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Space Dandy – 05

「旅は道連れ宇宙は情けじゃんよ」 (Tabi wa Michizure Uchū wa Nasake jan yo)
“A Merry Companion Is a Wagon in Space, Baby”

I suspect this episode was exactly what many semi-gruntled Space Dandy viewers were waiting for.

I decided to re-watch last week’s excellent Space Dandy in the English version, just to give it another chance to impress me. To be honest I still don’t see what folks are talking about – I think the Japanese version is why better, even if the English cast is decent – but the interesting thing was that the Japanese OP and ED were missing (another baffling CN decision), which I hadn’t realized earlier. That’s a crime to begin with given how great they are, but if those of us who assume all the Hugh Everett references in the ED are hints about where the series is going, how are the folks watching it in English supposed to know it’s coming?

In any event, on to this week’s Dandy episode, which I sort of knew had to be coming sooner or later. Pretty much every screwball comedy has to have a “serious episode”, and this one will no doubt be looked at as the most “Bebop” episode so far. Certainly it was a massive change-of-pace from the first four eps, though whether that was a change for the better I suppose will depend on your point of view. If it is well-received (as I expect) that will pretty much re-affirm the inverse relationship that seems to exist between my tastes and a show’s popularity about 90% of the time. Well-executed as it was, I found it a bit of a bore.

With that said, I’ll be the first to admit that this episode served some important functions in the series’ development, and for what it was it was very well-executed. I won’t call it a necessary evil because it was pretty good, but I do think this ep was necessary – necessary to establish character, reach out to a different subset of fans and lay the groundwork for some potential developments in the rest of the cour. The vehicle to do that was Adelie (Hanazawa Kana), a loli alien of a species called Gentooan that has the ability (once every day and 666 seconds, though whether that’s a 24-hour Earth day I don’t know) to use it’s tentacles to remove someone’s consciousness from their body and insert it into a puppet. And you know who’s going to receive the treatment in short order.

My favorite part of this episode was that it felt like a certain type of anime episode you’d have seen 10 or 15 years ago, in shows like Outlaw Star and – yes, I admit it – Cowboy Bebop. Watanabe-sensei’s fingerprints are all over it, from the insert music to the pacing (it feels like a 22-minute movie, in the way episodes of shows like that often did but that you don’t see much anymore). That authenticity and retro feel is what keeps the episode from coming off completely as a formulaic effort – which, to be honest, it kind of is. I mean, Kana Hanazawa as a loli is hardly avant garde in 2014, is it? Another thing I really liked was seeing Amelie’s Grandpa played by Okhi Tamio, Ken-Goh from Eureka Seven. 86 years old and still spot-on, bless him – and kudos to Watanabe for using seiyuu like Okhi-san. See – if you watched the English version, you’d have missed that…

There’s really not much to say about the plot – it’s your classic road picture pairing the inappropriate and debauched adult male with the absurdly cute little girl that we’ve seen in anime and movies countless times. I think the significance here is that we see another side of Dandy – most obviously when he lies and tells Amelie that he’s going to Boobies, when in fact he’s secretly searching for her missing grandfather. He even lets her leave with Grandpa at the end rather than take her to the Alien Registration Office – thus forfeiting the large bounty for a Gentooan and leaving the Aloha Oe stuck in the impound lot where it’s been sitting for the entire episode. This is very familiar terrain here, but it’s brought off well – this is Watanabe after all – and as I said, probably necessary for Dandy’s development. That said, if we get a return to comedy and a lot more of QT and Meow – who I really missed this week – I’ll be much happier. And it looks as if we’re going to get that next week, fortunately.

 

Preview

February 3, 2014 at 4:44 am
43 comments »
  • February 3, 2014 at 4:49 amLadioss

    “I suspect this episode was exactly what many semi-gruntled Space Dandy viewers were waiting for.”

    You couldn’t be more spot-on.

    • February 4, 2014 at 3:32 amPeter

      I re.watched the part from the train when that song kicks in three times before continuing the episode. I was smiling the whole time :)

      just great.

      (really a lot of parallels to bebop, whether or not that fits ,), but i love it)

  • February 3, 2014 at 5:08 amAnanas

    Best episode so far. By a galatic margin.

    Going back to an Adélieless Space Dandy next week will be hard. I guess they couldn’t risk killing lolis on a regular basis.

