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. Continue reading

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Space Dandy: I Surrender

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Normally when you do not see a post as scheduled on this blog, it is for one of two reasons.  One, I am seriously considering dropping the show and am giving the series that extra week to prove it worth my time (this happened with BlazBlue).  Two, I simply haven’t gotten around to it, for various reasons, be they hospitalizations or court trips or whatever that bogs down my week, in such a case I probably haven’t SEEN the show yet so I tend triage the schedule and you’ll see a burst of reviews out on a single day.  And three: I just plain forgot. Okay so I lied there were two reasons.

Space Dandy falls into none of these categories.  I have been fully conscious I wasn’t watching it week to week. I dread it. I don’t want to do it.

I didn’t want to watch Machine Doll either, but there was a twisted sort of karmic joy in tearing it apart week after week that let me struggle through.

But I have purposefully been avoiding Space Dandy, and now that it’s been a month since I did my last review on the show, I figured it needed to be this weekend or never.

And I quit. I can’t do it. I’ve only gotten one episode down and I practically skipped half the second one I was so bored.

So Space Dandy…I concede defeat. You have bested me. I lose this round.

I don’t want to give the impression that I think Space Dandy is a bad show.  It isn’t, and objectively I can recognize that.  It has weak spots and strong spots, but the very episodic nature will of course incline it to be a wildly variant experience week to week.

But I, me, Anna, personally, cannot sit through it.  As I said, this show is perfect if I had a TV.  But TV for me now means “Independent computer time.”  It can’t be something I am doing while I play games or write, it can’t be something I look at out of the corner of my eye, laugh, and go back to what I was doing (which is always what Adult Swim was to me…the exception being the celebration of Ramen-dan on Sunday nights back in…2007?).  Right now I have to consider Dandy worth my near-undivided attention….and it isn’t.

I am having way more fun admitting to you I bested myself and am too weak willed to follow through on only one of five shows I’m giving attention to.  That is how obnoxious I find it.  There is no character I like, there is no archetype for me to enjoy.  Like Nobunaga the Fool, this is a show about “man-culture”, and while I’m totally comfortable ripping apart a dramatic presentation of it…comedy is much harder for me to derive some enjoyment out of it.   If Space Dandy was this bitter, cynical satire of the man-life, I could deal with it. But it’s affectionate, and I cannot relate to that affection.

Comedy is simple. You found something funny, or you didn’t.  And when you don’t find anything funny, what is there to fall back on?

So, officially, consider Space Dandy dropped, if its absence from the weeklies wasn’t an indicator.

Space Dandy: Episode 5

Slimy, yet satisfying.

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Okay, now that the Noragami stuff is out of the way, let’s get back into the proper schedule. Ah, Space Dandy…what do you have for us this week, friend…

How cheap do you have to be to cut and paste a plot?

That’s what I want to say, at least. By rights, logically, this episode is a sell out. It takes the usual heart-of-gold-for-an-orphan story and literally does nothing new with it.

And yet I still rather enjoyed the episode. I don’t exactly plan to re-watch it anytime soon, if ever. But it entertained for its half hour and that’s really, ultimately, what it’s about.

So Dandy has found a new species of alien.  It has never been caught before, but that doesn’t stop  Dandy from just walking in the front door.  He finds a little girl of the species and turns out they have the power to transfer minds into the bodies of puppets.  Her puppet of choice happens to be a penguin thing.  Well, Dandy, never being one to consider consequences, subdues the girl while in stuffed form.  He’s going to collect the 9million dollar reward (or, space zeni or whatever the hell the currency is, I forget).

Only when he gets back, the Aloha Oe has been towed, and the crew can’t pay the impound fee. So Dandy must take the train.  Space train.  Cute.  She agrees to go quietly if he promises a small detour to a specific address. He agrees to the deal.

And you know how it goes. The girl turns out to be an orphan, Dandy gets attached to her, blah blah blah blah blah. Continue reading

Space Dandy: Episode 4

I…What is this…I don’t even…

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So, a confession: Space Dandy just isn’t my kind of show. I mostly still watch it out of obligation.

And yet, this week was exactly what I felt Space Dandy needed to be: Able to use its comedic paradigm to reset the universe, no questions asked Seth McFarlane style.

The disease thing was fairly obvious, but once we found out WHAT disease Dandy and crew had picked up from the random alien, it made the anticipation all the better.  It was very “You’re doing this aren’t you? Yeah, you are. Alright. Go ahead.”

There are elves in the Dandy universe. Elf nurses. This episode is only five minutes in and already a win.

Still, we had a great zombie outbreak episode. A nice way for Dandy to luck out of getting hit by the Google Empire’s (still calling a spade a spade guys) mercenaries.  At least at first.

My favorite gag had to be Dandy fighting his way through a mob of zombies using QT as a melee weapon, and QT crying out “I thought we were friends!”  It makes me feel so horrible, but it is so in character that my revulsion just isn’t strong enough to stop the giggle fits. Continue reading

Space Dandy: Episode 3

Not…awful?

