Fours and fives: Zankyou, Dandy

With episode four Zankyou no Terror was stagnating a little, but episode five lets in some fresh air.

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We got this woman whom Nine calls Five, and suddenly the work on both sides of this conflict are thrown into disarray. An order from highers-up tells Shibazaki and the rest of the force not to search the trains for the bomb, meanwhile, Nine gets hacked, everyone loses their cell phone connection, and there’s no way to remotely defuse the bomb, meaning the kids have to find the train and do it themselves. (A strange thought in my head: What would the kids in Rail Wars have done?) And within a few minutes the show got more interesting. The police have more bureaucratic headaches and the kids, well, Nine at least, have been flushed out. Also, maybe someone actually died.

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It also shows the kid-terrorists in a new light. In spite of their posturing and malicious intent, they don’t want to kill anybody. I suspected this, but it’s nice to see the show confirm it. Though I wonder then what they wanted that plutonium for. It also makes you wonder what they hell they’re doing any of this for. Why bombs? Why not some other, safer means of rebellion? Yeah, their motives are as big a mystery as before, and they’ve shown they can be distracted, Twelve by Lisa (who doesn’t do much in these two episodes except faint and play the bad-cooking newlywed), and Nine by Shibazaki, whom he either considers a worthy opponent or some kind of father-figure he never had.

It'd be cool if it was.
It’d be cool if it was.

Good, because as I said the show was stagnating. Episode four had another riddle, and it became even more tiresome because Shibazaki was pulling the answers out of thin air. How did he think to connect the dots and get “running red snake” anyway? It’s as if episode four was playing for time until Five’s plane arrived. But now the story has taken a step forward. Don’t know if I like the looks of Five, though. I mean, I’m not suppose to, but something about her, maybe that smug smile, or the thing with her nails, gets on my nerves.

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Catching up with Space Dandy, um, I thought episode 4 would be a chore, considering I didn’t watch any of those films and TV shows they celebrate, but their influence on pop culture means I got the jist. The first song and dance was a bore, as was most of the entirely predictable and dull storyline, but the big finale was rousing enough that I had fun with it; I’m a sucker for a big production number. When, midway through, I saw the sprout on that girl’s head, I thought it would end badly for her, but happily the show decided to leave her alone. And finally, I thought Meow had the best dance moves.

Not even a nibble.
Not even a nibble.

And episode 5 is the best of Space Dandy’s second season. Nothing new to the story, in which Dandy goes off to catch a big fish, meets a little girl, Erssine, and her grumpy grandfather. He hears the fish is a myth but keeps looking anyway, and guess who’s right? Really, most of the episode is nothing but Dandy fishing while little Erssine looks on, with occasional abuse from gramps. But the art team this week is imaginative and it’s never dull to look at. I was reminded of the plant planet episode from the first season, which I think was maybe its best. And even though the big sea monster bit at the end with the villagers all holding on to the rope was expected from the start, it was so trippy (excellent music choices too) that I had a good time watching. Space Dandy will never be the best series in the world, but its best episodes rank right up there.

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