In honor of Cblog Interviews coming back next week, hopefully with my entry, and Everyday Legend's self-esteem, I'll be putting Legend's duty to describing Space Dandy, the new anime he image spammed in this week's reminder post, in my Striderisms.
Cowboy Bebop is the pinnacle of moody, musical, atmospheric 90s anime. Every episode was built around a musical theme in addition to the plot. Detective's past comes to haunt him? Deep piano solos. Fast paced chase for a genetically intelligent dog? Energetic samba! While Bebop was an array of classical, moody music, especially jazz, Samurai Champloo was hip-hop somehow smashed into samurai period Japan. Don't tell me how beat boxing and record scratches work with aloof samurai sword fights, but my god it does.
Now take the creators of both series and go for something somewhere in between. Space Dandy takes the space of Bebop with the irreverence of Champloo and mashes it together with a man's man who travels the cosmos in search of adventure, mystery, aliens, and babes.
I can't exactly nail Dandy for a musical theme but Space Dandy's visual flair is much more apparent than its two previous pedigree titles. Space Dandy is a throwback, pulp-era space opera comedy. While Cowboy Bebop was an anime made in the 90s with very impressive visual design towards its technology and equipment, Space Dandy is an anime made in 2013 with very 50s-60s taste in visual spectacle. Aliens have no rhyme or reason to their biology asides being weird and different and Dandy uses very kitschy tech right out of classic sci-fi comics like a matter transporter or a weapon that's literally a ray gun in the purest sense of the word. I forgot to mention that the animators behind Space Dandy is the one and only Bones, who are known and capable of throwing all the money they can into making the visual spectacle a circus of eye candy and flashing colors.
You get a sense for the tone and comedy of the show right away. Dandy and his suffering robot partner, QT, are aware of their extremely casual narrator. Right away he describes the usual spiel of mankind encountering alien life and goes on to say how they have met aliens like, "That one, or that one, or that one. But seriously that's all I care to point out." To which QT immediately tells Dandy to get his shit together because if the narrator is phoning it in already then they gotta do double time to make the show pick up the pace and everyone doesn't just turn off their television sets.
The show does indeed pick up and while it isn't super sarcastic the entire way, we're still left with Dandy, who's a mix between a man's man, a blathering idiot, a perv, and a puckish rogue. I find him extremely likable in a very accidental way. By himself, he's not as cool as he thinks he is. But he's still just suave enough that he can spout unintentionally great dialogue.
Overall, I enjoyed the first episode for its slapstick, flavorful color palette in visuals, and blistering animation but I feel like the first episode is more of an episode 0. Still, its nice to see a revival of such an interesting design era and the return of one of my more enjoyed character archtypes: the suave airhead.