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just watched this episode. i absolutely loved it. one of the best single episode i’ve seen in years. represents what i love about anime.
good to see guys like Watanabe and Yuasa holding down the fort when it comes to anime creativity. a definite bastion this show is.
Glad to know you’re still around, Huw. I also like his sinewy, fleshy and yet still very loose and free way of drawing the body. The swan boat was a great idea, throwing in a bit of welcome clashing silliness into the stew. It’s the perfect vessel for them.
Hello. Sorry to resuscitate an old post. I’m currently watching this wonderful anime, and when viewing episode 8 I’ve been thinking to myself “hey, i know this sryle of drawings, i know the way the characters move… Satoru Utsunomiya! And by looking at ANN, bingo, it appears that he’s been the one at the head of the episode. I’m not sure where the truth lies, bu if if can spare some time, just think about Satoru Utsunomiya and look at the episode (for the names I know, Hiroyuki Okiura, Kazuchika Kise, Norio Matsumoto and Takeshi Honda and Tetsuya Nishio seems to have been of the party).
Thanks for the great review Ben.
The way you’ve traced out Oshiyama’s stylistic development is illuminating. I remember his work from Dennou Coil too and was just as surprised to find out that he has developed into such an individualistic creator. I love his expressive approach to anatomy, thankfully not hidden behind pants this time around.
My favourite shot in the episode by a wide margin is of Meow and QT rattling around inside that ridiculous swan boat.
I was totally impress when I saw the scene made by Ohira, it is an amazing moving artwork, my head exploded.
Yeah, it felt like this episode might have worked better if they focused on the different, seemingly randomly-thrown-in, aspects a bit more. I quite liked the idea of the stream of time and it seemed like it deserved more exploration than a quick climax. It seems like a tough concept to execute in a way that would satisfy everyone.
I’ve never heard the English dub, but it wouldn’t surprise me if it was more bearable than the Japanese version. Well, I think it’s just that this time around Nakamura was using dance footage as reference, which was definitely a new thing for him. I was really surprised that he animated that close-up of the girl singing. It totally doesn’t look like anything he’s done before. Good for him to be able to still want to try new things after establishing a style at this point. I wouldn’t be surprised if you’re right that he’s been inspired by all the great work in diverse styles being done by young animators on the show to want to experiment a bit.
I expected to hate this episode going into it, but I ended up enjoying it quite a lot. Must have been the all-around solid animation, plus I quite liked the singing in the english dub (while I couldn’t stand the animeish singing by the girls in the Japanese version).
On the animation side, it’s interesting how Nakamura seems to have completely reinvented his style with Space Dandy. The character animation he did for episodes 1 and 17 really looks nothing like the classic Nakamura in terms of movement. I wonder if he got bored with his trademark style, or some of the new animators are inspiring him to try something new.
I enjoyed the particular humor of this episode, with the fish freaking out for no reason at the beginning and then turning into grilled fish in the scene at the end. It was a welcome change from the kind of humor the show usually goes for, which doesn’t really do it for me.
It was also interesting to see all sorts of non-Japanese animators on the episode, but despite them not usually working in anime, I thought the animation looked very anime-standard overall. I wonder if that’s the kind of movement those animators usually create, or if they were required to adapt.
It actually took me a while to watch this episode. I didn’t get to it until after the Yuasa one, since I’ve been plagued with buffering problems on Hulu and other places.
Anyway, I do agree that this was a very weird episode. Specifically, the two concepts of the capybara alien and the time stream, and the Ukuleleman pursuing Dandy, don’t really seem to gel well. Since for the most part they seem uninvolved with one another.
It’s in the spirit of the show to toss up ideas willy nilly, but here I would have really liked to focus on one concept. The Ukuleleman storyline feels suited for a more slow and measured pace than was allowed here; at least a whole episode’s worth of legroom.
(I also found it a little weird that the Capybara, along with her kin, is the only alien on the planet we see unpetrified. It kind of furthers the disconnect there.)
This was a decent episode if a little awkward, and the climax in the time stream is a whole other episode I wish I could’ve seen elsewhere, possibly in a goofier episode. I just noticed that the fate of the present QT and Meow is left up in the air. Which is a little odd considering this is an episode where Dandy is actually focused on saving them (which in itself is a little odd).
Thanks for the interview and the very nice insight into Bahi’s animation process. Thank you.
Thank you for your reasonableness, Lana
An old-school fan
Thank you, I appreciate it. Actually it looks like the last episode review finally went up today.
