Well, if you were hoping that the new offering from the Director of Cowboy Bebop would bare some resemblance to its predecessor, let me be the one to tell you, it does! And not only that, it pulls off the trick without becoming a tired carbon copy. It has its own quirks and within its depths of ridiculousness, hilarity prevails.
Like it’s protagonist, Space Dandy swaggers around on screen with it’s tongue stuck firmly in it’s cheek, with world ending explosions, frequent smashing of the fourth wall, pop culture references left right and centre, and that’s just the first episode! The main point of SD is arguably the most important one; it wants to have fun.
The writers have clearly just gone for it, blending various culture references from the last 30 years and drawing endless parallels with iconic characters of the past. The ships robot possesses the melodic synthesized voice of the antagonist from one of last decades most popular games; Portal . Often bearing the voice of reason with cool neutrality. While the other companion, a cat-like alien, sneakily named ‘Meow’ looks like someone took Pokemon’s Meowth and put on of those stoner hats on him.
Special mention should go to the star of the show though, Space Dandy’s…um…Space Dandy. There are elements of Spike here, I’m not going to lie, but not so much you feel it’s a tired rehash, more like an endearing memory that’s actually sort of nostalgic. Try to imagine Space Dandy as a cousin of Spike Spiegel , they come from the same family but they’ve had violently different upbringings. He’s got the self confidence and the strut but he is much more ‘Jonny Bravo’ than mean machine, throwing his fists about and firing his weapon like an expert strategist only to find that he didn’t quite put enough thought into it as he should have done , the fact that he is oblivious to his own shortcomings makes it all the more funny.
Space Dandy (the show title, not the character) does draw it’s power from a lot of Bebopian tropes; it’s set in space, they fly around on a ship and they are constantly looking for a pay-day (only this time in the form of new alien registration instead of bounty hunting). But all of these things aside, its still feels new enough. The script is razor sharp and the animation is excellent, giving it a nostalgic retro feel. The set pieces are something amazing as well, like your watching an 80’s/early 90’s kids TV show. The sheer imagination is really something to wonder at. All skipping along to that smooth, smooth Jazz we have come to know and love.
Watch it. It’s an excellent offering and jam-packed with little titbits for everyone. I kicked back with a few beers and watched the first 5 episodes in succession and just laughed my arse off. Have a look at the rating below, it’s not only funny but it’s so wildly different from everything else out right now. It really does deserve top marks. Well done Shinichirō Watanabe, well done.