OP Sequence

OP: 「ビバナミダ」 (Viva Teardrops) by (Yasuyuki Okamura)

「流れ流されて生きるじゃんよ」 (Nagare nagasarete ikiru jan yo)
“Live With the Flow, Baby”

So – is anime saved? For now, the jury is out and the bag is mixed.

There are many unusual things about Space Dandy, but perhaps the weirdest for me is this: it’s definitely the first time I’ve seen a TV anime’s first review in the New York Times. I don’t know whether that’s a good or bad thing (I do know it was a mediocre review), and likewise I’m not sure about it premiering on US television (in English) before it premieres in Japan. Expectations for any new Watanabe Shinichirou series (for BONES yet) were already going to be sky high, and when you add in the likes of Satou Dai, Yamamoto Sato, Okouchi Ichirou, Kanno Youko and even Otomo Katsuhiro on the staff, Space Dandy was always going to have a lot to live up to.

I know this for sure – it’s a shame BONES decided to preview the first half of the premiere episode last week, because the second half was much better. Between that mediocre ten minutes and the general resistance anime fans have towards series that debut in English, get written about in The Atlantic (don’t worry, the article was full of mistakes) and, quite frankly, any anime that’s overtly trying to appeal to an international audience the blood was in the water after the US premiere. This was a show a lot of people were waiting to rip apart, and when they saw their chance they took it. Frankly, going into the opener I was expecting the worst.

Well, thank goodness what I got was definitely not the worst. In fact, it was pretty good and the second half even better than that – but you have to judge the episode as a whole. The OP and ED (and BGM) are fantastic and beautifully suit the material (as you’d expect from a Watanabe series) and the second half of the episode is wildly creative, bizarre and legitimately psychedelic. The series looks fantastic start to finish, and the voice cast is excellent (yes, the Japanese dub is much better than the American dub). The problem is that the episode in total is wildly uneven, and so is the humor – though there were several moments that made me laugh pretty hard.

This is of course the second series in three months from a big-name director working with probably his most successful writing partner, and the similarities between Space Dandy and Kill la Kill going in were quite striking. In both cases we have the men involved saying they were going to do a lowbrow, populist show that aims to entertain first, with lots of comedy and fanservice. With no disrespect to Kill la Kill fans – it’s fine for what it is – my low bar going in was that Space Dandy was going to end up like Kill la Kill, and that would be a disappointment. I find that show to be pretty unambitious and repetitive, not to mention fairly unimpressive visually. Better than the average bear, but when a director/writer team like that one – or even more, like this one – steps in, I want something significant because we don’t get that many chances for that in anime.

Visually, at least, it always seemed pretty likely that Space Dandy would escape that fate – a BONES series is going to have a much bigger budget than a Trigger one, and Watanabe is free to indulge his wild imagination without having to use duct tape and CGI. In fact it’s a BONES hallmark to use very little CG even in action scenes, and so it is here – almost everything is gloriously hand-drawn, and I make no bones (pun intended) about the fact that this scores major points with me. BONES has also been more aggressive than any studio (especially since the virtual demise of Gonzo) in trying to make anime that appeal to a broad audience beyond the “house of pies” anime fanbase, and that’s pretty apparent in this premiere – the humor is less about anime tropes and more about space opera and American culture (though there are some callbacks to 80’s and 90’s sci-fi anime, for certain).

If it seems I’m not talking about the plot much, well, there is a reason for that – it’s very, very silly. We have a guy who’s something of a cross between Buck Rodgers, Han Solo and The Big Lebowski in Dandy (a fabulous Suwabe Junichi). In the company of his outdated robot QT (a very funny Satake Uki) he travels the universe registering new alien species for cash – though his real passion seems to be ladies, and specifically their butts. However his fondness for the “breastaurant” chain “Boobies” (an obvious Hooters parody – it’s dumb, but “breastaurant” is a good pun) indicates his interests are broader than that. It at the local Boobies that the pair track down Meow (Yoshino Hiroyuki) a Betelgeusean who may or may not (I was never clear on that) be a new species himself, but who leads Dandy and QT to a planet where he says there are “gentle” species waiting to be registered.

Meanwhile there’s a war between two great empires for control of the galaxy going on, and Dandy is somehow (we get no clue how) involved to the point where the Gogol Empire wants him captured (or dead). Their hit man is Dr. Gel (Ishizuka Unshou), whose henchman is Bea (Hatekayama Kosuke, Nitorin from Hourou Musko and Ginkaku from Uchouten Kazuku). They travel in a space ship shaped (that’s fun to say) like the Statue of Liberty’s head in bondage (subtle, not) and Gel himself looks like Buddy the Gorilla dressed as a pimp. When Meow triggers Dandy’s faulty warp drive all hell breaks loose, and that’s when the episode gets really good. It’s utterly bizarre and packs a relentless energy that totally works for me. The end of the episode is Dandy using a self-destruct hidden in a surfer doll to blow up the planet, his ship, himself and crew. The end. What?

