Space Dandy Season 2
by Miles Nelson,
Is this really the series finale? After all the wild, crazy adventures Dandy has had over two glorious seasons, it's hard to believe that this show premiered just this January. With episode 13, Season 2 has ended, and what an ending it was. Last week I wrote that episode 12 was a lackluster installment, but that I had a good feeling about the finale. Well, my instincts were correct: “Never-ending Dandy, Baby" is a rip-roaring thrill ride from start to finish. There are epic reveals, a shocking betrayal, and even a grand act of redemption. All of this drama builds on what has come before, making it one of the most uncharacteristic episodes of Space Dandy yet.
Over the course of its run, Space Dandy has had several episodes that focus on the main cast exclusively, as opposed to episode-specific characters. These "Main Character" episodes, such as season one's “Even Vacuum Cleaners Fall in Love, Baby,” or this season's “Lovers are Trendy, Baby,” have served to flesh out the main cast, giving us a deeper understanding of them as people. We have seen how important Dandy is to each of these characters, and how much he has affected their lives. This was especially true of Scarlet, with two episodes this season (6 & 10) highlighting just how lonely she is, and how much she has come to care about Dandy. I would never have believed the Scarlet of the premiere would risk her life for Dandy, as she does here; but after all that has happened, I totally buy it. Scarlet, QT, Meow and Honey all uniting to rescue Dandy is a great “HELL YES” moment, and one that would never have worked if not for the groundwork laid over the course of both seasons.
This is truly an ending made for longtime viewers. References to previous episodes abound, ranging from a passing mention of the Chameleonian in Season 1 to episode 7's Commander Johnny playing a major supporting role in the plot. Thankfully, none of these callbacks feel forced or out of place, and serve to make the episode feel like a culmination of all that has come before, a true finale. This climatic feeling is enhanced by the truly jaw-dropping animation. This is by far the most epic-looking episode of the show, with massive fleets of spaceships raining down rockets and lasers on each other in a titanic orgy of destruction. From exploding super-weapons to giant robots slicing monsters into pieces with laser swords to celestial objects exploding with indescribable force, it manages to deliver spectacular visuals in a show already famous for them. Unfortunately, all this scale comes at a cost, as several scenes suffer from a kind of "Gainax Syndrome," with the objects and environments losing nearly all their model consistency and detail in order to accommodate the sheer amount of action occurring onscreen. These scenes are thankfully few in number, and are quickly overshadowed by the amazing sequences at the episode's climax.
That climax is also incredible on an emotional level, as Dandy realizes he is the only one who can stop the calamity the Gogol Empire has set into motion, and tells his friends that he must face the threat alone. Meow, Scarlet, QT, Honey, and even Dr. Gel have had their lives irrevocably changed by meeting Dandy. Throughout the series, Dandy has demonstrated cowardice, greed and foolishness many times, but he's also demonstrated loyalty, courage and compassion. The sequence where Dandy rockets towards the imploding doomsday weapon, determined to save his friends at all costs, is incredibly moving, and feels like something the series has been building toward since the very beginning.
“Never-ending Dandy, Baby!” is a triumphant conclusion to Space Dandy, a celebration of all that has come before, both dramatically and thematically satisfying. However, is this really the end? Is the final message of “maybe continued” after the credits just a joke, or could there be more Space Dandy someday? Personally, I'm torn: while there are conceivably more stories to be told with these characters, is it worth the risk? Plenty of anime have kept going after what would have been great endings, only to become shadows of their former selves. Regardless of how it turns out, reviewing Space Dandy Season 2 has been an unforgettable experience, and I'm more than a little sad to be saying goodbye to this wonderful series. I guess I'll do as the show's theme song suggests: “Viva tears, its okay for them overflow, baby.” Viva tears, everybody, and Viva Space Dandy.
Space Dandy Season 2 is currently streaming on Funimation.
Miles Nelson has been watching anime since 1997, and writing about it since 2013. You can read some of his articles at My Geek Review
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