Dandy reunites with his 4D ex-girlfriend in an attempt to stop a 2D universe invading the 3D one
“Is it just me or is this kind of weird?” – QT
No, it’s not just you QT. This may be one of the most bizarre Dandy episodes yet, not necessarily for the content, but rather for the way that content is implemented. Let’s put it another way – this is a very slick, funny episode about Dandy teaming up with an ex to foil another ex. It just happens to have a bunch of utterly insane mad science in it too.
That’s not necessarily a bad thing, as we’ll see in a second, but it does strike you pretty immediately how unnecessary a lot of the madness that surrounds this episode is. There’s no real reason that Catherine has to be some sort of crazy dimension-hopping box as opposed to a regular human (or alien) ex-girlfriend. There’s no real reason Paul needs to be a block who invades the universe with a giant NES-era Zelda map. The plot would be entirely functional with lower stakes, or possibly even funnier with the same stakes (universal destruction) played in a far more conventional, knowingly over-the-top manner. It’s just that Space Dandy wants to be weird entirely for weirdness’s sake. That sounds like a criticism, but it really isn’t meant to be. Indeed, I think it’s rather charming that the show is so bent on its singularly unusual style that it would do something like that.
The result is that this episode is probably not as funny as it could be had it adopted a more traditional gag style, but it remains compelling because of the odd ideas it constantly floats. The idea of a 2D universe invading a 3D one is very compelling in a funny metaphysical way and as ever the show sells what could be a slightly obtuse concept very well with its visual presentation. One of the things that I like is that while we get great laughs from the pixel-art ‘2D’ shots inside the 2D universe, their use is well restricted so the joke doesn’t run thin. It also allows some much more creative visual work showing the 2D universe from the outside, most notably in the dizzying sequence in which the Aloha’Oe slices through it to reach Paul. When we do venture inside it’s great to see Dr Gel and Bea get a little time in the spotlight, especially as they get to participate in the slightly mad ending animation breakdown.
Not everything in this episode works – the attempted subplot about warping is just sort of inconsequential – but it’s a smart, funny little slice of weirdness that definitely does a lot to make itself stand out. Yes, they could probably have made it out-and-out funnier, but instead they did the thing Space Dandy has done all along – they made it unique.
- The gratuitous close up cleavage shots of Honey are a little over the top.
- On the other hand, I do love her immediate reaction to the suggestion that Dandy is her boyfriend is to burst out laughing.
- Even if they’re pretty underused, it’s good to have QT and Meow back along for a full episode.
- The warping subplot appears to be an attempt to make a point about the duality of experience, using the old quantum/branching timelines concept. The idea has legs but it needs an entire episode, not a few brief lines.