Like I said – the jury is definitely still out, here. As a whole the premiere was certainly about on par with that of Kill la Kill – which is to say uneven but pretty good (and pretty sexist). In fact I might lean towards saying KlK’s was better, but even then I wondered if that premise had legs. Maybe it’s the optimist in me, but I feel as if the enormous potential for Space Dandy showed through in the second half. There’s so much talent on display here – the cast is fantastic and the ability to deliver a truly surreal experience in animation is one few directors possess. And some of the comedy in that second half really flew, too – like the reference to the “Tochigi Galaxy” and the world’s slowest transporter on Dandy’s ship (it did everything but say “Buffering”). And next week’s ep is going to be about space ramen – how can you go wrong, there? I have enormous faith in Watanabe-sensei for the simple reason that he’s earned it, and with reportedly 26 episodes (there’s conflicting information on this question) to work with I think there’s a good chance he’ll find the sweet spot and deliver something really funny, sexy and visually spectacular. But for now, I’m taking most of that on faith.


ED Sequence

ED: 「X次元へようこそ」 (X Jigen e Youkoso) by (Etsuko Yakushimaru)



    1. I can point to maybe one or two times in all the history of anime where – arguably – an English cast was better than the Japanese one. So it really isn’t all that surprising. “Okay” is about how I’d describe the English cast.

      1. I think Big O was better with American cast.

        You could tell the cast was totally “getting it”,
        whereas the performance of Japanese cast felt superficial and uncertain.

        Neck Neck Neck
      2. Eh, why not? Let’s take a crack at it, shall we? ;>

        DBZ was of course better (though hardly challenging when Goku’s seiyuu, even to this day, sounds like nails on a chalkboard), along with Cowboy Bebop (“Bang,” baby), Yu Yu Hakusho, FMA, Gurren Lagann, and maybe Evangelion; though largely in part because I think Spike Spencer does only a slightly less emo Shinji Ikari than Megumi Ogata.

        Ryan Ashlight
      3. Which would you say are the 1-2 times the EngDub was better? I agree FMA and others weren’t better acting jobs done by VA’s, but I think anytime you get a good job done with the English dub that watching that version is more entertaining because you understand the language which goes a very long way in the overall experience.

      4. I will say one thing about DBZ’s original voice acting: the love that people have for Goku’s Japanese adult voice (which is the same as his child voice, for those who don’t know) is completely a case of nostalgia and nothing more. All the arguments I’ve ever heard in favor of it reinforce that thought.

        Every non-fan (including many Japanese) who I’ve met who tried watching the show tell me that Goku’s adult voice is very jarring and makes it hard to continue watching.

      5. Yeah, Bacanno is definitely better with the dub cast, especially in how they can show the different accents from the different area’s of US better. I usually prefers subs, but their are definately some that I prefer the dub instead, especially if the dub is more comedy based and included references that a more Western audience would understand. I enjoy FMA, Bacanno, and most Gundam series as dubs. However, I have to watch Bleach, Code Geass, or Ouran HS Host Club in subs. Some like Naruto or Full Metal Panic I can take either way.

        As for Space Dandy here, I prefer the dub over the sub, but that’s my opinion.

      6. I prefer watching anime in original Japanese with sub in general because you just can’t translate the subtle difference in sentence structure and the way each character talks (polite/casual/archaic/dialect, etc.) It’s hilarious when they give southern American accent to people with kansai dialect. LOL Also, in my opinion, Japanese VAs seem have more control over conveying emotion.
        But I do like anime like Hellsing and Baccano in dub because the accent and culture came through better. FMA wasn’t bad but you just can’t beat Romi Park as Ed.

  1. I have to admit I was not very impressed. The second half was definitely better. So far it seems all style no substance to me, unfortunately. Are you sure it’s 26 episodes? I thought it was supposed to be 13.

    1. Everything I have seen says 26. With the amount of money they are throwing at this expecting the next big series (which based on visuals alone is a lot) there is no way its not a full series.

  2. I haven’t watched the episode yet, but, in all my humbleness, I’d like to warn against excessive hype – Mr. Watanabe is indeed a legend in the industry, but I think we shouldn’t burden him with the future of the anime industry, as he probably never intended to carry such a weight. Instead, for the very reason that we like Watanabe’s works so much, it’s probably better not to carry too many expectations and enjoy the show for what it is – and if it will reach unthinkable heights, it will be a pleasant surprise (that’s what happened for shows like Be-to, “Yahari”, and Hataraku Maou-sama).

