Cartoons tend to be pretty well-defined. There’s a series bible full of drawings of how the characters should look from every angle, what the core of their personality is like, what the core of the show is like, and all the important things that have to remain consistent throughout the series.
In this regard, Space Dandy is no different. The characters have one look most of the time, and only really look different when things get weird. The same goes for the general art style and color palette. Even though Dandy gets weird pretty often, there’s a definite sense of what the “core” of Space Dandy is. It’s an amalgamation of comedy and sci-fi tropes and styles, and an experimental fun time for its team of creators.
But at the same time, Space Dandy breaks a lot of rules. It doesn’t try to always have a point, or have a good narrative structure, or make sense–even internally. I always think back to that favorite phrase of college professors–you have to know the rules to break them. At its foundation, Space Dandy is a proper cartoon, yet it also is full with deliberately improper things.
In a way, episode six has two parts. The beginning and the end are about Dandy’s surf boards, while the mid-section is an utterly pointless plot about Dandy and Meow failing to convince two warring aliens to find peace. Leading into the mission, Space Dandy remarks that “the whole thing is indefinite, isn’t it?” I don’t think Space Dandy is indefinite to the core, but it definitely plays with the idea of being undefined. Was this episode funny? Was it action, or comedy, or drama? Really, the whole thing was one big excuse for an awesome scene of Dandy surfing the explosion of a moon to the perfect music. And that, surprisingly, feels pretty okay.