I expected Space Dandy to go out with a bang, but with its series finale it did more than that, it went out with a big bang – literally.
Over the course of 26 fantastic episodes, broadcast over just under a year, we have gone on many adventures with Dandy and his faithful space crew in space. It was only fitting that Space Dandy saved its biggest and most ambitious adventure for last.
After spending the entire series raising questions about whether all of this nonsense actually mean something, we finally get a definitive answer here from Space Dandy. Yes it does. In retrospect it is hard to have imagined where Space Dandy would journey as a show, but it has explored both philosophical and humorous territory over its run, but it has always been at its best when it manages to find common ground between the two like it does in this series finale.
The finale revolves around the idea that the Gogol Empire has finally captured Dandy after spending the entire series playing Team Rocket to Dandy’s Ash Ketchem. They plan to use Dandy’s inherent ‘pionium’ energy to rule the universe, the only problem is that this big fancy weapon of theirs may just destroy it in the process. Over the episode we see countless familiar faces returning for what amounts to an all out war to rescue Dandy.
Ultimately things get pretty funky in a flurry of explosions, with some imagery reminiscent of classic series such as Evangelion, FLCL and most prominently Gurren Lagann. It is in the episode’s final moments however that the message that Watanabe has been trying to convey from the very beginning of the series becomes clear.
Upon the revelation that the series narrator is actually in fact – wait for it – GOD, Dandy is put into a situation that no one could have expected from the series outset. God wants Dandy to take his place in the reborn multiverse. As the countless universes are being torn to shreds under the sheer power of pionium energy. God asks Dandy to be his successor, it is in this moment that we come to understand what Space Dandy is really all about. Dandy refuses because he’d rather just keep on being himself even if it leaves the multiverse without a God. ‘Stay Dandy, Baby’
In this moment it becomes apparent that at its core, Space Dandy is a show about individualism, free will and staying true to who you are. Right to the very end Dandy remains defiantly Dandy, even if it means the destruction of the known multiverse he is gonna keep on being Dandy, baby. There is something beautiful about that, it is a powerful message to say the least and one that I honestly didn’t expect to come out of what originally appeared to be a silly spoof anime.
Space Dandy is one of the most consistently ambitious anime series of all time. It reinvents itself with each and every single episode, all the while staying true to what it was to the very end. It’s a silly show about a dandy guy in space who hangs out space hooters with a cat and a vacuum cleaner, yet somehow it has managed to move people in ways that a comedy series rarely can. Space Dandy is one of Shinichiro Watanabe’s finest works, it is at times crazy, often silly, occasionally outrageous, sometimes bittersweet, but above all else it is always dandy and thank god for that. Watanabe has done it again, Space Dandy is pure imagination animated.
If you want to check out the adventures of Space Dandy and his ragtag crew on the Aloha Oe, you can stream it all now on AnimeLab.com.