Space Dandy is a dandy guy, in space! This dreamy adventurer with a to-die-for pompadour travels across the galaxy in search of aliens no one has ever laid eyes on. Each new species he discovers earns him a hefty reward, but this dandy has to be quick on his feet because it's first come, first served! Accompanied by his sidekicks, a rundown robot named QT and Meow the cat-looking space alien, Dandy bravely explores unknown worlds inhabited by a variety of aliens. Join the best dressed alien hunter in all of space and time as he embarks on an adventure that ends at the edge of the universe!
Do you enjoy anime? Odds are that you do, if you are on this site and reading this review.
From the producer who brought you Cowboy Bebop, and Samurai Champloo, comes SPACE DANDY (season 2 in this case), and Space Dandy is a platform that both celebrates and lampoons anime topes from every genre, using the vehicle of a group of alien-hunter/discoverers in space.
Literally everything from the double-intro to the theme song, to the narrated intro, to the antagonists (Dr. Geb and his questionably effective planning/execution), to the episodic nature of the Dandy universe makes this a superlative enjoyment for anyone who enjoys anime and doesn't take it too seriously. If you can laugh at yourself and delight in the subversion of expectation, Space Dandy is for you.
The most recent episode aired last night and lampooned not only high-school based anime, but the High School Musical craze as well as a few other common thematic elements from high school anime that I won't go in to so as to avoid spoilers.
But seriously, if the idea of following around Space Dandy, and his brave space crew...in space! makes you happy or seems interesting, you owe it to yourself and your eyeballs to check it outread more
If there’s a show that can make you go “WHAT?” Space Dandy would be one of the first to come to mind. The ‘what’ doesn’t associate with a kind of reaction that’s negative though. Rather, I see Space Dandy a show of creative anthology. Each episode takes the characters on a wild ride in space with Dandy doing his usual gags. While the show often goes wacky with its direction, it’s safe to say that the real point of the Space Dandy focuses on much more. Space Dandy Season 2 returns with Dandy and his adventurous crew in this sequel. And seriously, this show craves for attention when it comes to imaginative endeavors.
Directed by the brainchild of Cowboy Bebop, Shinichiro Watanabe once again proves his worth. Breaking down the boundary of the adventure theme, he takes this sequel to new heights with his creativity. It quickly makes its point with the first episode by adapting various references and explodes them onto the screen. The comedic nature of the show quickly takes command but also fits in various satires and gags to illustrate creativity. As daring as the first season, it’s not afraid to pull off risks. The risk here is that episodes can come with a mixed bag. But really, Space Dandy was never a show about overly complex plot angles or some dynamic narrative. Rather, it keeps the space adventure zipping along that is mastered with uniqueness.
Stuffed with craziness, the show plays around with itself like it’s in a class of its own. Make no mistake though, Dandy plays more than just the role of a professor as he takes on the good adventure with his crew members. Essentially, the show was about hunting down aliens as Dandy dedicates it as his job. However, many episodes explores more than just that cliché. Comedy first, and space adventure second is probably the better way to say it in this case. Space Dandy has been defined as a show that is free to do whatever it wants. There’s no boundary that confines itself or limit its ideas. Most of the episodes takes in space but also seizes opportunities to expand its settings. These include but not limited to high school, a mystical lake, and even a world where there’s no sadness. (literally, as that title implies). Regardless, the main objective that Space Dandy achieves is not an adventure of classic fun but rather inspiration, the way it presents its stylish blockbuster hit from where season 1 already built upon.
A majority of the attention is focused on the main characters. In fact, the main characters has this connection with both each other and I dare say…the audience. Dandy has this personality that is like a chemistry set for a scientist. Once they get their hands on it, they can’t stop. Their curiosity takes them like the way Dandy takes his adventures to wonders of the universe. This sense of nature can even label him as a hero as Dandy has prevented tragedies and even entire galactic wars in one of the episodes in this season. On the other hand, Dandy’s two sidekicks QT and Meow play some major roles as well in the sequel. Unlike most series that tries to succeed with ‘beating the Big Bad to save the world’, Space Dandy is more about achieving some goal. It focuses on what the premise of each episode and twists in a ways beyond incalculable imaginations. Some of them will make your mind go “WHAT?” while other times will bring a smile of appreciation. It shouldn’t be any surprising though. The sequel doesn’t derive far from the style of season 1. Each episode is carefully crafted with its main and supporting characters to fit with its creative context. The catch is also that the show isn’t exactly like a ‘monster of the week’ program. Instead, it seeks ambition and articulate concepts beyond just the space tropes. However, it can sometimes be frustrating to realize that most characters seize to appear in the future and only opt to play their roles in that specifically dedicated episode.
