Howdy, folks. Duke here again, with more anime-watching goodness!
This time around, the series I’ve chosen to consume is Space Dandy. I’d heard about this one well before it actually came out, as the director of this particular anime is the same gentleman who brought us such delights as Cowboy Bebop and Samurai Champloo. So even before it got going, it had a lot to live up to, and a lot of hype. And when it ended up coming out, it definitely got some criticism from viewers for not being what they expected. They wanted something more along the lines of the previous shows, with more of an overarching and possibly serious plot. If you want an epic adventure of science fiction with a serious and far-reaching story, then this is NOT the anime for you. If you want to see a dude run around in space and get up to mischief, with absolutely NO effort at continuity or seriousness, then this is something you might be interested in checking out.
The first episode came as a bit of a shock to me, as I (like many others) was expecting something more in line with the previous shows. However, once I was able to shed my assumptions and take the show for what it was rather than what it might have been, I found myself having a good time.
But be warned, the humour of the series might not be for everybody. If you’re not okay with crude humour and animated boobs EVERYWHERE, then you should probably watch something else. The series spends a lot of time hanging around a “breastaurant” simply called “BooBies” (picture Hooters but with aliens also in skimpy outfits). They meet one of the crew there (a customer, not a busty employee), and the FIRST thing the main character goes into after the opening of the first episode is how boobs aren’t everything, butts are important too. If that’s the sort of humour you can get behind (no pun intended), then you will probably enjoy the show. If that’s not your cup of tea, then ah well. No harm done, just watch something else instead.
There’s more than meets the eye to Dandy’s Spaceship. Or at least, there was in one episode.
All right. Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s get into the series. The show has three main characters. Dandy, an incompetent alien hunter with a penchant for scantily clad women. QT, an incompetent and outdated robot that (somewhat) functions as Dandy’s sidekick and pilot. And Meow, the incompetent cat-like alien that they meet in episode one who becomes their companion. Sensing a pattern here? That’s right, whereas Cowboy Bebop had a crew of hardened bounty hunters with all sorts of skills, and Samurai Champloo focused on a couple of skilled warriors, the main characters of this show are idiots. Just complete morons. Their job is to find new aliens and bring them in to be registered. Undiscovered alien species are worth a lot of money, if you’re the first one to bring one in and claim the reward.
That’s all you really need to get into the show. I can’t really discuss the plot, as each episode is entirely stand-alone. The first episode introduces a new character, Meow, but aside from that every single episode is completely independent of every other episode. So much so that despite the fact that it always says “to be continued” at the end of the show, when the next episode starts all is forgotten. Character died in the last episode? Eh, whatever, don’t sweat the details. Planet blew up? I don’t remember that, might as well just go on with the show. Characters get left behind or infected with horrible viruses? Whoa man, don’t get so bogged down in trivial stuff. Just go to the next episode. So obviously, given that there is NO continuity whatsoever, a higher plot is kind of out of the question. Instead, each episode is an adventure within itself, where the crew goes out and screws something up.
They really go all over the place with their episodes. I mean, there’s a zombie episode. I won’t go into any details, because it’s better that way, but it was hilarious. I may be biased because of my unhealthy love for all things zombie, but I stand by it. It’s a well-built world, too. Apparently each different alien species was created by a different artist, so there is a LOT of variety when it comes to the various aliens you’ll run across in the show.
With that said, some of the episodes are better than the others. Episode five, for instance, is in my opinion the high point of the entire series. Dandy learns about life and love, and that maybe money isn’t the most important thing. Plus there’s one PARTICULARLY FANTASTIC montage scene, complete with awesome music. Does it make any difference whatsoever when they get to the next episode, where aliens are waging a war about underpants versus vests? Nope! It’s completely ridiculous, but I enjoyed every minute of it. In fact, there’s only one episode that didn’t do it for me, one involving giant sentient plants. Aside from that, I had a blast with the assorted adventures of Dandy and his crew.
Dandy doesn’t spend any time worrying about what’s going on. He just does things. Awesome things.
What I was expecting most, when I first heard about this series, was an awesome soundtrack. Cowboy Bebop had some amazing jazz to it. Samurai Champloo had some awesome hip hop music. But I found Space Dandy’s style of music a bit harder to define. It’s best to do with examples. Rest assured, however, the music in this show is up to par. It’s what I was most expecting from this series, and I did not walk away disappointed. I’ve been listening to the soundtrack over and over again, and can’t wait for the next season of the show to see what else I’ll get to listen to.
Other than that, there’s unfortunately not much to say about this show. There’s only thirteen episodes so far, and with each episode being completely stand-alone, there’s no real plot to discuss. By now, you should have somewhat of an idea whether the show is for you. It’s easy to pick up, since you don’t have to remember any plot. This one is available for stream through Funimation’s website, so it’s free to check out. The second season will be starting this summer, with more crazy adventures in space. There’s no telling what they’re going to screw up next time.