「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.




  1. 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.

    1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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 😛

    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 🙂

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

    1. 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.

  6. 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.

    1. 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!

      1. 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.

  7. 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?

    1. 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.

  8. 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?

  9. 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.

      1. 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?

      2. 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”.

      3. “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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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…


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