of them being Hideaki Anno [director of Neon Genesis Evangelion].  It’s a shame really, because he could have given us a wildly produced philosophical turn to the many worlds of Dandy.

Without ado I want to talk about the style of music that the creators chose for this.  KenKen and Mountain Mocha Kilimanjaro provided a lot of the jazz scores incorporated into Space Dandy, I can definitely see an influence by Yoko Kanno as she has worked with Watanabe on numerous works including Zankyou no Terror and Sakamichi no Apollon.  Mabanua wrote some pieces to Sakamichi no Apollon and there is one track especially that I can hear sounds reminiscent of the late Nujabes [musical composer of Samurai Champloo] with their musical style!

LUVRAW&BTB provided one of the best songs out of the entire season with I’m Losing You [featured in Episode 23].  Without the use of these amazing artists and many more I felt that Space Dandy would not have been as energetically meaningful as it was:  episodes that immersed you into the varied inhabitants of oddly designed planets that tied together in developing fantastic space adventures.

There are a few other shows I can think of that had a similar effect on me:  MushishiCowboy BebopSamurai ChamplooTrigun and Master Keaton.  Obviously, as you can tell some of the works listed here are Watanabe projects as he has this creative vision at delivering such entertaining series that push the limits outside of the box.  Take the traditional anime of today, shows like Ben-To, Highschool DxD, Nisekoi, heck even Free! might look really good in terms of animation but lack substance.  Fan-service that most of the time will overwhelm a story with struggling characters that are often change emotionally for the sake of the plot resulting in sometimes weak endings.  I’m actually rather disappointed in the state of the anime industry, but every season we get a few gems and Space Dandy is one of them.

I would highly recommend a first-time watcher of Japanese anime to this series, that is if you can handle the occasional perverse tongue in cheek humor.  Space Dandy has single-handedly toppled all of Watanabe’s previous works! [even Zankyou no Terror] Week after week this anime series just worked flawlessly–  it made me laugh, cry, and rooting for Dandy and his friends whether their decisions were in the right or not!

It ranks as my #1 best anime series of all time beating Cowboy Bebop by a hair. A spiritual successor to a very fundamental show that generated a success in gathering new fans worldwide.  This has been a wonderful sci-fi series that includes many Bebop homages from Dr. Gel looking like Jet, the bird in the final episode, the fridge that has shown up numerous times,  Dandy’s line in the Lovers are Trendy episode where he says bang.  I’m sure there are some that I’ve missed out on as there had been tons of other references as well including: Eureka Seven, Hagane no Renkinjitsushi, Google, Chuck Norris, and the reveal of Admiral Perry.

Dandy acquires a large amount of pionium and episode after episode they seem to foreshadow the fact that he’s split himself up into different universes and timelines.  Never would have thought that this show would have utilized the multiverse theory in such detail like it did in subtle fashion adding elements of the real heart of this story inside of all these random episodes where Dandy turns into a zombie, dies numerous times either from getting blown up, being replaced by another version of himself, dancing until the world explodes, and turning down god for boobies.

Which moves to my next point as to why this show is so clever it has unbelievable dialogue.  It’s great that many viewers have been given the chance to see this show [that is the first of its kind I might add] to premiere a show in English prior to its Japanese airing.  There are quite a few lines throughout that remain subtitled in English, as they are kept intact in a native tongue in order to express the level of realism that this show has captured with its diverse worlds and creative aliens.  Nonetheless, one part of this show that is much more humorous than the Japanese is how well the English is came through in Dandy and the large cast he encountered on his various adventures.  Having learned from the downfall that Cowboy Bebop had in its initial broadcast run back in 1997, it feels as though Shinichiro Watanabe devoted this animated work to the Western fans of anime.

With a wide range of voice actors, episode directors and animators  Space Dandy was able to pay homage to many science fiction films and novels of the past.  Without a doubt this was the best anime of the year and one series that should not be missed, that is to say that this is as Dandy as any show can get!

