Reviews & Columns
Reviews
DVD
TV on DVD
Blu-ray
4K UHD
International DVDs
In Theaters
Reviews by Studio
Video Games

Features
Collector Series DVDs
Easter Egg Database
Interviews
DVD Talk Radio
Feature Articles

Columns
Anime Talk
DVD Savant
Horror DVDs
The M.O.D. Squad
Art House
HD Talk
Silent DVD

discussion forum
DVD Talk Forum

Resources
DVD Price Search
Customer Service #'s
RCE Info
Links

Columns




Space Dandy: Season 1 (Funimation.com Exclusive - Limited Edition)

FUNimation // Unrated // March 3, 2015
List Price: $129.98 [Buy now and save at Funimation]

Review by Neil Lumbard | posted March 2, 2015 | E-mail the Author


http-equiv="content-type">
Space Dandy Season 1 Blu-ray Review


Space Dandy is an over-the-top
action-sci-fi comedy
series from acclaimed anime director ShinichirĊ Watanabe (Cowboy
Bebop
, Samurai
Champloo
, Kids on the Slope) and Shingo Natsume. The series
focuses
upon a Space Dandy (as the title of the series suggests he is someone
egotistical and is obsessive over appearances) as he explores the
universe with
intergalactic missions to find strange aliens who have never been
identified.
This plot is ultimately about collecting enough money from the sale of
aliens
to go out to eat.  


Dandy goes around the universe with his best pal
robot named
QT (who uses an outdated CPU so he isn't able to compute the most
current
information) and a common alien creature by the name of Meow who looks
like a
alien version of a cat. Together, the three of them go about getting
paid for
their alien discoveries (if they don't die by the end of an episode). style=""> During several adventures by Dandy and co. the
entire team dies in an explosion or another oddly random conclusion.
When they
don't simply explode they spend their earnings to go out searching for
a meal
at a Hooters like restaurant named BooBies, which is the only place
regularly
visited and where Dandy likes to eat.  In
essence that's the entirety of the show's establishment.
(Unfortunately.)


For some measure of antagonists to the series
protagonists, Space
Dandy
introduces an Admiral Perry who has a strange appearance and
is in charge
of a intergalactic war. He enlists his gorilla-like alien named Dr. Gel
to find
and take out Dandy.  Dr. Gel's assistant
is a alien who looks a lot like a cucumber and goes by the name of Bea.


Watanabe (who serves as the general director of
the series)
has clearly conceived of the show as being a form of Space Opera spoof
which is
meant to poke fun at a host of other popular anime creations over the
past
several decades. Some of the comedy is supposed to come from this and
some of
it seems to actually be intended as hilarious simply from the
characters and
universe of this show. Unfortunately, a lot of the things Space
Dandy
is
spoofing are already annoying in badly done anime productions. Adding
them into
this show doesn't make this series any better. The humor isn't really
all that,
well, humorous. In fact... all of these aspects help to make Space
Dandy
feel like a rare misfire from director Watanabe. It is worth
noting that Watanabe as general director is overseeing the entire
series but other directors (many of whom are acclaimed in the in
industry) were involved on directing specific one-off episodes.


If there are some more positive aspects of the
production
they fall into supporting elements of the series and not the
storytelling
itself. While the scriptwriting and character development is rather
lackluster
at times, the animation is one of the keys to a lot of the wonder of a
Watanabe
series and this series is no different in that regard. With Space
Dandy
,
there is at least the feeling that many of the bizarre and ambitious
sequences
of elaborate action-adventure and of intergalactic exploration was done
with
the same dedication to craft. I wouldn't go as far as to say it's on
par Cowboy
Bebop
but it's clearly the work of the same director. This is at
least a
silver lining to an underdeveloped story and other disappointing
aspects. A lot of the
problems I
had with Space Dandy began with the writing. The characters
feel flat
and the comedy mostly disappoints. For this reason, style="font-style: italic;">Space Dandy is not as strong of a
work for Watanabe.


Alas, animation alone does not make this series
succeed at
what it set out to accomplish. It is also worth noting that even though
the
anime artwork is quite sufficient it's also a bit sad to continue to
see anime moving
away from the hand drawn production approach. (Update: A reader has
pointed out that many aspects were "hand-drawn" but by drawing into a
tablet pad where animation is then worked with on computers.) This is
Watanabe's most
digital-looking
production to date and even with stunning production design attributes
one
almost can't help but yearn for the traditional cel-based style used to
perfection on Cowboy
Bebop
.


