Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Top Five Space Dandy Season 1 Episodes

At the beginning of this year, Shinichiro Watanabe’s latest original anime series, Space Dandy, began airing on Adult Swim’s Toonami block. The show is about an alien hunter named Dandy (but you can call him Space Dandy) and he travels the galaxy in search of new and unregistered alien species along with his vacuum robot, QT and a freeloading cat-like alien named Meow. If the crew manages to capture and register a previously unregistered alien type at a registration center, they could be compensated greatly.

One thing that has been clear about this series is that anything is possible and you should expect the unexpected. In fact, Watanabe has compared the entire series to the mushroom episode of Cowboy Beebop. While the show may seem completely random, there are a few hints as to what’s going on in the overall plot and I’m sure this is all going to make sense by the time the series end. And best of all, I don’t have to worry about being spoiled because the series is actually airing on Toonami dubbed before it airs anywhere else in the world, including Japan.

Believe it or not, Space Dandy isn’t the first anime to debut on Toonami before it aired in Japan. That honor goes to SD Gundam Force. Say, how did that show do anyway?


Well the good news is that Space Dandy is currently doing a lot better than SD Gundam Force. Personally, I love Space Dandy so far. I think the art direction of the show is great and I love the music selection throughout the series. Dandy reminds me a lot of Travis Touchdown from No More Heroes; he’s a jerk, but he’s a loveable jerk.

The more episodic approach also makes it easier to watch any episode of the series without being completely out of the loop. It allows you to watch any episode as an introduction to the series. So if you haven’t watched any episodes of Space Dandy yet, I’ve compiled a list of the five episodes I consider to me my personal favorite episodes and would recommend to anyone. This list wasn’t easy to make because of the 13 episodes of season one, 10 of the episodes were solid candidates for the top 5.

#5 - Episode 13: “Even Vacuum Cleaners Fall in Love, Baby”

When the crew visits a coffee shop, QT becomes interested in a female coffee making machine named Maker. Over the course of a multiple visits to the coffee shop, QT befriends Maker and develops feeling for her. However, when things goes wrong, QT sets out to make things right.

The season 1 finale topped of the season on a high note. Focusing mostly on QT, the episode told a very charming tale about developing feelings for someone and the possibility of discovering new things you previously didn’t understand. The episode also touches on the roles of A.I. creatures in society, which reminded me of a more serious version of Futurama. It’s a fun episode and I’m glad we got to see QT in the spotlight.

Also, I loved how they presented the “next time” segment at the end of the show.

#4 - Episode 7: "A Race in Space Is Dangerous, Baby"

Dandy gets jealous of a galactic grand prix racing champion named Prince after he gets the attention of Honey and the other waitresses of Boobies instead of Dandy himself! In an attempt to show up Prince, Dandy enters his ship into a race against Prince and a motley crew of unusual racing characters. Anything goes in this race, so plenty of hijinks ensue!

When I was very young, one of my favorite cartoons to watch was Wacky Races, which this episode reminds me of. This episode also reminds me of F-Zero GX, a video game I also love playing. So as you might imagine, this episode hit all the right notes for me. The episode had just the right balance of wackiness and seriousness to tell an entertaining and compelling story for me. And best of all, the way the race ended was just grand.

#3 - Episode 9: "Plants Are Living Things, Too, Baby"

Dandy finds himself alone on a planet inhabited by sentient plant creatures. In hopes of finding a rare alien species, Dandy helps the plants investigate a mysterious thing known as Code D. Meanwhile, Meow finds himself alone on a completely different part of the planet where a different plant tribe serves him plenty of food to eat.

This episode was all about style. Clearly this episode was the most experimental in terms of art direction, animation, and music. I really appreciate everything they tried doing in this episode. Also, I was legit interested in finding out exactly what Code D was and the reveal definitely got a reaction out of me. The episode also gets bonus points for creating a “child” character that is not only not annoying, but is also entertaining to watch.

#2 - Episode 10: "There's Always Tomorrow, Baby"

The crew is forced to make an emergency landing on Meow’s home planet. Meow isn’t too happy about this since he originally left his home because he felt it was too boring with nothing to do. However, everyone on the planet finds themselves trapped in a time loop and is living the same day over and over again! Now Dandy and the gang have to find a way to break the loop… assuming they even realize they’re in a time loop to begin with.

Time loop stories are not easy to pull off. You run the risk of dragging the loop portion too long and cause the audience to get bored. That said, I think this episode handled the topic perfectly. I think part of the reason the episode works so well is because the story also doubled a spotlight episode for Meow by providing more insight to his background and character. I would probably consider this to be the overall funniest episode of the season, supported with plenty of more serious moments that make the episode great.

Also, I may be crazy here, I think the episode may have taken a jab at Haruhi Suzumiya. Either way, it made me laugh.

#1 - Episode 5: "A Merry Companion Is a Wagon in Space, Baby"

Dandy manages to capture a rare breed of alien, a girl named Adélie, but his spaceship gets towed and doesn’t have enough money to pay the fine. As a result, Dandy is forced to travel for days with Adélie to the nearest registration center. However, in exchange for Adélie’s cooperation, Dandy agrees to travel with Adélie to an apartment building in hopes of seeing someone, resulting in an adventure for the two.

This episode is by far the sweetest, most touching episode of the season. I realize that may sound weird considering this is a comedy show, but I enjoyed every moment of this episode. Simply put, Dandy and Adélie work well together as characters and I loved all their interactions together. And while I wouldn’t say it was the funniest episode of the season, the episode does have plenty of comedy and features the single most ridiculous thing to happen in Space Dandy so far. And it is awesome.

So there you have it, five episodes I would recommend to those who haven’t seen the show yet. But really, I would recommend watching the show from the beginning to see the madness unfold. So far, it looks like Space Dandy is a show that doesn’t care what you expect from it. From episode one, it’s clear that anything can happen and you’re just going to have to accept it. Personally, I feel like Space Dandy is like a crazy train; I may have no idea where it’ll end up or even if I’ll like everywhere it goes, but I’m more than willing to take the ride.

Space Dandy is currently re-airing season one as part of Adult Swim’s Toonami block on Saturdays at 11:30pm, EST. However, starting May 3rd, episodes will be moved to 12:30pm, EST. Dubbed episodes can be watched either on demand through your cable service provider or on Subtitled episodes of the show can be watched on either or Episode viewing may be restricted in your country.

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