OVERALL IMPRESSION: 99/100

If you like this you might also enjoy:

–  Cowboy Bebop

–  Outlaw Star

– Space Adventure Cobra

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Space Dandy Episode 26 [END]

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Episode 26: The Never-Ending Dandy, Baby

Smart move to have the original team behind this series construct the final episode:  Shinichiro Watanabe, Shingo Natsume and character designer Yoshiyuki Ito, because this was all crafted together incredibly well!  This had more tie-ins than any other episode we’ve had previously, and a great send-off to the spectacular pompadour adventures of Dandy and his “brave space crew”.

Bea’s identity was one of the more surprising twists this episode had let alone this entire series as it added some drama to all the comedy we’ve had!  As one of the first characters aside from the main cast to show up in another episode, Johnny reappears to battle the Golgol empire and Dandy turned down God’s offer just so he can go to boobies?  Haha, this was very awesome, in that this was the second time Dandy competed against God:  first time was when he was playing the Dandy quiz against the chamelionian.

Watanabe, you sure created a classic sci-fi comedy series here–  Dandy an alien hunter doesn’t contain DNA but a large amount of pionium that Dr. Gel is after and now that he’s captured what will happen to the universe?  Undoubtedly, this episode had the most fluid animation out of all Dandy stories we’ve had–  all the mecha fights shown on screen and the little Aloha Oe race were drawn well!   This was the first entry into Space Dandy that held onto a solid continuation from last time, which has been a plot thread slowly entering its way into these episodic and sometimes obscure narratives since the beginning!

I can now see why the slightly silly scenario of Hiroshi being de-friended by Jack on Twitter had become a shoe in towards developing the overarching plot of Dr. Gel’s vested interest in the pionium within Dandy.  If there was one part of the last episode that segway into this finale that I enjoyed the most it was Professor Duran’s explanation of pionium and why the baseball was attracted to Dandy.  That entire court episode was just buildup for the large-scale inevitable war that was to happen since the very beginning of this series.   Even the first episode had a small detail of the Jaicro and Golgol Empire war, and one line that points so clear to how this ending would have occurred where the narrator was tired of describing the different aliens and Dandy’s rather undertone response:

“Yeah how do I get THAT job?” -Dandy

Also, what is a Dandy tale without its use of anime references, connections to social media, and the use of a ton of cultural influences?  Cowboy Bebop fridge from Toys in the Attic episode once again made an appearance here, but that wasn’t the only Bebop homage we had in this finale!  the Tree of Life from Hagane no Renkinjitsushi [Full Metal Alchemist] Vicious’s bird from Cowboy Bebop showed up right at the beginning, Dr. Gel towards the later half looked a lot like Jet of Bebop, Admiral Perry’s true form was the co-founder of Google Larry Page.  This spouted out some very hilarious situations!

“Here’s Johnny!” -Johnny of the Jaicro Empire

I think if we did not have the two episodes about Honey and Scarlett I feel this would not have had the impact it would have had–  I say this because we saw how much they didn’t want Dandy to die because he was rare from their own experiences.  Tip of the iceberg here with that development as Honey’s amazing piloting skills referenced episode 7 greatly here!  This is how to develop your characters!

Hands down this was the best ending of the season, as it was a rather satisfying conclusion to Dandy, Meow and QT’s wacky adventures through space.  Or was it?  The story comes full circle back to before Meow joined the crew and the only things that have changed are Dandy’s memories of the universes he experienced before, and his love of legs instead of the booty.

The way the writers ended this here, they could possibly do another season of this following the manga chapters as I’ve read those and can very much imagine the voices playing across the pages.  I would even be satisfied if they were OVAs.

I hope you can keep your words Watanabe and make another season after that ‘May be continued?’ message, that was such a tease.

