Space Dandy: Slow and Steady Wins the Race, Baby review

Teleportation and fish make for one of the more visually stunning episodes of Space Dandy. Here's our review.

“With this we’ll do things. And then some more things. And some other stuff will happen.”

This seems like it could have been a “regular” episode of Space Dandy. Things start off innocuously enough with Dandy and company walking through a gorgeous bento box-type market looking for something to eat, but rather than buying food, Dandy has spent their money on a teleportation flashlight beam. His mentality here is that good things will happen to those who take crazy choices. It’s Napoleon’s Battle Plan, show up and see what happens, and things will eventually start going your way.

But even with the lines drawn in the space sand that this is going to be a quieter outing with Dandy taking a step back and watching what happens, it’s not five minutes into things that Dandy’s head is teleported to Planet Pushy Boyfriend, where a fish alien named Carpaccio begins to have a picnic and go about his business. Much of this episode is just between this fish outlander and Dandy’s head, trying to have a conversation. So yeah, this episode gets just as ridiculous as the rest of the bunch, in spite of Dandy’s laissez faire attitude.

I know each week I go on about the beautiful art and character designs that are on display, but this week’s is really some remarkable stuff. Everything is drawn with this sort of watercolor filter and palette that is sometimes subtle, and other times overbearing in its influence. There’s rainbow lightning that looks particularly amazing here, crazy pipes that are puffed on and hearts and music notes are blown out rather than smoke. Every touch given to you make this planet really feel different and distinctly designed. There’s even gravity mechanics on display here, and a chance to really get into the geography of this planet (and by proxy the giant invisible halibut). It doesn’t hurt that when we’re eventually shown Carpaccio’s home of Planet Girlfriend, it’s a multicolored smorgasbord that couldn’t be more different than the former, too.

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Special mention needs to be given to the sequence where everyone is sailing through the water trying to get Carpaccio’s ship back to Planet Boyfriend. Some of the best animation work the series has ever done is seen here, as Dandy, Meow, and their ship become fluid with the water and their environments as their bodies stretch and skew in stunning displays. This combines with the already elegant watercolor approach and all of this just melds perfectly; it captures the chaos, planet, and water aspect effortlessly.

While chaos is breaking out here, Dandy just tries to play it cool. When you’re stuck riding a giant invisible halibut, your body will appear to you in the knick of time, no questions asked. Even the episode’s title (which Dandy outright delivers right before it appears) is a mantra on just kicking back and letting the bad stuff get worked out around you; stop and smell the roses, baby. And so appropriately enough, Meow and QT are pulling their hair out trying to save Dandy, as the episode almost becomes a fox-chicken-food raft sort of situation where it must be figured out how to use the transportation gun to get people to Dandy, while still being able to operate it. It’s nice to again see a scientific, intelligent approach to an episode mechanic being taken here, rather than just having crazy fun for the sake of it.

There’s also some interesting meditations going on with Dandy’s reluctant role as a hero, and even when he tries to remove himself from the equation, seems to end up being thrown into the spotlight (and more often than not, making things worse and hardly operating like a hero). If all of this wasn’t already enough, once they help Carpaccio get back home from Planet Pushy Boyfriend, the episode quickly turns into a sad romantic story about unrequited love, dashed marriages, and planet politics, as Carpaccio tries to warn his planet of the danger that is coming for them. The focus quickly shifts off Dandy and more onto this sad fish trying to save his planet to disastrous degree, ultimately resulting in the fish praying for the demise of his home planet and the stupid people that inhabit it. Broken and having given up on them. In the end even tragically, throwing his own life away, being an agent without a home to return to. Oh, and Dr. Gel and crew show up on the dying planet with just enough time left to get destroyed in the eradication of everything.

Heads are teleported. Planets are burnt to a crisp. Belief systems are shattered to their core. With space being such a crazy place, baby, maybe it’s just the best idea to throw on the cruise control, kick up your feet, and know that you can take it easy and not worry because the next crazy thing is right around the corner.

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4 out of 5