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Space Dandy – 03

「騙し騙される事もあるじゃんよ」 (Damashi Damasareru Koto mo Aru jan yo)
“Occasionally Even the Deceiver Is Deceived, Baby”

Whatever they’re putting in the water over at BONES these days, I wish they’d sell it at the local kusuri-ya.

I think it’s in the very nature of what Space Dandy is trying to do that it’s going to be somewhat hit-and-miss. The series has pretty much dispensed with traditional plot and character development to the point where it effectively hits the reset button at the end of every episode. The show seems to be pretty much free-association, no limit insanity – and when you go that route, some gags are going to work better than others. Of the three episodes we’ve seen so far, only the second really hit every note from start to finish – I’d rank this one about on-par with the second (and far better) half of the first episode in terms of batting average.

One thing you know you’re always going to get here imagination. Truthfully this is the most genuinely psychedelic anime I’ve seen in years – I’ve seen a lot of shows try and fake it, but it’s something that can’t be faked. You can’t try and be psychedelic – it’s just something that either happens or doesn’t. There’s no put-on here – the weirdness is genuinely weird, the product of what’s obviously a very liberal creative process (at the very least) and an enormously talented staff. This week Watanabe-sensei brought in Steins;Gate director Hamsaki Hiroshi to storyboard and direct, and JoJo Animation Director Akita Manabu.

You get the feeling these folks are relishing the opportunity to cut loose and try stuff they’ve never been able to try before. Again, by its very nature that’s going to lead to some big hits and some big misses, but it’s always going to be interesting. One thing that does puzzle me a bit is why so many insist on comparing Space Dandy to Cowboy Bebop. Sure, Watanabe directed both – but when he did Sakamichi no Apollon in 2012 I didn’t hear it being constantly compared to CB. It’s odd how it almost seems as if the world has forgotten that show even exists, and indeed the intervening decade-plus may just as well have not happened, and Watanabe went straight from the finale of Cowboy Bebop to the premiere of SD. I think he should have been taken at his word that this series was going to be a lunatic, lowbrow comedy and nothing else – because that’s exactly what it seems he’s intent on delivering.

As for this episode itself, it featured the debut of the strange creatures that first appeared in the epic six-minute PV featuring the full version of Okamura Yasayuki’s OP – beings I dubbed “vagina monsters” because, well… I mean – look at them. Funny thing though, they didn’t turn out to be monsters at all (in fact they were even already registered) but good samaritans – they were trying to warn Dandy & Co. that the damsel-in-distress, Mamitas (Taketastu Ayana) they’d encountered was in fact a “Deathgerian”, #1 on the most recent “12 Aliens You Don’t Want to Be Eaten By” annual ranking. Having watched Oreimo I can only say that the casting was spot-on here, but I’m not sure Watanabe was actually going for that on-purpose…

There’s just so much randomness flung at the camera here. QT’s “Buy 1 get 365 free” space food from 10,000 light years away – which is of course expired by 10,000 years (only the “sell by” date though, not the “consume by” date) was sure to play a role later in the episode. Meow revealing that no matter how much he doth protest, he’s basically a cat (and lunch). Searching for the nearest Boobies (Dandy’s point card was about to expire) in the “Galaxy of Mexico”. And best of all, for me, the grand battle between Mamitas – now transformed into a kind of Cthulhu oppai monster (most nipples in the galaxy, surely) doing battle with the “Mini Aloha” – an escape pod from the Aloha Oe that transformed into a mecha wearing a Hawaiian shirt whose name is “Hawaii-Yankee” and who looks eerily like Canti from FLCL (which is probably the last show that was this legitimately psychedelic, though it was also a lot more emotionally resonant). That battle sequence was the highlight of the episode – fantastically drawn and animated.

In truth, my feeling is that this style of series has a certain self-limiting quality to it. When you’re not trying for anything of substance with the recurring plot or characters, the whole ballgame is being hilarious and being great to look at – there’s no net so if you whiff on those, it’s just “splat”. I think the visuals are going to be a constant, and I expect the humor to likely be about what we’ve seen – ranging from intermittently funny to outright brilliant. I love the limitless imagination that’s on display here, and there may even be a certain profundity that occasionally creeps in when it ventures deep into the Jungian realms of the subconscious. Mostly, though, it’s just a strap-in and enjoy the ride kind of thing – and as long as the expectations are in-line with what the ambitions of the show are, I think Space Dandy is going to deliver most of the time.