  • February 3, 2014 at 5:49 amstarss

    This episode wasn’t the tearjerker I expected it to be from the trailer, and it was a STRANGE and relaxing change of pace from the energy the previous ones had! For one, Scarlet, Dr. Gel, and Perry are nowhere to be seen, and the laughs appear to take a break this week too. I expected Adelie to get a sad ending, in that she DOESN’T find her parents or grandfather. Also, for a one-off character, it’s a bit weird to give her some backstory because even after watching, I do NOT remember anything about what happened to her, and even the evidence they present makes it kind of vague. I LOVED the idea of the penguin alien taking up Dandy’s personality, and they used it again for the climax. Thia is QT and Meow at their worst, being entirely lazy, not doing anything to help the situation, never fast on the uptake, and they’re just doing the same thing the last we see of them, not that they can DO anything to break the law any further. Overall, a touching breather of an episode.

  • February 3, 2014 at 5:53 amKreed

    I liked all the Dandy episodes so far, but I liked this one in particular because of all the feels it gave me. I’m a sucker for that…

    …And cute blonde alien space lolis.

  • February 3, 2014 at 6:48 amP Ko

    Amazing episode from start to finish

    I was really hoping she’d join the crew though T__T

    • February 3, 2014 at 7:16 amCybersteel

      Like Ed?

    • February 3, 2014 at 10:26 amPancakes

      It’s a good thing she didn’t IMO. This sort of episode is meant to be a healing one, giving us some heartwarming feels while providing some character development. To drag it out by including her in further episodes would diminish the effects produced in this episode. The girl was smartly kept to one episode to give her greater staying power.

      • February 4, 2014 at 3:17 amKinza Datteri

        True, but I still want her to return in the future. If not for some longer time, then at least for one episode – that’s the finest form of fanservice.

  • February 3, 2014 at 6:48 amThatGuy31907

    Sub is better, English is better. Frankly, I could care less which is better, but I don’t go around flaunting my opinion and trying to convert fans to the better side. I am not concerned about seiyuus and how a particular singer made an impact through the episode, and I don’t go crazy about such well-known. When I watch anime, I watch it for the story, characters, and feels. And if anyone hasn’t caught on yet, I don’t think Space Dandy follows a continuous story and won’t until about half-way through the series, given how series like these flow. And it’s best not to continuously compare it with Cowboy Bebop. Many of us are well-aware with the similarities and don’t expect it to be a near exact clone. With all of that aside, this may be my favorite episode so far. Truly beautiful and touching, and in a way, an episode I can relate to.

    • February 3, 2014 at 9:22 ambolton

      hold up a sec, nobody is “flaunting around their opinion” on their personal taste of dub/sub. this is a blog post and you came here to read the writer’s point of view, and he’s obliged to give it. while you may not agree, and certainly this is also the case for me; commenting on a blogger’s post about how he shouldn’t express his opinion on relevant subjects is a little silly. the global release of space dandy and its transformations between sub/dub are very relevant, and so are the trending comparisons fans are making between cowboy bebop and space dandy, especially given this episode.

    • February 3, 2014 at 12:08 pmintroverte

      I am not concerned about seiyuus and how a particular singer made an impact through the episode, and I don’t go crazy about such well-known. When I watch anime, I watch it for the story, characters, and feels.

      Woah, hold up there. I can respect that some production values mean less to you than other values, but if you mean to imply that voice-acting is irrelevant to the how emotions and story are conveyed to the viewers, then I will have to disagree with you.

      All components of an anime, from animation to soundtrack to voice-acting to story, are all vital towards presenting the viewers with the intention of the producers. If one of these happen to be shit, then the series will overall be viewed as subpar, and all of the other components will be viewed as “wasted potential”. Now, I’m aware that this is a bit tangent to deciding whether subs or dubs are better (seeing that the better version will be the one people talk about), but if you do place importance on the quality of the series, then you should consider the impact that different voice-actors have on character personalities even if it is relatively minor in comparison to other components.

      • February 3, 2014 at 2:45 pmThatGuy31907

        Voice acting does matter. That’s part of the feels components; the anger, the sadness, the happiness. It’s what voice actor voices which character is what doesn’t really matter to me, as long as the voice actor or actress convey the proper emotion in the scene and character they are playing.

