Team First Impressions: Space Dandy, Noragami, Buddy Complex

Space Dandy

Space Dandy

Manages to be classier than Wanna Be The Strongest in The World, though that finger position is kind of—ohhh goddd whyyyy

Justin: So, the much ballyhooed anime of the Winter Season, the anime that has gotten everyone’s attention, the one with the big names and big reach, Space Dandy, has aired (in two, three languages?). What do you think I thought of it?

…Fine, but can get better from here on out.

Space Dandy tells the wild, weird, and wacky adventures of Dandy, who’s described as a “Dandy in Space!” He sells himself as a alien hunter though. Along with QT, a seemingly outdated machine robot, they traverse along space and attempt to do jobs. What those jobs are…we’ll find out. In the first episode, it’s basic introduction as Dandy and QT head to a Hooters knockoff in “Boobies” to find a specific alien for Part I, and in Part II, the two, along with their new accomplice Meow, end up heading out to find more aliens on a planet.

Before I get into the meat of the anime, I just want to say one thing: it was pretty surreal watching an anime before Japan on TV in America. Remember, Toonami ended years ago and with only morning kids TV and basic Adult Swim left, anime on TV in America seemed like a fantasy, or just destined to die out. Now, not only do we actually have anime, but we have anime that hasn’t already aired in Japan yet. That’s pretty cool when you think about it, to see that type of jump. Then to see the reaction to it on Twitter, which was something new for me since I wasn’t on Twitter back when the remnants of Toonami was around, that was fun. I still have no idea if this will change anything, as reaction to Space Dandy has been interesting considering the stigma anime carries, but at least I can say I was one of the many to watch an anime before it was released in Japan.

Now where was I…oh right, Space Dandy impressions.

The story is extraordinary shallow and not ambitious. But if that was what you was hoping for when watching Space Dandy, then I’m not quite sure what to tell you aside from you’re going about the anime wrong. It’s definitely not angling for a compelling story, or main goal for its stories, but instead to be taken not so seriously. You immediately get that sense after the narrator attempts to explain what the hell’s going on, but gets tired (sounds tired too) and says forget about it. The humor depends on sensibilities or getting it, but for the most part, the humor was pretty fun. One part I did like was when one of the antagonists in this episode lost Dandy and the crew, and he told his boss that they lost him. His exchange:

Bad Dude: “We’ll start looking for him again, though. Will next week be okay?

His Boss: “….No, of course it won’t, you bastard!!!”

One question: WHY NEXT WEEK? IS THERE A SPECIFIC REASON WHY NEXT WEEK? Or…is this just making fun of cliffhangers or anime arcs that take weeks to finish? Just a random detail that’s kind of funny to me, and the episode was littered with that. It also had sex jokes. Not too much, but just enough of them. Like this one:

Space Dandy 2

Space Dandy 1

Prretttty sure this guy’s hormones aren’t going out of control, honest

But while the jokes are fine, the visuals are pretty great. That second half when I watched it the first time (on Toonami) was great, and it managed to be even better watching it a second time with how incredibly psychotic everything was in look and animation. The dub was ok, but the sub seemed to hit on the jokes a bit more than the dub, and the narrator in the dub was kind of lame. The BGM was nice and fun to me as well. Overall, Space Dandy should be a nice, comforting watch week to week, as long as it doesn’t attempt to get extremely serious. So go watch it if you can!

Noragami

Noragami

Maggie: So far, Noragami is your middle-of-the-road shounen series with a lot of influences from other series. Hopefully by the end of this season we won’t feel like Yato here.

Noragami opens with a girl being alienated and bullied by her classmates. The social pressure and stress from exam season is getting to her so much that her energy summons a phantom. She wishes for help from God, and luckily for her Yato, an up-and-coming god hears her prayer and, along with his Sacred Treasure, defeats the phantom. The Sacred Treasure is his female companion that can transform into a weapon for Yato to use to fight spirits. It immediately gave off a Loveless vibe, without all the sexual undertones. The scene ends with Yato’s Sacred Treasure quitting on him, because she can’t stand living the life of a vagrant and serving a “homeless” god.

Now Yato is on his own, trying to fulfill people’s wishes to gain money (each wish is 5 yen, about 5 cents in USD) and fame. His next wish is finding a lost cat, and while pursuing him, Yato runs across a busy street. A passing student sees him, and, thinking he’s in danger, pushes him out of the way of an oncoming bus and momentarily separates her soul from her body. At this point I thought of Yu Yu Hakusho, and a lot of the elements of the show are similar to YYH. And this is kind of as far as we get in this first episode. Yato and Hiyori continually run into each other, sometimes by accident and sometimes on purpose. Hiyori, now stuck between the world of the living and the world of the dead, wants some answers, and Yato admittedly could use her help fighting Phantoms. It’s unclear at this point whether Hiyori will become Yato’s new Sacred Treasure or what form their relationship will take or what their goals together are. This first episode is fairly open-ended, but not really in a good way. It’s hard to tell where the series is going, and there was little in this first episode to grab your attention.