 

Preview

January 20, 2014 at 6:12 am
48 comments »
  • January 20, 2014 at 6:30 amP Ko

    Boobs.
    Boobs everywhere… and not the good kind either.

  • January 20, 2014 at 6:59 amstarss

    Well at least there was less fanservice than I expected and it was used for a very classic but clever twist. The bad news is I have more confirmation that this is only 13 episodes too, which bums me out but by the tone of this show, I totally believe it.

    • January 20, 2014 at 4:16 pmv1cious

      Bones already that they will make a second season if it does well enough.

    • January 21, 2014 at 6:58 amMgMaster

      I actually think 2-cours would be too much for this kind of anime. It’s just a dose of weekly fun and that’s it. Good for a 1-cour but if it drags on for too long,it’ll get boring fast.

      A 2nd season might be the better choice indeed,with a few seasons break in-between.

  • January 20, 2014 at 7:02 amRayzakk

    Look like they stole the idea for the monster from Diana of the Ephesians.

  • January 20, 2014 at 8:32 amGuren

    Watch out what you desire. Dandy wanted boobies, he got a bit more than that.

  • January 20, 2014 at 8:33 amrunner

    Giant robot with hawaiian shirt and pompadour? Sold!

    Now Bandai, hurry up and make toy of this.

  • January 20, 2014 at 8:40 amJel

    I enjoyed this episode more than the last two. I think it was that the jokes were hitting me more. I mean who wouldn’t laugh at the “it’s the sell by date not the consume by date.” Also poor Meow being forgotten in the end.

  • January 20, 2014 at 10:27 amPancakes

    I giggled like a little school girl at Meow patting at the hologram on the points card, yupp, totally not a cat. Also Enzo how could you forget Dandy’s epic shooting? Misses every single time, but makes up for it with some pretty footwork and womanizing poses :P

    That and the two aliens giving us a nice visual representation of female reproductive anatomy made this episode. You’re either going to love this show or hate it, me personally, I’m loving it :)

  • January 20, 2014 at 10:53 amHochmeister

    I’m slowly starting to warm up to this show. The humor was a lot better than the last couple of episodes, probably because it didn’t require much knowledge of Japanese culture (such as ramen for instance). To be honest though, the main reasons I’m still watching are for the awesome soundtrack and the psychedelic animation.

    From now on, I think I’ll only watch this when plastered.

  • January 20, 2014 at 12:23 pmSeymour

    it seems Dandy is a stormtrooper….he cant hit anything with that gun

  • January 20, 2014 at 2:40 pmTre

    Ha, her name’s Mamitas. That’s a neat little Spanish reference given what kind of alien she is. It was probably even done on purpose, given that they were searching in the Galaxy of Mexico.

  • January 20, 2014 at 2:41 pmAbsaroka

    With the desert landscape and piles of bones I was thinking that they landed on the same world that Pitch Black was set on.

    • January 20, 2014 at 3:32 pmPancakes

      Glad I wasn’t the only one to think that. Heck the way the aliens acted and even the way they had to “escape” off the planet (repair the spaceship) were similar. No bada*ss Riddick to beat people up and kill them with a tea cup this time though.

  • January 20, 2014 at 2:42 pmlorenzo

    A bit of trivia about the Ending theme: Hugh Everett III was the first to explain quantum mechanics through the many-worlds interpretations; unrecognized, he ended his career just after a Ph.D.
    It’s all referenced in the lyrics. Nothing you can’t google on your own, but still pretty interesting.

    • January 20, 2014 at 3:29 pmDop

      Hugh Everett III was the father of Mark Oliver Everett, best known as “E” in the band “Eels”, who also made a documentary for the BBC about his father, which is where I first heard of Hugh Everett and his many-worlds theory. Goddamn right, it’s a beautiful day!

    • January 21, 2014 at 4:02 amCybersteel

      Maybe the reason for the reset each episode have something to do with that. A hidden plot point?