OVERALL IMPRESSION: 10/10

Space Dandy Picture Drama 1

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From the character designer of Dirty Pair, this was a 5-minute short that maintained the comedy that makes Space Dandy so good.  The creators kept up with the originality of each episode of the main series even with this blu-ray bonus picture drama and it was quite humorous!  Varied worlds, and here is where we’ve got this planet that uses the idea of imagining rare aliens to make things more interesting for the crew.  It would have been neat to see how Dandy would have reacted on this planet, as he was only shown in the very end.

So, Honey and Candy from the Boobies restaurant decide to become alien hunters, in turn Meow thinks this is a fantastic idea, where QT is a bit worried ultimately reflects these characters’ behavior very well from the main series.  It’s great to have these shorts pulled into the show, as it jumps even deeper into the many themes of boobies, and the terminology this series that the writers have built around Space Dandy.  Loved the scene with Henry and Candy that was hilarious!  As a step away from the traditional adventure of a Space Dandy episode this was a lot more subtle with only 5 minutes to work with.  Too bad this could not have been an entire extra episode.

*This picture drama was included on Blu-ray Volume 4 of Space Dandy.

OVERALL IMPRESSION: 7/10

Space Dandy Episode 25

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Episode 25: Dandy’s Day in Court, Baby

I want to point out that the final episode airs in Japan on the 24th prior to airing in the U.S and this was this same thing that happened with the end of the first arc of Space Dandy.  I am curious to see what the reaction is for the finale for that very reason– Japanese dub vs. English dub.

Ah yes! This is what I’m talking about, finally we’ve got one episode left and this episodic series decides to pull one heck of a cliffhanger here! Remember those Gogol Empire goons from Episode 2?  Well they’re back and from what was shown in the preview it looks like quite a few people from the other universes will turn up here!  This had to be one of the most loosely animated episodes of Space Dandy yet, as there were a bunch of tight angle shots, and zoom-ins that pull the viewer into the crowd here–  akin to 12 Angry Men.

 This was definitely a very enticing choice for Watanabe to pick Atsushi Takahashi as the episode director here.  This is a guy who has helmed two anime productions, Ao No Exorcist the Movie and Rideback.  These weren’t even that good, and yet he’s got tons of really good episode director spots with anime broadcast series.  Varied in his repertoire and now he’s doing an episode about a trial with introduction sequences similar to that of Law and Order.  KemenozumeMonster and Paranoia Agent were some of the most acclaimed anime in the horror genre.  It would have been very interesting to see this guy be the director for the zombie episode back in the first half as it probably would have been a lot darker than what was shown.

As for the writer Dai Sato, this guy’s one of the leads on Space Dandy, one that’s got at least three episodes of the show under his belt, and he’s told some pretty unique and solid stories from ramen to QT’s interest in love and coffee to a court room scenario!  Guy Reginald is murdered by a baseball that is attracted to pionium energy that as we learn here Dandy doesn’t have DNA but vast amounts of pionium!  The story is finally unravelling and Dandy is at the center of it all in such a big way!

This might not have been one of the best tales of Dandy but it was one of the best in character designs– Boobies waitress Rose Reginald, and the giant prosecutor, to every jury member were vastly different!  There were a large number of still shots in this episode and I am sure that Watanabe is saving his budget for the finale.

You can very much tell how this is a Dandy episode, and social media reflects this series greatly– Meow’s checking in moments, Golgol street view, the rock and roll episode with Johnny, and now Hiroshi’s twitter page revealed so much about the case of Guy Reginald. This was one tale that quickly turned heads quite often, Dandy originally accused of murder and Rose Reginald wanting the insurance money were just slight details in making an entire court room scene more intriguing.  It wasn’t until what had been unveiled by Meow of Hiroshi and Jack’s twitter pages that transitions this story into a murder mystery.