I’ve really enjoyed your insightful recaps for Ping Pong. Do you know when Cartoon Brew will be posting one for the final episode? Thanks!
“So if older fans prefer the old Lupin, they can have him. The new fans brought in by Fujiko prefer our more thoughtful version, thanks.”
Glad you liked the new show, but there’s no need to be so rude to fans of the older Lupin series. This is all about taste and last I checked, this article did not claim new fans were pretentious or deluded for liking Fujiko Mine, so please do not insinuate old-school fans are brainless fools for enjoying what they do.
Honestly, this show felt hollow to me, even though like Ben I wanted to like it and was excited for something other than another tired TV special. I’ve read analysis from people who love it and I am glad they found something in this series to love, but it’s just not for me I suppose.
I will admit, I liked some of the characterizations though, Lupin and Jigen’s especially. Oscar didn’t bother me so much either. And the art direction impressed me a lot too.
Is there any way to see this show without a paid subscription service? Do you know if there are plans to release it on dvd?
FYI: The Bobby’s girl animation was not from Koji Morimoto, Baji JD asked Morimoto about it, and he stated he was not involved, it was just Takashi Nakamura. Sean was contacted by him.
Even the Japanese sakuga wiki makes this mistake.
See note from Sean under video:
If it is as you say, Bavi Stock, was one of the minor works of Kaname Pro with The Humanoid or Fandora. It’s really loose in all aspects. While Kaname best works were for my Birth, Leda and Windaria. I bought many years ago the two Bavi Stock VHS and it was really a disappointment. There is also a music video animated by Kaname entitled “Rainbow Signal” of the japanese pop group “Hi-Fi Set". I’m decidiendome if I buy the LD of that video. There is also another OVA that, for me, this halfway entitled Watt Poe produced by Kaname but with a different name: “Diva” in production. You can see Kaname Pro fanzines in my blog. I also have other fanzines and a calendar of Kaname Pro, and also the artbooks of all works of the study, but I have not uploaded yet. Ben Greetings and thanks for your great page!
But where is it. I cannot find those episodes anywhere and I been searching the internet for 4 long years.
Good to hear! More exposure to Yuasa’s work is a great thing, and on CB too!
nice to see Cartoon Brew finally catch on to Anipages after years of pointedly ignoring my submissions of your stuff. :D
Qadim Haqq made a live painting exhibition
in Shizuoka and Nagano in April last year
It’s highly likely that Watanabe met him
and proposed this co-operation to him on that occasion.
If someone likes to know a little more about Haqq
and the Underground Resistance collective…
Thanks for the regular feedback, melchizedek!
The ending was definitely perplexing and out of the blue but fascinating. Mori’s animation of the mecha, effects and backgrounds in the second half definitely helped give the episode a visual edge to back up the writing. (and I’m pretty sure those BGs had to have been drawn by him though he’s not credited) Those CCTV drawings were really cool. The joke is obviously that the only characters Hisash Mori was allowed to touch in the episode was the crew in those shots because they’re masked, so model is less of an issue. Wouldn’t want a repeat of the hullaballoo of Samurai Seven ep 7.
Definitely the episode that had me laughing the most, which is saying a lot. I’m guessing the fishing section illustrations were by Gosei Oda, but that’s just a guess, I could be totally off.
I feel like even the intellectual-ness of the episode was a parody of cerebral SF writing. The dialogue is often circular, the equation that Dr. Gel is working on is solved when Dandy draws a pair of boobies in it, and the episode ends with the narrator bringing up a heretofore unmentioned (though not unfitting) war involving obsolete forms of data storage; a footnote that could have been ripped straight out of a Douglas Adams novel.
For an episode where the writing was the showcase, on various levels, I’m pleased that it also managed to remain visually interesting. The SFX animation was kinetic and lively, but I like that up until the end, it’s also used very subtly. The bold, heavy shadows are also a wise choice, giving everything a moody tone. Reminds me of old pulp illustrations. I also love the edgy, crazy looking drawings of the masked Aloha Oe crew stealing the book.
All in all, a very smartly planned out episode. Always a pleasure reading, Ben!
I just loved the sheer variety of gags in this episode! Some of them were misses, but others had me burst out laughing; like the thrice repeated double encounters, Meow’s disgusted reaction from having sat on the Chameleon-eon(?), and Scarlet losing her patience with Dandy and crew. She’s the only regular female character in the show with more than one facet, and I hope we see more of her in S2.
