One of my major, serendipitous goals for my blog this year is introducing people to major anime directors that either are famous, need more attention with both. I started talking more about Masaaki Yuasa with his anime work Kaiba and now have plans to watch Tatami Galaxy in the future, Three different Yasuhiro Imagawa works, and now I am starting to talk about Shinichiro Watanabe works that I have never watched before. There is more work from other creators appearing soon too, believe me. I’m very sad to admit that I had only watched Cowboy Bebop and Terror in Resonance before doing this. Carole and Tuesday is a Shinichiro Watanabe anime currently held in Netflix jail, so not counting that at the moment. Some people don’t care and aim to watch that series weekly anyway, but that’s against my normal policy of watching things. Instead, here is one of many of his anime series you can watch in the mean time and use to refresh yourself on his style of story telling.
So, do you remember when I wrote my Outlaw Star review and Strange creatures post. Remember when I talked about that one episode involving a talking cactus that the Outlaw Star crew had to deal with? That’s pretty much what Space Dandy is in a nutshell. Space Dandy is a purely episodic space adventure anime centered around the human Dandy, the alien who looks like a cat nicknamed Meow, and the out dated robot assistant QT searching for rare aliens for money. They ride on their ship the Aloha Oe from one crazy place to another and they constantly stop at Space Hooters/Boobies for one reason or another. With this being a Shinichiro Watanabe anime, that automatically means that the three are very bad at their job and almost consistently dirt poor. Oh, I should mention that the universe is at war. The Gogol and Jaicro Space Empires are constantly at war with each other in the series. The Gogol Empire’s Doctor Peele is constantly after Dandy for some reason that only gets explained later on in the series.
Space Dandy takes the premise of science fiction and alien hunting to it’s logical extreme. What I am saying is that alien hunting is an excuse for the crew to get involved in a large variety of crazy shenanigans. I seriously mean that. Some episodes are the standard alien hunt in a weird planet’s wilderness episodes. Others go in far different directions. One episode is a school musical. Another episode is centered on the Jaicro Empire’s leader AND also a rock episode. Yet another random episode centers on QT falling in love with a coffee machine. And the coolest thing ever, Dandy on a surf board surfing on the waves of an exploding planet. There is endless amounts of possibilities in this anime because it’s a canvas to allow creators to draw and animate the three characters how they want and tell whatever kind of story they feel like. That’s the real appeal of watching Space Dandy. Not knowing what to expect and being constantly surprised by how much fun an anime be on a consistent basis.
Depending on what episodic anime series you watch, the main cast either learn a lot about themselves as time goes on or they are the beacons of familiarity for the audience as they go from one place to another. Space Dandy is definitely the former because the cast of the Aloha Oe doesn’t change that much. That doesn’t mean they aren’t good characters with strong personalities though. Dandy is a doofus surfer type who obsesses over hot babes, but he is shown in so many scenarios that tell you how he has a lot of hidden depth. Meow is a lazy millennial stereotype who is on his phone all the time, but his focus episode shows how he wanted to push for his dreams outside of working in his dad’s machine shop. Even QT, the robot assistant, was given an episode where he could go outside the bounds of his program by falling in love. So they aren’t the most complicated characters that ever existed. So what? They don’t need to be for this fun wild ride of a show. You just need characters to relate to and these three are that and much more.
The side characters of this show are also a lot of fun. Scarlet, the alien inspector that Dandy and others work for, has so much more backstory then you would expect. She isn’t just an angry inspector, she also loves doing martial arts and watching old martial arts films. Something that she connects with Dandy over. I also love Honey. She is definitely the Hooters girl for the series, but she knows so much more then her bubbly personal shows. Her bubbliness is even a plot point to the show itself, which is great. I guess I can’t forget the villains Dr. Gel and Bea. They are the team rocket of this show that continually fail to capture Dandy, but I can’t help but root for them. There are many episodic side characters that I also can’t help but admit I love. Space Dandy’s cast is full of lovable doofuses that constantly fail upwards or on the normal path and I can’t help but admit that I always love seeing everyone on screen for one reason or another. The story is working against them all the time and I root for all of them even when they are against each other.
I’ve already presented to you some interesting screen caps for this show. And yes, I will confirm that they are the all from the same show because Space Dandy is a parody of itself. The main seven or so characters of the show have defined character profiles colors that defines them, but the show doesn’t care about that at all. Each episode can have their own tweak to the art style, their own color palettes, their own backgrounds. It’s such an exploratory sort of artist showcase anime. That’s what I love about it. Space Dandy is a series where anything can happen on a character, story, and visual level. It’s also possibly on my list of one of the most under-rated series ever. Space Dandy is also the hardest show on Earth to talk about because it is never consistent. I fully believe that there is something for everybody in this anime. Yeah, I’m pretty certain that I can find an episode that could make anyone and everyone fall in love with it. If you ever find yourself trying to find something strange and creative, there are other anime options out there, but I would push Space Dandy against the best of them.
(Hulu really sucks at Screen Captures, so I wasn’t able to get these the way I wanted to. Instead, those were found from google)
A new policy. If you donate to my Kofi account, you have the opportunity to suggest what I write about very soon. A series will take longer, but I will watch what you want me to watch. Thank you so much.