Boobies and butts are what make the universe a pretty awesome place to exist in. How is this so? Just ask Dandy himself, and he could tell you all about it in glorious enthusiasm. This Dandy I speak of is named Space Dandy. Imagine if you mixed the best of western and eastern humor of TV animation shows and combine them into one nifty package. That should tell you right away that Space Dandy destines to be different and fresh without making an overtly big deal about it. Regardless, you certainly can’t beat this hot fun garbage series with any other garbage entertainment, anime or otherwise.
It should be noted, when talking about Space Dandy, that this is not a Shinichiro Watanabe directed anime in its purest sense, the director of such classics as Cowboy Bebop and Samurai Champloo. Even though he overseas chief direction for the show, this is essentially a conglomerate of different anime directors putting their own directorial spin on the series. That should tell you right there that Space Dandy does not follow any direct narrative from point A to point B. Episodic episodes spliced together to follow Dandy and his band of various misfits, all create a western-style animated series vibe that can be nostalgic for those of us growing up as kids watching these shows day by day. So if you thought this was going to be a Cowboy Bebop-style show, just be thankful that you will be getting the filler episode portions of Bebop.
Nevertheless, that should not entail that Space Dandy is nothing more than a comedic version of Bebop. In actuality, it brings forth a very unique style of its own to formulate charm to its humor and characters. Almost all jokes prevalent in Space Dandy hit all of the notes perfectly with nicely done comedic timing and on top of it, they don’t just make all of the jokes onto one subject matter. Sure, the main focus of Space Dandy’s comedy is purely sexual with its constant pandering over butts and boobs, but once you further yourself into the show, you’ll realize that it is not the case. Many tropes are satirized from what you would typically see in any animated show with male characters like Dandy; always getting what he wants in the end that quickly falls flat over him.
There are genuine surprises thrown in here and there. For instance, it is probably one of the few anime you will ever see that has its own musical number. Even with its comedy, the writers actually delve into introspective subject matter that actually become insightful and melancholic while still maintaining its humor without exemplifying it unnaturally. Rarely would I ever applaud a show for being able to achieve both of these elements. The reason being is how the jokes are written in very clever fashion by its intricate pacing and punchlines. Never is there a dull moment between the hilarious banter of Dandy and his friends out of the 26 episodes in this series.
Dandy himself is quite the protagonist in keeping the show at an evenly paced comedy with his larger than life charisma and presence. Normally with a man who constantly obsesses over booty and tits can be grating over a period of time. What makes Dandy an exception is that they do not really shove the obvious joke down our throats continuously, although in some parts they do, especially in the earlier episodes. He proves himself to be an exceptional lead, but that’s not to say he’s the only one who is able to do that in Space Dandy.
Meow, Dandy’s right hand man after humiliating him in the first episode, isn’t similar to Dandy in terms of personality. In fact, Meow would be the one to set him straight to focus on their missions, even though Dandy himself isn’t a total idiot in most cases. QT, Dandy’s robot sidekick, is the same way in this aspect, where he is always trying to keep things in order over Dandy’s typical behavior. Both of these leads are extremely lovable because of the perfect chemistry between them and Dandy. Even when their relationship seems atypical, goofy trite at first glance, they eventually warm up to being match made in heaven.
What good is it to talk about Space Dandy without mentioning its elaborate music? Absolutely zilch. I will speak in no hyperbole whatsoever in stating that Space Dandy has the most infectious Opening I’ve had the pleasure of listening to. The word infectious is meant in the most positive sense possible. Newcomer Kensuke Ushio has really made himself quite a success story in 2014 with this and also composing for Ping Pong The Animation. The opening itself sets the mood for the entire show and lets you know that fun is about to come your way, like any other good opening does to any other show.
One very important thing to note is the artistic direction and how diverse the animators decided to put into creating this very elaborate, kooky universe. All of the alien creatures are very unique in design that are a mix mash of previously imagined aliens and putting in their own vision. The lavish colors are put with great care so Space Dandy can be easy and pleasing to the eyes. It also helps that the animation is nice and fluid to further the aesthetic to new heights. Also, because there are multiple directors for each episode, some of them even put their own artistic vision into the spectrum. One notable is Masaaki Yuasa, director of The Tatami Galaxy and Ping Pong The Animation, who filled in one episode for animation direct in episode 3, who managed to put in a whole different spin for the series in terms of animation.
In closing, there is really nothing like Space Dandy that you often see in anime. In some ways, it’s sort of Japan’s answer to western animated TV shows and saying, “Hey, we can make episodic goofy comedies just like the rest of y’all!” Regardless of whether that was their true intention or not, it definitely speaks volumes by analyzing how Space Dandy can work both as a satire or a genuine comedy. Japanese anime purists may watch this with disdain because its not the archetypal anime, even in comedy standards, that we are used to. But if you’re willing to give credit where credit is due for a Japan-produced nostalgia trip of late-’90s to early 2000’s animated shows, look no further.