By the end of it all the structure of the case poses just more questions about who Dandy really is this was largely reflected by his absence of dialogue and his unnatural nature to nap in the middle of the trial.  Develop a balance of witty and slapstick comedy, engage the viewer with unique techniques in animation, create a varied soundtrack these are just a few of the elements that have made this anime in my book one of the best!

Has anyone noticed that as we’ve progressed through this second half that Dandy has gotten either more depressed and/or serious?  Perhaps he is coming to the realization that he knows about the pionium energy inside of him and it would be funny if Dandy is so rare, he ends up getting registered by the very end!   This would make sense in bringing everything full circle– multiple Dandy’s engaging in various adventures and as the narrator explained the pionium energy that had been scattered all across galaxies.

With the end of this amazing science-fiction comedy series in sight, one has to wonder if Watanabe would [and this is probably wishful thinking on my part] be able keep his words from his interview last year at Otakon 2013:

“For all these designers, I only ask one thing of them: draw an alien nobody’s ever dreamed of. So all these designers I’ve recruited for the show, they’ve all given me very different designs. In fact, we already have over 100 for aliens. If this series becomes popular, we can have at least 100 episodes! But if this show isn’t popular, then uh – we’re only scheduled for 13 episodes, so we’re counting on your support.”

OVERALL IMPRESSION: 9/10

Space Dandy Episode 24

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Episode 24: An Other-Dimensional Tale, Baby

Satoshi Saga, this guy is a fairly solid director.  Wrote one of the most comical episodes of Space Dandy’s first half– Episode 13.  QT discovered a love for fishing and the gang is mixed up with a Chameleonian.  But the big surprise here was the return of writer and physicist Toh EnJoe and the first time he’s ever worked on an anime ever was Episode 11.  Here he is again at another story about Dandy!

Visually diverse and stunning, this episode had the 3-D scenes drawn by the animator [Tsunenori Saito] of Cowboy Bebop, and Toshihiro Kawamoto helped with the 2-D universe segments.  As great as this show is when having one animation director per episode it’s always nice that we’re treated to various styles and directing on some of these Dandy tales.  This can change perspectives about the main cast quite a bit!

Only two more episodes left!  Dandy is back in the main role here as we learn more about his past!  This was one of the most ambitious entries that goes in-depth with the concept of universes, as it takes the energizing scenes of the Dolph episode and completely flips it– the beginning hotel scene with Katherine and Dandy,  the warping discussion towards the end.  Dandy is seen as a pervert throughout this show, and with last episode’s comedic banter, cheesy romance parts and groovy soundtrack it is with a huge surprise how agitated he was throughout this entire episode!  There were quite a few parts of this episode that had this serious feel and slow-pacing that reminded me of Cowboy Bebop.

So, Dandy is caught up in an intergalactic war between dimensions.  Sounds straight-forward right?  Well if being in love with a 4-D heart-shaped box wasn’t mind bending enough, this episode visually toyed with the retro gaming era of the early 80’s. Finally we’ve got a Dandy episode that uses the idea of multiple universes in which it integrates 2-D style animation into its plot– Dr. Gel’s comment about evading the attacks would be difficult because of the two dimensional distortion and Dandy’s overall frustration with Paul the king of the 2-D world played with this wonderfully!  Space Dandy has definitely been weird, but none has taken it’s plot to another level this high with so much science to back it up!  As completely different as these episodes have been this second half has taken a giant leap than what we had in the first thirteen episodes– Dandy’s adventures have been much crazier than before.  Not only was this episode obscure, inventive and fun, but it was an adventure that finally exposes what we’ve all been theorizing– Dandy travels through multi-universes!  Those 2-D sound effects and the universe itself were a clever way to tie in advertisement for the Space Dandy version of Galaga– Super Space Galaga.

Curious to see what the next story takes us through as Dandy is on trial for murder.

