「宇宙レースはデンジャラスじゃんよ」 (Uchū Rēsu wa Denjarasu jan yo)
“A Race in Space Is Dangerous, Baby”

My God – it’s full of stars…

Space Dandy is managing to do something pretty rare in anime, and that’s not repeat itself. Part of that comes from the HEIII/reset button format (though Meow actually snuck a little continuity into the mix this week just for a nano) but it goes deeper than that – each episode has been quite radically different in style. The comedic sensibilities have shifted all over the map – and one episode didn’t have much comedy at all. The steady influx of writers and animation directors is clearly having an impact here.

The downside to that, of course, is that every ep is going to be pretty much a crapshoot as to how well it works. They mostly have worked for me, to various degrees, both because for all its variety the humor has tended to remain pretty cleverly done, and partly because every episode is a surrealistic pillow of visual delights. This was certainly no exception, offering some of the finest animation and art of the series – I’d go so far as to call it the most “Gainax” episode of the bunch, which is fitting as Imaishi Hiroyuki helped with the mecha design. This episode was a who’s who of sci-fi anime history: Taniguchi Goro (director of Infinite Ryvius, Planetes and Code Geass) provided the storyboards, and Nakada Eiji (I’m not even going to list all of them) was the Animation Director.

Nakada in fact provides one very appropriate link, as he was also the A.D. for one of my favorite shows, Outlaw Star. The Outlaw Star influence has been obvious frequently in Space Dandy but never more than here. Newer anime fans may take this ep as having similarities to Redline and they wouldn’t be wrong, but it’s actually a lot closer to (among other things) the “Space Race” arc of Outlaw Star, and the scene where Dandy uses a “grappling hook” (in his case basically a jumper cable) to latch onto a competitor’s ship is a clear tribute to that classic series.

The race scenario comes about because Dandy has a jealous snit when legendary space racer The Prince (Kaji Yuuki, who usually sounds silly when he’s trying to be serious and is thus perfect casting here) waltzes into Boobies and proves a much bigger draw among the local babe-age than Dandy himself. This being Space Dandy all of the practicalities are pretty much dispensed with and we jump straight to the start of the race (my favorite part of this sequence is that QT is preparing the recyclable trash as the race begins). The competitors include Honey in her Oppai-ship, alien Gundam-wannabees “The Twins” and the garble-speaking Crusher Girl (Watanabe Akeno, a long way from Yuuki Rito here).

This is definitely an episode of Dandy where atmosphere is everything – the hyper-cool visuals and the sheer lunacy of the event are definitely the draw. The TV host (who talks in a mix of gaijin-accented Japanese and English catch phrases) is clearly a riff on one of those late night TV-advertised “Dancing Flower Pots”. Dandy keeps pulling a new “last resort” out of his ass, and QT (definitely now my favorite among the regulars) keeps reacting hilariously when they go wrong. Bea and Dr. Gel – clearly this series’ Team Rocket at this point – show up after Bea spots Dandy on TV by pure chance as usual, get caught up in the thrill of the race, and die. Meow is the “Little Aloha” one-cat pit crew, while Prince has a full staff of lego-mecha under the command of the sleazy lawyer-rat (heh) Squeak (Tatsuta Naoki, a name from your anime history books). Dandy has a David Bowman-like experience in a 2001-styled star gate (we get a lot of 2001 references in this series, but that might just be the most referenced movie ever).

Mostly, though, this is about the Dandy-Prince fated rivalry – where GAR turns to bromance turns to… Prince finds himself becoming oddly transfixed by the bumbling Dandy (maybe it was when he gave Prince the finger that did it), who lucks his way into challenging for the lead as the race approaches the final gate. Dandy has jettisoned the “luggage” – which includes poor QT (yes, that is mean, QT), prompting Prince to do the same with his own advanced robot Z (Noto Mamiko), and Squeak has set off the bomb he’d planted under the Aloha Oe just in case. Between that, the bento that Meow put in the Aloha’s fuel tank and the cosmic forces of shounen-ai, there’s magic in the air – and for Prince, it all comes to a head when Dandy “plows into him from behind“.

Let’s just say Prince is never the same – as witness the ending. Dandy actually survives this time – though he outlives everyone else, as the Yaoi-pocalypse has sent him 5.75 billion years into the future. What does he find there? Himself, of course – reimagined as a Bodhisattva of divine serenity, no doubt created by his adoring Prince. And his final word gives meaning to those annoying eyecatch voice-overs that kept popping up every minute or two during the episode. It’s certainly best not to take any of this too seriously, of course, but the sheer weirdness of that final moment was the highlight of the episode for me – the proof that Watanbe and the folks behind Space Dandy are operating under that same credo.




      1. That’s a matter of opinion – I think he’s a mediocre seiyuu with no range to speak of, and last time I checked no one had a gun to his head saying he had to accept all those so-called bad roles. There’s an old saying – “there are no bad roles, only bad actors”. I don’t think that’s true 100% of the time, but Kaji is what he is and blaming it on an unbelievable run of bad luck is pretty silly IMHO.

        That said, yes – the bashing can get a little out of hand. He’s fine in the right role (not that there are a lot of those), and this is one of the roles he’s fine for.

