Space Dandy Has The Best Use Of The Multiverse

By Jacob VanGundy | Published

Multiverse stories have become a major trend in science fiction recently, from the MCU to Everything Everywhere All At Once. But my favorite use of the multiverse theory in pop culture is the 2014 sci-fi comedy anime, Space Dandy. Coming from one of the biggest names in anime, it’s a sharp-witted, madcap series that uses its multiverse setting to push its comedy as far as possible.

The Space Dandy Adventures

Under Shinichero Watanabe, known best for his more serious sci-fi series Cowboy Bebop, Space Dandy follows an alien hunter and his crew through episodic adventures. Similar to other characters in Watanabe’s series, the crew is constantly broke and in search of quick money for food; meals at a sci-fi version of Hooters, in this case.

Dandy is a multi-talented but incredibly dumb captain joined by the outdated robot QT and the cat-like freeloader Meow. 

The Space Dandy Multiverse

Initially, it seems like Space Dandy doesn’t have any series continuity, with the characters frequently dying on their adventures as the final punchline of the episode.

However, the explanation for what’s going on comes when the show introduces the idea of the multiverse, seeing Dandy and company hopping between dimensions where different versions of Dandy are all going through similar adventures. It allows the show to have, Looney Tunes levels of violence while still exploring its sci-fi premise. 

The Jokes Taken To Limits

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My favorite episodes of Space Dandy use the lack of consequences to take a joke to its furthest possible limits.

The fourth episode is the best example of this, turning the show into a sci-fi version of Dawn of the Dead, initially setting things up like Dandy and his crew up as the typical survivor group. Instead, the crew is quickly infected and the infection spreads through the universe, creating an intergalactic society run by zombies.

A Crucial Story Element

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While the main purpose of Space Dandy’s multiverse is to heighten the comedy, it’s the most crucial story element too.

After two seasons of episodic, wacky adventures it’s revealed that Dandy’s existence in every universe is unique to him, giving him a grand multiversal destiny. The ultimate reveal, which I won’t spoil here, gives the show a surprisingly introspective ending that also serves as one of its best jokes.  

Experimenting With Styles

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Space Dandy’s comedy is its strongest feature, but it’s far from the only thing that makes it great.

The animation, by Bones Studio, also uses the multiversal setting to its fullest by experimenting with different styles to fit the various universes the show jumps between.

While action isn’t the priority, there are great action scenes in some of the episodes animated almost as well as Watanabe’s more action-oriented shows like Samurai Champloo

Streaming Space Dandy

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Space Dandy doesn’t quite reach the heights of Watanabe’s more notable series, but it’s by far his funniest work and well worth watching. A few episodes fall flat and the fan service is frequently excessive, but the show’s comedic genius and expert use of the multiverse makes up for those shortcomings.

You can see the absolute best use of the multiverse from an anime legend by watching Space Dandy on Hulu today.