What’s it about ?
Shinichiro Watanabe (Cowboy Bebop, Samurai Champloo) makes his grand directing return (let’s all politely ignore Kids on the Slope) with a comedy S-F series he’s described as “26 episodes of Mushroom Samba”.
This isn’t false advertising.
Space Dandy, our protagonist, makes a living exploring the universe to catalogue exotic alien species. (From what I understand, he’s a freelancer working for some governmental office.) If these travels coincidentally happen to make him visit every single space restaurant of the aptly-name “Boobies” franchise, well that can’t be helped, can it ? If you haven’t twigged by now, he’s a lecherous lout, and not exactly the sharpest bulb in the mixed metaphor ; but he’s got the charisma to kinda get away with it. Well, just barely.
QT is his long-suffering robot assistant. The poor thing is so obsolete it has to read books to keep up to date. Still, by default it has the highest IQ in the spaceship, and so it’s stuck being the straight
man robot to Space Dandy. And complaining about the crappy unhelpful narration.
“Meow” (real name unpronounceable) is a cat-alien that Space Dandy initially mistakes as a rare species. He’s not ; he’s a completely ordinary Betelgeusean. But he vaguely remembers a place with exotic aliens, so our heroes take him for a ride. After a trippy journey that involved accidentally unravelling the fabric of spacetime, it turns out that this is a very dangerous place indeed.
Dr Gel is an agent of the Gogol Empire (*snicker*) who’s tracking our hero because he’s the Key to the Universe or somesuch nonsense. Now, I hope he survives being summarily executed by his boss for losing track of his target (during the spacetime havoc previously mentioned), as the design for his ship is so amazing (the Statue of Liberty’s head in bondage !) that I want to see more of it.
Very impressive indeed ; it’s bursting at the seams with creativity and style, and the wild action sequences have to be seen to be believed.
It helps that Yoko Kanno turns out one of her best scores in ages.
Warning : this is a very dumb show that starts with Space Dandy monologuing about how butts are better than boobies. It sets the mood : every character in this is a moron, and haphazardly bumbles from mishap to disaster. You’ve been forewarned ; the stupid is deep in this one.
This being said, it’s every bit as good as you’d expect from its pedigree : there’s nothing wrong with plain dumb fun, and Watanabe is a master of the form who knows how to produce a damn entertaining show. He somehow manages the tour de force of making Space Dandy somewhat bearable as a character, despite all the boneheaded actions he does during the course of this episode. (QT and even Meow savagely mocking him helps.)
Everything it’s been hyped up to be, and then some. Definitely one of the best shows of the season already.