Space Dandy(Japanese: スペース☆ダンディ,Hepburn: Supēsu Dandi?) is a 2014 Japanese anime series produced by Bones. The series follows Dandy, an alien hunter who is "a dandy guy in space," in search for aliens with his robot assistant QT and a cat-like alien named Meow. The anime has been licensed by Funimation in North America, Madman Entertainment in Australia and by Anime Limited in the United Kingdom. The series premiered in the United States before Japan on January 4, 2014 at 11:30pm on Adult Swim's Toonami block. The series began airing in Japan on Tokyo MX at 11:00pm on January 5, 2014, followed by TV Osaka, TV Aichi, BS Fuji and AT-X. The series is also simulcasted in South East Asia at the same time as Japan on Animax Asia. A manga adaptation is currently running in Square Enix's Young Gangan magazine since December 20, 2013. The 13 episodes of the first season aired from January to March 2014, and the second half of the season premiered on July 5, 2014.
The space opera series follows the misadventures of Dandy, an alien hunter who is "a dandy guy in space," in search of undiscovered or rare aliens with his robot assistant QT and a cat-like alien named Meow. Though he and his crew act with the best intentions, despite being normally dimwitted and next to useless, Dandy is unaware that he is being pursued by Dr. Gel of the Gogol Empire.
Throughout the series, with the final episode explaining the reason of its loose continuity, some episodes take place in an alternative universe where the main protagonists and antagonists end up dying, getting turned to zombies, or getting trapped in different periods of time or dimension. There are also Easter eggs, in the form of references to older science fiction, music, and anime.
Crew of the Aloha Oe
The Aloha Oe crew. From left to right: Dandy, Meow, and QT.
Space Dandy is an easygoing and forgetful young man working as an alien hunter whose job is to discover new alien life forms across the galaxy and have them registered with the Space Alien Registration Center. He is the captain of the Aloha Oe(アロハオエ号,Arohaoe-gō), his personal spaceship. The cockpit of the Aloha Oe can split off into an escape pod dubbed the Little Aloha(リトルアロハ,Ritoru Aroha) and it displays the ability to transform into a robot called the "Hawaii Yankee" (ハワヤンキー,Hawayankī). Dandy regularly visits an intergalactic Hooters-type restaurant known as "BooBies" (ブービーズ,Būbīzu) where he indulges in his posterior fetish and dreams of someday buying out the franchise. Dandy is also shown to have many hidden talents, including being a prodigal surfer capable of surfing abstract concepts such as time and has a deep understanding of physics, such as discovering that when a person "warps" on ships, they are actually moving their conciousness to a universe that is slightly further ahead in the same timeline rather than moving to a different area of the same universe. Unbeknownst to him, unaware of their pursuit for him, Dandy is targeted by the Golgol Empire due to his connection to a reality-defying element called pyonium. Ultimately, after the universe comes to an end, Dandy is revealed to be, unbeknownst to even himself, an omnipresent figure who exists in any and all hypothetical timelines (with his various skillsets belonging to other previous Dandies), while turning down the position of god of the new multiverse (because as a body-less god, he wouldn't be able to go to BooBies), leaving the current universe with the words "Stay dandy, baby". The series ends where it began (with Dandy and QT heading to Boobies, where they will meet Meow for the first time), except Dandy's experiences from his multiverse-hopping adventures have made him grow as a person and wonder if he is the same as he was before.
A member of Dandy's crew, a robot that resembles and also operates as a vacuum cleaner. QT boasts being more intelligent and competent than its fellow crewmates, but its usefulness is stymied by problems caused by its outdated hardware such as memory shortages and battery outages. Despite being feminine in voice and some of its mannerisms, QT is referred to as a male by Dandy and Meow on several occasions. It is capable of feeling a wide range of emotions, but for the most part sees them as confusing, extraneous, and unnecessary for computing. QT is also obsessed with everything being peaceful and orderly, and as a result is shown to be an avid fisher due to the zen-like nature of it. QT is also shown to be capable of feeling love, having fallen in love with a sentient coffee making robot in the season one finale, but gave up after it realized the robot was itself in love with the store's sentient cash register, who QT was forced to fight to after the register turned out to be part of an anti-human extremist terror organization. QT is then shown drinking a cup of coffee in remembrance of its lost love. QT appears with Dandy in the new universe, unaware of the adventures that they have yet to undertake and acting puzzled by Dandy's questioning of himself.
A dimwitted cat-like Betelgeusian(ベテルギウス星人,Beterugiusu-seijin) who is brought aboard the Aloha Oe after Dandy and QT mistake him for a new species of alien. His real name is Me#$%* (pronounced Merowmreowreow), and is called Mew by his friends back at home. His name, "Meow", is given to him by Dandy as neither he nor QT could comprehend his real name. Aside from lounging around the Aloha Oe, he aids Dandy by giving him advice on where to find rare aliens, to varying degrees of success. Meow also displays many earth cat-like tendencies, such as an aversion to dogs, spending an entire episode angrily shunning a dog-like alien, before breaking down in tears when she died after he realized that she still liked him despite his spiteful attitude towards her. Meow comes from a family lineage of metalworkers, and was set to inherit the family company before leaving Betelgeuse to become an alien hunter due to his frustration at living a monotonous existence, but after spending time there with Dandy and QT, Meow learns to appreciate his home and family.
