At the end of last week, I said that this episode looked like a great opportunity for Bones to make a homage to a certain awesome 2010 racing movie that may well be my favourite anime movie of all time. Undoubtedly, there was always a bit of the bloodpumping magic that is Redline hidden somewhere between Dandy’s brilliant, bouffant quiff and the Aloha Oe’s chassis that is held together with duct tape and chewing gum. Up to this point though, there has been little opportunity to see what is really under the hood of the battered, old ship – mainly due to it either being hurtled through time and space or ploughed, nose first, into one remote planet or another. So, this week we are off to the races. I hope you’re ready, because I know I am!
This week, Dandy finally returned to Boobies, but, to his envy, Honey and the rest of the girls were too busy swooning over Prince the ‘Sonic Speed Stud’ to even notice Dandy. Seeking to steal back his ladies, Dandy entered the Grand Prix and swore to defeat his new found rival which he actually nearly managed by making use of his many ‘last resort’ tactics. Dandy must have learned a valuable lesson after he surfed that explosion last episode because he spent most of the race catapulting the Aloha Oe through space on the shockwave of friendly and enemy missles alike and somehow ended up fighting for first place with Prince. On the final stretch, it looked like Dandy might just take the victory when Prince became flustered and fell in love with Dandy, but Prince’s team-mate Mickey… I mean, ‘Squeak’… decided it was time to play dirty and detonated a bomb he had planted on Dandy’s ship during the pit stop. Far from destroying the ship though, the bomb reacted with the steamed dumpling that Meow had thrown into Dandy’s fuel tank in his haste and, once again, the Aloha Oe was sent tearing through space and time. 5.67 billion years later and Dandy found himself alone, staring up at a magnificent statue… Of himself… Well done Space Dandy. You actually managed to out ‘what-the-hell-just-happened’ Redline’s ending. I doff my hat to thee.
One of the things that sets Space Dandy apart from every other anime of the moment is that it isn’t afraid to tackle new subject matter every episode. Some might say this makes the story lack continuity and I wouldn’t disagree with that statement. Certainly, Space Dandy does suffer from a lack of cohesive storytelling, but if you consider it an out of this world slice of life like I have called it before, it goes above and beyond the call of its competitors. Space Dandy doesn’t rely on moe girls doing moe things every week to draw in viewers and in this day and age that is something to be thankful for. Much like how episode 4 was an ode to zombie movies, this week we got to take a look at the much loved, but rarely explored racing genre of anime – a strange genre that has roots in the very early shows of the late 70’s and since then has pitter pattered along rarely producing anything of note. Aside from Initial D and a couple of other exceptions, Redline for example, most racing anime don’t focus on actual cars or spaceships, but are frequently sports manga for things like cycling, or rollerblading so it was nice to see Space Dandy stay true to the classics with style akin to its cool main character.
I guess the real question of whether this episode was good or not comes down to how well it pulled off the genre and for a 20 minute spectacle I must admit it did a pretty damn good job. Wasting no time on formalities, we were plunged straight into the action within just a few minutes and from then on it was nothing but excitement. The way that they didn’t forget that the Aloha Oe was a heap of junk and forced Dandy into some Dick Dastardly level tricks to literally throw himself into first position was a wonderful touch that I don’t think a lot of anime would have thought of. There was no underdog story here, just an idiot with a lot of firepower bending every rule in the book and risking his life to win back the girls at Boobies. Well, his life isn’t really worth living without them right?
Interlaced with the beautifully executed race scenes was a vast selection of some of the best jokes that Space Dandy has come up with so far. I swear, I was nearly crying at the end when Dandy’s ship warped through time and Prince was left completely naked for absolutely no reason other than to make the female audience swoon. Apparently it wasn’t enough for him to ooze bishōnen from the moment he was introduced and fall in love with Dandy to spark a million fanfictions and tumblr gifs, they had to strip the clothes right off his back . At least Bones know their fanbase! That aside, the mech battles and the racing itself looked sublime and I can’t wait to get my hands on the blu-ray later this year to see just how gorgeous they can make the explosions and the Tron-esque final stretch. It was exciting, hilarious, and confusing to the point where I ended the episode laughing my way through inane mutterings of, “What the hell? What the hell just happened!” I loved it.
Thus, as QT floats aimlessly through space and Dandy admires the huge statue of his fabulous self, standing proudly on an extinct planet several billion years in the future, we are left to wait another week for episode 8. From the preview it appears to be an episode set on a dog planet so I can only imagine it will be another week revolving around Meow. Where is my QT episode?! Stop killing him repeatedly and give him an episode! The public demand moe robots doing moe things! Until then, stay tuned.
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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