  • February 3, 2014 at 6:53 amRyner

    To be honest I watch this show in English, I do have the means to watch it in Japanese just how I watch all of my anime, but since it aired in English first and I continue watching it in English I just kept it that way. The thing that you said about the OP and ED being different I do get it, if you have seen the butchery that CN has done to Bleach, Naruto, and Sword Art Online OP and ED you will be so pissed off that you just want to punch whoever made this decision in the face. Also CN has this thing where you can write to them about stuff, and someone wrote to them on why are the OP and ED so short, CN responded that in Japan, commercials are shorter so the OP and ED are longer unlike here in America where commercials will last you for at least 3-4 minutes, so due to that they had to be cut short. So my guess is that the they changed the OP and ED of Dandy to a OP and ED that you would see in America, and avoid having the original OP and ED be butcher to death, and avoid having people rage about it like I do when I see what they have done to the shows that I have mention.

    • February 3, 2014 at 11:13 ammac65

      I agree.

      You can say a lot of things, good and bad, about Anime.

      But one of the things that has impressed me the most about
      (not all) Anime is their OP / ED are generally done very well,
      and have meaning to and with the series.

      Sometimes I enjoy the music more than the episode.

      The OP / ED are more than commercial segways ripe for hacking
      so their sponsor’s message will fit, and quality OP / ED are
      something sadly missing from animation produced by ‘D’ and
      other U.S. studios.

      I thought this Anime would be run-of-the mill, but after the
      zombie episode and this episode, IMHO, we’re seeing a classic
      in the making…

  • February 3, 2014 at 8:46 amGGr

    I found it boring and formulaic. Like Enzo said this plot has been done a lot by anime in general so it didn’t have the intended emotional response from me. To be fair, I like a lot more episodes like the previous one, more unpredictable, with subtle hints at emotion (if any at all:p) and all around with more comedy. Though if a “straight”/not much commedy episode is done at all, I think the way Nourin did it is the way to go (the 4th episode in the series).

  • February 3, 2014 at 8:52 ammac65

    Loli done right!

    A very sweet episode.

  • February 3, 2014 at 9:01 amJaysus

    Meh… the best part of the episode was when Penguin Dandy dropkicked HanaKana. I get that they needed a serious episode, but this was boring to the point of tears. I haven’t bothered to watch it in English, because I’m the type of person who feels that you should watch everything in its native language. The only exception to that rule is for pure comedic purposes.

    • February 5, 2014 at 10:46 amThat one girl

      But really, it first aired in english and then in japanese. Now while they’re creating the new episodes they’re using english and japanese at the same time with the same words, so the origanal language is english for Space Dandy.

  • February 3, 2014 at 9:34 ambolton

    in hindsight, i can see how people can be tired of this sort of plot. maybe i’m just not a grizzled veteran of all things anime but it’s definitely hard for me to get the gleam out of my eyes when seeing an episode as well-executed as this come about. i liked it a lot, even though i understood and have seen this been done before, it still feels very fresh to me. i would have to admit, however, that i’m just way too in love with hanakana’s voice. before i came here and read that it was her, i was instantly drawn into adelie’s character. i figure now is about time i should be trying to identify the seiyuu without being completely entranced in the plot, but i think that might just be a little too difficult for me..

    while i’m slightly disappointed this series wasn’t going to be full-blown comedy, i really can’t say it wasn’t expected. as long as the slow episodes are this good, i shouldn’t have any problems with it.. but in the grand scope of things, it’s going to seem a bit half-assed if halfway through, there isn’t some sort of continuity or an acknowledgement of the lack of continuity somewhere down the line.

  • February 3, 2014 at 10:22 amPancakes

    It is probably the most cliche trope possible, but for this episode it was done right. What this episode did is turn Dandy from a generally flat character who is either the butt of or the source of humour into a rounded character with emotion. Likewise the little girl here was moe and loli done right. Having a child (particularly female) invokes a protector instinct, especially among us guys, which gives rise to understanding Dandy’s actions and seeing him in a new light. Music choice around the middle especially helped in this aspect. Although stereotypical, this kind of episode is very difficult to pull off correctly; Dandy managed to do it with flying colours.

  • February 3, 2014 at 10:53 amTez

    This episode finally won me over. It gave me all those Bebop feels I was missing.

  • February 3, 2014 at 11:45 amMgMaster

    So Space Dandy can and will do these kinds of episodes too huh? I loved it,especially after last week’s insanely hilarious episode. I was definitely not won over from the beginning and as I last last week I was debating on whether I should continue watching or not but I’m starting to appreciate this anime more & more each week.

    I hope we’ll see Adelie again in the future,preferably a bit more grown up(I’m sure they can come up with a few excuses for fast growth :P).

  • February 3, 2014 at 12:24 pmbakakubi

    Anyone down for some eggs with Tabasco sauce?