OVERALL IMPRESSION: 10/10

Space Dandy Episode 23

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Episode 23: Lovers are Trendy, Baby

It’s not too surprising this series was capable of telling another romance story so well– but this one was great as it featured Scarlett so prevalently.  It is about time we get an earnest view of her.  In Episode 19 the plot transitioned from her finding love to Honey reuniting with her half-brother Gentle.  We also had a well-grounded and relaxed backstory with Meow’s family around Episode 10.  QT had an intriguing love story with a coffee maker in the finale of the first-cour that was reminiscent of the Brave Little Toaster.  This cour focuses more on its side-cast and this episode was no different!

Even when the second half of this series started there wasn’t a well-rounded episode that featured a story about the main cast a whole lot.  Rather it takes what we know from the first thirteen episodes about them and changes the pattern.  Using a different theme that is a much more centralized look at who Dandy really is in all these other dimensions.  This as we’ve seen generates a solid and sometimes very funny story around it-  multiple Dandy’s, Dandy living out his high school life,  creating a rock band, treading between life and death, and dancing until the world explodes.  Stories that tell about the people in this show that drive the overarching elements– Jaicro Empire’s Johnny, half-cloudian Honey and the  registration officer Scarlett.  Overall he is having his very own adventures throughout space where QT and Meow are just along for the ride this time.

In a possible different version of himself he takes on the job of posing as Scarlett’s boyfriend to avoid the stalker Dolph– a previous ex of hers.  Surprisingly enough, this guy looks remarkably like Dolph Lundgren.  Space Dandy handles the use of tropes extremely well, and this episode had to be the best at delivering them.  Taking seemingly overused romantic scenes and dismantling them with an ingenuous style of wit and often times slapstick humor.  Thinking of the giant spider scene haha great moment there!  The level of creativity doesn’t stop one bit with this show– Kunio Okawara [the lead designer of Mobile Suit Gundam] designed Dolph’s mech.  This only adds to how awesome Space Dandy is at gathering a vast amount of talent for each episode.

A large element of what makes a Space Dandy series isn’t just the comedic trio but the narrator’s descriptions–  from giving up on talking about varied aliens, introducing a Brestaurant,  interacting with Dandy, QT and Meow over a time loop, and now this.  This was written very well.The narrator is one the greatest aspects of this show– not only is he able interact with Dandy and the crew but he’s able to accurately describe a planet using slang.  This was incredibly witty and well-written here.  How the narrator pulled together tons of phrases to embellish Planet Trendy even further than just the incredible visuals that were thrown at us!

How long is this soundtrack going to be– there were tons of new tracks just for this episode, and every scene that featured these new songs were spot on with delivery!  Space Dandy is an anime that experiments with everything it has to offer– animation, music, character designs and story!  A little fun fact is that Dai Sato, the writer of the series had asked Hideaki Anno [creator of Evangelion] add his take on an episode but he declined.  Not a lot of anime can tell a coherent story using so many different artists and animators- refreshing to see a spin like this on the episodic format of anime!  Kawamoto did the character designs for so many awesome series in the late 90’s to early 2000’s— Cowboy Bebop, Wolf’s Rain to even the Towanoquon films!  However, the designs in this episode looked very similar to Bebop than anything else he’s done.  That Bang! scene where Dandy pointed his finger upwards was stolen from Spike Spiegel!  Great to see another Bebop reference thrown into this show again!

So many of these stories about Dandy have been incredibly diverse and each one is just a step above its predecessor always improving upon the main cast and making them even more engrossing to watch.  Dandy continues to hunt for aliens just as he always has been  and now he’s doing it while on a date!  Pissing off Scarlett to no end develops this return to the chemistry that she and Dandy have had since Episode 2.  Too bad we couldn’t have the laugh track with low standards on this episode!  Haha!  Every scene the writers took here were very cliche– the skiing, the beach, the restaurant all are very typical in anime series.  Though it had some very hilarious results– stealing kids’ skis, binoculars, blowing up buildings and I was surprised Dandy actually received wuulongs for the very aliens he collected on Planet Trendy.  Really illustrates that when he isn’t trying he can catch aliens but when he’s serious about it Dandy isn’t able to catch a single one.