    Then again, the show has just started, this is just my humble opinion and I know writers like those on RC won’t fall in the hype trap – I just hope it will be a good ride, masterpiece or not.

  3. lol @ breastaurant. i had low expectations from this, coming from kill la kill, was just expecting some non sense story with lots action, and the second half definitely didnt disappoint. Comparing kill la kill’s 1st ep vs this one, i liked this one better.

  4. It was alright, but I wouldn’t put it anywhere near the same caliber as Kill la Kill’s first episode. I’m really hoping they have an interesting female character in this as well. For a series that’s supposed to be moving us away from the trend of zero-substance ecchi garbage, there hasn’t been any hint that we’ll see a woman who isn’t an object so far.

  5. x2 on issues with the hit or miss humour. The bit where Dandy twirls his pistol and it spins away behind him was pretty good though. I kept thinking of Spike Spiegel, Spike talks the talk but also walks the walk, Dandy… can talk.

    The main thing is that right from the very first episode of Bebop and Champloo I knew I was watching something special, Dandy’s first ep didn’t have that.

    1. The slowest beam transporter in the world, the lemony narrator, Meow forever being labeled as a common cat that hurts his pride, and the zany animation… all made me laugh. Sadly the editing they go with isn’t best suited for some of these gags. I suppose the sexy jokes appeal to the audience they wanna aim for, but it airs during what is usually Adult Swim which some children watch, so I HOPE HOPE HOPE no soccer moms complain!

  6. I fell more on the hype side of “Holy crap! The US gets an anime premiere on TOONAMI!?” than hoping for some grand, uber popular anime. I just never go into an anime expecting it to become the greatest thing ever. XD

    That said, I liked the English cast (I didn’t watch the Japanese version, so I’m biased as it were) and I’ll admit that I laughed at the whole episode.

    But yeah, the second half is way funnier than the first. 😉 Can’t wait to see what comes up next week.

  7. so..the famous “dandy” show space dandy took off.
    seat belts, this 2cour season gonna be quite a ride.

    I agree with you that previewing 1st half of space dandy last week wasn’t a wise decision. not that it change something. but it was weird to see only 10 minutes of the whole. and it’s true, 2nd half was much better and provided different feeling for the episode as a whole. so previewing 1st half didn’t go well. I kinda regret seeing that 1st half last week..but again, I watched the whole episode from the beginning so it didn’t change much for me.

    as for the episode. well, it’s action and comedy in space (as you termed – space opera), that’s why you aren’t gonna see here some brilliant plot or something. we’ll get more action and development in plot in a way that will be interesting enough. but if one is expecting the plot to be less “ridiculous” and more serious and brilliant, sorry to disappoint, I am not sure it’s gonna happen. after all, this is a comedy and action show.
    if you ask me, if it didn’t work out for you this episode, I fear that this isn’t your cup of tea. namely, either it’s work out for you or it doesn’t, because next episodes aren’t gonna be much different. at least until we’ll advance in plot and as I said. even than it might not be what you expect now.
    I enjoy this. much more with 2nd half that was energetic.
    and the animation and soundtrack did the job. it is really good and working for that kind of show.

    I don’t think space dandy gonna end up like KLK (and it’s not like KLK is something bad, not to mention it hasn’t ended yet). it’s quite different. but sure, there is a similarity. because both are action and both have comedy with strong relation to ecchi and fanservice and we can really see how much alike those shows in the way they do things – like when space dandy is implicitly saying stuff about robots, same KLK with totalitarian regime or other things, and I guess it’ll be true for plot developing too, as I stated above – it’s not gonna be something brilliant but they’ll push and it’ll be satisfying enough for action-genre.
    yet each one has its own niche, especially in terms of characters and plot itself. as you said, dandy is much of space opera. we see it through the ridiculous plot with the villains and all. so as the main hero, he isn’t at all like Ryuuku from KLK, it’s true about his companions too.
    so yeah, very a like, but different enough.

    FWIW, I saw space dandy in both english and japanese version. well, we all know that the japanese is the original and iron rule of “original is always better”. but seriously, the english version isn’t necessarily falling from the japanese version IMHO. while the japanese version has its own touch in some places, the english cover this in others. and the english dubbers are doing really great work on space dandy. for example, I really liked the english voice of QT (maybe even more than japanese). besides, space dandy is the kind of show that totally fits to english dubbing and to americans(you’ve said so yourself – space opera). almost like cowboy bebop at the time.
    it’s not a bad thing to have english

  8. Wow, I’m perfectly fine with it ending with just 1 episode.
    To me it tries to be funny but its not funny (to me).
    Kyoukai no Kanata is more of my kind of funny.
    Well, my opinion.

