What’s this, two Shinichiro Watanabe series in one season? Of course they’re two series of majorly different genres, and if you’ve stuck with Space Dandy until this point, you won’t be disappointed. I know a few people have tapped out to Space Dandy’s episodic, wacky formula, but it’s actually grown on me and I’ve been smiling and legitimately laughing out loud throughout this batch of episodes. Much like I did with the first batch of Space Dandy episodes, rather than ramble on about why this show may or may not be good and worth your time, I’ll just detail which episodes have been my standout favorites this cour. That being said, if you dropped Space Dandy and were hoping that the second season would be a more structured season, don’t hold your breath; it’s very much like its predecessors and looks to continue that trend to its finale. That’s fine with me, but I doubt it will be bringing back those of you who have already passed on it.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t talk about the premiere episode “I Can’t Be the Only One, Baby” as it was full of so many references to other anime, genres, and forgotten series that any anime fan of the last 20 years would be smiling and giggling along with it. The basic story is that Dandy finds what he thinks is a rogue hair but is actually a thread that pulls the crew of the Aloha Oe through various dimensions showcasing themselves in various other lights and incarnations. As silly and mind-blowing as that sounds, it’s pretty charming to see a “Naruto”-inspired Dandy, a Gundam-esque Dandy, and even a She-Dandy. There are way too many references and homages shown and thrown at you, it’s hard to keep up. If that weren’t enough, Watanabe and his team still manage to make it all work and create a solid story about the various Dandy-universes and make it enjoyable from start to finish.
Next up would the gorgeously animated “Slow and Steady Wins the Race, Baby” with animation director Masaaki Yuasa helping behind the scenes to create a world that’s stunningly gorgeous. You may recall Masaaki Yuasa from the hit anime Ping Pong from the Spring season I raved about. Yuasa was tasked with creating, writing, and directing (among other duties) this episode about teleportation and long-distance relationships. Carpaccio (a carp) has been studying the planet “Pushy Boyfriend” and has learned of the impending doom that’s headed for it and his home planet “Girlfriend”. Carpaccio’s words go unheeded and he’s learned how much his life has changed in the 10 years he’s been gone, and it’s a tale of loss, grief, and acceptance. It’s actually kind of hard to watch when you learn of what’s transpired between Carpaccio’s girlfriend while he was gone.
The final episode I’ll bring to your attention was one of the best things I’ve ever experienced in my 15+ years of anime viewing: “The Transfer Student is Dandy, Baby”. In what was essentially a Glee, High School Musical, or any other musical property of the last 5 years parody, this episode was an absolute riot and unforgettable. Mixing 80’s John Hughes films with music-driven plots, this episode had Dandy tracking a rare alien who was found at a high school, but he’s soon distracted by all the goings-on at the school, he forgets his mission and aims to become the prom king. Terribly cheesy musical numbers ransack the episode, but it also contains one of the best montages I’ve ever seen in an anime that was ripped out of every 80’s teen film. I had no choice but to dub it over with DVDA’s ‘Montage’, since Trey Parker is my hero!
Space Dandy’s second season will not deter those who gave up on it already, but if you enjoyed the first cour and want more of the same wacky space antics filled with terrific writing and colorful animation, Space Dandy is the comedy anime for you. Our friends at Funimation are streaming the subbed and dubbed versions of Space Dandy on their website, and you can watch new episodes every Saturday 12:30 EST on Toonami.