Poor Tom Pinchuk and Sam Weller. The Hype-Machine got ahold of them and shaped their conceptions of Shinichiro Watanabe's new show, SPACE DANDY. It made them think it was some sort of spiritual successor to the perpetually awesome COWBOY BEBOP. Sure it shares a lot of the same crew—a LOT of the same crew, including the ever-amazing Yoko Kanno on music—but it never looked, sounded, nor smelt of BEBOP to me. My expectations were as level as freshly fallen snow on the great plains of Kansas.
And so with clear eyes, I can present you with an even and unbiased view of SPACE DANDY, the show about a dandy in space...
It's a helluva lotta fun.
The protagonist's name is actually Dandy, because—as previously mentioned—he is a dandy in space. He and his robot friend QT and their bumbling alien-cat sidekick Meow search the universe for new species of alien to be registered in an intergalactic database. Unbeknownst to them, they are pursued by the giant ape-man Dr. Gel in his ball-gagged Statue of Liberty ship, under the command of a flaming skull named Commodore Perry.
Now forget all that because it will usually only get you past the first five minutes or so of each episode. Yup, it's that kind of show.
What sticks out most about DANDY is its bizarre structure. Each episode actually follows a single story through to completion, but somewhere in the middle—actually the exact middle, at the act break—the show abruptly changes genre. So while the first half may be about, say, a zombie outbreak at a hospital, the second half becomes a thought exercise on what it is like to live as a zombie.
Watanabe's imagination just runs wild in this show. In a strong departure from BEBOP, DANDY features a universe chock-full of aliens and, boy, are they interesting. I constantly find myself pausing and marveling at just how ridiculous and/or awesome they are. Did I mention the flaming skull has a bunch of planets surrounding it for some reason?
Though speaking of imagination... is it just me or is BEBOP almost subconsciously sneaking into this show? Isn't that one kung-fu scene in episode 2 remarkably similar to one of Spike Spiegel's famous fights? And doesn't Dr. Gel somewhat bare a resemblance to Jet Black? Nah, it has to be me imagining things or else I'd be undermining my whole thesis! HA HA HA!
Its not all space and dandies, baby.
The eponymous Dandy is a huuuge pervert whose life ambition is basically to live in Space Hooters ("Space Hooters" is somehow more subtle than the restaurant's actual name, "Boobies"). Meow prefers to take upskirt shots with his space-phone and post them on his Space Twitter. QT is a robot and robots don't reproduce like that, you Grossy McGrosserson*.
The point is that there's more than a little T&A to contend with in this show, and even though it's character-driven T&A that comes back to bite those characters in the A on more than one occasion... it's definitely enough to turn some away.
Most recently with episode 5, however, something different came over the show. Something a bit more like a regular show—something resembling continuity between act breaks.
Dandy develops something like a heart for the brat he was going to bring in for a bounty (NO BEBOP HERE HA HA HA). It makes me wonder if, perhaps, this whole show isn't just some madcap romp in which two pervs and a robot have misadventures through space. Maybe capturing Dandy IS the key to controlling the universe, as Admiral Perry thinks, because he grabbed the Chain of Destiny or that he knows he's the protagonist or something.
Will the show now make a huge tonal shift, in macrocosm of each individual episode? Or, perhaps, the Hype Machine got ahold of Watanabe as well, and forced him to go along closer to expectations. I would be saddened if that were the case.
*AnimeVice.com would like to apologize to the McGrosserson family for any perceived libel. Matt's opinions on your family(ies) are stricltly his own and not those of AnimeVice.com, its sponsors, parent companies or affiliates.
About the Author
Matt Murphy is a freelance nerd who has contributed to many nerd websites. You can reach him by going to where the light meets the shadow, by sending out zeta-brainwaves or by following him on Twitter @Murphix.