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I wasn’t bored this week. That is the praise I can give this week’s Space Dandy.

Well…not the dubbed version anyways.

Yes, this is totally turning out to be an anime where the dub is actually better than the original.  Fitting, since Dandy is designed to appeal to Western markets.

That said…it isn’t that much better.  I may have not felt like weeping at the prospect of watching a second time, but neither do I really want to see this again.

You bought yourself time, Space Dandy, but I am still just looking for an excuse to drop you.

So Dandy got the “let’s dress Meow up as an alien” gag out of the way.  They also, miraculously, did something with that “poor” thing.  See…QT has ordered a bunch of instant….stuff. From 10,000 light years away.  So yep, it’s expired. For a long, long time. On their budget, it’s all he can do for now. This gag had some good lines. I concede.

Fortunately, Dandy eats at Boobies enough that he has a point card.

…Ever have a day when you’re forced to type something that makes you question your life choices? Continue reading

Space Dandy: Episode 2

…Sigh.

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In the course of blogging events, I usually take the time to watch an episode at least twice before offering thoughts. More if I feel merit, but as someone who just misses a lot of stuff on the first watch, it’s good for me to rewatch as I compose my thoughts.

This week’s Dandy, however? I feel no such compulsion.  This was Star Trek level humor (bad). I smirked a couple times, and laughed at exactly one gag.  One.

This is not a promising outing for a purported comedy series.

This week started off at the alien registration center, where Dandy, having survived his self destruct last episode, now tries to catalog one of the things that tried to kill him. Only it’s a very common monster, no dice. And the gentleman gorilla, Dr. Gel, also appears to have survived the destruction of his ship. Which is also just fine. And I felt maybe we would get a “Team Rocket Blasting off Again” gag, where the ships are destroyed every week and we pick up next episode like nothing happened? No luck, though. Meta humor would be too high brow for us this week.

The thing about humor is that jokes can be about ANYTHING.  Particularly the weird and periphery.

But badly written humor, like the humor in this episode, stops before the “joke” part. Continue reading

Space Dandy: Episode 1

A facepalm…but an endearing facepalm.

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Well, the introduction to Space Dandy was….actually, kind of exactly what I was expecting.  It is essentially Cowboy Bebop, with the action and comedy levels reversed.  Lots of comedy with a frame of action and drama (Bebop being lots of action with a healthy dose of comedy mixed in). That is, my friends, the truth.  Rose specs may blind people to thinking Bebop was this masterpiece of drama, but it really was very much like this series.  Only Bebop was this concept played straight.  In Dandy? There is nothing straight about this. Self parody abounds, self referential material, and a whole lot of “Really? You’re doing this?”  It is….it’s a “lame” kind of humor, but that kind of lovable lame, you know? Like when your girlfriend makes the most terrible, face-palming pun imaginable, and you want to weep that THIS is the person you’re spending your life with, but it’s just part of her charm, you know?  I feel the same way about the blunt humor in Dandy.

The animation is quite….fun. I wouldn’t go so far as to say stylistic, exactly, I don’t know if there’s an undercurrent to it all, but it’s gorgeous all the same with a beautiful flow that plays right into the slapstick elements of the show.  It knows how to handle both the parody scenes without being obnoxious, and the action scenes without giving them a lot of…I guess you’d say “heavy” consequences to them, so that while it still LOOKS badass, you can’t forget you’re ultimately watching a carnival ride.  I certainly loved looking at this episode.  Will that continue, or will the budget rear its head? Who knows.

When we meet Dandy, he is your typical delinquent hero.  He is casual, dresses extreme gaudy and peacock like, he has a voice that COULD be used for something professional yet his speech patterns make him sound very….being generous let’s just call it “street smart”.  And he justifies his life choices with cosmic platitudes.  And I do mean that in the truest definition of the word.  It is a guy who has learned to articulate “I’m bored” into a poem, and it likely took him ten years to perfect it to a state that you or I could do on the fly.

But he does have one saving grace, one truly noble trait.

He is an ass man.

And asses, as is scientifically verified, are where the action is.

“Anna…you are the worst lesbian.”  Yes, I know. I know.

I actually liked QT, Dandy’s partner robot.  He’s like if Ein could talk and was given jobs.  Or Jiminy Cricket with an ADORABLE voice box.  I am willing to bet in an early version of the script he was a buxom automaton, with personality in the style of Yaya from Machine Doll.  But that was wisely scrapped and the name just kind of stuck.  Either that or he was named by someone’s wife. It’s the only explanation that makes sense to me.

But that’s just speculation. Don’t quote me on that. Continue reading

Line Up: Winter 2014

Autumn has passed us by, so let us turn our attention to the premieres following the New Year.

I have decided to experiment this season.  I will have three series that I am definitely reviewing, and two series that will be “Wild Cards”.  That is, among the six or so shows I will be watching, I will pick only one or two to follow on this blog, depending on what I see as potential.  I can’t speak to the success or not of this strategy, but hey, might be fun.

Note: KILL la KILL will be continuing to follow new releases, but Strike the Blood has been dropped.  Expect the Strike the Blood series recap at the end of this Winter season.

