Space Dandy is a story about a dandy guy in space. I generally enjoyed the first season although some episodes were plain awful, and season two follows a similar course of action.
Each episode is worked on by a different team including the director and animators, meaning that every episode is unique and it’s easy to like some more than others. I find Space Dandy to be at its best when it’s being more genuine rather than a straight-up comedy, most of which seem to be skits that have been stretched out over 24 minutes and wear out their welcome. I found season two to follow the ‘one good, one bad’ method where I found myself enjoying an episode and then not really enjoying the next. Each episode is standalone and it does very little to wrap everything up or answer its own questions in its conclusion which is disappointing, and feels rushed.
With Space Dandy’s ‘good, bad’ method being followed almost to a tee, my emotions are mixed on the season as a whole but this is also a problem I had with the first season. The voice-acting and animation are generally terrific although some episodes I feel are a lot less smooth and detailed, and I imagine watching this as it was being aired was a frustrating experience although I suppose you could’ve just watched an episode every 2 weeks and missed out on the poor ones. Space Dandy struggles to be dandy 100% of the time, and sometimes it struggles to be enjoyable at all but don’t get me wrong because when it’s good, it’s very good!
The stand out episodes to me were ‘The Transfer Student is Dandy, Baby’ and ‘Lovers are Trendy, Baby’, with the former being a musical episode that takes inspiration from popular musicals and parodies them a little, and the latter revolving around Dandy acting as Scarlet’s boyfriend so that her jealous ex-boyfriend quits stalking her. ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll Dandy, Baby’ has Johnny Yung Bosch lend his voice to rockstar Johnny (I do wonder if having the same name was intentional) and it’s likely that anybody who watches Season Two will be big fans of these episodes two, with the more comedy-centric and over the top episodes not really striking a chord with me or, more importantly, my funny bone – the courtroom episode in particular is pretty much everything that Space Dandy shouldn’t be, and I hope they never attempt something that awful again. A huge shame as it’s the penultimate episode.
Visually it rarely fails to impress with vibrant colours, fluid animation and generally plenty of eye-catching moments and with every episode being different, it keeps things exciting whether or not the actual plot or humour keeps up with it. The dancing scenes in the high school episode was exceptionally well-animated with studio Bones proving that they know how to choreograph and they clearly put a lot of effort into making bodily movements look realistic which they then apply to alien physics too – it’s just a joy to see in motion. There’re plenty of explosions and dazzling sights too and it’s partially the visuals that keep me going back to Space Dandy and forgiving it for having some rather dire episodes, as it’s just hard to say no to how smooth and bright the animation is.
As with Season One, Season Two excels in voice-acting and has an OST that’s right up there with it. Many of the main cast voice-actors I hadn’t heard of before Space Dandy despite them having showed up in a fair few anime, but the side-characters and guest stars are big names including Colleen Clinkenbeard as Scarlet (best known as Luffy and Teen Gohan) and J Michael Tatum as antagonist Dr. Gel (best known for voicing Okabe in the Steins;Gate English dub). Ian Sinclair, Alison Viktorin, Joel McDonald and Alexis Tipton voice Dandy, QT, Meow and Honey respectively and it’s just perfect – I wouldn’t want anybody else to voice these characters as they’re all dandy, baby. The OST matches it with memorable, catchy tunes that fit both the upbeat, crazy moments of the show and the more emotional, heart to heart moments where Space Dandy is at its best.
Extras consist of trailers and clean openings and endings, but the cool addition is the digital art gallery which acts as a nice extra, especially considering the show looks so beautiful. You can watch it in English or Japanese but I’d recommend English, especially as it seems to have been made with English in mind and simulcasted in both languages at the same time, and we all know Shinichiro Watanabe’s works are heavily influenced by Western entertainment. I really like Space Dandy and would be happy to rewatch some episodes at a later date, and some episodes I’d be happy to never watch again.
If you enjoyed Season One then you’ll enjoy Season Two but if the first season didn’t do much for you, then you’ll be wise to skip this season as it’ll do nothing to change your mind. I might have some problems with the pacing, certain episodes and the ending being poor, but I can’t fault Anime Limited on their release – it’s one of the most gorgeous shows around and blu-ray really brings it to life.
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