      • January 21, 2014 at 6:39 amlorenzo

        I’m guessing so. The space-time string they pulled in the first episode was an evident Chekov’s gun. I’m 99 percent sure it will play a part providing the explanation between discontinuity between episodes, and I expect that when they reveal it, we’ll se a glimpse of the geniuses behind the show.

  • January 20, 2014 at 3:12 pmbolton

    it’s not turning out to be the masterpiece i thought it would be but it’s very easily watchable. sometimes i’m reluctant to watch the next episode in a series because i can’t afford to waste further time in getting distracted by things i want to look up or talk about it with you or other communities but there is literally nothing holding me back from just watching another episode of space dandy. it’s funny, there’s no continuity, and there’s a lot of consistency with how the characters work and i feel like that’s what makes it a pleasure to start rather than just a pleasure to finish.

    i’m still looking forward to honey being more involved in the show after reading a tumblr post by someone (apparently) involved with the show who was complaining how the dub mistranslated the ujimushi joke, but she doesn’t seem much more than a representative of boobies.

    i was a little surprised that the ape man didn’t want to save dandy. isn’t his job to capture him alive? or is it just to kill him?

  • January 20, 2014 at 4:20 pmYoukai

    SHould I watch Space Dandy? What would you rate it on 1-10 scale? The animation looks strange, not like traditional anime……..

    • January 20, 2014 at 5:33 pmFarHorizon

      You should watch it if you like low brow humor & pretty action sequences but don’t expect much else.

    • January 20, 2014 at 9:32 pmGuardian Enzo

      Your answer may depend on whether you view your qualifier about “strange” animation as a positive or negative. This is a sort of hybrid of 90′s style anime art, American Warner Bros. cartoons and state-of-the-art hand-drawn anime. Visually, for me it’s a home run. Whether you enjoy the humor you won’t know until you give it a shot, but don’t go by the first 10 minutes – it’s the worst part of any episode so far.

  • January 20, 2014 at 5:11 pmDrasca

    Comparison to Cowboy Bebop because in addition to sharing staff
    A) Both of them share Space… Cowboy / Dandy
    B) The action/animation is extremely similar. If you compare Scarlett and Spike, they fight in the same stop, dodge-dance, exploding kick fashion. Drawing stylization also shares the sharp angled noir fashion in character design for them.

    Anyone have others?

    • January 20, 2014 at 6:11 pmstarss

      Both are about the main character being broke each episode.
      Both have a kickass soundtrack.

      • January 21, 2014 at 4:19 amZhinvu

        Broke and hungry is what I noticed. In Samurai Champloo, which Watanabe also worked on, the main characters are often broke and finding ways to get a bite to eat.

      • January 21, 2014 at 8:14 amstarss

        Plus, in both shows the protagonists’ job is to capture someone/something for money.

    • January 23, 2014 at 1:38 pmSingerOfW

      Can’t forget the woolongs, too.

  • January 20, 2014 at 5:16 pmnomoreprinces

    This feels more like the misadventures of Han and Chewie before they met Luke.

  • January 20, 2014 at 7:48 pmPtolemaios00

    I feel that it’s important to note that they actually made money this episode…I feel like that’s wrong somehow.

    • January 20, 2014 at 11:26 pmcelebrinen

      If the Deathgerian made it into magazines several years in a row and it’s planet was well known (to anyone who isn’t an idiot), why was it unregistered?

      • January 21, 2014 at 4:00 amCybersteel

        It’s probably one of those sketchy tabloid magazines like the ones we have with “Alienz STOLE MY HUSBAND’S SKINS” or something like that headlined on the front cover.

      • January 21, 2014 at 12:23 pmCrook

        An alien can be named, but how can it be researched if it can’t be captured live?

  • January 20, 2014 at 9:39 pmLaughingMan

    SHUT THE FUCK UP YOU TITTY MONSTER!
    [spoiler]I wonder how many people here will get this reference.[/spoiler]

    • January 21, 2014 at 12:22 pmCrook

      Mega Milk.

      • January 22, 2014 at 12:40 amLaughingMan

        Fan-fricken-tastic.

