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First Impressions: Space Dandy

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So, how dandy is he?

It's a good time to be an anime fan. Right now, you can watch a brand new anime series on TV each week (dubbed, too!) several hours before it airs in Japan. If dubs aren't your thing, you can watch it subbed the following morning. Whatever your preferred way to watch your crazy Japanese cartoons, you can do it easily from any device you'd like. We're living in the future!

And so is Space Dandy.

Dandy is a dandy man in space. He scoots around the galaxy in search of new and unknown life forms with his refurbished Roomba, QT, and the cat-like alien Meow they accidentally recruit. By now you probably know why Space Dandy is a big deal, but for the uninformed I'll give you the basics: Shinichiro Watanabe is the skilled director behind anime hits like Cowboy Bebop and Samurai Champloo. Space Dandy is his latest series, and it's airing on Cartoon Network's Toonami programming block prior to airing in Japan each week. This is the first time this has ever happened, so some people (read: me) are excited. I, in particular, hope its a sign of things to come. But enough about the hype surrounding the show -- is Space Dandy actually any good?

I've now watched the premier three times, first dubbed on Toonami, and twice subbed via FUNimation's website. The second time I watched it subbed I got a second opinion as well as my girlfriend sat down to watch along.

Let's just put it in no uncertain terms: Space Dandy is a blast.

The first half of the episode throws us right into Dandy waxing philosophical about his favorite female body part: the booty. QT and the narrator reign him in with fourth-wall-breaking humor and establish what the pair does (hunting aliens). On their hunt for new species, Dandy often decides a detour to his favorite breasturant chain, Boobies (subtle eh?), would be a good idea, which today leads them to Meow. The variety in alien design is great, and reminds me of a more vibrant (and scantily-clad) Star Wars cantina.

Dandy also macks on Honey, an attractive waitress who works at Boobies. The scene in the breasturant goes on for a tad too long given the low quality of the jokes here, but once Dandy, QT, and Meow leave and head towards alien hunting, the show leaps off and dives head first into a masterful action scene. 

Weaving and dodging through a cacophony of gigantic alien monsters, Dandy and Meow attempt to capture one but honestly do a very poor job of it. You can really tell that the animators went all out here, as the pair fall between the creatures as they fight, get lit on fire, and then get crushed by falling debris. See if you can catch the Terminator reference! Other great moments here were Dandy completely missing with his gun, and the teleport gag (which had me laughing out loud).

The physical comedy also didn't disappoint.

I generally preferred the writing of the sub to the dub, but there wasn't anything particularly awful about the latter. FUNimation did a good job of altering the lines where needed to fit the lip flaps and keep things flowing. Obviously, the original dialogue will always have the advantage of, you know, being the original dialogue, but I've got to give FUNimation credit for their effort. You're not "missing out" on anything aside from the opening and ending songs by watching on Toonami.

Actually, here's a quick complaint about the dub, though. In the subbed version, Dandy mentions that his profession is something that starts with a "U," after which Honey proclaims "A maggot (ujimushi)?" taunting the clueless Dandy. In the dub, the exchange begins with an "A" and Honey guesses "An asteroid belt." Not only does this completely change the tone of the scene, but it also completely alters how you see Honey. In the dub, she's just a stereotypical blonde ditz, in the sub, she's pretending to be a blonde ditz and is mocking Dandy. I understand things have to be modified in the transition from sub to dub, but this was a disappointing change.

In a way though, that I can even have that complaint is amazing! We have a dub and a sub coming out simultaneously and that alone is awesome.

Space Dandy is not subtle. It's not a stunning premier that will knock the entire non-anime-watching world off its feet. But you know what? It's still freaking great. Despite the slow first half, once it really starts, it's pure goofy entertainment that shows off why we love anime so much: creative characters, vibrant colors, and gorgeous animation. Over time, given that it has a platform no other currently airing anime has, it may become something as big as Bebop. Only time will tell -- but Watanabe might just wring it out of him.

Also, everything must now have "dandy" attached to the beginning of its title. Dandy Impressions!

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Ben Huber
Ben HuberContributor   gamer profile

I'm the managing editor of Japanator by day, and a roving freelance graphic designer by night! /  more + disclosures


 


 


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