What They Say
Space Dandy is a dandy in space! This dreamy adventurer with a to-die-for pompadour travels across the galaxy in search of aliens no one has ever laid eyes on. Each new species he discovers earns him a hefty reward, but this dandy has to be quick on his feet because it’s first come first served! Accompanied by his sidekicks, a rundown robot named QT and Meow the cat-looking space alien, Dandy bravely explores unknown worlds inhabited by a variety aliens. Join the best dressed alien hunter in all of space and time as he embarks on an adventure that ends at the edge of the universe!
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Space Dandy hasn’t really had much running around and shouting, which is very unusual for an anime comedy. Fortunately, episode 12 corrects this deficiency, and turns in another really funny episode to boot. It seems like the general improvement in quality since episode 9 is going to sustain itself until the end of the season.
A new episode means a new director, and this time it’s Satoshi Saga, probably best known for directing episodes of Pioneer classic Armitage III, Armitage III: Poly-matrix, and Green Legend Ran. Script is once again by Kimiko Ueno, and the episode is storyboarded by Toshio Hirata, director of Barefoot Gen 2, Twilight of the Cockroaches, and many episodes of Folktales from Japan. Animation director is Chikashi Kubota, another skilled artist who’s done key animation work for just about everything, but most notably Fullmetal Alchemist, Dennou Coil, and A Letter to Momo. The episode has a lot of running around and fighting, almost like an episode of Scooby Doo, so the animation work here required a lot of talent, and it looks like the staff had no trouble delivering.
Most Space Dandy episodes are based around a standard sci-fi trope, and this week it’s the shapeshifter. After bringing in a bunch of vendor trash aliens, Scarlet demands they stop wasting her time and start bringing in an alien that’s actually rare… like a Chameleonian. Hearing from QT that a Chameleonian is worth W100 million, they decide to go to a planet where it looks like a chameleon would live. There they try fishing for aliens, and QT is quickly swept up in the thrill of fishing. When a creature Dandy captures turns out to just be a chameleon, Dandy’s awfully disappointed. But QT remains enthusiastic about a black tsuchinoko he’s caught and kept in a cage. And wouldn’t you know it, the rare creature is actually a Chameleonian in disguise.
The second half of the episode is totally Scooby Doo, with a mysterious shapeshifter on the Aloha Oe managing to fool the gullible crew again and again. Whether a goofy old man, a couch, or an audio-cassette playing boom box, Dandy and his fellow dunces are unable to catch on that the new element on the ship is the Chameleonian until it sprouts legs to run away. Making fun of the crew may be low-hanging fruit at this point, but it’s consistently hilarious. When they finally manage to successfully capture the alien, it morphs into Scarlet, causing a misunderstanding that gets the crew banned from the alien registration center. In a final attack on Dandy’s dignity, it turns into a doppelganger, necessitating a quiz show where QT and Meow try and determine the actual Dandy. But do they? And when Dr. Gel captures one of the two Dandys… who does he really find?
Special credit must be given to the dub this episode, as it really goes all out with being just as silly as the animation. QT’s fishing lingo, Dandy’s slang, and even some clever US pop culture references are localized perfectly. It’s a really top notch adaptation job, and it sounds like the English VAs are completely in sync with their characters, making the prospect of another 13 episode cour more exciting.
Dandy turns in a much less experimental episode this time, but we get a fun, goofy time regardless. The episode’s animation makes the best of the aliens’ shape shifting powers, with some great facial expressions and gestures to boot. I’m sad to note there’s only one final episode to go before the hiatus. Dandy will be going out on top, but it’s still going to be a long wait until the summer.
Streamed By: Toonami
Review Equipment: Sony Bravia 32″