The Summer 2014 Anime Preview Guide
Space Dandy Season 2

Jul 7th 2014


Hope Chapman

Rating:
5

Season 2 of Space Dandy opens with one of the best episodes yet, and it's a must-see for anyone who loves the art and surreality of animation.

Since its initial airing in January of this year, the show has been a free association of weirdness, for better and worse. It's had outstanding episodes, episodes that were a little off, and episodes that fluctuated between great and "huh?" but the best thing about the show is that it never stops being creative. Like its more serious Watanabe-directed predecessors, Dandy tries its hand at an enormous range of genres, tones, and animation styles, even moreso than Bebop or Champloo thanks to its basis as a dimension-hopping comedy. It succeeds wildly most of the time, but there's some head-scratching bits of experimentation thrown in as well, and it's definitely not a show for those averse to weirdness for its own sake. While newbies can and should pick the show up just about anywhere, certain episodes are better than others at bringing Dandy's strengths out full-force. This one is outstanding, hilarious, just plain great.

Let's just say Dandy's multi-dimension-hopping, only hinted at in past episodes, comes raining down in buckets of hilarious consequence in this episode, taking the idea as far as it can possibly go and even further. I can't bear to spoil it more than that. It's best to just dive in and embrace the beautiful insanity. The show continues to be gorgeous, even when running at about 60% budgetary capacity (which it is for a good portion of this episode,) because of the outstanding color and style choices, and the enormous load of visual ideas it plays with, especially in this jam-packed 20 minutes of pure bizarre belly-laughs.

Stop reading this and go watch Space Dandy right now. Treat yourself to the best anime can offer when the reins are released.

Space Dandy is airing Saturday nights on Toonami and is available streaming at Funimation.com.


Zac Bertschy

Rating:
5

It's kind of a waste of time to synopsize Space Dandy since there really isn't a serialized story, but the first episode of "season 2" (which is basically just Episode 14; theme song's the same, production values are the same, and it's as if the show never left in the first place) involves Dandy and his crew pulling "cosmic strings" and leaping into other dimensional possibilities. It's an excuse to come up with about a dozen alternate reality versions of Dandy, Meow and QT, finally resulting in all of these versions landing on our Dandy's Aloha Oe, trapped forever dealing with eachother. Eventually the most depressing, bizarre and frightening version of Dandy's crew shows up and terrifies everyone before the decision is made to burn the cosmic strings like a fuse, which results in said depressing version of Dandy becoming the only version left. All future episodes will involve Terminally Depressed Dandy, Weird Old Man In A Skin Suit QT and whatever the hell was going on with that scary-ass Meow thing.

I mean, of course that won't actually happen, it's just a dumb joke, which is why I have come to love Space Dandy as much as I do. The show's understandably divisive among anime fans, but since the first season's premiere back in January, I've watched eagerly every week, eventually becoming a dedicated fan of the entire endeavor. The show is basically Shinichiro Watanabe's Playhouse of Dumb Fun and Hyperactive Weirdness for his writer/director/artist/animator pals and every week it's a sincere delight to see just how creative and bizarre and experimental and most of the time downright stupid they're going to get, and I'm rarely ever let down. Every episode, even the ones that I thought were misses, feels like a total labor of love and joy, a celebration of creative risk and going as far as you can with a dumb joke until it breaks and then becomes funny for a different reason. There is no other show right now that hits every single thing I love about animation - and anime in particular - quite like this show does, and I could not be happier it's back. This particular episode had me laughing so hard I cried a little bit.

I love Space Dandy. If you don't already love Space Dandy, this isn't going to change your mind so don't bother. I don't think there'll be anything like it ever again so I'm savoring every episode. This one's a home run, and I hope there are more like it this season, but even when this show's wild experimentation fails it's still got my full attention. More!

Space Dandy is airing Saturday nights on Toonami and is available streaming at Funimation.com.


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