Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Anime Review: Space Dandy

When I was looking at the panel listing for Otakon I noticed that Shinichiro Watanabe had a panel on Sunday which was listed as something along the lines of "the second Watanabe panel" and I though "Oh so are they finally going to announce Space Dandy?" Some fans online had already found out about the project (I believe through searching who was buying what site titles) and sure enough the project was announced during his Saturday panel and they spent the first bit of the Sunday panel showing all the material again (and it was pretty fun to see the trailer that practically no one else had seen, and it wasn't a crappy cam-rip either!). It also lead to the most surreal moment of my life where I was on twitter, live-tweeting a tiny bit, sat back during the Q& A to just listen and read my own feed, to have someone in line say that they were live-tweeting as well, they had actually shown up on my feed, and that a staff member who had worked on the show had responded to something he had reported that Watanabe had said about him. So it was a given that I was going to watch it and when Funimation said that it would actually air on American tv before Japanese tv dubbed well that makes it even better, gotta take special situations like that as they come!

Space Dandy

Space Dandy is the dandies guy in the space, a rare alien hunter he's accompanied by his piece-of-crap robot companion QT and "cat" called Meow and together the three of them try to find something rare enough to give them money to go to Boobies.

This show is a really unusual case for me since I saw exactly half of it in English and half in Japanese. That wasn't initially my plan, since the show came on at 11:30 I could justify staying up late enough for it but a combination of babysitting, work, and my tv just plain not working meant I had to stop about halfway through and eventually I finished the show on hulu where it's only available subbed. I actually preferred the dub for this show, it was a funny case where I heard the subbed trailer and went "that doesn't quite sound right" and then the dubbed one sounded exactly the way I expected and wanted it to. I found myself missing QT's autotune in the sub and felt like Dandy was being played just a little too suave there, I liked the more rough and dumb voice he had in the dub. But they're both perfectly fine choices if you lean a particular way, given that my tv is still acting up and that I believe the next season will be airing at 12:30 am I suspect I'm going to have to watch all of that one subbed on Hulu (I've also heard there's a way to watch live from Cartoon Network's site during the airing but haven't tried that out myself).

Once I had to start watching the show on Hulu I fell behind on it, not because of time but because this show didn't grab me quite as much as I had hoped. It's clear now that Watanabe was the "chief" director for the show, getting people together to work on this project (he mentioned propositioning people in bars at Otakon), and Shingo Natsume had the more traditional director role in the show. That's not the problem, my problem was that the show involved just so many people that it felt a bit too chaotic and unorganized for my tastes, there weren't any real connecting events or even themes so the show just bounced all of the place. If I liked an episode great, can't wait to watch the next one! If I didn't however, well, maybe I'll watch my other shows before I get back to this one, oh and this new show I just started marathoning, oh and my American tv as well.... Given that I also tended to dislike part of even the episodes I liked (because Boobies, Hooters IN SPACE just isn't that novel a concept to me) I suspect that I'm going to have the same problem this upcoming summer season, especially since there are even more shows that have already grabbed my attention

As for the art, despite the fact that this show also had a ton of artists providing designs I thought that everything meshed together quite well. The designs in each episode sure looked different from each other but the staff did a great job at making them all appear that they really could exist in the same universe and my hat is off to them. Although, the art style wasn't 100% to my taste but I really did like the truly zany animation that popped up in the show, this truly seems like that rare show where everyone was given a lot of creative freedom. The sequence in the first episode towards the end was what really sold me especially since it sounded like it wasn't "scripted", the animator had a few seconds to just do something really wild (like with my Otakon experience, some of the staff are on twitter so there's been a bit of conversation between the fans and the staff that I've never seen happen before, it's rather neat!). And that's is what's keeping me coming back to the show when it starts back up in just a few weeks, the stories are dumb and usually silly but the art and animation is dumb and silly in the best kind of way and I want to support that with the little ad money I contribute through hulu!

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