Every time I participate in the Anime Blogger Secret Santa project, I try to take on all three of the shows that I’m recommended at once and make a point to finish at least one of them. This year, I received three totally fascinating choices which had me anxious to check them out, but I also ended up with the least time that I’ve had in a while to afford to them and only ended up watching a little bit of each.
If you know much about me, then you probably know that I’m often a lot more interested in the meta side of anime consumption than I am in actually watching things. I like putting shows into a grand narrative or context and trying to uncover greater truths about anime via the things that I watch. The recommendations that I got this year were perfect in that only one of them was a show which I’d already been planning to watch because I thought I’d enjoy it, whereas the other two could lead to fascinating avenues of meta.
When a sci-fi series in any medium tries to invent all kinds of everyday-use technology, it invariably ends up dating itself. A future filled with CRT monitors and gigantic cell phones is always going to mark itself as pre-flatscreens and smartphones, for instance.
Space Dandy, however, is atemporal. In its desire to be at once a futuristic sci-fi series, but also a throwback to the style of sci-fi pulp stories from the Space Adventure Cobra days, it elects to throw technology from different eras into a blender and create something that transcends time.
Dandy’s robot, QT, runs like an old, hunky PC, with limited battery life, outdated software, and printed-out punchcards. Meow uses a smartphone to take pervy pictures of the ladies in the Boobies bar, that seems to be running on a totally modern Android OS. Dandy’s ship can warp through space, but the teleporter is an “old model,” that takes about as much time to transfer people from one place to another as a camera did to take a picture in the 1800s.
The entire show is an anachronism. It’s digitally drawn, but Dandy looks like he walked out of the 70s. Aliens range from looking like menacing, planet-burrrowing space worms, to resembling adorable Pokemon. For that matter, it’s aspacial as well, with simultaneous releases in the US and Japan, each with their own dubs, so that it can’t be said where the show first aired. It’s an anime series which transcends space-time to occupy a totally unique plane of existence.