    The only mystery amidsts the animation spectacle and groovy music is how Dandy is the key to the entire Universe.

    Reminds me of a very very very very toned down Excel Saga somehow.

    Well, I suppose it will build up on plot later on…I hope?

    1. Reminds me of a very very very very toned down Excel Saga somehow.

      Very curious comparison, the directors are different Watanabes, one syllable apart (in romaji): this one’s Shinichiro, Excel was directed by Shinichi.

  9. I loved the style, the music, the setting, the 3 main characters, the retro-look… My galaxy was shining in the 2nd half! But the fanservice (it was the main purpose of the 1st half) kinda ruined the episode for me (but I must admit that “breastaurant” was a good pun, I will give them that).

  10. I’ll wait and see how I feel after a few episodes.

    I did like the pun when Bea, after explaining that
    he lost Dandy, was asked when he was going to look
    for Dandy again, answered “Next Week?” (which I took
    to mean next episode). Of course the boss didn’t get
    it and blew him up (I guess he’s out of the picture).

    But there wasn’t much high quality humour beyond that.

  11. Totally agree with P Ko – I watched the first episode with English dub and laughed the whole time.
    I also later tried to watch the subbed version and thought the jokes were much better handled in the dub.

  12. This is definitely going to need more time to see how well it performs. All I can say off the bat though is a show which kills off all main characters in the span of the first 20 minutes is either going to flop badly or be absolutely stunning (dandy). Unlike Kill la Kill though the focus is going to be on comedy rather than action, so depending how they handle the arcs (don’t fool yourselves, this will be a villain (alien) of the week sort of thing for a bit) this can come off as being pretty good as long as it’s kept fresh.

    If you want to immediately relate this to something I reminds me strongly of Space Balls on steroids flowing in sexual innuendos. Rainbow rift in warp space? Hyperjump to plaid anyone? Big evil bondaged Statue of Liberty? Have a little Mega Maid with that. Just replace Darth Helmet with our big evil gorilla and the Schwarz with that new element (payonium? Cannot remember the name).

    I think Meow is already a known alien too Enzo, unless I’m mistaken Dandy and QT thought he was unknown due to the Boobies sticker on his right cheek. Heck he should be known, a voyeur cat-alien, haven’t seen anything like THAT before 😛

  13. The Hooters and the Total Recall triple breasted woman reference was awesome.

    I’m still trying to process wtf I just watched lol.

    The best part was definitely when they made it to the planet full of asshole aliens. That triple centipede got what was coming to it. I was laughing my ass off when it was trying to wack the robot away in the same way it did that other alien.

  14. Just my opinion, but I think you’re walking a very fine line Enzo in possibly misleading some readers by arbitrarily placing your own expectations on what Watanabe intends to do. You stated in the same paragraph that Watanabe himself intended this to be a lowbrow comedy, and come right back by saying you want this show to be significant.

    I understand that this is a blog and you’re expressing your own opinion, but at this point I would argue RC has a decent following where the reader uses RC to gauge how to approach various shows each season. In that case I think there’s more of a responsibility to act like a critic than a blogger in the introductions as those are used as reference points on how to set expectations going into new shows. It’s fine if you want significance, but to override the creator’s stated intentions by placing huge expectations for that is in my opinion only going to possibly do both the show and fans a disservice by misconstruing what the show is meant to be.

    I thought you were being facetious in the season preview, but I just don’t think it’s right in any way to talk about this show being some sort of anime savior. This isn’t like Yamamoto Yutaka talking about retiring if Fractale failed. It’s fine if you personally hope this show sells well to create a chance for possibly more original works down the road. But Watanabe has never expressed that he’s trying to be some sort of anime Jesus with this show, and using that kind of hyperbole is possibly damaging to how people will watch the show.

    1. https://randomc.net/about-this-site/

      This blog was originally started by Omni in late 2004 on Blogger in hopes of having a place to write about what he watched. Unfortunately, a lack of interest and time basically put a temporary stop to that. He eventually revived this blog with the intent of keeping up with the latest series around early May 2005. After he got fed up with the set of features that Blogger had, Maestro offered to host the blog as part of the AnimeBlogger Community, where it remained for five years. Over that period of time, it has grown tremendously and has featured many different writers.

      In late March 2010, Omni announced his retirement from blogging, sending waves across the anime blogsphere. As the only other regular contributor at the time with roughly two years of history on the site, the decision fell on me as to whether I wanted to keep it running and the large community of readers together. Using an updated version of WordPress and a revamped theme we were hoping to switch to at some point, I created a copy of the site here under its own domain, randomc.net. This copy was originally meant to serve as an archive for the blog’s five year history, but given the tremendous outpouring of support from our readers, I started updating it regularly with new content, leading us to where we are now.

