An unidentified-alien-hunting app Meow downloads leads the Aloha Oe to a strange planet that seems to be made of metal. Strangely, no one can find any unidentified aliens anywhere; the only living thing they find at all is a dog, and not even some kind of terrible alien in disguise as a dog. Dandy reveals his soft side, adopting the dog as his new best friend. However, the fun times soon turn to tragedy as she succumbs to apparent old age and dies.
Little do the crew know, the unidentified aliens were actually living in the dog’s fur and soon migrate to Meow instead, who naturally brings them aboard the Aloha Oe. Mayhem ensues, and because this is Space Dandy, it all culminates in another planet being destroyed.
First of all, Funimation are finally using the Japanese opening…but not the ending. I’m beginning to wonder if there’s some kind of issue with the music rights. Second of all, there’s even more confirmation that Space Dandy is set in the same universe as Cowboy Bebop – one keen-eyed viewer was quick to point out that the fridge Meow finds among the space junk is the exact same one Spike abandons in orbit. Third of all…ow, my heart.
The dog in this episode is heavily implied to be Laika – the ill-fated Russian dog sent into space as an experiment. Just thinking about Laika tends to make me incredibly upset, so I guess it was actually rather comforting for Space Dandy to let me know that Laika didn’t actually die when her ship burned up, she just landed on another planet in the far reaches of space! Where she…lived for many, many lonely years convinced that humans hated her so much they wanted to get rid of her and yeah actually no that doesn’t make me feel better at all. (This does, of course, raise a whole load of questions as to how the hell old this dog was when Dandy discovered her. Maybe the aliens that had taken up residence in her fur had allowed her life-span to extend several hundred years or so.) Like the cute girl alien in episode 5, the doggy is able to show that Dandy has a genuine sense of humanity – watching him play around with her was actually pretty damn adorable, and his reaction to her death heart-breaking. I said in episode five I didn’t expect this show to give me the warm fuzzies but I can say now I didn’t expect it to make me so sad.
The thing is, this episode seems at first like it would be entirely about Laika and Meow’s jealousy, so her death about halfway through seems rather abrupt. After a sombre funeral of sorts, the episode goes straight back to being silly and…Space Dandy-like, with the ridiculous-looking, flea-sized aliens running amock on the Aloha Oe. I feel like this mood whiplash kind of ruined the episode a little…although, like in episode six, the sequence of the planet being destroyed was pretty cool. And again, Doctor Gel and his green-headed lackey are embracing their newfound status as Stupid Team Rocket-style Villains, but they were pretty fun to watch in this one.