  • February 3, 2014 at 12:29 pmGray

    Oh look, it’s HanaKana again.

  • February 3, 2014 at 1:26 pmLaughingMan

    The minute I learned that Kana Hanazawa was voicing Adelie, I knew that I was gonna love this episode. Both HanaKana AND Shinichiro Watanabe delivered in presenting such a nice, heartwarming episode. I haven’t had this sort of a feeling from an episode since I watched Cowboy Bebop.

  • February 3, 2014 at 1:52 pmAbsaroka

    Poor Spi- I mean Dandy, he does the jobs while incurring lots of expenses but never gets paid in the end.

  • February 3, 2014 at 2:32 pmJ_the_Man

    Nothin’ wrong with some good feels in a comedy, in my honest opinion.

  • February 3, 2014 at 2:32 pmlorenzo

    I know we shouldn’t make comparisons, but the desertic planet with the guitar music in the background screamed COWBOY BEBOP. And that was a very pleasant feeling.
    I really liked the episode overall. A bit clichè, maybe, but very heartwarming.

  • February 3, 2014 at 4:07 pmsealouse

    This wasn’t a bad episode, it was just unexpected and it felt really out of place and I was really groaning by the end because of how cliched it was. Oh well.

  • February 3, 2014 at 4:20 pmZhinvu

    Definitely one of my favorite Space Dandy episodes since it showed that Dandy can be a real bro, especially when he spent that entire night tracking down the kid’s grandfather. Add to that how, despite the limitations of being inside a penguin doll, he forced himself to run and fly in order to save Adelie. Now THAT’S the Dandy way.

    • February 4, 2014 at 12:58 amZhinvu

      Almost forgot to mention that sequence of the train launching into space reminded me a lot of Galaxy Express 999.

  • February 3, 2014 at 9:10 pmHochmeister

    Well, that was unexpectedly paedophillic. I dunno, it just didn’t really seem to fit the show; yeah it’s nice to see Dandy’s softer side, but a whole episode dedicated to showing it simply felt like overkill.

  • February 4, 2014 at 12:03 amkatsudon

    Great episode, and definitely the best episode yet. However, is HanaKana in EVERYTHING this season or something? This is getting ridiculous.

  • February 4, 2014 at 12:08 amAggron

    I’m surprised they have the Japanese insert song in the dub.

    This episode reminds me of Mitchiko to Hatchin especially since Adelie has the same english va as Hatchin :)

    Penguin tackle!

    “To be continued”!!!!!! That’s a first.

  • February 4, 2014 at 3:53 amSpikeSpiegel

    I’m just waiting to spot the Spike/Jet/Ed/Ein/Fae cameo that I feel is destined to be slipped into one of these Dandy episodes. Great episode, and despite it being formulaic and predictable, the reminiscence of CB was what tugged a certain heartstring for me to love it that much more.

  • February 4, 2014 at 8:07 amBROOKLYN otaku

    English voice cast decent??? They freaking SUCK!!!!!!! I too tried that experiment…but couldn’t last 6min on the zombie ep…guess ive just gotten too used to japanese voices and how they feel and sound on the given material…..even going back to old dbz dub episodes i kinda cringe a little, and i was weened on that sh!t..it would be the same effect as watching looney toons or disney classics with a Japanese dub.(it just wouldnt feel right)…………..

    Oh and for the episode…standard boring tug at your heart strings fodder….dont know why people keep comparing this to bebop…totally different animals, but if your gonna blur the lines like that you might as well say its like outlaw star too while we’re at it ;^)

  • February 4, 2014 at 8:59 amdrifters

    This is exactly what I wanted.

  • February 4, 2014 at 10:12 amGilgamesh92

    Best episode so far

  • February 4, 2014 at 4:16 pmAllelujah Haptism

    CN has two options, they can cut from the OP/ED or they can cut from the episode. Which would you prefer?

  • February 4, 2014 at 6:21 pmthankonomics

    It may be a generic plot, but it’s the feel-good generic sort of plot that always manages to touch you heart.

  • February 6, 2014 at 11:41 pmiTheShirt

    This episode was magical. I felt a lot of Samurai Champloo in it too because even though I saw Bebop when I was a kid, I don’t remember much of it. Still, it was very heartwarming. <3

  • February 16, 2014 at 6:00 amNamaewoinai

    Hmm…That Alien-Humanoid Girl seem to be a spoiled one…still she is a emotionally hapless one i suppose…!