      While Omni is technically retired, he currently serves as both an administrator of sorts for the site as a whole. Much like before, we still communicate regularly as fans of anime, so he sometimes influences what comes out of this site.


      RC is as much as an anime critique site as Kotaku is about garme jurnalizm.

      1. From the season preview post:

        Our rubric remains the same as the last few seasons, with the five main expectation levels ranging from High to Low, plus Niche and Established hanging around for special cases. Hopefully this guide will help viewers with limited time know what shows to try first, based on our preliminary examination of the show’s staff, seiyuu, and source material.

        One of the things that makes RC great is that it recognizes certain situations and strives to be more than just a personal blog on those occasions. It’s why I recommend the site to new or not as knowledgeable fans as a place to get a comprehensive, relatively objective introduction to shows. It’s just my opinion that in this case Enzo might be skewing the expectations for this show in a way that doesn’t line up with what Watanabe has stated as his intention.

      2. But that’s a guide for all the shows airing. That’s like if I laid out all the different movies, games, books, etc. coming out this first quarter of 2014. Of course it’d be general descriptions with no opinions. What else is there to say? They’re not even out yet. The individual blog posts are the ones that get some opinions included because a truly objective review would just be a play-by-play about the thing you just saw. No flavor, nothing that sets it apart from a synopsis you can find on Wikipedia.

        You want an objective review? Here’s an example. http://www.destructoid.com/100-objective-review-final-fantasy-xiii-179178.phtml
        or this: http://www.objectivegamereviews.com/

        That ^^^^ there is what you’re advocating for. One thing I love about reading different blogs it to see what other people think about the shows we all watch. Watch it for yourself first, then read blogs for discussion.

    2. In what way was it not totally obvious that I was – and am – being facetious about that, Spike?

      When I say “significant” I’m not talking about raising big moral issues or revolutionizing the way anime is made. Simply, when someone like Watanabe or Imaishi makes a series I want it to achieve significance because of its quality, plain and simple. It’s not as though Cowboy Bebop is all that deep, let’s be honest, but I don’t think anyone would deny it’s significant. It carved a place in history by being a vastly stylish and entertaining pulp sci-fi. It achieved that because even though the series never intended to be profound, the production was entered into with a good deal of ambition about what kind of show was going to be made. As I said about Kyousougiga, not every show that tries to be great will achieve it (I think that one did), but one thing’s for sure – if you don’t try to be great, you certainly won’t be. If you go into a series thinking “Let’s have fun and try to sell as many discs as possible”, the results are going to be pretty predictable.

      As for the last part of your editorial, as I’ve stated in the past I don’t do episode summaries – if you want those, there are plenty of places to get them. I consider what I do (and what all the RC writers do) to be criticism, not reviews, and if you don’t think critics inject their opinions into their writing you’re quite wrong. If you’re not getting the honest perspective of a writer then in my view there’s not much point in reading what they’re offering. As I said, there are places like ANN and MAL if what you want is to read exactly what the producers of a show want to you to read about it.

      1. With all due respect Enzo, I think you are missing the point. No one said, “be objective never have an opinion”. There comes a hefty responsibility with influencing opinions which is what a critic does (like it or not). If you lay your own expectation which is more than significant (savior of anime?) on the show it skews how people watch and experience the show. That’s a fact. Opinions and emotions are contagious. Any teacher or parent knows that. No one doubts that you do a service here and that you command respect and praise for what you do. Critics normally don’t acknowledge their power as critics. If I say here, I baked a simple straight-forward cake that only appeals to your base senses and you blog about how my cake was either going to save or damn the baking industry… well… you can see how your expectations don’t match my intentions.

        As a critic you have the unique blessing/curse of perceiving/experiencing things on a multitude of levels. Your job is to lay it all out for us, to do the heavy thinking and to keep the standard set. We sit back and enjoy. When we want to explore it deeper we read your thoughts and then discourse together about it. As a critic you might have a difficult time simply enjoying the experience as most of us might, mostly because you contemplate on the experience itself too much. Again, blessing and curse.

        Context is supremely important for criticism (I studied criticism for my MA at uni). The creators were straight-forward about the “how” to experience the show. I think from the first episode its clear, too much expectation and thinking wont do you or others well. It saddens me that you didnt enjoy Kill la Kill, that you seemed to be busy mulling over the shallowness while missing the thrill and nonsense. IMHO JoJo, Kill la Kill, Space Dandy = nonsensical fun. Period. I think you are hoping for so much more and as such, so will others. Is that good?