To take for granted, various themes play along the show as if it’s self-aware. Destiny is one such theme as Dandy often seemingly gets himself involved with circumstances beyond his control. They say fate and destiny is something people can’t defy. In Space Dandy though, that’s a different story as Dandy often tries to tempt fate. His various battles such as against aliens, monstrous fishes, and armed forces often puts Dandy’s own life in jeopardy. Yet, somehow Dandy pulls off a spectacular show when it’s put up or shut up time. It’s not clearly defined as deus ex machina because like I mentioned before, the show is seemingly self-aware about what Dandy is capable of. The sequel takes even more daring risks with imaginative worlds. One such episode really takes the cake with Dandy being in a world where sadness and death itself is extinct. The avant-garde nature combined with its unique humor of each episode brings forward talent on the tables as well. Each episode has a different screen writer including Watanabe himself. I give praise to Kiyotaka Oshiyama and Masaaki Yuasa for their stylish and clever writing. More so, Watanabe shows his skills in coordination by deconstructing the essence of an adventure. The sequel takes its adventure far beyond just space and into scenarios that not even the Twilight Zone can see with its eyes.
Production quality generally remains the same with Bones in charge of the operation. Character designs are still like the previous season with not much difference. There are some particular episodes that Dandy has slight differences to reflect the nature of itself. Otherwise, character designs still reflect the sci-fi trope such as the aliens, space vehicles, and fabulous gentlemen of the universe. One thing I find season 2 masterfully done is how artwork sells what it tries to advertise. The preview of each episode only produces an initial impression with the title being a potential trademark. However, the execution can really knock an audience off-guard with its contrasting visuals. Episodes directed by Watanabe and Yuasa are prominent examples for this.
Soundtrack is more of a classic appreciation. The western style OST fused with sci-fi tones is something to take notice of. The soothing music, the elegance of the OST, and colorful edginess clarify what this season is trying to accomplish. Surprisingly enough, I find the dubs comparable to the original Japanese versions. In both instances, Dandy has a voice of an explorer and takes on adventures with enthusiasm. Other characters too have influences whether they are human, robots, or aliens. One particular episode even has references to the voice actor with his own character (DUB version) and a classic battle of the bands theme. The OP and ED songs remain generally the same for the sequel though.
There’s no single word to describe the second season. It can be fun, sexy, entertaining, insightful, influential, creative, thrilling, formulaic, intelligent, sensitive, charming, or just dandy. Some episodes can also be deep with hidden meanings and evoke emotions. Each episode is filled with potential and explores space like an anthology. Yes, the series may not make sense at times and will leave you in the hanging. Yes, the sequel may have never solved a story subplot or context that should have been. However, does it really need to? Remember, the show doesn’t limit itself with its adventures. It stretches beyond the boundary of imagination by indulging on its unorthodox or perhaps even radical style. In the end, you might ask yourself “what the hell?” I know I did but doesn’t regret a single minute afterwards. read more
Space Dandy is unique, it is a huge bag filled with endless creativity, it is fun, it is trippy, it is superb. Season 1 is good but there are several episodes that are a hit or miss, however, season 2 is awesome, much better than the first.
Story? What story? Technically, the universe of Space Dandy is so vast that the creators can concoct any story and it will still make perfect sense. Space Dandy is an episodic anime, with the episodes differing A LOT from each other, this is mostly due to the fact that Space Dandy is directed by multiple directors, each bringing their own flair and style into the episode they directed, which is why I said this is a huge bag filled with endless creativity, because it is!
There isn’t any continuity between the episodes, as such you are free to watch the episodes separately and still enjoy it as a whole. Dandy and his co may die in one episode, and appear perfectly fine in the next, and this fact, supposedly established in the very first episode of season 1, is actually explained brilliantly towards the end of the series (hence my high score).
Hands down, Space Dandy is one of the most beautiful animes I’ve ever seen in my life. Remember when I mentioned the episodes differ a lot from each other? This applies to the art as well! Each and every single episode are drawn in a different style and this gives us viewers a myriad of eye candies to watch for (that ancient Japanese artstyle in ep 5? Wow). Not to mention the jaw-dropping sceneries found in many parts of the show, my eyes were glued to the screen at all times.
Space Dandy wouldn’t be the same without the awesome soundtrack behind it. Most of the soundtracks are funk and jazz music (dandy!), of course there are plenty of other genres as well, heck, we even have live rock music (ep 7), high school musical style (ep 4), disco music from the 80s (ep 9) and many more. This season of Space Dandy had really upped the ante especially on this area, so pay attention to it as well when you watch it.
Sadly, this season has more episodes of Dandy being isolated from QT and Meow, so we don’t see much of them as compared to the first season. Anyhow, Dandy is as cool as ever, and this coolness escalates to a much higher level especially towards the finale. Scarlet and Honey gets more screentime as well and they will be featured much, much more than just at their respective workplaces. Dr Gel and Bea are also featured as recurrent villains, and towards the finale, there’s a big surprise waiting…
We also have a huge cast of new characters joining in, with my favourites being Johnny and Planet Limbo herself. See for yourself and you will as well, I am sure, love the characters in Space Dandy.
Granted, due to the episodic nature of Space Dandy, episodes may be a hit or miss, subjective to the viewer him/herself. If you ask me, I fell in love with most of the episodes of this season compared to the last season, and this season has many episodes with very high rewatchability, either to marvel at the greatness of the art, or the gorgeous soundtrack, or the mightily creative story and characters.
