Episode 21: A World With No Sadness, Baby
We’ve had stories where Dandy and his misfit companions get blown up and die, turned into zombies, Dandy getting kicked out of time and space to a place far beyond comprehension, even an episode where they are replaced by an alternate emo-esque Dandy and crew. The big underlining question that is probably on every viewer’s mind is how did he survive? The underlining theme that’s been playing throughout this show since the first episode has been the idea of parallel dimensions- as here we are briefly shown the river of time again. Space Dandy has never been a show let alone strict drama to toy with this entire idea fully interwoven into an episode like this until now. An idea that death isn’t just the end but another path for Dandy to travel on.
Shinichiro Watanabe wrote this- you can tell when he’s writing for an episode rather than directing it because of how deep and slow-paced it is! Yasuhiro Nakura has done a ton of character designing over the years- Moomin series, Acorns and the Wildcat film, even fronted all the animation in Metropolis but here he is at the director’s chair and it paid off wonderfully! As soon as I heard that Santiago Montiel would be headlining the visuals for this rendition of Space Dandy I was so surprised- he’s got this serious-nature to his art unnatural for a a comedy series let alone Space Dandy episode. As he did a amazing work on Giovanni’s island which is why I was a bit skeptical about this. Here though the background art stunningly captured how avant-garde this episode was! Amazing visuals!
The big question that starts off here is ultimately what happens to Dandy when he dies? He has no recollection of what had happened and what is going on with his own life now- am I sensing a Memento theme? One would think so. The afterlife or what is displayed here is just as described as a place between worlds- one that is exquisitely beautiful and its inhabitants are strangely designed. A weird take on a usually comedic anime was a wonderful idea here! The chorus hand creatures were one of the highlights here as this was a first in Space Dandy to give off the feeling of philosophical enlightenment about life after death in a not so humorous way. The personal black box was an interesting take on holding onto memories after we’re dead. Was it just me or did this episode even feel like a Mushishi episode? All the creatures were pivotal for the whole planet Limbo and Dandy was at the center of it all- happiness without sadness and Dandy topped this profound question! Ferdinand could have been taken right out of a Del Toro film, as his voice was so obscure in how he talked. Even the mouth-hand monster was deliberately used from Pan’s Labyrinth. Still after 20+ episodes this show is able to have imaginative designs for its aliens!
The animation well-drawn and the sound effects here were highly important in carrying the story along more so than any story about Dandy than we’ve had previously. Since its second half began Dandy has been on more adventures without Meow and QT than he ever had in the first part. This allows for the individual episode characters to shine much more! Such a melancholy style to it this was one Dandy episode that couldn’t leave its comedy behind especially with Ferdinand’s line “I’m your someone” resonated with Dandy so well in this! The best line however has got to be when Dandy runs away “I’m going to Boobies! You can take this and shove it!” The monstrous talking candies- haha! It’s episodes like this that makes me enjoy anime soundtracks so much as it was quite varied! Was the winged woman playing Aruarian Dance from the Samurai Champloo soundtrack- if so that’s an awesome tie in! Very intriguing and intelligent episode of Space Dandy that gives a rather abstract and surreal vision of the afterlife.
OVERALL IMPRESSION: 10/10