The ruler of the Gogol Empire (ゴーゴル帝国,Gōgoru Teikoku), which is at war with the Jaicro Empire for control of the universe. He sends Dr. Gel to capture Dandy, claiming he is the key to the future of the universe. His public appearance is that of a skull-headed figure with miniature "planets" orbiting around his head while there is a cosmos within his cloak, it is a hologram that conceals his true appearance: a middle aged human in a business suit.
A gorilla-like scientist working for the Gogol Empire, Dr. Gel endlessly pursues Dandy from his spaceship, which resembles the head of the Statue of Liberty with a ball gag in her mouth that can attach to a robot body. However, despite getting close to capturing Dandy on some occasions, Gel always ends up failing in a humiliating fashion or going down with his ship. Once Gel captured Dandy, he ends being fatally wounded by Bea and lives long enough to see the universe undone. His character resembles Jet Black from Cowboy Bebop with the same voice actor.
Dr. Gel's right-hand assistant, a diminutive alien whose head resembles a cucumber. In reality, Bea is actually an agent of the Jaicro Empire who spied on the Gogol Empire until he betrays both factions once Dandy is captured with the intention to become a god. However, Bea gets crushed to death by Gel after he fatally shot him.
Originally a Chameleonian, a rare shape-shifting alien that the Aloha Oe crew unknowingly happen upon and became a victim of his own deception while posing as Dandy, he transcended from the physical realm into the God of the known universes. The Narrator observed the Dandys' misadventures, sometimes telepathically interacting with the characters. In the finale, beginning to fade away as the universe is undone, the Narrator attempted to have Dandy replace him as the God of the new universe. But is shocked when Dandy refuses before being shot and completely fading from existence.
A blonde-haired "blockhead" whose actual name is Lady Nobra and is half-Cloudian. Working as a waitress, or "Breast" (ブレスト,Buresuto), at the BooBies restaurant, or rather "Breastaurant" (ブレストラン,buresutoran), Honey seems to enjoy the Aloha Oe crew's usual visits all the time. While captured by Dr. Gel, Honey's lineage is revealed while Dandy attempted to go after her older half-brother Gentle Nobra, who in turn launched an attack on Gel's ship that destroyed his cloud while she escaped harm in midst the chaos.
A collected, no nonsense inspector at the space alien registration center tasked with evaluating the aliens brought by Dandy and paying him accordingly when he brings her a worthy specimen. She is also a skilled fighter and can easily see through Dandy's tricks when he attempts to deceive her. She also has shown romantic interest in Dandy on more than one occasion throughout the series, along with a history of failed romances that include her stalking ex-boyfriend Dolph.
Johnny is the commander of the Jaicro Empire, a rival of the Golgol Empire. Also revealed to be an aspiring musician, concealing his identity from them, Johnny once formed a rock band with the Aloha Oe crew called the "Dropkix." Though their band was short lived and remembered as an one-hit wonder, Johnny's responsibility to the Dropkix indirectly lead to a cessation of hostilities between the two empires. When news of Dandy's capture reaches him, Johnny leads an attack on the Gogol Empire before being erased along with the universe.
Professor Duran is a Jaicro imperial scientist who specializes in researching Pyonium energy. He was brought before the court during Dandy's trial when he found evidence of the supposed murder was revealed to have a Pyonium influence, he realizes that Dandy was more than he appeared and reported his capture to Johnny.
The anime is directed by Shingo Natsume, with Shinichiro Watanabe serving as general director, and produced by Bones. The anime began airing on Adult Swim's Toonami programming block in North America on January 4, 2014, one day before its Japanese premiere on Tokyo MX on January 5. The anime has been licensed by Funimation in North America, Madman Entertainment in Australia, and by Anime Limited in the United Kingdom. The series' opening theme is "Viva Namida" (ビバナミダ,Biba Namida, "Viva Tears") performed by Yasuyuki Okamura and the ending theme is "X-Jigen e Yōkoso" (X次元へようこそ,Ekkusu Jigen e Yōkoso, "Welcome to the Xth Dimension") performed by Etsuko Yakushimaru.
The Adult Swim broadcasts initially used an instrumental track for these sequences due to licensing issues, but the eighth episode onward featured "Viva Namida," as have subsequent rebroadcasts of the first seven episodes. The English version is produced by Funimation in Fort Worth, Texas using its local acting talent pool. The series' ADR voice directors include Zach Bolton and Joel McDonald. The series is also simulcasted at the same time as Japan by Animax Asia in South East Asia with both Japanese and English audio.
A manga adaptation began serialization in Square Enix's Young Gangan magazine on December 20, 2013. The first tankōbon volume was released on March 25, 2014.
A video game Space Galaga was released on Android on January 24, 2014 and on iOS on February 6, 2014.
Alasdair Wilkins of the A.V. Club gave Space Dandy a B+, calling it a "proudly frivolous show".