January 18, 2016

Best Eps Redux: Space Dandy Season 1

Space Dandy is a pretty wild and crazy anime, but I think the show is at its best when it's more quiet and contemplative. Of course, that doesn't mean that the situations that Space Dandy gets into are any less ridiculous from episode to episode. If you've never seen Space Dandy, then count this as my list of personally recommended episodes.


This number seven pick is pretty crazy. In an effort to pick up chicks, Dandy decides to enter a crazy death race through the vacuum of space so he can be as popular as Prince, his state-of-the-art robot, and his rat buddy that basically serve as opposite counterparts to Dandy and crew. I think what really attracted me to this episode is that it reminded me of the film Redline (which is incredible) with it's crazy high-octane racing. The ends, particularly, almost paralleled each other. I wouldn't be surprised if this episode was a tribute to Redline, actually.


Meow gets bitten by a zombie alien and turns, but Dandy and QT just think he's sick. He soon infects the whole hospital which quickly escalates into the whole universe becoming zombies, including the robots for some reason. The second half focuses on Dandy and crew adjusting to life as zombies and then the whole universe eventually achieving utopia. I enjoyed how things spiraled out of control so quickly here and how the episode concluded on an unexpected note. This is one of several times Dandy dies, so this isn't a series with serious continuity to it. It's interesting to think that if we all gave into the undead then we might all achieve piece. Very cool take on the zombie genre.


The first episode was just so-so. This one was the second, and the first time we see what the show is really capable of. It's got a crazy premise and a heartwarming conclusion. Dandy and crew spend most of the episode searching for the phantom space ramen that's rumored to be made by an unregistered alien. They eventually find him in some sort of interdimentional pocket, but after hearing his story Dandy decides to let him go. The reason why the old ramen salesman came to sell ramen in another dimension will certainly give you the feels.


Dandy and crew set out to track down the Chameleonian, an alien that can morph into and mimic any form. This episode is both philosophical and downright funny. Turns out that they captured it without even knowing and it ends up mimicking Dandy so well that even the alien itself believes itself to be Dandy. With no way of knowing which Dandy is the real Dandy, Meow and QT just pick one and call it a day. This episode brings up questions about perception, reality, self awareness, and more while managing to do it in a goofy and hilarious way. Kudos to the writer of this one.


This episode felt different from every other episode of season one. Dandy and crew travel to a planet where they have tracked the mysterious entity "Code D". A malfunction in the transporter sends Meow and Dandy to opposite ends of the planet which they discover is occupied by sentient plants. Meow finds himself pampered by tribals as they prepare to eat him, while Dandy ends up in a massive plant kingdom. Dandy and the plant folk make the difficult journey to the planet's pole so Dandy can find Code D which turns out to be a meteor that's mutated the plants to become sentient. The plants are unable to approach lest they grow at too rapid a rate, so Dandy pulls out the stone which causes all the plant beings to regress into normal plants.

This episode is by far the most quiet and cinematic of them all. Looking back, it reminds me of Samurai Jack in its premise and execution. It's full of quite and atmospheric moments. Dandy is in a beautiful alien place, being a strange visitor with a purpose who's shown hospitality by strange creatures who agree to help him. The end leaves you wondering if what Dandy has done is good or bad. Were the plants really happy with sentience or are they better off with a simple existence?


Dandy and crew stop on Meow's home planet for ship repairs, when the calendar in Meow's home is struck by a rogue Pyonium ray, causing the entire planet to relive the same day again and again. It isn't until day 108 that Dandy and pals realize what's happening and try to peel off the calendar page so time can move forward. Sounds like a fairly run-of-the-mill episode plot, right? Well, it's what the writers do with Meow here that makes it special. Turns out he hates his home and his family and he ran away in search of excitement so he wouldn't have to take over his dad's lame metalwork shop. But the longer he stays, the more that changes. He comes to find a new appreciation for his father and realizes that his family loves and supports him. In the end they tell him to go be a bounty hunter and live his life because they are perfectly content with their small-town metal shop that makes some part for something. It's not even close the most exciting episode, but it turns out that episodes like these are my favorites. I'll take great writing above all else.


From the moment I saw this one (episode 5 of 13) I knew they wouldn't be able to top it this season. I'm not sure I want to spoil this one for anyone who hasn't seen it. If you have, I think you know why it's the best. Dandy befriends and alien girl he's supposed to capture and register after they take a cross-planet trip in a car because Dandy's ship got towed. He hopes to use the registration money to pay the fine, but the girl convinces him to take a detour to track down her only known relative, her grandfather. And then, well, there's twists and action and feels. Unless they bring her back next season, I doubt the next 13 episodes can top this one that really makes Dandy shine as a character. He may seem like an uncaring macho on the outside, but his inside is full of soft nougat.

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