Space Dandy 2 – 06

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That kind of ambience I can do without.

It’s not every anime that’s going to fit Lucha Libre and a laugh track into the same story (or any story).  In fact this is the first time I can recall a laugh track being inserted into any anime episode, which makes it pretty much a given that Space Dandy is going to have to explain its presence.  This episode is kind of a microcosm of a prominent side of Space Dandy as a whole, as it presents very familiar elements from a skewed and discordant perspective.

Directed by veteran animator Shimizu Hiroshi and written by SD regular Nobumoto Keiko, this episode offers some welcome development for both Honey and Scarlet, as well as some interesting nods to continuity (such as Meow’s reference to the zombie incident) and comic highlights.  Despite that I found it to be probably the least engaging Dandy episode of the season, possibly because it’s the least distinctive.  This was really the first time this season where for me an episode felt a little tired, somehow a bit short in the relentless creativity and originality which are the hallmarks of Space Dandy.  Then again, that’s a pretty high standard the show has set for itself in this area.

The key alien here is Gentle Nobra, the rare alien Cloudian the BBP trio has been haplessly trailing for six months.  That’s left them as emaciated as zombies (thus the aforementioned reference by Meow) and Dandy delusional and rambling “I am love!”.  Gentle (who looks like a Rose of Versailles character with Coke-bottle ears) is played by none other than Kimura Ryouhei – a very welcome second appearance today for him – and as part of his schtick, he offers a free buffet for females which Dandy and Meow lie their way into.  The reason for this event is that Cloudians (for reasons that are never explained) like to “take lonely females into their ship and be nice to them”.  Though Dandy infers it there’s not a hint of malicious intent visible here, and if there’s a deeper intended meaning behind the Cloudian behavior pattern I confess I can’t see it – it seems plot-driven more than anything.

It’s Scarlet – also attending the buffet though rather than the free food, it’s the idea of meeting men that’a drawn her there – who ends up being Gentle’s chosen recipient of the day.  Meanwhile Honey has been kidnapped by Dr. Gel (with Bea in Lucha Libra costumes) with the intent of mining her brain for info on Dandy.  Honey turns out to be rather surprising given all of her Boobies appearances – a biker chick with a hard edge who’s also half-Cloudian and Gentle’s half-sister (real name Lady Nobra (I get why she’s named “Nobra”, but Gentle?).  And of course the BBP have to get involved here too, and they end up following Gentle’s cloud ship in order to rescue Scarlet (and capturing the rare alien is a nice potential fringe benefit).

I do like the idea of seeing both Scarlet and Honey out of their normal context, and the fact that both are more than they appear.  Scarlet offers hints that she’s attracted to Dandy, in fact, but she’s also clearly lonely and resentful at the notion someone like Gentle would take pity on her.  But for whatever reason the comedy just didn’t connect with me this time around, and the story didn’t half a deep emotional connection the way many of this season’s SD episodes have.  As for that laugh track, it turns out that it was the “Ambiancians” – another alien species hired by Gentle to provide background ambience for whatever’s happening around him.  That’s a clever gag, though the laugh track itself – like all laugh tracks – is more annoying than anything else.

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14 comments

  1. e

    'Gentle (who looks like a Rose of Versailles character with Coke-bottle ears)' *sweatdrop* are you really sure :p? Roses, gentlemanly manner, a manor and a clavichord jingle do not a Berubara character make. Neither does ***XIX century*** attire. Nor the character design they used here. Also… they don't do romantic tea. Their intimate moments are drenched in wine, hot chocolate and if in a plebeian context it's beer.
    As such and as much as I love my Berubara shoutouts in this case try the Host Club Tamaki Suoh's host persona (and non-parody otome games/period romance novels dreamboats I guess) – Earl and Fairy's Edward – Ashita no Nadja's Francis&Keith – Candy Candy's Anthony route x Kaitou (including Lupin, old Sailor Moon animeTuxedo Kamen, and given the rage of refs of this show I'd dare include Mandrake The Magician) route rather.

    For an episode with some Scarlet fleshing out I was hoping for something a bit… meatier honestly :,D. Oh well.

  2. H

    I don't really see the Rose of Versailles comparison either.. Actually would have been cool if the episode was a homage to that show though.

  3. e

    No kidding. 32 years after my first watching my love for that series is still going strong. Had there been a homage to it in SD you all would have been able to hear my appreciation from the other side of the planet :p.

  4. J

    Space Dandy does have a lot of explaining to do given the hints of an overarching narrative we've seen so far. While I'm not expecting the creative free reign to continue for the remaining episodes, I do hope the lack of luster in this episode isn't a sign of things to come.

  5. A

    That did seem to me like the weakest episode of this season, although that could just be because the laugh track irritated me so much. (Please don't do that again!)

    I doubt there is any kind of overarching narrative to the show though. Lines like Meow's reference to when Dandy was a zombie are just throwaway references and don't mean anything. There's no big encompassing arc going on.

    Because there doesn't need to be one, because they could keep this going as a series of one episode stories in any genre possible so long as it makes any money.

  6. H

    This episode felt very season 1 to me. It was good to the female cast again, I guess.

    Is this your least favorite episode of the series so far? Just noticed the review came out later than ever.

  7. The timing of the review had nothing to do with my reaction – I simply watched it later. As many shows as I blog and considering I at least try to have some sort of life, I'm not always going to get to them the day they're released.

    In truth, I think the premiere episode is my least favorite. This wouldn't tank in my favorites by any means, but I haven't really thought of least favorites beyond that.

  8. H

    I..i hope it didn't sound like I was stepping on your toes or anything! I'm actually relieved that you come up for air now and again (probably not enough). Anime reviews can wait!

  9. Just answering the question, Bro…

  10. w

    Completely agree with you, definitely a step down from the last few episodes. Kind of a shame, because it's been on hell of a role for the last 8 or so episodes. It's a shame it doesn't seem to get as much attention anymore, it's one of the best shows airing right now.

    Also really hoping Watanabe somehow gets Kunihiko Ikuhara to direct an episode before it ends.. That'd be something to see.

  11. Since the initial fabricated burst of "save anime" backlash I don't think it's ever gotten much attention among traditional anime fans. It seems to be much more popular in the US than Japan.

  12. w

    And mostly popular among casual or non-anime fans. Funny thing though, if it works as a gateway to anime for those people it might just actually 'save anime' by that little bit.

    But yeah, heralding any series as "Saviour of anime" is the easiest way to doom it. The term doesn't even mean anything to most people who use it.

  13. D

    Dunno, I kind of liked this episode, to be honest. I enjoyed the goofy, fourth-wall-breaking antics, the development given to Honey especially and the callbacks to previous episodes. It wasn't one of the best episodes, but definitely better than two and five (my least favourites so far) in my opinion.

  14. R

    It literally did not click with me until halfway through the episode (in all honesty, Honey's comment on the disk space should've tipped me off) that the Cloudians are basically a reference to the internet cloud. Large amounts of data stored in a giant cloud without a single set location.

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