The music composed by the "Space Dandy Band" is
also a far cry from other Watanabe works, which largely relied upon the
dynamic
genius of Yoko Kanno (the greatest composer in all of anime music). Nor
is
there any of the cutting-edge DJ and hip-hop music as found in Samurai
Champloo
. While it's also fine for filmmakers to try new things
artistically (and Space Dandy succeeds at being an attempt at
something
"different" for Watanabe if nothing else) it's also a drawback that
the music for this series shares a lot more in common with the majority
of the productions
coming out yearly.


While Kanno ended up sharing a few tracks for the
series, it
certainly marks a huge difference compared to the several soundtracks
she has
composed for previous works from Watanabe. Some might find the music
comparison
unnecessary but it is worth noting that some of the greatest
collaborations in
all of the medium have happened between director and composer. Watanabe
and
Kanno are the pinnacle of such collaborative approaches in the anime
world. Space
Dandy
is even musically amiss by not finding all of the right
musical notes.


Watanabe is still an important director with a
good knack of
cinematic energy but Space Dandy may end up a divisive creation
that
won't appeal to all of the fans who adore his previous work. Space
Dandy

is quite unlike anything else done before by its director and audiences
expecting the emotional gravitas found on Bebop, the adventure
of Champloo,
or the jazzy slice-of-life approach of Kids on the Slope will
be
surprised to find a comedy series that will more likely bring to mind Robot
Chicken
or Aqua Teen Hunger Force (with better production
values).


 The
Blu-ray:


style="margin: 0in 0in 0.0001pt; text-align: center;" align="center">style="">


Video:


Space Dandy: Season 1style=""> is presented on
Blu-ray across two discs and has been encoded in 1080p MPEG-4 AVC with
the
original television broadcast aspect ratio of 1.78:1 widescreen. This
is a
native high-definition series which showcases the animation in all of
its
glory. The artwork and animation detail is strong throughout and the
series
color, depth, and clarity are well presented.  This
is a good presentation of the show. There
is occasional minor banding but it is otherwise impressive. Funimation
has done
a solid job on this release.


Audio:


There are two audio options on this release: English
5.1 Dolby TrueHD
and Japanese 2.0 stereo Dolby TrueHD. English subtitles are provided.
The audio
track seems to default to a negative offset, which means many viewers
might
want to
check their receivers to see if they need to crank the volume up more
than
usual for viewing Space Dandy. The
Japanese language track does seem particularly soft on occasion. The
dialogue is well reproduced though and is easy enough to understand.
The music
and sound effects have been reasonably integrated into the sound mixes.
Space Dandy has a slightly-above average
surround mix and a average stereo mix. Funimation's
presentation is
quite modest but is generally solid and should please most fans.

Extras:


The style="font-weight: bold;">Funimation.com
Exclusive Limited Edition
includes exclusive packaging and
pack-in items
as can be seen
in the below image:


 src="http://www.dvdtalk.com/reviews/images/reviews/275/full/1425285121_1.jpg"
height="394" width="700">

"See you, Space
Dandy?"



Commentaries are
provided on episodes 1 and 10 with
select members of the English dub voice cast and ADR directors, vol. 1
teaser trailer,
Space Dandy promo videos, commercials,
Blu-ray and DVD promo commercials, textless opening/ending videos, a
U.S. trailer
for Space Dandy, and trailers
promoting other Funimation releases.


Dandy Guy in Space:
Part 1(HD, 35 min.)
is the biggest
supplemental inclusion. It is a interview based behind-the-scenes
documentary
featuring the English dub cast and ADR directors talking about the
characters,
the show, and the process of working on the English language version of
Space Dandy. This behind the scenes look
also features clips from episodes of Space
Dandy
.


Final Thoughts:


Space Dandystyle=""> is the weakest series to date from acclaimed director
Watanabe. It has a weak line-up of characters which mainly seem
to fill
standard anime archetype roles. This comedic series actually shares
more in common with
successful Cartoon Network Adult Swim programs than it does previous
Watanabe
series like Cowboy Bebop and Samurai Champloo, though
the
animation remains a stellar attribute.


Funimation has done a solid job
with regards to picture and sound
quality. Fans of the series should consider it a worthy investment to
own the
show. However, newcomers might find renting the series to be sufficient
as it's
possible even massive fans of previous Watanabe productions may find style="">Space Dandy decidedly disappointing.


Rent It.



Neil Lumbard is a lifelong fan of cinema. He aspires to make movies and has written two screenplays on spec. He loves writing, and currently does in Texas.


C O N T E N T

V I D E O

A U D I O

E X T R A S

R E P L A Y

A D V I C E
Rent It

E - M A I L
this review to a friend
Popular Reviews
1. Friendsgiving
2. Isn't She Great
3. The Last Remake of Beau Geste
4. The Short History of the Long Road - Special Edition


Sponsored Links
Sponsored Links