Episode 2 – The Search for the Phantom Space Ramen, Baby
Oh boy, what a week of anime it has been. Last week, I was adamant that Space Dandy would be the anime that blew us all away this winter season, but now that the competition has had a chance to reveal itself, I could find myself eating my words very soon. Every single one of my winter picks had a fantastic first episode, even No-Rin which was an anime that I had hoped would be good rather than basing that assumption on any solid knowledge. Undoubtedly, Space Dandy’s first episode was a sight to behold as well, but with its lack of direction and reliance on pure charm instead of substance it could be not long until Space Dandy begins to slip off of the radar. So, the question on everybody’s lips is, did Space Dandy’s second episode make enough of a splash to keep it in our sights?
On paper, if I were to tell you that I was underwhelmed by this episode, you would say I was crazy. On the hunt for an alien worth a hefty bounty, Space Dandy and his crew scoured the universe in search of a fabled bowl of ramen whose taste was out of this dimension. After evading the constant attacks by soldiers of the Gogol Empire, they eventually found the ramen they were looking for. Where did it come from I hear you ask? The Ramen Dimension… Just take a second to soak that in… A dimension literally made of ramen, found at the end of a wormhole in the back of a dirty restaurant floating in the middle of space. Only in Space Dandy.
Ordinarily, that sort of unpredictable, wacky escapade would have me rolling with laughter, but disappointingly not a lot of the jokes landed in this episode. Not only that, but unlike the first episode, I went into this one expecting a pretty radical level of obscenity which dulled the sheen that made episode 1 so special. That is not to say that this episode was not as charming as before if anything the extra screentime given to characters we had only briefly examined before improved the overall feel of the episode, but I worry that there is only so far this anime can go riding on madness alone. Much like I get bored of anime that thrive off of moe with no plot, I can see myself becoming tired of this formula pretty quickly if it doesn’t offer me some sort of substance soon.
Of the jokes that did land though, I found their use of modern day social satire in a futuristic setting extremely intelligent and well observed. I loved how Space Dandy and his crew kept getting caught by the Gogol Empire because Meow kept tweeting their location and not realising that one of his followers was Dr Gel’s assistant. Even in the future it seems that you can’t go two seconds without seeing somebody posting a low angle shot of their latest delicious meal on Instagram. Of course, the stupidity didn’t stop there as we found out that The Gogol Empire were using ‘Galaxy Street View’ to try and locate a single man. Well, that’s the price you pay for hiring a gorilla as the general of your army I suppose. Wait a second… Google… Gogol… Street View… Is the Gogol Empire meant to be Google in the future? If so, then who are The Jaicro Empire meant to be? Microsoft? Let’s hope we find out soon or else my conspiracy theories will just sounds like the ramblings of a mad man.
The jury is still out about whether Space Dandy will be the holy saviour of anime that people were hyping it to be. I believe that it has the potential to become something of a classic, but thus far we’re already starting to see cracks appearing. The formula of an action-heavy slice of life style anime in space is something new that I’m not entirely sure I’m comfortable with yet and I can already feel my interest fading which is something that needs to be addressed in the next couple of episodes. I want to know more about why Space Dandy is being chased by the Gogol Empire, who Scarlet is, who Space Dandy is, and most importantly, why this jumpsuit wearing idiot is the key to the universe? All things considered, episode 2 was a shaky second episode at best. For the sake of the anime that I embraced with such excitement, I hope that episode 3 rekindles the fire that episode 1 left in my heart. Until then.
Space Dandy is simulcasting in both subbed and dubbed formats and can be found airing on Adult Swim’s Toonami block or streaming on FUNimation in the US. UK viewers can catch it streaming on Wakanim and Australian viewers can catch it streaming on Madman with new episodes – both subbed and dubbed – up on the Madman Screening Room each Monday, at 1am AEDT.
For more impressions of winter’s best and worst, head over to our Anime Impressions page.
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