Space Dandy is an anthology comedy revolving around the crew of the Aloha-Oe, an egotistical bounty hunter named Dandy, an out dated but level headed robot named QT, and a lazy good for nothing cat alien thing named Meow. Together, they hunt the universe to find new life forms that no one has ever seen so they can make a profit off of them. Because it's an anthology series, each episode has no connection to the previous one, and each other them has completely different tones of humor. Some episodes aren't even funny, but they're still interesting to watch. Each episode also has a distinct sci-fi flare to it, some that's easy to comprehend, while others make absolutely no sense whatsoever. In short, because of it's nature, some episodes hit and some episodes miss. It's funny at times, dark at times, smart, goofy, confusing, and interesting, but there's no guarantee if any of that will be good until you watch it. If you see an episode that sounds interesting to you, I say watch it. It's very hit or miss, but there are some genuinely good episodes like episodes 2, 7, and 13. Give it a watch and see if you like it.
However, as the series dragged on, that potential slowly lost focus and became a much more watered down experience. The action was still prevalent, but it shared space with tactical planning and characters who only served as to flesh out the cast. There's a total of twelve or so characters that are heavily featured, yet I can't really say if any of them have ever done anything important. Also, because the show is only thirteen episodes, it feels very rushed and wraps up its ending on essentially a cliff hanger. The day is saved, but for how long? Who cares! Happy ending! It leaves so many questions unanswered, and because the series is based off on an ongoing manga, it may be a long time, if ever, until we get some proper resolution. That, and the series has some... uncomfortable moments in it that made me roll my eyes and be a bit creeped out, like the old man who took pictures of Shio in a bikini, the two side girls who are insanely attracted to Shio, and the giant squid that felt Shio up for an uncomfortable amount of time. This is how you take such a killer premise, yet flush it down the drain with odd decisions and being taken away from what the series does best; kill aliens with the power of history!
|Kill la Kill|
If that premise sounds interesting, it really is, and the run has been great so far. It's streaming on Hulu and chances are you've heard people somewhere talking about how awesome the series is. Just do me this favor then. Look at this clip from the very first episode, the legitimate first few minutes of the first episode, and tell me that you wouldn't want to see this show. I rest my case.
|World Conquest Zvezda Plot|
The show actually does excel at giving its characters sympathetic pasts and relationships, which furthers the idea that they have no where to go, so they join Kate's idea of conquering the world. Each person has a past that makes them unique, and by the end each has their own distinct personality. That being said, if Nobunagun's problem was that it spent too much time explaining itself than showing what we want to see, Zvezda tells the audience nothing about the overall threat of the series and expects us to just roll with it. By the halfway point of the series, an evil government group is introduced that has strange black smoke that isn't part of our world, but no more detail is put into it than that. Very few things are explained about the general plot of the series, and several moments are just swept under the rug and not explained, when all we want is for them to be explained. The characters sell this show, the humor is serviceable, but the plot leaves something to be desired.
|Witch Craft Works|
If this sounds like a concept you've heard before, I guarantee it is not. Takamiya is referred to constantly as being a princess that needs saving and essentially always gets in the way when the witches are fighting each other over control of the town. It's a refreshing take on the damsel in distress that I had a great time watching for its 12 episode run. Adding onto that is the supporting cast, which is huge, but each character feels like the belong in the show. They serve as some truly great comic relief and are too likable to be called annoying. Plus the magic shown in the show serves for great action scenes, like when there's a dual between a giant robot bunny and a giant teddy bear. If you want to watch a show that feels like a breath of fresh air with a bright and colorful aesthetic, this is your show.
Because of it's nature, I would say that Space Dandy occupies the middle spot for these five, mostly out of the idea that it's very hit and miss for each episode, which is fine. As for worst show, I would unfortunately have to give it to Nobunagun, a show that I had pegged for being a great action series, but instead lost its steam after the first two episodes and instead left me feeling longing for its action scenes. Edging it out for second worst show is World Conquest Zvezda Plot, which while I did enjoy it more than Nobunagun, it left me wanting to see it take a different direction with its world conquering ideals. As for the best show, it easily goes to Kill la Kill, yet I feel that's cheating a bit since Kill la Kill was a continuation of its run last year. So while I do think that Kill la Kill is the best show of the season in the long run, the best original show of the season goes to Witch Craft Works for its fun take on the damsel in distress and for having some fun magic in the show. For easy reference, here's the rankings of this past season in the world of anime!