As one of the more high-profile series delayed due to a certain major world event you’re probably tired of hearing about so much, let’s just say that it has been great being able to jump back into the world of Appare-Ranman! once again in Summer 2020. Another exciting original series in an odd season dominated by sequels, today we’ll be looking at Appare-Ranman!, highlighting the series’ strengths as a whole along with some of our favorite specific scenes. Watch out for spoilers, and potholes, here we go!
Amusing Anachronism Through Colorful Characters
One of the things that immediately made Appare-Ranman! stand out is its rather loose take on its late 19th-century setting that starts off in Japan but quickly moves to Los Angeles and eventually the whole U.S. mainland once the big race finally gets started. This is obviously apparent throughout the show but is probably best showcased in Appare-Ranman!’s cast of characters and their over-the-top, approaching Wacky Races-level vehicles.
Some of these particularly stand out like TJ, one of the “Thousand Three” outlaws who sports a purple afro, Phil Manzanera-esque goggles, some kind of Mad Max futuristic pirate getup, and a frankly amazing gramophone boom box monstrosity blasting out rap music. This guy is certainly ahead of the curve, to say the least, and his car has a face and eyelashes to boot! Appare himself has a pretty out-there, somewhat clown-like, design along with the whole car-boat thing. In general, the characters are ethnically and visually diverse in interesting ways, albeit exaggerated as they often are, and express this anime’s unique approach to a historical setting perfectly.
More Than Just a Race
Although it was initially a little surprising how long it took to actually get to the Trans-America Wild Race the story is built around, taking the time to properly set up the characters and their relationships with each other is probably going to be worth it in the long term as its already done a lot for the series and kept that feeling of anticipation leading up to the race strong through this first half. With it now only just started, the future of the series already has a lot set up with Hototo’s quest for revenge against the gang who killed his father, Xialian’s determination to prove herself as a female racer, etc. but also a whole country of different paths and outcomes to explore. At this point in the season, watching Appare-Ranman! is like cruising the open road, full of possibilities that we can’t wait to experience!
Appare-Ranman! Story Highlights so Far
Talking more specifically, some of our favorite moments from the Summer 2020 portion of the series so far might actually be more comedic than serious, although there’s a good mix of both. Watching Kosame run out of his diner job once he realizes they could just sell the fancy car given to them by Al to get enough money to go back to Japan only to see it completely disassembled by Appare in the warehouse by the time he gets there was pretty hilarious as was their almost non-inclusion in the newspaper when they were highlighting the different racers. Speaking of racing, the pre-Trans-America races between Appare and Al and Xialian and jerkface racer David were exciting, particularly Xialian’s which was set up well, especially that scene of her and Appare visualizing racing next to each other with their eyes closed and her boss’ final reaction after David rams into her.
Pretty much everything to do with the big pre-race party were excellent as well from the dress code violation antics (Kosame’s tie with kimono was great!) to the various competitions that break out to decide poll position which included everything from straight-up gunfighting to arm wrestling and even cucumber slicing?!? Honestly surprised TJ didn’t attempt a rap battle, but that craziness was very entertaining! The latest episode had some strong highlights too with Kosame’s clever on-the-spot naming of that prairie dog while looking for Hototo and Appare’s meme-y math calculations as he shoots the car right past the end of the train as it goes by. Good stuff!
Taking everything into consideration, Appare-Ranman! has made for an excellent leftover addition to this season as it’s an extremely watchable show with a playful-but-unique sense of style in both its art and storytelling that relishes in being a bit over the top for the sake of a good time, which is something we can definitely get behind!
How have you been enjoying Appare-Ranman! so far? Excited we’re finally seeing the big race proper? Share your thoughts with us and other readers below in the comments section and be sure to stick around Honey’s Anime for more great coverage of the latest series and more! Until next time, see ya in New York City!