Space Dandy is a Sci-fi Comedy from Bones. It’s an anime which began airing in America at the beginning of last year on Adult Swim’s Toonami. It’s available on DVD and Blu Ray in the UK, as well as being available on Netflix. But, what is Space Dandy and is it worth your time? Read on to find out.
What is it?
This is the ‘Ronseal’s quick drying woodstain’ of the Anime world. The opening credits pretty much sum up the series, “Space Dandy is a dandy in space.” But then this is Ken Watanabe, creator of Cowboy Bebop. I expect only good sweetmeats of Anime.
For the most part it is stylistically a more chaotic universe from Bebop. Dandy tells the story of Dandy, a man living in an almost retro 50s universe working as an alien hunter (for the purpose of registering new species, not killing them) with a robot called QT (who is also a general dogsbody). Dandy flies around the universe in his ship the Aloha Oe (which splits into the Little Aloha which has a mecha form called ‘Hawaii Yankee’, with matching garish roboshirt). Fan service arrives in the shape of Dandy’s visits to the ‘BooBies’ restaurants (a no small allusion to the Hooters eateries of America) which food and drink are served by…
Well you can guess to be honest.
A lonely voyage?
There’s the newest crew member Mew, a Betelguesian (who are all anthro-cat people), who comes from a planet so backwater, the only thing of interest is the supermarket they have. Mew shows Dandy where new species are and enjoys social networking in their version of Facebook/Twitter.
Whatcha thinking about?
It also holds a good hall mark in anime, where it encourages the viewer to really think about things. Multiple episodes deal with emotional plot lines and issues such as the one with the Phantom Ramen, where Mew tells of the greatest meal he ever ate and the journey to find it – the conclusion of which makes the heart heavy but happy. In another, Dandy captures a young orphan Gentooan girl named Adélie who has the bizarre power to switch peoples minds with stuffed dolls – but ultimately it deals with a young girl who was abandoned and wants to be back with her grandfather and Dandy’s journey to find him.
But the two which ring true with me are the previous mention of the return to Mew’s home planet, which is stuck in a constant time loop, where they seek to find the cause and Mew bonds with his father (a metal worker). It feels so very real, the family and the people are impressed that Mew has made something of his life rather than taking over the family business. Also the time honoured “lost love” trope is used to great effect.
But the final episode of season one almost had me in tears. Dealing with the issue of “if Robots have sentience, can they feel love?” And begins the story of QT the service robot and his romance with a coffee maker (strangely enough, called Maker). It’s a classic love story which needless to say doesn’t end well, but has a happy ending of sorts. But those who have been through this will feel it resonate throughout themselves. There’s also a giant emotional robot battle. Because why not?
The storytelling is as chaotic as the universe where some endings become quite silly and some beautifully dramatic. But everything is reset by the beginning of the next tale, which apparently will all make sense in series two. The series is better than good. (The version I watched was on Netflix and badly subbed, which became horrible to read, especially when captions came up – and it was unreadable).
But it has a second series which we’re waiting to come over here and I will watch it regardless. It has a charm you just can’t ignore.
Editor’s note: It now looks like season two is now finally available on UK Netflix.