Series Recap: Space Dandy

1388946383608I’ve been called “poser” or “filthy casual” or whatever other slur you want to throw at me that I am not a “true” otaku. I am not a true anime fan.  Why? Because I don’t give a flying fuck about studios and directors.  Not really. It may color my expectations of a given series (like the upcoming Akuma no Riddle and the Nanoha director), but I never allow it to GUIDE my choices.  I always use premises and previews, that’s all.

Space Dandy proves exactly WHY I don’t give two shits about your resume.  Because even Midas can take a crap and some days the sun shines on a dog’s ass.  Everything deserves a chance to impress or offend.

And not everything is going to be gold because Cowboy Bebop was an okay show ten years ago.

So I’ll just share my brief summary on the little opinion I have on Space Dandy.

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Man Culture

The big thing I can’t get into is the bachelor lifestyle humor.  As I pointed out, a big problem was how…well…how mean it was.  The joke seemed to be that Dandy is poor, and I don’t find the STATE of being poor particularly funny.  The other part of it is “THIS IS DANDY BEING A MAN!”, a similar problem to a little show named Nobunaga the Fool.

All in all I have chosen to label it Man Culture, but it’s really bachelor humor.  And no series is beyond this. There’s just this compulsion to fall back on the “men are slobs without women in their lives” shtick. Red Dwarf was, you could argue, ABOUT this very crutch, but at least in that show it was played on the absurdity of how extreme it manifested. Here it’s just kind of…eh.

So in short, yours truly did not find this very entertaining.  Perhaps I needed to watch WITH people, communal humor is very different from what you personally enjoy, after all.  But for me…the jokes just fell flat and that was the end of it. There isn’t a whole lot you can say about that as humor is SO subjective.

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Western Sensibilities

There was a huge movement to push through this “Cowboy Bebop Starring Elvis” show in the West, to the point of a simulcast on Adult Swim. I don’t even know when the last time that happened is. If it’s ever happened at all, even.

But this was more than just a marketing offensive, it seems to have been a serious component in the structure of Space Dandy.

Space Dandy adopts a rather Western joke style.  Whereas, take a comedy like Sakura Trick, the humor is very small in scope, and is not, by design of the joke -itself-, consequence oriented.  It is about the character’s imaginations, slapstick, or word play.  Sakura Trick doesn’t have a sequence where Haruka accidentally burns the school down with her bad cooking.  But in the States, most animation gags have found their niche in “big consequences”, as it can be “justified” because live-action comedy can’t do it.

Okay, the short version? Space Dandy is Family Guy. In space.  That’s all we’re really seeing here.  Replace the musical numbers with attempts at heartstrings drama and that’s basically the show I see.  Blame my waifu for watching almost nothing but Seth McFarlane on my Netflix.

Though I think the reason it springs to mind is the consequence-free environment.  What with the apocalypses, the self-destructs, I just think of Family Guy because that is a show that has fully embraced its consequence free universe, to the point of self-parody and shoe-horned into it so bad they’ve started to backpedal.

And, I cannot judge any cultural component that may exist.  Take, say, Archer, a show I find brilliant, in part because I am aware of a lot of the in-jokes they are using (“A Chekov’s Gun?!?!”).  If there is stuff like that going on in Dandy, I am incapable of judging it in the subtitled version, and the dubbed version would jettison all those little bits anyway.  So I acknowledge that perhaps my role as viewer is compromised in this degree.  Or perhaps I’m being way more generous than I should, but for a sense of completeness I felt it important to mention it.

The Verdict

As I said this is an abridged review, and I don’t have the patience for a full series analysis. So my overall opinion is far less informed here than others.  That being said.

Space Dandy is a competent comedy show.  It’s pretty to look at, it’s a lovely little space romp with reasonable characterization for a show as silly and unhinged as this.  You may enjoy it, but I do not.

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One thought on “Series Recap: Space Dandy

  1. Personally, I don’t think there’s any such thing as an ‘untrue’ anime fan, but that’s just me. I probably watch too much of the stuff to get the “filthy casual” finger pointed in my direction, but individual tastes aside for the moment, I just don’t think there’s a difference between people who watch anime based on the director and/or studio and people who watch anime based on the synopsis and/or previews.

    Anywho. I did enjoy Space Dandy (it certainly wasn’t my favourite anime of the season or anything, but I liked it well enough), and I’ll say upfront that I absolutely did watch it because of who was in the director’s seat. I like Watanabe’s general style, and I’ve liked all of what he’s done in the past a hell of a lot – not just Bebop. That said, I can see why a lot of people wouldn’t like Space Dandy. It’s far from a perfect series, and probably above all, humour is subjective. Given that comedy is the main draw of the show, if people don’t find it funny then they’re probably not going to find much else to keep them watching.

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