Few anime have assembled a crew as across-the-board incredible as Space Dandy. The team behind the 2014 science-fiction comedy was a mix of industry legends and up-and-coming geniuses who'd go on to more great things in the future.
The series' episodic anthology-like format allowed extra creative freedom for each episode's writers, directors, designers, storyboard artists and animators, letting them all put their own unique stamp on this unusual collaboration. This article will go through what other anime you might know each of Space Dandy's writers from and what they've been up to since Dandy ended.
Shinichiro Watanabe's involvement as chief director was Space Dandy's number one selling point when it first came out. The Cowboy Bebop and Samurai Champloo auteur oversaw Space Dandy alongside director Shingo Natsume, and he's credited with writing four episodes. These include the show's premiere and finale as well as two of its most surreally beautiful episodes: "Plants Are Living Things, Too, Baby" (based on a story by director Eunyoung Choi) and "A World with No Sadness, Baby." Watanabe directed Terror in Resonance at the same time as Dandy's second season, and his most recent writing and directing credits are for the sci-fi musical anime Carole and Tuesday.
Watanabe may have created Space Dandy, but Kimiko Ueno defined the anime's sense of humor more than anyone else. She wrote eight episodes, more than any other writer. These include most of the Space Dandy's funniest half-hours, including the zombie episode, the Redline homage and the one with the alternate universe Dandies. Before Dandy, Ueno primarily wrote for kids anime like Stitch! and (technically adult-oriented but still marketed to kids) Crayon Shin-Chan; Dandy proved her style of comedy worked just as well for adults. Since Dandy, she's written episodes of Little Witch Academia, Carole and Tuesday, BNA and, most recently, the entirety of Netflix's Eden miniseries.
If you watched anime on Adult Swim in the 2000s, you've seen some anime written by Dai Sato. He wrote episodes of Cowboy Bebop, Samurai Champloo, Wolf's Rain and Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex in addition to creating Eureka 7 and Ergo Proxy. In addition, Sato collaborated with Watanabe once again for four episodes of Space Dandy, including one, "The War of the Undies and Vests, Baby," based on a story by director Michio Mihara. Sato was already famous before Dandy and isn't as prolific now as he was 15 years ago. However, he's still keeping busy on projects like Listeners, Altered Carbon: Resleeved and the next Doraemon movie.
Keiko Nobumoto is another of Watanabe's regular collaborators. She was the writer on Macross Plus, the head writer of Cowboy Bebop, wrote four episodes of Space Dandy and one episode each of Samurai Champloo and Carole and Tuesday. In addition to these credits, she's the creator of Wolf's Rain and the writer of Tokyo Godfathers. So you can pretty much guarantee an anime's worth watching if she's involved, and while she's more or less retired now, you can still expect her to pen another episode of whatever anime Watanabe makes next.
Toh EnJoe is a literary science fiction writer with a background in physics and a knack for mind-blowingly strange and confusing stories. His book Self-Reference ENGINE won a Philip K. Dick Award. Space Dandy was the first anime EnJoe worked on, writing two of the series' most conceptually ambitious episodes: "I'm Never Remembering You, Baby" and "An Other-Dimensional Tale, Baby." He is now the head writer of Godzilla: Singular Point, releasing internationally on Netflix on June 24.
Ichiro Okouchi is one of those writers anime fans might not know by name but are most likely familiar with the work of. The anime he's overseen include Angelic Layer, Azumanga Daioh, Code Geass, Devilman Crybaby, Lupin III Part 5 and, most recently, SK8 the Infinity. Okouchi only wrote one episode of Space Dandy, the unusual sweet family reunion story "A Merry Companion Is a Wagon in Space, Baby."
Masaaki Yuasa is one of two people to write, direct, storyboard and animate an episode of Space Dandy, the tragic fish love story "Slow and Steady Wins the Race, Baby." Yuasa is easily the most famous Dandy writer other than Watanabe himself. His directorial credits include Mind Game, The Tatami Galaxy, the "Food Chain" episode of Adventure Time, Ping Pong: The Animation, Devilman Crybaby, Ride Your Wave and Keep Your Hands Off Eizouken. Last year, he retired from his post as the president of his animation studio Science SARU and is making one last feature film, the Noh historical drama Inu-Oh, before taking a hiatus from the anime industry.
Hayashi Mori's first screenwriting credit was on Space Dandy's high school musical episode "The Transfer Student Is Dandy, Baby." Since then, he's written episodes of The Snack World, Y School Heroes and The Layton Detective Agency, based on the Professor Layton video games. He recently had his biggest credit yet as the head writer of Cells at Work! Code Black.
Kiyotaka Oshiyama is Space Dandy's other writer-director-storyboarder-animator multihyphenate, responsible for the visually stunning fishing episode "The Big Fish Is Huge, Baby." This episode is one of Oshiyama's only two anime writing credits, the other being Episode 7 of Flip Flappers, a series he also directed. More than anything else, Oshiyama is an outstanding animator, lending his artistry to the likes of The Wind Rises, Evangelion 2.0 and Penguin Highway. Giving experienced animators a chance to try their hand at writing stories is one of the things that made Space Dandy so great.