Getting into my list of favourite anime is no easy task. Unless a series turns out to be something truly special it is going to need some serious character depth and a gripping plot to be in with a chance of rubbing shoulders with such classics as Steins;Gate, Sakamichi no Apollon, and Toradora. But occasionally, a series comes along that fits none of those criteria and yet somehow tears my interest away from everything else. That anime, at the moment, is Space Dandy; the show that is lewd, brain-dead, and offers little of worth, but still has me coming back every week to see what ridiculousness lies in wait. Episode 2 didn’t strike a cord with a lot of people and raised the question how far can Space Dandy go before people begin to lose interest? Did the great anime gods listen to my prayers and get Space Dandy back on track this week?
Where episode 2 fell short was in its desperate attempt to be quirky while offering none of the high impact action that left everyone with mouths agape and towering expectations after its amazing introductory episode. Without the flourish brought about by its stunning chase scenes, Space Dandy is just an average comedy but when this episode brought them back it gave the show new life. Nobody went into Space Dandy expecting it to be a weird new take on the slice of life genre and Bones need to take note of that.
Episode 3 crash landed Dandy, Meow, and QT on another desolate planet after a desperate attempt to warp to the nearest Boobies resulted in the broken warp unit malfunctioning and sending them tearing through the universe, most likely breaking every conventional law of physics in the process. Disregarding simple matters like the ability to breath on the planet’s surface, Dandy quested forth in search of a hidden Boobies and ended up running into a beautiful woman being chased by a hoard of hideous aliens. Using his ray gun and limitless supply of bravado he “saved” her, but this glowing beauty was not all that she seemed. After scaring off an entire fleet of the Gogol Empire who had followed Dandy to the planet, a colossal beast erupted forth from her chest and consumed Meow. Dandy and QT rushed to Meow’s rescue to retrieve the Boobies point card he was holding onto and after an explosive battle involving Hawaiian Mechs and a mountain of food that was thousands of years out of date, they managed to apprehend the beast and get back their card. But … Where is Meow?
What I found funny was how the dubbed version censored all of the breasts that made up the massive monster and yet the subbed version didn’t care for subtlety in the slightest. No trademark To-LOVE-Ru style light/shadow beams to hide the details, just a screen full of uncensored breasts. Then not long after that we got a prime example of exactly what I hoped this series would be. Space Dandy released his secret weapon, the Hawaii Yankee! His little cruiser suddenly donned a floral shirt and expanded into the single most ridiculous mech that anime has ever seen, before locking horns with the man-eating breast monster (Never have I been more concious of what I was writing than the phrase “Man-eating breast monster”). This is exactly what Space Dandy should be. Combine that with the amazing Han Solo ray gun scene where Dandy managed to miss every shot while looking impeccably fabulous and the latter half of episode 3 reminded me exactly why I went into this show so excited. It was nothing short of wonderful.
Space Dandy, like a lot of original series, is suffering from not knowing what fans like about the show. Personally, I love the space exploration side of it and if every episode revolved around the crew of the Aloha Oe ending up on a new, unexplored planet, I would be delighted. The alien-of-the-week formula suits this series perfectly and plays to its strengths rather than trying to force the uneventful slice of life formula on us which thus far has been unsupported by any character development. If it wants to be remembered for being silly, yet amazing, then Bones need to put all of their chips on the table and go all in with it or risk Space Dandy becoming nothing more than a humdrum failure that didn’t do anything right.
All in all, episode 3 was a great reminder of what episode 1 built this show up to be. If the series continues like this I could forgive episode 2 and the fact that it is uncomfortably lewd at times (So … Much … Fanservice). Space Dandy still feels like it is flailing between being too immature for an older audience and too rude for a younger one, but if it can maintain the standard of episode 3, I can see it being remembered as a cult classic for years to come.
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.
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