I think I finally understand the message of Space Dandy

So I have seen episode 6.

I think I understand where the creators are going with this. I don’t necessarily approve, but I think I understand.

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Some of the art is really ugly and under-developed. Look at the outlines. Look at those cans and the overlapping outlines of the handlebars and the window. They seriously went out of their way to rub our faces in that.

A lot of the Japanese people making animated shows nowadays are serious about art that is rooted in pencils on paper. I don’t love pencils on paper. If pencil-worship results in ugly anime, I’d rather go straight to CGI. Every visual can be done in CGI and I’ll still buy it. I would rather have a pretty, consistent show that’s 100% CGI than inconsistent art that shows its pencil-on-paper roots.

And the episode set-up is easy to miss if you’re not paying attention.

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Most of the plot is annoyingly pointless shaggy-dog story.

The final climax of the episode is too good to spoil by discussion. I think Dandy is a self-portrait of the creative team, and I think they’re making a comment on the kinds of shows they make.

This doesn’t just apply to this show. Many of the people on this team threw together Cowboy Bebop with an incredibly small amount of preparation. Both shows can be interpreted as statements of the slacker attitude and the importance of improvisation in art. The difference is that Cowboy Bebop came out looking pretty and this looks ugly.


Some of the people who make this show have made other shows that I like better, such as Ergo Proxy and Cowboy Bebop. And because we know they made those, we keep hoping that it will turn out to resemble those shows.

And now I’m pretty sure that it won’t.

I don’t think this is going to be a bad show. But I don’t think it’s going to be the kind of show that I like.

The Impressionists made art with very visible brush-strokes, to the point where the brush-strokes distract people from the overall picture. They did it as a reaction against a finicky art market in which buyers didn’t want to bid on paintings where the brush-strokes were easily visible.

There might be a little bit of understated philosophy to this show, but it’s not going to be pretty and finely-tuned. If you like the kind of art where you can’t see the brush-strokes without a magnifying glass, this show is going to be like Impressionism.

I think the creative team is going to rub my nose in the fact that they’re making the show they want to make, not the show I want to watch. That’s fine. I’ll still watch it to the end, on the off chance that it gets better. If nothing else, it’s more watchable than Michiko to Hatchin.

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