With only 3 more episodes left I will be sad to see this series finish its run and I hope that this can revitalize other anime to take more risks just as this one has.

OVERALL IMPRESSION: 10/10

Space Dandy Episode 22

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Episode 22: We’re All Fools, So Let’s All Dance, Baby

I still cannot believe how I started this blog back in February and I’m already at 160 posts! There have been some pretty well-told anime series on here, but Space Dandy stands out as a very rare show!  Different directors and animators each episode adds a refreshing component about adventures in space.

Taking an interlude from the philosophical drama of last week Space Dandy moves back into the comedy genre with some very distinctive animation similar to that of Akira and Steamboy.  The crew of the Aloha Oe arrive at Planet Grease where Dandy decides to enter a fixed dance competition to make some quickly-earned hard cash against an alien known as Tom Travolta.  Planet Grease, the album store clerk (with a surfer-sounding voice and a faucet handle as an arm), Tom Travolta ( a 70’s style manic with a multi-colored afro hairdo) dancing alien and human-like aliens with lengthy ears.  With 22 episodes in its repertoire Space Dandy has proven to be truly different in its character designs.

If there was any indication that Katsuhiro Otomo was a part of designing this episode it would be the grandmother. Old school hand drawn techniques identifies Otomo’s style.  The mix of Pyonium energy and the Dancingians  causing an explosion would be a scene taken straight out of Akira.  This show has given us an awe-inspiring creative vision at delivering episodic content!  The Dancigians were reminiscent of the supernatural lifeforms portrayed in Mushishi.

Nagahama’s Mushishi is a steady and straight-forward series at being consistent with its atmosphere while Space Dandy is a complete reversal-that tears down any kind of pre-conceived conventions it has set for itself!  Dandy turns into a zombie, he dies in an explosion, replaced by another version of himself, killed and brought to a place between life and death!  Now we’ve got an ending where the pyonium stored within him has caused a universal explosion only to be repeated hundreds of thousands of years later.  Bea tired of being blown up week after week questioning the reason why they are chasing after Dandy ultimately alludes to the fact that each episode illustrates a larger story in its entirety.  Insanely diverse and inventive and yet we learn so much about it’s major cast members.

OVERALL IMPRESSION: 10/10

Space Dandy Episode 21

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Episode 21: A World With No Sadness, Baby

We’ve had stories where Dandy and his misfit companions get blown up and die, turned into zombies, Dandy getting kicked out of time and space to a place far beyond comprehension, even an episode where they are replaced by an alternate emo-esque Dandy and crew.  The big underlining question that is probably on every viewer’s mind is how did he survive?  The underlining theme that’s been playing throughout this show since the first episode has been the idea of parallel dimensions- as here we are briefly shown the river of time again.  Space Dandy has never been a show let alone strict drama to toy with this entire idea fully interwoven into an episode like this until now.  An idea that death isn’t just the end but another path for Dandy to travel on.

Shinichiro Watanabe wrote this- you can tell when he’s writing for an episode rather than directing it because of how deep and slow-paced it is! Yasuhiro Nakura has done a ton of character designing over the years- Moomin series, Acorns and the Wildcat film, even fronted all the animation in Metropolis but here he is at the director’s chair and it paid off wonderfully! As soon as I heard that Santiago Montiel would be headlining the visuals for this rendition of Space Dandy I was so surprised- he’s got this serious-nature to his art unnatural for a a comedy series let alone Space Dandy episode.  As he did a amazing work on Giovanni’s island which is why I was a bit skeptical about this. Here though the background art stunningly captured how avant-garde this episode was! Amazing visuals!