        One last thought: Space Dandy is sexist. Yes, very much so, just like Hooters is sexist. The glory of Space Dandy and this kind of sexism is that it is less sexist and more exploitation. After all a dumb, good looking male lead is no more flattering then a dumb, hot waitress at Boobies. Don’t misunderstand me, Im 33 and Ive been a feminist since I was 16 – and I’m a guy. This anime doesnt want to transcend gender – thats part of the humor, right?

      2. Well to be honest, I think that pretty much is what the OP suggested, in practical terms. But aside from that, is the rule that I’m not allowed to make statements in jest for fear that someone might take them seriously? Even if I explicitly say in the next line that it’s a joke?

    1. Im not picking on you because I see you are joking but can someone help me with the anime needing to be saved bit? There is more anime produced today than ever before, as well as more anime watched by more people than ever. Has it become cookie-cutter? Oh hell yes. I grew up in the 80s and 90s. I used to pay 30$ for a subbed 4 episode vhs of Your Under Arrest; 30$ for ONE episode of Bubblegum Crisis subbed (39.95 for the subbed Streamline Akira). Anime back then tended to be more audience-less if that makes sense.. riskier for sure. I still love the classic stuff.

      That said, I probably watch more different kinds of anime now then I ever did before. Anime doesnt need saving. If anything it still hasn’t plateaued. It needs original, independent shows and it desperately needs more shows that arent catered to repressed high schoolers, sure, however that’s all a sign of anime being wildly successful. To gauge it a different way, if we can love 5-10 shows a year thats far more shows than we loved year by year back in the 90s and even early 2000’s, right? I’m just saying, anime is more than a little alive. Space Dandy will do well in the US and such anime will continue to conquer the world. The End?

      1. It’s not suppose to be “saving anime from dying out”, but “saving anime from becoming generic”. The fact that there are so many fanservice romcom high-school series is what people say anime needs to be saved from, no one ever said it needed to be saved from disappearing.

        But in the first place, the entire “saving anime” is just a joke that stemmed from glorious Inferno Cop. There isn’t any point in taking it seriously.

  15. I don’t know, I love the style, but the dialogues and the voice are not as energetic as the visuals, and it shows, it lacks the impact it should have.

    Also, I miss some human characters, I don’t find the robot and the squirrel likable or interesting and Dandy being the only human makes it kinda dull.

    I liked the acid trips tho.

    1. Just curious… sub or dub? Im not trying to get into a sub-dub war though I will say if you watched the dub – its really flat.. theres no soul and the actual translation misses the funny mark big time. try the sub if you haven’t.

      ie: live with the flow.. nobody.. nobody says that. how can you miss the pop culture mark like that – its so obviously go with the flow.. theres also a lot of jokes where the cadence of the voice, the tone and the delivery all matter to the joke. In other words the jokes aren’t just supposed to be read and slightly acted, they are supposed to be over acted and slightly read if that makes sense.

  16. Gogol Empire – Google (Don’t be Evil)
    Dr. Gel and his ball gagged Statue of Liberty head ship- Space Balls, Planet of the Apes, US Sam hat and Captain America Shield shoulder pad America parody.

    Alternate Realities and Hugh Everett III mentioned at the ED- Many Worlds Interpretation in quantum physics. Dandy pulled a cosmic string. What we saw was one of many parallel worlds.

  17. I’m not sure if the series can really hold the mountain of praise and approval it desires for all 26 episodes, but god damn if it isn’t the most interesting thing to come out of anime in awhile. The climate of anime has changed so much from the height of the 2000s when the idea of an anime primerally designed to appeal to westerners was possible.

    This episode though? Pure perfection. I was in love with it from start to finish (http://sekijitsu.com/2014/01/06/space-dandy-first-impressions/). If I were to say what this show reminded me of most, I would have to say Spaceballs. This series seems to have captured some of the in-your-face irrevrence that Mel Brooks lives by, and the mix of genre gags and stupid humor brought me back to my formative days in the “jew growing chamber” where we are all fed a steady diet of Mel Brooks and Woody Allen.

  18. Pretty show, good animation and soundtrack. I didn’t like the content much, though.

    The show kind of reeks of “we’ve pre-sold this to the Americans on the strength of our name and our demo-reel. What do Americans like?

    “I now! Elvis
    “When I was in America we went to Hooters! Let’s have lots of bit-titted blonds!”
    “They have Tom and Jerry. Let’s make the action like that… except with aliens”

    1. Exactly. Its a false alarm – a provocative talking point. We can talk about how anime has changed or where its going but anime needing to be saved does not jive with reality. There are enough different kinds of anime out there for everyone – decades and decades of it. It will live on just fine and hasn’t even peaked yet.