I’d reckon that Space Dandy is viewable for all ages, but is especially appealing to the adults. Space Dandy should become more enjoyable as you age, due to the wide range of pop culture references in it. In conclusion, Space Dandy is a clever anime, and a brilliant work of art. read more
*Note: This review is about the series in general, not just Season 2*
Boobies and butts are what make the universe a pretty awesome place to exist in. How is this so? Just ask Dandy himself, and he could tell you all about it in glorious enthusiasm. This Dandy I speak of is named Space Dandy. Imagine if you mixed the best of western and eastern humor of TV animation shows and combine them into one nifty package. That should tell you right away that Space Dandy destines to be different and fresh without making an overtly big deal about it. Regardless, you certainly can’t beat this hot fun garbage series with any other garbage entertainment, anime or otherwise.
It should be noted, when talking about Space Dandy, that this is not a Shinichiro Watanabe directed anime in its purest sense, the director of such classics as Cowboy Bebop and Samurai Champloo. Even though he overseas chief direction for the show, this is essentially a conglomerate of different anime directors putting their own directorial spin on the series. That should tell you right there that Space Dandy does not follow any direct narrative from point A to point B. Episodic episodes spliced together to follow Dandy and his band of various misfits, all create a western-style animated series vibe that can be nostalgic for those of us growing up as kids watching these shows day by day. So if you thought this was going to be a Cowboy Bebop-style show, just be thankful that you will be getting the filler episode portions of Bebop.
Nevertheless, that should not entail that Space Dandy is nothing more than a comedic version of Bebop. In actuality, it brings forth a very unique style of its own to formulate charm to its humor and characters. Almost all jokes prevalent in Space Dandy hit all of the notes perfectly with nicely done comedic timing and on top of it, they don’t just make all of the jokes onto one subject matter. Sure, the main focus of Space Dandy’s comedy is purely sexual with its constant pandering over butts and boobs, but once you further yourself into the show, you’ll realize that it is not the case. Many tropes are satirized from what you would typically see in any animated show with male characters like Dandy; always getting what he wants in the end that quickly falls flat over him.
There are genuine surprises thrown in here and there. For instance, it is probably one of the few anime you will ever see that has its own musical number. Even with its comedy, the writers actually delve into introspective subject matter that actually become insightful and melancholic while still maintaining its humor without exemplifying it unnaturally. Rarely would I ever applaud a show for being able to achieve both of these elements. The reason being is how the jokes are written in very clever fashion by its intricate pacing and punchlines. Never is there a dull moment between the hilarious banter of Dandy and his friends out of the 26 episodes in this series.
Dandy himself is quite the protagonist in keeping the show at an evenly paced comedy with his larger than life charisma and presence. Normally with a man who constantly obsesses over booty and tits can be grating over a period of time. What makes Dandy an exception is that they do not really shove the obvious joke down our throats continuously, although in some parts they do, especially in the earlier episodes. He proves himself to be an exceptional lead, but that’s not to say he’s the only one who is able to do that in Space Dandy.
Meow, Dandy’s right hand man after humiliating him in the first episode, isn’t similar to Dandy in terms of personality. In fact, Meow would be the one to set him straight to focus on their missions, even though Dandy himself isn’t a total idiot in most cases. QT, Dandy’s robot sidekick, is the same way in this aspect, where he is always trying to keep things in order over Dandy’s typical behavior. Both of these leads are extremely lovable because of the perfect chemistry between them and Dandy. Even when their relationship seems atypical, goofy trite at first glance, they eventually warm up to being match made in heaven.
What good is it to talk about Space Dandy without mentioning its elaborate music? Absolutely zilch. I will speak in no hyperbole whatsoever in stating that Space Dandy has the most infectious Opening I’ve had the pleasure of listening to. The word infectious is meant in the most positive sense possible. Newcomer Kensuke Ushio has really made himself quite a success story in 2014 with this and also composing for Ping Pong The Animation. The opening itself sets the mood for the entire show and lets you know that fun is about to come your way, like any other good opening does to any other show.
One very important thing to note is the artistic direction and how diverse the animators decided to put into creating this very elaborate, kooky universe. All of the alien creatures are very unique in design that are a mix mash of previously imagined aliens and putting in their own vision. The lavish colors are put with great care so Space Dandy can be easy and pleasing to the eyes. It also helps that the animation is nice and fluid to further the aesthetic to new heights. Also, because there are multiple directors for each episode, some of them even put their own artistic vision into the spectrum. One notable is Masaaki Yuasa, director of The Tatami Galaxy and Ping Pong The Animation, who filled in one episode for animation direct in episode 3, who managed to put in a whole different spin for the series in terms of animation.
In closing, there is really nothing like Space Dandy that you often see in anime. In some ways, it’s sort of Japan’s answer to western animated TV shows and saying, “Hey, we can make episodic goofy comedies just like the rest of y’all!” Regardless of whether that was their true intention or not, it definitely speaks volumes by analyzing how Space Dandy can work both as a satire or a genuine comedy. Japanese anime purists may watch this with disdain because its not the archetypal anime, even in comedy standards, that we are used to. But if you’re willing to give credit where credit is due for a Japan-produced nostalgia trip of late-’90s to early 2000’s animated shows, look no further.
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