The big question that starts off here is ultimately what happens to Dandy when he dies?  He has no recollection of what had happened and what is going on with his own life now- am I sensing a Memento theme?  One would think so.  The afterlife or what is displayed here is just as described as a place between worlds- one that is exquisitely beautiful and its inhabitants are strangely designed.  A weird take on a usually comedic anime was a wonderful idea here!  The chorus hand creatures were one of the highlights here as this was a first in Space Dandy to give off the feeling of philosophical enlightenment about life after death in a not so humorous way.  The personal black box was an interesting take on holding onto memories after we’re dead.  Was it just me or did this episode even feel like a Mushishi episode?  All the creatures were pivotal for the whole planet Limbo and Dandy was at the center of it all- happiness without sadness and Dandy topped this profound question!   Ferdinand could have been taken right out of a Del Toro film, as his voice was so obscure in how he talked.   Even the mouth-hand monster was deliberately used from Pan’s Labyrinth.  Still after 20+ episodes this show is able to have imaginative designs for its aliens!

The animation well-drawn and the sound effects here were highly important in carrying the story along more so than any story about Dandy than we’ve had previously.  Since its second half began Dandy has been on more adventures without Meow and QT than he ever had in the first part.  This allows for the individual episode characters to shine much more!  Such a melancholy style to it this was one Dandy episode that couldn’t leave its comedy behind especially with Ferdinand’s line “I’m your someone” resonated with Dandy so well in this!  The best line however has got to be when Dandy runs away “I’m going to Boobies! You can take this and shove it!”  The monstrous talking candies- haha!  It’s episodes like this that makes me enjoy anime soundtracks so much as it was quite varied!  Was the winged woman playing Aruarian Dance from the Samurai Champloo soundtrack- if so that’s an awesome tie in! Very intriguing and intelligent episode of Space Dandy that gives a rather abstract and surreal vision of the afterlife.

OVERALL IMPRESSION: 10/10

Space Dandy Episode 20

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Episode 20: Rock ‘n’ Roll Dandy, Baby

One of my favorite directors in the business- Sayo Yamamoto gives another shot at a Space Dandy episode!  I really enjoyed her work on Lupin the Third: Fujiko Mine and her directorial debut of Michiko e Hatchin is one of the best anime series I’ve ever seen.  She’s creating her own diverse style in the anime world and it has paid off! With another Dandy story under her belt the ramen took the sidelines and it was all music here!  What was with the production values in this, there were tons of varied shots of the band, loved the graphic comic sketches of Dandy and Johnny with overlay of Kanji, so many of the scenes flowed smoothly!  The fan-service moments at the diner with Honey were drawn extremely well.  Considering how there were two animators [Kazumi Inadome, and Yoshiyuki Ito] you can just tell the amount of creativity they put towards this single episode!   Also do want to point out how well-designed the aliens this time around looked not to mention the level of detail on the Jaicro ship in the beginning looked awesome!

I enjoy seeing this series every week- with how many references there are to pop culture, other anime series, etc.  This is a show that remains so refreshing!  I may have mentioned this before but I so very much enjoy episodic series.  Mushishi, the individual episodes of Ghost in the Shell, Samurai Champloo, and even Cowboy Bebop were highly engaging- here is where we’ve got a wonderful view of the living the rock and roll life.

Space Dandy’s second half has jumped even further into strengthening its characters.  Last time we had a look at Honey and Scarlett a bit more- an aspect the first season barely even touched on.  I do hope this series doesn’t stop at the 2-cour mark as the people in this show are just getting the attention they need but on a much larger scale.

Creating a solid plot is also what this series has marked itself well with especially in the second half.  In the previous episode- we learn that Honey a half-cloudian exemplifies her intelligence and gives us that “ah-ha” moment in understanding her character a bit more.  Just goes to show how entertaining it will be in re-watching the first half when we have this knowledge.  Scarlett’s harsh personality ended up being greatly reflected on the idea of love in the previous episode.  And now we’ve got a rock episode that brought together the leader of the Jaicro Empire and a reckless alien hunter Dandy.  The necklace that Dandy’s always seen wearing is explained- it’s in these small specifics that factor into an episodic series to deliver a wider story.