The illustrations were beautiful (who did those, I wonder), and I particularly like the wild and dynamic poses during, among other places, the quiz show segment. Good episode, either way.
Yuasa’s episode seems to be slated for the next season, it seems.
Thanks for these writeups. This episode just blew my mind with how silly it was!
Wow! Thanks for introducing me to the pink jacket series!
Someone needs to put together a clip showcase of Tatsuo Ryuno’s animation. It’s criminal that this guy is virtually unknown.
This episode is remarkably similiar to Yuya Ishii’s film Girl Sparks, in which the protagonist wants to escape her dilapidated hometown where her father owns a small screw factory (I’m pretty sure it was a screw factory). It even features a nod to space travel in the form of mysterious rockets in the sky, which presumably symbolize the protagonist’s desire to leave.
This episode was pretty darn good. The visual design was amazing and a world was put together that was bizarre and compelling. I did think Dandy looked a little weird in not a good way in a few shots, but luckily most of the focus wasn’t on him.
On top of the awesome visuals, I was the most happy with the fact that it didn’t reference a certain source of lame juvenile jokes that the whole show is obsessed with (everyone’s favorite “breasturant".) Lets hope for just as good a work on the Yuasa episode (though I do know Yuasa can be crude, can’t explain it but I like his crude humor better than most there is something more genuine about it).
Took the words right out of my mouth. The staff executed everything so well, and so cohesively in presenting the plant world, that I can’t really think of anything to fault them for. Perhaps the humor is a little more subdued this time around, but I’m okay with that. And now I can pin something on Eunyoung Choi to give me a feel for her work! Gotta keep an eye on her and Aymeric in the future.
I loved the relationship between the father and the daughter. There’s a scene in the middle of the episode where they’re discussing capturing the D-Core (or whatever it was called) and she just chimes in that she’s going with them. I cynically thought the father would tell her no, but instead there’s a wonderful, almost comedic beat in place of where a response would be. There’s a lot of unsaid development like that, that goes on during this episode, and it’s just lovely to watch.
That said, I expect Yuasa’s episode to be absolutely hilarious. Like you noted with Ping Pong, he’ll be heading back to more domestic stuff (which he’s no stranger to, of course). But it’s probably going to be awhile before he does something on the fantastic side again. Here’s hoping he revels in the creative opportunities.
Holy shit, you weren’t kidding about the music - the travel sequence at 11:38 onwards has one of the most forward-sounding instrumentals I’ve ever heard in anime.
Great to know you’re still there reading, Huw. Even I can’t believe I’m still doing episode reviews again after all these years…
I feel like I’m having a little harder time getting down to the essence of this particular show than I did in the past, because so far there just doesn’t seem like there’s that much there to dig up. Yuasa’s shows were so easy to blog because the unique distinguishing quirks were so many and so obvious, and there were so many unusual ideas and styles on display in each episode. This is such a different beast, although each episode is different enough that it’s somewhat worth it to blog episodically.
Strangely enough, Neighbors also sprang to mind for me. Interesting (and sad) how that parable can be retold in such a different context, and different age, and still be relevant.
Really been enjoying these write ups Ben, it’s good to follow a show along with your commentary on each episode. Just like old times!
I think you nailed the appeal of this show - ‘Sublime Idiocy’. I loved that surfing scene, where the catchy music kicked in, and its complete lack of respect for the laws of physics. The episode reminded me of that Norman McLaren short, ‘Neighbours’ - A classic anti-war parable set in a weird, self-contained little world.
Personally I hope that they don’t give some needless literal explanation for the constant resets (or the apparent lack of a need for oxygen in space) - I’d rather see them explore the characters or focus on capturing that feeling of euphoric stupidity. This is a fun cartoon for adult children! Not hard sci-fi.
Did anyone else think the backgrounds of the moon in this episode looked like something the late Jean “Moebius” Giraud would draw? I totally was getting flashbacks to his work in Arzach: http://www.ankaris.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/Old_Arzach_final.jpg
I actually liked this episode, though am well aware of its flaws. I guess what I liked about it was it really felt like a Watanabe show, it could have easily been a Cowboy Bebop episode. The road trip scenes were really nicely paced and good direction turned what could have been a overbearingly sappy moe story into something pretty well made. I guess what I liked the most were the long montages - I think the chief director is pretty good at this kind of stuff.
I still have major reservations about how they handle Dandy himself, he’s like Zap Brannagan from Futurama, but they try to make him likable, when if you were to meet someone like him he’d be completely unlikable - the character doesn’t work.
