Review: Space Dandy
If you like anime you’re going to like this anime. If you don’t like anime you’re going to like this one. From Studio Bones and director Shinichiro Watanabe we have been given the goldmine that is Space Dandy. The series began in 2014, surprisingly in America before Japan, and was an instant hit. It’s a bit crude in places but also has the same deep sentiments that we gain from works like Cowboy Bebop or Samurai Champloo. With an omnipresent voice that narrates all of the happenings with and around Dandy we are immediately kicked in the face with these storylines and plot that would probably never work in a different anime.
The story is literally about a Space Dandy, who, and I quote, is a dandy guy in space. What more could you want? It’s also basically an episodic anime with an overarching story line that we, as the audience, always are wondering where it is going to take us. But ultimately each episode is pretty fun and a standalone reason to try and sit down and watch this show. Also we have restaurants in this show called Breasturants, otherwise known as BooBies, which dear lord is probably a play on Hooters, or something. But anyway we have our three characters we are most faced with and then the other plot which an empire is trying to get their hands own our hero, because he may be the key to winning a galactic war.
So as said above we have Space Dandy, our dandy guy, and man is he just that. He is the best character to take away from probably this entire last new anime season. He’s on the hunt for new aliens to try and make a living off of, but ends up in high stakes shenanigans all the time. Dandy loves women and the booty, which he proclaims quite often. If he could live off the food at BooBies he would, but that’s just unrealistic. Still he has a sense of what is wrong and right while keeping a light sense of attitude towards most situations. While he can be entirely selfish he also usually ends up doing the right thing because deep down he is just a good guy. The big secret around him is also very cool and well done, which is another reason to sit down and try this out.
QT is Dandy’s second in command, an older model robot, and probably the most intelligent of the three mains we have. Shown to be older in model he is otherwise shown to be able to feel and process emotions like a human would. This makes it interesting as we have a robot who can love and be annoyed by things around him, and it makes for good storytelling as well as character development.
Meow is the unfortunate Betelgeusian that meets our heroes in the very first episode through a series of events. A bit of a pervert he is our otaku-esque character with very little want or care of pleasing his captain. Also he’s basically a cat. So he acts like one in certain situations despite a hatred of being called one. Everyone wonders why he left his home planet when he is such a homebody, basically, already, and it’s found that he didn’t want to end up in a mundane never ending life of boredom, which makes him quite endearing. He loves traveling with Dandy and QT, finding the excitement he couldn’t at home.
Then we have a whole slew of other characters that are technically side characters but are still important to the story plot overall and how it progress our main characters and forces them into situations. I won’t go into them because there are a lot of them, but I mean if you sit and decide you’re interested in the show you’ll get to meet them anyway.
The animation in this is… Just splendid. Every now and then it changes to a different style that is just as equally interesting as the plot. Each character is unique and independent, from Dandy’s pompadour to Dr. Gel’s gorilla like body. Also in the same style as Gurren Lagann it is big and encompassing to the point of being ridiculous. Yet we love it, we can’t help but want Dandy to go through another monologue where he just goes on about surfing and how life is just like that. Also it’s bright and shows exactly what we would want space to be like in that situation, people with hair that sparkles like the stars themselves or spaceships painted with Hawaiian shirt patterns. I cannot help but feel that this animation is the beginning much more top notch animation we’ll see in the future, especially from Studio Bones.
I want to talk about the dub before I go into the soundtrack. There is rarely a time that I will say watch the dub, but watch the dub dear lord it is golden. And in all technicality the dub for once is the original due to it airing in America before it did in Japan. For one Ian Sinclair is a perfect Dandy, hitting just that right amount of humor when it’s needed that you can’t help but want him to keep going. Colleen Clinkenbeard is also in the series which also ups how good this dub is to the point I want to call it pure perfection and put it on a shelf next to Cowboy Bebop forever. I have heard excerpts of the Japanese cast and I just prefer the English this time. It just feels far superior by simple matters of casting and the performance. But seriously just do it for Sinclair’s Dandy, it’s so worth it, just like you’d watch Bebop for Steve Blum. I cannot stress enough how rare it is that I will recommend a dub over the Japanese, so please if you take anything away from this and decide you want to check it out go and watch this version.
Now we can talk about the soundtrack. It’s so nice and uppity that you can’t help but feel good when the opening theme Viva Namida by Yasuyuki Okamura, which has its swoon worthy vocals that you can’t help but feel like yes this is worth my next twenty-four hours instead of sleeping before class. Also to give you an even bigger reason to watch the dub, we have episodes where the characters sing, and Sinclair as well as the rest of the cast actually sang the songs. They actually took the time to record these songs and make it fit the characters they were portraying. They don’t have Dandy sing in a perfect coo, rather his voice cracks when he sings higher notes, it fluxgates between octaves when he struggles to get that lyric out. It’s glorious. The mixture of music and dialogue was done very well that I didn’t struggle to hear or interpret what was going on.
I do have issues with this show. It isn’t the pure perfection I have built it up to be so far. Actually there is that issue of it being an episodic show. A lot of the episodes are throwaway ones that honestly you could skip a lot of. We have an interesting overarching plot that barely gets touched on because of hijinks that could be left to the side instead. That isn’t overtly bad as we’ve seen it well executed in Cowboy Bebop and Samurai Champloo, but we also want to just get to the point of what is going on. And we do get to it… Eventually. No spoilers of course, but still it just feels like it takes a while to really get to what we wanted. While each episode is unique and good I don’t feel that it works well to the degree it wants to.
Space Dandy: 8/10