  19. If this was supposed to be the savior of anime we’re all doomed.

    The show reminded me more of “The Hitchiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” franchise than anything else, but I just just didn’t enjoy it as much as I do Douglas Adams’ masterpiece. The characters were bland and the whole art style just felt like it was compensating for something. There were a few chuckle worthy moments, but not nearly enough to keep my interest. Overall, I got the sense that the show was simply trying too hard. I’ll stick with it a bit longer, but am not impressed at this point.

  20. A lot of people are feeling the hype backlash as this anime’s first episode may not exemplify the anime that is supposed to “save” the whole movement in America, but… it’s not horrible! It’s not even that low as being so-so! It’s got a lot going for it so far. It’s somewhat funny, expertly animated (though we expect that from BONES by now), action packed, has a funky hip soundtrack, and there are threads of an on-going story bubbling underneath the comedy. A comedy MAY NOT be the best risk to use as a “saving grace” for the popularity of the whole anime movement, but I hope this at least keeps it afloat by marketing shows in a new way.

    1. It doesn’t help when you have stuff like the Atlantic Monthly (which also called SD Watanabe’s “third anime series”) saying Watanabe is trying to get people to “take anime seriously”. Pretty obvious he has no interest in doing that.

      It’s obvious that the MSM really shouldn’t even try to write about anime, because they don’t get it in any way shape or form. There are guys like Chris Hardwick who are in the ballpark, but he’s so niche that he’s hardly mainstream (I except good critics like Kenneth Turan, who clearly understand anime in its cinematic form at least). When publications like TAM and the NYT even try, they just embarrass themselves.

      Sadly, it’s this ignorance on the part of the media that feeds into the hostility many anime fans feel towards anime that actively try to court an international audience – which is misguided scorn, if you ask me. Watanabe and BONES aren’t trying to get the world trying to take anime seriously, but they are trying to expand the reach of anime beyond it’s ever-more calcified core audience. How can that possibly be a bad thing? If anime can actually succeed in reaching out to an American audience in a way that makes the studios more profitable, that’s a huge boon for the industry and allows the possibility of much greater variety in the types of anime we see made.

      1. Never read that Atlantic Monthly article, and I wanna stick with my own opinions as the episodes roll out so I won’t be down if any negative reviews come. This is the kind of tone I like, and honestly wanna one day create myself in a project, so I am all for this anime! I wish more people weren’t so conditioned to seeing the same thing and would appreciate more animation from other countries. Japan’s media industry can only copy and copy and copy itself for so long before it all goes bust so I admire them for trying other ways to market it.

  21. I feel that you might be digging too deep into this show. As some mentioned, anime doesn’t need to be “saved”, I think it’s fine the way it is. Even if it’s just one episode, I believe all you and to do is sit back and enjoy the comedy. What’s great about the show so far is that I watched this with a buddy of mine, who has a different tastes in anime than I, and we both ended up laughing our asses off. That’s a good comedy right there.

      1. Yes, you’re too much the straight man most of the time, and have a serious tone in most of your criticism/commentary.

        Without cultural context, your writing will be taken at face value, not as jokes. I had no clue why you wrote, ‘So – is anime saved?’ until the comments section, but didn’t press. The same phenomenon occurs elsewhere. Draggle consistently writes satire / entertainment , and for the classiest anime group, and most of the time it is consistent — but people still find his stuff looking for ‘sword art online yaoi fanfiction’ as per site traffic google search results. The difference being he’s consistently a jokester, you’re not.

        Great criticism, but you retain a serious tone, not a prankster one.

    1. It doesn’t need to be saved, but it is on life-support and the creativity well is getting awfully dry. But you know, non-payers can’t be choosers.

      If it was entirely up to me I’d like a show that would criticize the very industry and audience it was made for in a compelling manner, a la Spec Ops: The Line. This could’ve been that show.

  22. It was really bad. Yeah the first half was pretty terrible with it’s constant meta jokes that went on and on to the point of losing whatever little bite they had.

    I guess the 2nd half came, but other then some nice animation nothing much changed. Yes everything looked cool, but who cares if your watching unlikable things? So far I really don’t like any of these characters and don’t really care to see them again. Doesn’t help that the dub is by Funimation.

    I knew going in that Space Dandy was going to be a comedy and that was cause for concern. While other Watanabe shows certainly had comedy in them, they were hardly at the center. Good storytelling came first. Bebop’s humor was mostly smart and subtle. Which nothing in Space Dandy was. It was filled with very dumb humor. It’s a comedy anime that is unfunny and that sucks.

