Publisher: Yen Press
Publication Date: September 27, 2016
Space Dandy is a 2014 sci-fi comedy from BONES. The series follows an alien hunter named Dandy, who is “a dandy guy in space.” He is an idiot, often getting himself into trouble and making enemies. He makes his living off of hunting aliens and bringing them to get registered. More often than not, he is unsuccessful because he either sympathizes with his captives or he just makes stupid decisions. Overall, Dandy has a big heart and just wants enough money to have a good time at the titty bar appropriately named Boobies. The manga only has two volumes, like the anime of the same name that saw two seasons (13 episodes each).
The manga series was met with some complaints, although I wonder how that is possible given that it was so short lived. Some complaints focus on consistency issues with the anime – in which each episode ended with slap-stick comedy disasters that force the characters to regenerate. I’m not going to let any of that bother me because no manga or anime needs to be 100% in line with each other.
In the final volume, once again Dandy has several chances to make it big and become a hero. There are a few adventures crammed into this volume, so I’m just going to focus on one or two special ones that help Dandy standout as a redeeming character.
Right away in volume 2, Dandy is making trouble. He is having a good time at the titty bar when he discovers there is someone more handsome and talented than him stealing the limelight. Dandy is only satisfied if he’s the only one in Boobies getting attention, so he tries to sneak a laxative into the man’s drink. This backfires for comical reasons. It turns out his name is Prince and he is famous for winning space races. Dandy, outraged that someone could be better than him, decides to enter the race – entirely unprepared with no real plan to win. Using unorthodox techniques, Dandy gets to second place. Unfortunately, he has uninvited competition in this race – people who are hunting him down. Eventually the race heads for the worst and we discover Prince can’t swim. Dandy, who is an idiot but not an asshole, saves Prince. Prince is surprised by this, but readers shouldn’t be. Dandy says to him, “live however makes you feel good…” which summarizes the entire series, when you think about it. Although he says he had no motive to save Prince, he does tell him the two cannot be in Boobies together.
There is another instance of kindness in Dandy. He captures a sweet humanoid child alien and is determined to bring her in for registration and a fat payday. Then he learns about her story and her search for her lost grandpa. Dandy, who is an idiot but a nice guy, eventually sympathizes with her. He puts her up in a hotel room and disappears into the night. I was a little worried about this since I figures another alien hunter would find her and Dandy would be on another wild chase. Fortunately, that didn’t happen. Funny enough another set of hunters capture the little alien Adelie after Dandy comes back and they check out of the hotel. This time, Dandy isn’t the hero… Adelie’s grandfather is! He rescues his granddaughter and tells her that Dandy spent the entire night searching town for him. Good guy Dandy walks away from the whole ordeal with no money for Boobies.
I’m sad this manga only has two volumes. While I can see how it would be hard to stretch this series beyond two, pulling more from the anime series (as suggested by critical reviews on Amazon) would have been a good way to get more life out of Space Dandy. This final volume is still enjoyable despite being the end, because there are many chapters that don’t really focus on Dandy. In one chapter, QT falls in love with a coffee maker, but the coffee maker loves somebody else. In another chapter, the entire Aloha Oe crew gets sucked into alternate realities where they have to live with other versions of the crew.
This short series will be appreciated by fans of Cowboy Bebop even if it’s not that loyal to the anime counterpart.
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**This item was provided for review.