The only explanation for this screencap is “Yuasa”
|Each season I seem to blog one serious show and one bizarre-o show. Space Dandy is that bizarre-o show for me, and this week proves that more than ever. I don’t know how Yuasa Masaaki – the infamous guest director for this episode – manages to think of things like this. It takes serious talent and insanity to base your story around so many elements that make zero sense and still have an amazing tale to tell.|
Talking fish, teleportation devices, and planet-hopping via motorboat are just some of the crazy parts of this giant, even crazier story. Many of Yuasa’s works feel and look like fever dreams. First of all, they share the same bright, psychedelic colours and nonsensical imagery such as talking heads and smoking fish. I’m sure a lot of you have had similar dreams about flying cows or something and you wake up the next day wondering what the heck spurred on such a thing. Secondly, dreams can be very difficult to recall clearly. Certain things may be vividly remembered, but transitions from one place to the next are often hazy and difficult to recall with clarity. Likewise, the animation is often very loose, causing characters to move in ways that would be utterly impossible in real life. Intense action scenes, such as the journey to planet Girlfriend, are also sketchy and hard to see. Finally, even everyday objects look alien. From regular grilled fish to ramen to Dandy himself, everything looks just enough off that you don’t quite recognize it as the real thing. It’s a very uncanny feeling.
Dream-like is really the best way I can describe his style. It’s amazing the kind of trippy things he thinks up, and this style works very well for Space Dandy’s formula. It changes every week anyways, so Dandy can totally chill with a talking fish for an episode without anything else being affected in the long run. I didn’t think I would, but I really enjoyed this episode. It kept me guessing the entire time and it was ridiculous. Yet despite how surreal it all was, it told a captivating story about a cast-off alien who lived alone for 100 years researching a planet. It was a story about losing a loved one and then seeking revenge. It was a story about the importance of seeking knowledge that doesn’t just directly benefit yourself, because other important truths are out there that have a bigger impact than you’d think. But mostly…it was about Dandy getting food and proving that slow and steady wins the race. The way it all came back around to that one theme after such a wild ride was incredible. What a great payoff seeing Meow starve then finally, finally get to fill his stomach with the most delicious grilled fish imaginable.
There are so many components to the episode that I could possibly talk about. It’s just that cool. But in the end I think my favourite part of the episode is the poor fish trying to warn his kind about their impending doom and killing himself out of rage. He’s spent all that time alone on a planet that’s holes with one invisible halibut to keep him company. I’m amazed he’s not insane. But the work he’s done is impressive. He figures out that long ago, this planet used to have a very large tree with roots that traveled clean through the planet. It’s really neat to think of a planet with a cycle that causes it to burn every 100 years, while also pulling in unfortunate planets as satellites. So this episode manages to emphasize not just the plight of this fishy researcher and Dandy, but a whole system of planets that have been changing gradually over time due to the forces of nature.
And of course fish would live in WATERcolours
The irony is that when he returns to planet Girlfriend, he is told that it was all a trick to get rid of him. Yeah, that’s right, some girl fish didn’t love him back so she shipped him off to a planet called “Pushy Boyfriend” and he still couldn’t get the hint. He is that pushy boyfriend!!! But in the end he was right all along. His research was fundamentally important for their survival. But he’s ignored, so everyone dies in a crisp despite figuring out the secret to living 100 years. Ouch. So even as we push hard for things like stem cell research right now in our society, we still need to be wary of everything else around us. You can’t just focus on one thing and throw out everything else. Otherwise, your society is doomed to be burnt to a crisp. Or something like that. There are a lot of possible “moral of the day” type morsels of advice you can glean from this episode. I suppose the most important one is, as Dandy says: “slow and steady wins the race, baby!”
Dandy PSA: Wear sunglasses, baby! Especially if you’ve got blue eyes!