This episode was no different in that it is entirely what you would expect of two people starting a band- at a bar. Johnny is a fantastic character that bounces off so well against Dandy.   The banter between the two of them was genuine- pennant or sticker? Haha I really hope to see more of Johnny in the future!

Another episode about music- the composer which interestingly enough Yoko Kanno helped out with for this episode did so well at creating a rock atmosphere akin to 80’s music. I’ve said before how great Space Dandy is at delivering one-liners and yet this one episode managed to up the ante yet again!  The Galaga reference, Johnny being from Brittannia and voiced by Johhny Young Bosch same voice as Lelouch from Code Geass ended up being hilarious! Since the very beginning it’s clearly seen that Watanabe meant for this series to cater to an American audience. It has a ton of slapstick elements that are otherwise not very prevalent in tradition comedy anime series. I say this only because of how well the english dubbing for this series has delivered with such flair.   “Lonely Nights” the song featured by the fictional band Dropkix in this episode was done so well in both English and Japanese.  Also, was this song about Honey?  When Dandy sang it he was singing to Lady which if we know from the previous episode is her real name.  I love how this series continues tying in threads to the plot!

Have to hand it to Junichi Sawabe and Ian Sinclair they’ve done a wonderful job a portraying Dandy with different cultural comedic moments!  Interesting to see two entirely different anime series accommodate Eastern cultures in one and another series contain a Western style.  Watanabe’s other work Zankyou no Terror strictly indulges in a concrete continuous drama filled with Japanese design. The setting is in japan and it even takes a few riddles about Oedipus in manga form and expounds on it! With a show like Space Dandy it is able to combine a solid over-arching story with highly energetic comedy giving us a hilariously complete look at space life.  The hard rock elements in this episode emphasizes that theme greatly!

OVERALL IMPRESSION: 10/10

Space Dandy Episode 19

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Episode 19: The Gallant Space Gentleman, Baby

Is this place haunted or do you have a laugh track with low standards? Love is not something you grab with your tractor beam. Haha oh my goodness the one-liners in this series is fantastic!  I love this show!  I don’t believe we’ve had an episode that featured Honey and Scarlett as prevalently as this one did.  Episode 17 was a take on comedy musicals where Episode 18 was an obscure adventure into fishing- now we’ve got one that’s theme is about love.  About every single person in this was infatuated with the idea of it.  Dandy, Scarlett, Gentle.  However, Honey stole the show here!

Just in time to have an episode focus solely on its side cast- one that was very funny!  The laugh track on here- one that inserts itself as part of the story was very clever.  The black and white animation from Episode 11 was done the same way.  An alien did it- and here we had it again and it was quite humorous.  Keiko Nobumoto screenwriter of Cowboy Bebop wrote this, I can see the comedic influence of that series and Champloo illustrated here.  Would also like to point out this was the same guy who wrote and animated episode 8.  I can clearly see some tie-ins to that episode here.

So Honey gets captured Dr. Gel and V mask themselves to get this done.  Refreshing to see them outside of the ship! Gentle is an intelligent Cloudian as we learn here that he collects information from a lifetime of traveling.  An insightful episode on Honey- If I recall a there has been some significant changes concerning the dialogue in the Japanese and English language tracks.  In the English version towards the beginning of the series she’s portrayed as dense- in the Japanese counterpart she has a few lines that are pretty witty.  Funimation did a nice job of tweaking her lines to better the story.  The Japanese version omitted Dandy’s laugh track line and added in something so understated.  It is nice to watch a series and see how these two languages ultimately affect the plot aspect of a single episode!

Honey has some family and we learn of her real name was just the push that we needed to see to further develop her in future episodes.  Great episode!

OVERALL IMPRESSION: 9/10