      2. He’s a perfectly good seiyuu but he has a very easily recognizable voice, so people can easily project their issues with the characters he plays onto him. That’s all. He has range both in voice quality and emotions, it’s not his fault that people keep hating the characters he plays for reasons that have nothing to do with him. Can he be miscast? Sure, but I haven’t seen it happen yet.

        “no one had a gun to his head saying he had to accept all those so-called bad roles”

        WTF? So he should just turn down main roles because oh no people won’t like them? Regardless of liking his voice and acting or not, this is his job, this is how he puts bread on the table. Turning down roles is the stupidest thing any seiyuu could do. Not to mention, how the hell should he even know in advance if a role is “bad” or not?

        “That said, yes – the bashing can get a little out of hand.”

        Funny that you should say so…

  1. The great thing about Space Dandy is that it’s so unpredictable. It switches between predictable and unpredictble. In Space Dandy everyone could simply die, finish dead last, or in this case does that predictable miraculous win, BUT turns a guy homosexual doing it and transcends the limits of space and time travelling 5.75 billion years into the future to become a god.

    The Shizard
  2. So, who won!?

    Crazy series, have no idea what to expect.
    Even the regular characters are discarded along the story’s way.

    It’s like a train wreck (in a good way) – I watch it now to see it
    top itself from the previous week – not any serious plot or comedy.

    But it’s fun to watch, nonetheless…

  3. …. what is this!?! The week of confusing/shocking endings!? I suppose it made a BIT of sense, but it was otherwise very unpredictable, which I suppose is a staple of what this show can offer and be memorable for! I believe someone elsewhere said it best: Space Dandy episodes work like short stories you may find in 70’s sci-fi novellas, where there is a definite ending, and anyone can die.

    1. I thought it was clear at this point that Space Dandy operates like Saturday morning cartoons: no continuity, radically different episode/2-3 episode “arcs”, and a foundation of comedy and satire. No one is watching this for the plot anymore, that’s for sure.

    1. agreed; the dub has been great so far. Wheni first saw that ending i was like “whaaattt?” but the more i thought about it the more i started to appreciate wacky brilliance of it all which all made it come together as to why i dig space dandy so much. Keep it up watanabe and crew

      1. Stop. You’re doing it again. Stop being such a fucking weeabo.

        Adult Swim is historically uncensored. You clearly no shit about their programming, and are siding on the typical American stereotypes. Adult Swim are far more edgy than most Japanese series.

  4. The last few minutes were utterly f*cking hilarious. Dandy pounds it in, the Prince pops, and suddenly we are all jumping beyond time. I know a few stoners who are going to love this. Cannot forget the snipping between Dandy and the Prince either when Dandy gives him the finger and dear Prince starts to lose it. The humour just fell into place this week.

    Looking like next week may be on the more serious side too.

  5. Just waiting for the Dandy x Prince doujins. Those two are clearly the OTP.
    I would have died if Prince said something along the lines of “I can no longer be a bride(groom)” when he got rammed hard.

  6. The bishounen parody was fantastic and Meow continues to be a delight to watch. Oh and say what you will about the guy, but Yuki Kaji was perfect for Prince. However, I found this episode and the jokes involved so predictable … (apart from that yaoi plot twist) From the monkey’s (nope, still don’t remember his name) involvement in the race to the crazy fuel/bomb on ship. Also didn’t really care for the ending. It was very typical of the show and again unsurprising.

  7. This episode may also be a reference to the good old Wacky Races.

    It wouldn’t be surprising if noone knows about it, it’s a really old cartoon by Hanna-Barbera, wikipedia says it was done in 1968. When I was a kid in the early nineties it was still aired in my country, and I remember having a lot of fun watching it with my parents.

    In particular seeing this made me smile like an idiot as I thought about the Slag Brothers, the classic bomb sabotage was worth of Dick Dastardly, and the Booby’s waitress riding that strange pink vehicle may be a reference to Penelope Pitstop.

  8. Mamiko Noto was voicing the Robot Z? I didn’t even recognized her voice!! Talented as hell yes she is. Too bad they type cast in those shy silent roles. About Episode 7, It was hilarious especially when Dandy gave the bird to Prince. It wasn’t as funny as the Zombie Episode but it was around there. I’m use to Yuki Kaji’s voice so it doesn’t irritate me as it usually does. Also I’m loving the Funi Dub. i knew Eric Vale would voice Prince and Ian Sinclair is hilarious as Dandy.

    Corey Lucas
  9. This episode was so freaking great!
    To me this episode was a combination of Outlaw Star and F-Zero X, but to me it felt more F-Zero X since I have fond memories of playing the game when I was a kid. F-zero X has all these crazy looking characters, Space Dandy had them as well, when Dandy was blowing the other ships while spinning in order to catch speed reminded me of this spin move that you can do in the game that can actually destroy other ships, at the pit stop when they showed the refueling animation it also reminded me of passing over the pink bars in the game and seeing your energy going back up. Heck even that planet that they passed by the water reminded me of big blue, and the music was just icing on the cake. This episode just screamed to me in saying, here is your childhood! enjoy this episode to the fullest!

  10. Canceled episode… Mood Rings of Urranas
    A sales(alien) is promoting soft fluffy neck collars that seem to have an effect one’s…mood, “yeah let’s say mood”. At zero hour the collars activate and yada yada yada… hammer, hammer toilet slammer. If you want to see this episode and many others. You might want to write to the network and
    tell them to pay the ghostwriter, otherwise Dandy will be a limited run.


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