Space Dandy

A fashionable Space-Chad, his auto-tune vacuum cleaner and his alien cat friend scour the galaxy in search of new life, in what could have very easily been based on a 2000-AD comic for all of its mix of clever sci-fi concepts mixed with well thought-out humour, that isn’t afraid of also delving into the sophomoric (BooBies, anybody?)
Space Dandy is a show that says “Hey, you linear continuity? F**k you, were gonna throw that out the window” before we have even ended the first episode. I have to admire a show that has the balls to do that. 

There are two things I love most about this show; the first is the characters – both the regular cast and the one-time episodic characters manage to be distinct, memorable, and often hilarious. The tropes of 70’s/B-movie sci-fi are fired up to the max, exaggerated to levels on par with Futurama’s Zapp Brannigan. The second thing that I really love is the art style, maintaining a 70s Disco meets Cowboy Bebop vibe that serves as the shows standard, but then adjusts, usually slowly, to meet the tone of the episode (the most explicit and probably my favourite being the “Plants Are Living Things, Too, Baby” episode.

The series serves as a sort-of inverse to Cowboy Bebop in Watanabe’s projects; S.D. ups the humour and lowers the feels that we see in C.B., yet both shows are able to balance these respective elements very well, which is particularly impressive to me with Space Dandy, as comedy is hard to do, particularly when translating to an audience with a completely different cultural perspective. Particularly impressive is when you manage to mix this in with crazy sci-fi concepts that are happy to build up to stupid end-of-episode punchlines (wait, am I sure this wasn’t based on a 2000AD comic?)

As with every show, Space Dandy has its flaws, but sadly its biggest is tied in so closely to the core of the show that it becomes hard to ignore. As much as I can admire the inability of Space Dandy to not give a f**k in respect to continuity/4th wall breaking, it also serves as the shows biggest weakness. In a show where it is established that “anything can happen”, including characters being killed off/stranded/left behind/sucked into black holes/etc and returning to normal the next week, it means that nothing in the show matters. All tension, and even arguably any character development the characters go through, is essentially killed off. I have no problems with anime being purely episodic in nature, but its hard to deny its a bit jarring, even if it is intentionally so for comedic effect. If there wasn’t so much to fall back on (with particular weight put on the comedy and art-style here), I would call this particular issue critical. As I say, there is a lot else to fall back on, but I would like to have felt a little more excited in the scenes that are supposed to and established to be… well, exciting.

Overall, there is a lot to love about Space Dandy. If you are happy with shows that don’t take themselves too seriously while still delivering impressive comedy, colourful characters and some truly great episodes and stylistic animation choices, then I’d say you should stick this show on, sit back, and go with the flow, baby.
The series serves as a sort-of inverse to Cowboy Bebop in Watanabe’s projects; S.D. ups the humour and lowers the feels that we see in C.B., yet both shows are able to balance these respective elements very well, which is particularly impressive to me with Space Dandy, as comedy is hard to do, particularly when translating to an audience with a completely different cultural perspective. Particularly impressive is when you manage to mix this in with crazy sci-fi concepts that are happy to build up to stupid end-of-episode punchlines (wait, am I sure this wasn’t based on a 2000AD comic?)

As with every show, Space Dandy has its flaws, but sadly its biggest is tied in so closely to the core of the show that it becomes hard to ignore. As much as I can admire the inability of Space Dandy to not give a f**k in respect to continuity/4th wall breaking, it also serves as the shows biggest weakness. In a show where it is established that “anything can happen”, including characters being killed off/stranded/left behind/sucked into black holes/etc and returning to normal the next week, it means that nothing in the show matters. All tension, and even arguably any character development the characters go through, is essentially killed off. I have no problems with anime being purely episodic in nature, but its hard to deny its a bit jarring, even if it is intentionally so for comedic effect. If there wasn’t so much to fall back on (with particular weight put on the comedy and art-style here), I would call this particular issue critical. As I say, there is a lot else to fall back on, but I would like to have felt a little more excited in the scenes that are supposed to and established to be… well, exciting.

Overall, there is a lot to love about Space Dandy. If you are happy with shows that don’t take themselves too seriously while still delivering impressive comedy, colourful characters and some truly great episodes and stylistic animation choices, then I’d say you should stick this show on, sit back, and go with the flow, baby.

By mattkerr494