  • January 20, 2014 at 11:22 pmcelebrinen

    It’s that time of the week to feed the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal, mosey on over to the Restaurant at the end of the universe for a Pan-Galactic Gargle Blaster, kick back in re-hab and watch a Dandy in spaaaace.

  • January 21, 2014 at 3:13 amTheOrangeOne

    When you said FLCL was the last crazy anime, I knew for a fact you haven’t watched Dead Leaves yet, or Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo.

    • January 21, 2014 at 5:21 amGuardian Enzo

      Except I didn’t say that, I said it was the last this legitimately psychedelic. And believe me, there’s a difference.

      • January 22, 2014 at 12:55 amTheOrangeOne

        I said crazy in that sentence as a synonym to psychedelic. Its semantics at this point for me. If you had such a difference in thought to it I’d have just copied directly what you said to minimize risk in confusion. But since you opened the door I (did not know I) presented, what is the difference to you? What makes FLCL and Space Dandy more “legitimately psychedelic” than the others?

      • January 22, 2014 at 3:23 amGuardian Enzo

        Crazy is just that – it’s random, incoherent, inexplicable. Blood-C is crazy. Crazy in anime can be good, too, don’t get me wrong – but it’s not the same thing as psychedelic. Psychedelia isn’t some made up otaku catch phrase – it’s an actual term, with a definition. It involves surrealism, altered perception, and has a historical connotation with certain chemical substances (dating back to peyote and much earlier). If you really want to understand psychedelia you really ought to read – or at least read up on – Jung. But for the purposes of this discussion suffice to say it’s in no way, shape or form synonymous with “crazy”.

      • January 22, 2014 at 4:10 pmTheOrangeOne

        “Crazy” and “psychedelic” can be used as synonyms (link), which I affirmed. In my eyes it can still be used relatively interchangeably in this conversation, sort of like how sadness and grief can, despite different intensity and context. I definitely understand crazy/psychedelic can be used in different ways and have actually seen a few documentaries and studies about it in college, including Jung(though not in-depth).

        My question was not really about the words, but how specifically FLCL and this series are psychedelic, and how they compare to other “crazy” series. Its more about the show content differences I was asking about that make you separate them into different words.

        Sorry if this is turning into a semantic fight, its not my intention. :/ I just wanted to know why this series and FLCL seemed that way, when in my mind, they are not too mind-screwish, just colorful and off tangents at times. Men in Black The Series for example could be just as insane, weird, off-key (in my mind) despite actually having really coherent plots for kids to follow. Did that make it psychedelic? For me, yes, considering the subjects they explored in dialogue and animation. It was rather disturbing, gross, yet all for comedy. If you haven’t seen it, just try the first episode.

  • January 21, 2014 at 4:21 amZhinvu

    Way to go Enzo. I didn’t notice the resemblance to the mecha from FLCL until you mentioned it. Also Hawaii Yankee…that would be an awesome name for a Pacific Rim Jaeger.

    • January 22, 2014 at 2:20 amkoge

      Didn’t see a huge resemblance to Canti from FLCL, but that Hawaiian shirt is clearly Franky’s from One Piece.

  • January 21, 2014 at 9:58 amJ_the_Man

    Burn me for heresy if you will, but I really enjoy this show in English.

  • January 21, 2014 at 11:05 amAlcren

    I haven’t enjoyed this show as much as I would have liked

  • January 21, 2014 at 6:50 pmbakakubi

    I’m loving this show more and more. Say what you will about it, but as long as it’s entertaining and I’m looking forward to it each week then it’s great in my books, since lots of series can’t even do that for me.

  • January 23, 2014 at 10:46 pmSrsly

    Space Dandy is Japan’s Futurama. Nothing more needs to be said. Just kick back and enjoy.

  • January 26, 2014 at 6:19 pmNamaewoinai

    Let’s See Now…First they survive the mass explosion, Then They Ditch the so called “empire” without even knowing. Now they facing a Girl that was actually a horrid (and a rare) monster!

    Well, I Got to Admit i begin to like this show a bit…this maybe (for me) the best anime in their company (BONES) so far…!

    Now i was wondering what with those guys up to…