New anthology series [where there is no end-to-end plot, and all episodes are independent from each other] appear every day. In a stream of streaming services, anthology series try to satisfy our inner thirst for a good and original story. Sometimes anthology is a brand, as is the case with Black Mirror, and sometimes an unusual form of series from Ryan Murphy.
“But no one has experimented with the format like Space Dandy, a 26-episode anime that provides some important lessons for the anthology format,” says Polygon.
At first glance, Space Dandy [the main body of Toonami's block for Adult Swim five years ago] does not fit the conventional concept of an anthology. The main difference is Dandy - a fabulous fool and also the main character [it is unclear whether his name is really "Cosmos"]. Motivated by overconfidence and a constant lack of money, Dandy hunts aliens in the company of the alien cat Meow and an intelligent robot vacuum cleaner.
This is how they deal with their cosmic misadventures, which are very different in each episode, all thanks to the huge, diverse studio Bones, gifted with a staggering amount of creative freedom. Each new idea and concept is so radically different from the previous one that Space Dandy becomes a kind of anthology.
Anime has a powerful creative director in the form of Shinichiro Watanabe, a master of episodic format on shows such as Cowboy Bebop and Samurai Champloo. A team of losers looking to earn money with an original and memorable soundtrack is familiar territory for Watanabe, but the anime's success stems from the relative lack of his laid-back directorial direction, or any direction as such. As Chief Project Officer, Watanabe shared his responsibilities with Shingo Natsume, who will continue to manage the first season of One-Punch Man with some notable duplication of Space Dandy tropes. The breakdown of the template begins in the very first episode, ending with the death of all the main anime characters. including the gorilla doctor - a mad scientist who chases Dandy, piloting a ship shaped like the head of the Statue of Liberty.
Episode 4 explores the blatant extremes of zombie fantasy, ending with a kind of nature documentary. Some episodes end with the characters abandoning, if not forgetting, their goal of hunting aliens; other episodes have largely abandoned it from the start.
If you watch the series in order [which I can’t recommend because different episodes reveal the main character to us in different ways, sometimes well, sometimes terribly], then each episode is perceived as some kind of experimental art.
Many episodes completely abandon group dynamics in favor of Dandy as a character and first-person storytelling in some surreal location; one outstanding episode is not a comedy, but an existential reflection on the nature of death and what it means to continue living in the face of a full awareness of inevitability. And the other is a high school interstellar musical.
To some extent, the "wild swing", swinging the plot along completely different trajectories, are sewn into the very structure of anthology shows. For example, "The Twilight Zone" had both comedy stories and dark stories, and "Black Mirror" turned from the first series about atrocities into a dystopian show about technology.
No one, however, is as detailed as "Space Dandy", down to how each episode looks. Apart from the differences in character design, where Dandy can change somewhat cartoonish proportions in one week, the aesthetics vary as widely as the hundreds of bizarre alien designs lurking in the background.
The series touches upon the themes of sadness, romance, rock music, the uprising of robots and truly rich science fiction in equal measure; And all this is in the acidic kaleidoscope of the colors of the entourage of the series, with the exception of some episodes, where the creators deliberately strike minimalism or shades of gray.
The thrill you experience, first of all, anticipating the unknown before each episode. What will they come up with next? What would it look like given such different styles of studio staff? The ninth episode of "Plants Are Living Things, Too, Baby" [they all end in "baby"] sends Dandy to a planet inhabited by giant plant life forms scattered across the picturesque landscape.
The melancholy 21st episode of "A World with No Sadness, Baby" depicts a ruined city colored by the rays of the ever-setting sun. Amorphous creatures wander sluggishly over it, as they reflect on being and withdraw into themselves. An angelic creature plays an acoustic guitar while sitting on a dilapidated wiring. When Dandy spots flying monsters, the mournful strumming is replaced by the music of the chase.
There is no author's brand assigned to this anime. Its brand name is anarchism and as such its absence. After all, anime is not produced by one specific person, but by a group of authors with their own vision. Each episode is a unique work of Union Choi, Yasuhiro Nakura, and Kiyotaki Oshiyama [the latter did the great, meditative fishing episode "Big fish is huge baby" pretty much alone]. All of Watanabe's Cowboy Bebop partners do their part, as does frequent collaborator Sayo Yamamoto [Yuri on Ice], but others make their debut on the series as rookies given their first chance. Kimiko Ueno writes a significant portion of the script, and more than half of the episodes are either written or directed by women.
"Space Dandy" is a unique project by different authors with a striking personality that expands the scope of the show. This does not mean that the anthology show format should abandon more traditional forms, it is just part of what makes Space Dandy so great and so distinctive, because it is, after all, animated and open to experimentation more than live-action. serials.
And now, five years later, watching this anime, you realize that when the series throws off the format of the norms, embraces various young talents, and allows them to roam to the fullest, it turns out an excellent combination that contributes to a better perception of the audience.
The Topic of Article: Space Dandy: Example for an Anthological Anime.