Noragami

It’s unclear at this point whether Yato is truly a god or an escaped mental patient.

However, I wouldn’t discredit Noragami completely based off this first episode. It wasn’t particularly good, but it wasn’t terrible either. The thought of a “stray” god is interesting in itself, and I’m a little curious to see the extent of his powers and more of the mythology behind the supernatural world of the series. Hiyori is a fairly interesting character–she appears to have decent sensibilities, she’s a little tomboyish but maintains her femininity, and she also likes wrestling and martial arts which is just plain cool. The first episode has a good sense of humor, and I think as long as it sticks with its comedic elements it will be a decent if not good show. This is one of those series best taken in large doses, so it may be better to start watching mid-way through the season or even after it’s finished airing.

Buddy Complex

Buddy Complex

Your future buddy~

AnimeEmily: I think the most that I can say about Buddy Complex is that its first episode, at least, was surprisingly unremarkable. Mind you, I didn’t go into the episode with particularly high expectations–I never really do when it comes to most new shows– but I was expecting to at least be able to latch onto something that would make want to see more, maybe a cool fight, interesting leads (or even side characters), neat glimpses into budding friendships, etc. Unfortunately, none of that happened and Buddy Complex‘s first episode turned into a bit of a flop for me.

This first episode sets up the bare bones scenario, albeit in a way that’s not particularly clear in regards to certain elements (like the time travel). Basically, our shockingly average hero, Aoba, is unexpectedly targeted by some guy from the future (hereby known as Crazy Eyes) who accidentally ends up in 2014 after being sucked into a mysterious time travel hole. He is saved by his equally average but ~mysterious~ classmate Hina who turns out to also be from the future. In the end, he is brought to the future via another mysterious time travel hole in which Hina and Crazy Eyes disappear, leaving Aoba alone when he wakes up in a different mecha with some sort of fight raging around him.

The sad thing is that the episode has a good amount of action and even tosses in some drama. Unfortunately, none of it is very compelling. The fight between Hina and Crazy Eyes is over relatively quickly and isn’t particularly dramatic in terms of lots of intense back and forth between the two. The brief glimpse of the fight at the end isn’t particularly great either since we don’t see much of it. The interaction between Hina and Aoba was forgettable at best and only really continued to set up Aoba as an all around nice, hero-type guy. I also wasn’t a particular fan of the all the mysteries. I mean, I know that it’s only the first episode so not a whole lot is going to be explained anyway, but I feel that the mysteries got the point where I simply stopped caring about them and accepted that I wouldn’t understand what was going on. I assume that some, if not most of my questions will be answered in the upcoming episodes, if only because Aoba is about as clueless as me and will need to be filled in, but, at this point, I don’t care enough about what I watched to want to know those answers.

Buddy Complex

On the character side of things, everyone was shockingly forgettable. Aoba was an average a nice guy lead. I really can’t think of anything too remarkable about him other than…he’s really nice? Good hero material I guess? As for Hina, I’m kind of glad she poofed off to wherever she ends up. Her back and forth between competency and blushing, shy girl was particularly annoying.  Her saving grace is she seems to have some sort of weird past, based off of what Crazy Eyes was yelling at her, so that might be a potentially interesting tidbit we learn later on (maybe, *gasp* she turns out to be on the enemy’s side). Honestly, the only characters I was remotely interested in are Crazy Eyes and Dio. Crazy Eyes was fun because he obviously has a screw loose and was therefore more fun to watch. As for Dio, he only had a brief cameo at the end of the episode so he didn’t have a chance to leave a bad impression. Not to mention, he looks more angsty than Aoba, so there’s that.

Looks-wise, Buddy Complex looks pretty nice. I actually wasn’t a big fan on the character designs at the start, but they grew on me a bit over the course of the episode, especially the eyes. My only complaint is mecha designs which are a bit too bulky looking for my taste. In terms of sound, nothing in particular really stood out, although when I went back to take screenshots, I noticed that it wasn’t too bad, especially in the more dramatic scenes.

Overall, I can’t say I’m at the edge of my seat waiting for more. As I skipped through the episode again, it wasn’t terrible; I was simply underwhelmed. That said, I’ll probably give Buddy Complex another episode just to see what Dio is like, but I doubt I’ll be overly impressed. At this point, I’d recommend you go burn 24 minutes elsewhere.

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Justin

Justin is the founder of Organization Anti-Social Geniuses. Anime & manga fan that likes to blog about anime and manga, is addicted to sports, and weak to crossovers. You can follow Justin on Twitter @Kami_nomi.

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