Okay, so episode 8 of Appare-Ranman had this amazing fight scene that we simply have to talk about. Despite primarily concerning itself with cross-country racing, this P.A. Works original occasionally likes to take advantage of its Wild West backdrop by staging some truly fantastic anime-fied versions of classic Western scenes, and this episode takes on the “showdown at high noon”. We’ve got dramatic dust clouds, allies strung up at the gallows in dire need of rescue, and a soundtrack straight out of a Clint Eastwood movie... but instead of a lone gunman facing off against a gang of evil thugs, it’s one lone samurai – the previously cowardly Kosame Isshiki, now brimming with dark determination and ready to crack some skulls. Let’s take a closer look at this kickass scene!
Kosame and Hototo’s Hang-Ups
Appare and Kosame’s guide, a Native American child named Hototo, has been searching for years for the man who killed his father. Finally, in a roadside town along the race route, he finds the mysterious outlaw and swears revenge against him, but Kosame begs Hototo not to start a fight that he can’t possibly win. Hototo doesn’t realize it, but Kosame also lost a parent to a cold-hearted bandit attack – when he was a child, he froze and failed to protect his mother from the sword that cut her down.
Kosame freezes again when the outlaws capture his entire group and shuffles over to the local bar in shame. With some help from the bartender, he realizes that obsessing over the past is trapping him in the same cycle of sorrow that he’s trying to prevent Hototo from falling into, and that the only thing to do now is man up and prove to those outlaws that his swords aren’t just for show.
Appearing out of the rising dust to the sound of Japanese flutes and Western guitar twangs and rattlesnakes, Kosame declares himself the master of his craft and slices an outlaw’s revolver clean in half. An extra nice touch here is that he actually appears in his own flashback to save his mother and younger self from the bandit, but the scene fades into reality to show him cutting down one of his opponents. He skillfully avoids gunshots while running into close range to catch the outlaws off guard, and then litters the dirt with sliced-up firearms. The “rule of cool” definitely applies here, as it does throughout this entire anime – while It’s true that swords can beat old-fashioned guns if the sword-wielder is close and quick enough, katanas can’t cut effortlessly through solid steel. But who cares? This is awesome!
Kosame frees his friends from the gallows and Hototo jumps on the outlaw who killed his father, flailing madly until Kosame reveals that he shares a similar past to the child. He explains that it’s an adult’s job to protect others, and that he won’t let Hototo stain his hands with blood. Then he cleaves an incoming bullet in half, lunges forward, and performs his secret special technique (with calligraphy kanji appearing on-screen, of course) to take the outlaw down for good. To be fair, he did offer the outlaw a chance to surrender first, but we all know that that wasn’t going to happen.
This scene features a creative blend of Eastern and Western film homages (essentially Akira Kurosawa meets Sergio Leone), but also serves as character development for both Hototo and Kosame. Hototo learned that revenge shouldn’t consume his life and that he can rely on his friends for help, while Kosame learned that he’s capable of protecting others by using force only when he absolutely needs to. And with that, our heroes continue on their journey across the country. What a great episode!
What did you think of our overview? Do you have any other favorite scenes from Appare-Ranman? Let us know in the comments, and thanks so much for reading!