HomeMisc.AnimeMid-Season Anime Review: Appare-Ranman!

Mid-Season Anime Review: Appare-Ranman!

Appare-Ranman! (2020)

Appare-Ranman! Is an anime original series produced by P.A.Works. It is written and directed by Masakazu Hashimoto. The series has since received a manga adaptation also written by Masakazu Hashimoto and illustrated by Ahndongshik.

As I said in our Top 5 Anticipated Anime for Spring 2020 list, I’ve been excited for this anime since I saw the first trailer. Although there are some problems that will hopefully play out smoothly (I’ll get to those later), Appare-Ranman! Pulls you in right away, mainly with the borderline sociopathic Sorano Appare.

Initially, Appare is well-known but an outcast in his village. The people know him and are unfortunately acquainted with many of his inventions, yet the samurai, Isshiki Kosame, is always trying to keep him out of trouble and “steer him on the right path.” However, it’s these efforts to push Appare to do the right thing that lead to Kosame ending up on Appare’s steam ship and send them flying across the ocean. Now stuck in America, Appare is excited and fascinated by all the machines while Kosame tries to find a way to keep them alive (find food, lodging, and make some money). Returning home seems hopeless until Appare decides they will enter the Trans-America Wild Race, where the prize money would be more than enough to buy them passage home.

They meet a wide cast of characters while they prepare for an epic race, the likes of which neither have ever experienced. There’s Jing Xialian, a Chinese chore girl who dreams of becoming a racer, Hototo, a young Native American boy whose family was slaughtered, Al Lyon, a wealthy European whose family owns BNW, one of the three B.I.G. auto companies, Sophia Taylor, Al’s self-proclaimed chaperone, and Dylan G. Ordin, an American gunslinger and one of the legendary “Thousand Three” outlaws. From personality to background, each character is vastly different, yet all have an important part to play and a sub-plot all their own. Honestly, this show could follow any one of these characters and it would be just as interesting.

While the colors and overall animation designs are beautiful, with a touch of old west style that makes it feel like a Clint Eastwood anime, the characters ethnicities are VERY clear. That’s not inherently a bad thing, but when you have a black man who wears a noose like a necklace, a small Native America child slinging a tomahawk at everyone, and a Chinese girl who practices Kung-fu in her backyard, it really toes the line. There are some historical accuracies that I think are relevant and important to portray, such as white cowboys raiding Hototo’s village without remorse, Xialian’s family running a laundromat business which they expect her to take over, and all of these non-white characters dealing with bigotry from white Americans.

While I have my concerns, so far, the line has been toed but not crossed and hopefully it stays that way because those issues aside, this show is fantastic. I’ve compared it to Wacky Races but slightly more series and also an anime. The cars and drivers are over-the-top and while we haven’t begun the big race yet, I can’t wait to see what kind of nonsense these cars can pull.

Appare-Ranman! Is now streaming on FunimationNOW


Rachel Freeman
Rachel Freeman
Rachel Freeman is a staff writer and comic review editor at Pop Break. She regularly contributes comic book reviews, such as The Power of the Dark Crystal, Savage Things, Mother Panic, Dark Nights: Metal, Rose, and more. She also contributes anime reviews, such as Berserk, Garo: Vanishing Line and Attack on Titan as well as TV reviews. She has been part of The BreakCast for the Definitive Defenders Podcast. Outside of her writing for Pop Break, Rachel is currently a pre-school teacher. She is a college graduate with her BA in History and MAED. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram: @Raychikinesis.

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