Yeah, this is probably my favourite episode so far. It doesn’t have the sheer animation extravaganza of eps 1 and 2, but it’s actually quite a feast with a bunch of very nice mechanical animation spread out. I liked the one shot with background animation that didn’t actually look like something you’d want to animate the background for, as it moved little and subtly. Just the fact that whoever did it went to the length of doing that I already like. Nakamura’s part was probably the Aloha Oe getting the burst, the part with all those impact frames he’s known for.
I like this episode as well because the direct comedy wasn’t really working very well in the show, and this episode doesn’t focus on that but on the episode long action set-piece, with sprinkles of jokes here and there. They work better in short doses. The Mickey Mouse/lawyer parody character was particularly amusing, as was the flower caster.
“I wonder if that was also part of Honda’s bit? Reminded me of the crying in the first Digimon movie by Hideki Hamasu.”
Ha, I thought the same. It’s those cheek lines! I’d say Honda is the only one from the KA list that jumps out as someone who might draw crying like that, and in the medium shot of her face when she starts crying she looks just like some character from the latest EVA movie.
Personally it was one of the nicest animation moments so far in the series, and since I did enjoy the episode it fit right in. I guess it comes down to how much the ’safeness’ of the episode bothers you. I revel in those montages set to poppy songs and Hayashi’s style of cutting, even if it’s not something daring or trying to break new ground. It simply pleases me at an aesthetic level and provides for an entertaining episode. And highly produced entertainment is what Dandy presents itself as from the beginning, after all.
Love Mihara. Like you say, he has a strong sense of dimension and anatomy, and I love how his characters have both a sense of heftiness and spindly movement. There’s a goofy elegance to how they behave, like they’re gesturing and shaping these invisible spaces around their bodies. There’s also a few backgrounds that stood out rather nicely.
The highlight of the episode where Dandy surfs away on the planet’s explosion is the perfect indicator as to what the show is about. Aside from setting up the surfboards in an earlier scene, there is no indication in the events prior, that Dandy would ever have to use them like that. It comes out of nowhere, and feels like it’s just there so that they can animate a sequence of a man surfing on the cel-shaded detritus of an exploding planet. And yet, why not? There’s a purity to that inane image, since it encapsulates the mixture of physicality, fluidity, and grace that makes surfing so… well, awesome. If dicking around the universe with half-purposes and unexpected bits of glory is what this show wants to do, then make it so.
There’s also a tiny scene at the beginning, where they show Meow’s room, that feels like a shout-out to Lain. Probably the darkened wire-laden, monitor-covered decor.
Well said. I think that they had their priorities wrong. To make us root for her, they would have been better off developing her and giving her personality rather than just stringing together all the cliched montage sequences they could. The animation of the crying was nice and all, but it felt like it was there just to hit a beat, like everything else, and wasn’t affecting at all. The whole ep just felt like reruns of cutesy scenes I’ve seen before in other shows. The plot was trite and a blatant play for sympathy in a way that would require some kind of subversive or smart touch to make it actually interesting.
The train sequence felt like it was there only by necessity, and felt lacking in the rhythm and tension needed to make it work. I suppose it was meant to be ironic, combining comedy with action with the slo-mo shot of the fat Dandy penguin floating there for an interminably long time until he suddenly launches into the train, but it just felt awkward, like lazy action choreography.
It was indeed pretty simple, and didn’t have as much of the patented Dai Sato craziness as his best Champloo episodes. I think he was basically trying to work with Mihara’s idea here and didn’t have completely free rein, so maybe that wound up cramping his style. I chalk it up to going for a fable-like feeling, but I agree that the episode feels a little less than what it could have been, a little underdeveloped. There really isn’t much more to it than the synopsis.
Contrast this with episode 2 on handling drama. Looking back on my other comment, it’s kind of hard for me to say that anything feels “right” for such a chameleon-esque show. That said, I still don’t like this episode.
It’s very hard to make me like orphan-looking-for family stories, and gluing the front and back with two montage pretty much sunk the episode for me. The girl had hints of mischievousness at the beginning, but that diffuses because it’s more important to the writers for her to be cute and vulnerable. Any real contention or fire is traded in favour of hitting the same beats.