Committed Series:

These series will most definitely be appearing on this blog.

18679KILL la KILL: The second half of the Autumn 2013 anime, KILL la KILL follows Matoi Ryuko, wielder of a scissor blade, at Kiryuin Satsuki’s Honnouji Academy, where only force is respected.  Ryuko has discovered the identity of her father’s killer, but can she stand up against the Kiryuin empire and Satsuki’s Elite Four?

Probably my favorite of the Autumn line up, I’m eager to continue this series.

Studio: Trigger.

20057Space Dandy: “The lead character Dandy is an alien hunter and the “dandiest man in space.” The anime is set far in the future where people have gone to the far reaches of the universe. Dandy is searching for aliens that no one has found before with his robot partner QT.”

So, here is my reasoning: The director of Death Note and a writer from Cowboy Bebop got together and decided to make a series that basically looks like “What would anime Babylon 5 look like in season 1”? Consider me sold.

Studio: Bones

20047Sakura Trick: Haruka and Yuu are two girls attending a doomed high school, set to be closed in three years.  On a whim, to make a special memory they won’t forget, they decide to share a kiss.  But as it turns out, a kiss isn’t only a kiss…

Consider this my personal bias shining through.  Last season gave us little to enjoy from the LGBT side of things (aside from thick Yuri goggles on display in KILL la KILL and a purported lesbian needing to catch a proper stabbing in Strike the Blood), so I’m indulging.  I will probably have low opinions…but at LEAST it will give me the social commentary I need to remain engaged.  This “lez slot” would probably normally be Chuunibyou, but as I have established, I won’t do second seasons here unless you can find the first on this blog also.

Studio: Studio Deen

Wild Card Series:

These series are not finalized decisions.  I may pick one, two, or even none of the following.

20447Noragami: Yato is a kami. Unfortunately he has no one to follow his teachings, leave offerings at his shrines, or revere his name.  But that doesn’t stop him, and after finding a number and a mysterious message “I solve your problems”, Hiyari Iki meets the quirky deity…

The premise is what has me drawn to this one.  I have always felt the idea of kami a honest one as far as the metaphysical.  Are there supernatural creatures? Well, if they exist, we probably have very strange ideas about them.  Do we know all their names? (do we even know their proper names?) I’d wager no.  So seeing a series about one of those “forgotten gods” seems like it could be good fun.

Studio: Bones

20496Sekai Seifuku: Original TV anime produced by A-1 Pictures.

That’s it. Yup. I know original series tend to be tight lipped, to allow their story to unfold naturally, but this is taking things to a strange new extreme.  It is labeled action and fantasy, and judging from the art here, maybe a mite silly.  I’ll give it a chance.

Studio: A-1 Pictures

19855Nobunagun: On a field trip to Taiwan, Shio Ogura is attacked by monsters! Agents from the government, called “E-gene holders”, those who carry the spirits of ancestors, arrive.  Shio is revealed to carry the spirit of none other than Oda Nobunaga.

This series concept is so bizarre it wins my notice.  It’s almost like a Toko meets Shaman King.  I’ll bite, guys.  Yes I will.  The interesting thing to see here is what bearing having that famous soul in her power will be like.

Studio: Bridge

20509Nobunaga the Fool: The Western Planet and Eastern Planet used to be connected, but civil war has long since divided the empire of the ancients. A girl from the Western Panet, Jeanne Kaguya d’Arc, saw heavenly visions of the birth of a “Star Messiah” who will save the world. She embarks on a journey to the Eastern Planet with Leonardo da Vinci, “the one who observes the world.” They come across the heretic of the Eastern Planet and “the greatest fool of the day,” Oda Nobunaga.

Another Nobunaga story? Yep. Two this season. I’m not even counting the KILL la KILL parallels to Nobunaga in Satsuki.  But this time, it’s mecha Nobunaga.  I am not the biggest mech fan, but like Nobunagun, this premise is so strange I have to give it a looksie.

Studio: Satelight

20488Inari, Konkon, Koi Iroha: Fushimi Inari has feelings for her classmate, Tanbabashi, but doesn’t have the will or intellect to articulate those feelings to him.  One day, as a reward for good deeds, the god Ukanomitamanokami gives her the ability to change form.

Admittedly, the least likely candidate for me to pick up this season. But I feel like giving it a chance, I’m a sucker for unrequited love.

Studio: Production IMS

20431Hoozuki no Reitetsu: “Hoozuki is the aide to the great king of Hell, King Enma. Calm and super-sadistic, Hoozuki tries to resolve the various problems in Hell, including a rampaging Momotarou and his companions. However, he also likes spending his free time on his hobbies, such as fawning over cute animals and raising “Goldfish Flowers.””

I am always in favor of fleshing out demonic characters.  Giving them new personalities and the like.  I’ll try this on for size, but frankly am not expecting great things. We’ll see how the comedy holds up in the pilot.

Studio: Wit Studio

That’s our line up.  Whatever will the Wild Cards be? Who’s to know.  Guess you’ll have to be surprised like me.