The first two episodes of Appare-Ranman! aired a few weeks early on certain channels but I follow the official American simulcasts so only the actual premiere will be covered here. I guess I could look up the second episode but my bandwidth is a little strained these days due to the quarantine so one less episode to stream or download is fine by me.
Appare-Ranman! takes place in a fictionalized, Steampunk version of the 19th century. Kendo instructor Kosame Isshiki (Seichirou Yamashita) is assigned to monitor his town’s biggest troublemaker, a genius mechanic named Appare Sorano (Natsuki Hanae). Within his first day of the job, he finds Appare leaving Japan. After accidentally getting themselves stranded, they end up in America. The cold opening informs the viewer that they’ll participate in the historical Trans-American Footrace from Los Angeles to New York.
I’ll admit, Appare and Kosame are a little annoying from the get go. Appare is extremely stubborn and laser focused towards his interest on machinery and the same can be said about Kosame and how much of a pushover he is. To the show’s credit, it provides good justifications for their personalities. Appare has had to deal with a lot of vocal opposition from everyone around him. The only exception appears to be his older sister who empathizes with his ambition. In fact, she’s the only one Appare felt saying goodbye to and the fact that he accepts her good luck charm despite not believing in superstition says a lot about his character. Meanwhile, Kosame has lived his life in peace and is about to get married. One can therefore understand his desperation in asking Appare to come quietly to the authorities as well as staying in Japan.
These two’s potential as characters perhaps instead lies in how well their personalities compliment each other. Appare gives Kosame some much needed perspective while Kosame serves as Appare’s conscience. The third act of the premiere makes the best use of their chemistry. Kosame’s desperation leads him to board Appare’s ship and the man accidentally causes it exhaust its engine, leaving the two stranded in the ocean. Appare only accounted for an optimal trip and therefore neglected basic essentials such as food and water. The montage of them resorting to rainwater and slowly dying on the ship before help arrives is a hilarious highlight of the episode.
However the story fares, I have little worry about the show’s presentation. P.A. Works’ visuals are, as expected, quality work and the character designs by Yurie Oohigashi and Ahndongshik are vibrant and convey a great deal about each character’s personality. Evan Call is composing the soundtrack and it appropriately sounds very Western, even while most of the premiere is set in Japan. The look and sound of the show is perfectly fine; it just needs to sell me on the scripts.
Thanks for reading!