And that pretty much describes the whole thing. It’s polished and uniform, soft gradients and unvarying lines. As a standard of quality, it’s not a bad place to be. It’s just all so staid. Even the train chase sequence feels (to me) like it has no steam. Something about the timing of the cuts and poses that feel like it lacks the necessary urgency and snappiness of a better action scene. Or maybe it’s the focus on Dandy in his fat, stuffed penguin body trying to catch up with the bad guys that makes it feel slow. Which is kind of funny, now that I think about it. Like some antithesis to action.
On a more positive note, this episode reminded me of that Amazing Nuts! short, Global Astroliner.
I can see why people would like it, and it wasn’t badly done at all. In this case it’s largely a question of personal taste. I would rather see a well done episode like this that just isn’t my cup of tea than a flat-out badly done episode. I might have liked the episode better if it didn’t feel like it was trying so hard to play the cuteness card and let the story play out a little more deadpan. I’m less surprised that episode 6 would be divisive. That crying sequence was well animated. I wonder if that was also part of Honda’s bit? Reminded me of the crying in the first Digimon movie by Hideki Hamasu.
The drawings were definitely cartoonishly stylized in a way that was effective in its own way, I agree. It’s always cool to see how a different sakkan will approach the characters.
I was expecting a more unabashed departure from the show’s usual look from a solo Mihara episode, but it was still quite nice indeed. The ‘climactic’ fight between the aliens was bizarre and amusing, and I like the concept on paper -good for satire, and offbeat in the good way, like you say-, but if anything I was disappointed by Sato’s actual script. The story structure is so simple and basic, with the action going back and forth between the groups, the dialogues of the aliens essentially being identical copies, and that’s pretty much the whole episode up until the climax. It came off as played out and trite writing, and it was off in the context of everything else on display.
I loved the look of this episode. It was extremely well drawn in a way very different from all the other episodes, looking much more unique and stylized. I’m not familiar with this episode’s AD, but I think he did a great job.
There are those who feel this episode was their favorite, even a few weeks after the fact, which is to be expected since with so many different setups and creative teams not everyone is going to always react the same way to every single episode.
Conversely, there are certainly those who like it the least. Episode 6 also tends to be a bit divisive, I’ve found, though most people liked the ending of that one anyway.
I honestly liked episode 5 a fair amount myself, despite being relatively standard content underneath everything else. Sometimes you don’t need to break new ground.
I felt the direction managed to effectively transmit enough of a feeling of warmth and cuteness. The animation wasn’t spectacular yet supported that sensation a couple of times, including but not limited to the girl’s crying sequence near the end. The space penguin stuff also caused me a bit of a chuckle, though I suppose humor is also a personal matter.
Other than that…well, I thought the character wasn’t too developed but came across as surprisingly tolerable. That said, like with a couple of other episodes in my opinion, this one might have been better off as a two-parter to give the story and the characters a little more room.
I completely see where you’re coming from. The episodes have been well produced so far overall, but there isn’t much of a pull other than that - no strong characterization, interesting story, or any pull at the emotions. Those are the things that usually get people to LOVE a series, and short of having these, Space Dandy is admittedly just nice eye candy for now.
Bumping this topic again!
While Nippon Animation series were quite popular, during the early 90s TMS tried to compete with WMT by producing similar series based on literature.
What is noteworthy is that character designer J.Seiki worked freelance on both studios! Some series of TMS and Nippon were broadcasted at the same year too. Same character design, yet different studio and under a different broadcaster!
Most notable series were adaptations of “The Twins at St Clare’s", “A Dog of Flanders” and perhaps their most notable work, the adaptation of “Lottie and Lisa".
While the first two were popular in mainland Europe, the latter remains unknown and there isnt even a Japanese DVD release. With 29 episodes instead of 26 to boot at.
I wanted to see this series for years and now that they uploaded it with mediocre VHS quality, I think this series is more WMT than the WMT series of that period. It is also noteworthy that it takes place simultaneously in Vienna and Munich.
though some inaccuracies are unavoidable, attention to detail reminds of the older Nippon Titles.
perhaps this is the most down-to-earth adaptation of the 90s. One reason probably it wasnt exported abroad. Unjust for such a high quality series.
This was the first episode of the series that I found legitimately funny. Unfortunately so far, the series as a whole seems to be carried only by its visuals and the skill of the people behind the episodes. I enjoyed episodes 1 and 2 (and 5, even if you haven’t covered it yet) because they looked fantastic, but as soon as the animation comes down to more human levels like in episode 3, the show starts to lose its appeal. Fortunately the show looks amazing more often than not, but if it wasn’t for that it would be quite the disappointment.