    Of course you can use the “it’s stupid” excuse. No, I don’t buy it. Kill La Kill is fun and earnestly stupid. Sure it also likes to repeat dumb pervert family jokes, but it has so much creativity and fun in it’s creation and it goes all the way with it’s crazy ideas that are stupid that you can only have fun with it.

    Space Dandy doesn’t and was just an unfunny bore. Pretty disappointed.

  23. this is the best thing to ever happen for the space adventure genre. so many references and homages it’ll make your eyes bleed. of course people will find it disappointing cuz they don’t bother looking for it. meanwhile, this is a sci-fi lover’s fantasy. Plus the English kicked the Japanese dubs’ ass, wth were you listening to?

    References I noticed:
    Star Wars
    Planet of the Apes
    Hitchhiker’s guide to the Galaxy
    2001 Space Odyssey

    Anything else, you guys?

  24. This is the way I see it, and I hope to god I’m right. Cowboy Bebop started off kind of lime this. You know, it gave us in intro to some of our characters, didn’t really give off anything about the main plot, and basically showcased what we were getting ourselves into. Then, come a few episodes later and BAM!! We get the “Spike falling from the church” scene and everybody went nuts.

    If i’m right (again, I hope I am), Space Dandy will probably takes some time with the stand alone episodes. You know, get us in a groove, have some good stand alone episodic stories and all that. But then, eventually, i will give us a look at what’s really going on, reels us in, and sink it’s teeth into us. I really have hope that this show’s gonna pull through.

  25. My main gripe about Space Dandy is that, outside of the meta aspect of it (airing on Adult Swim and all that jazz), it’s very difficult to do anything new in its genre, especially when compared to such classics as Cowboy Bebop, Irresponsible Captain Tylor, or Cobra. It’s probably going to stay entertaining all the way through, but there is not guarantee that people are going to remember it in a year or two. And how can you even talk about saving anime if no one remembers you?

    On a related note, I’m getting a bit tired of the constant KlK bashing. Not because I feel it’s not justified, but because it’s just too early to call it a disappointment. Remember, the first half of TTGL wasn’t anything special, either, it’s with the last arc where it got to its main idea. Let’s discuss how predictable and shallow it is after it’s over, okay?

    1. I do know I’ll be remembering those last 10 minutes, which I saw during Toonami’s “world premiere” of the dub, so you all may pardon me when I ask what you mean by just the first half being shown; I didn’t know whether there was another station or channel that premiered it beforehand.

      And I find KLK far too likable to bash, even though I see what problems other people have with it.

    2. Disagree with the TTGL thing, just like Enzo said the first half of the series have made TTGL popular in that year, that arc stamped the name of Kamina as one of the most notable GAR in an anime series.

      To be honest I too am pretty bored of space dandy it looks like they’re trying so hard to make him cool, jokes are flat and annoying (boobies etc.) . Cowboy bebop stay entertaining from the start to the end, hope this one will improve but as of now, it’s kinda a low tier show at the moment (there are still several shows from the fall who are better than this GT, KLK, TR, STB which I’m arent bored of) and new shows from winter that stood out Noragami, BCom, and even D-frag.

    3. Agreed. I didnt know there was a problem with KlK until reading some things on this blog. I adore that show. I think its everything it set out to be. Its hilarious and wildly entertaining.. I expect nothing more from it. Its shounen right? action+epic-motivation+over-the-top=crazy-fun.. am I missing something?

  26. I think we should give this a couple of more episodes before laying a final judgment on this show. I think it if I got high and watched this a 2nd time I’d probably being even more cool shit… jk haha :<

  27. Smoke one and watch the subbed version; your mind will escape all the preconceived nonsense and prejudgments. The Eng dub falls way flat, the jokes are bad, the timing is bad and the voices have no rhythm (and it feels out of sync with the animation). JP Dandy is far better, nuanced and funnier.

    In Jap, the jokes are funnier, the tones and rhythm of the voice acting is spot-on and adds comedic effect. Its the original, so you know normally it has the edge on being authentic though I understand that is debatable for some. I defended the show on here yesterday and today after watching the dub I can see how America is responding with mixed feelings. The dub is pretty bad… IMHO.

  28. “The Japanese dub is much better than the American dub”
    And how did I know someone on this site would say that?

    I’m not looking to instigate anything but this was a legit good English dub. Script tried to be a bit too cute in some places with the 4th wall jokes but other than that the two versions are on par for me.

    Thanks John
  29. Technically the English “dub” isn’t a dub, but whatever, it still sucked, not because it’s a “dub”, but because it’s from fucking Funimation. I usually like dubs from Animaze, Bang Zoom, Ocean, but Funi dubs/voice overs are almost always bad. Both VA wise and script wise, though Funi technically doesn’t have VAs.

    Tenjin Sprits

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