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Appare-Ranman! Episode 1 Review

Its off to the races with Canonball Run the anime!

| @otakuvoice

Its off to the races with Appare-Ranman! episode 1. Sorano Appare and Isshiki Kosame are on their way to New York City in an almost steam punk wild west Los Angeles. Appare is a young Japanese mechanic who has found himself on the other side of the world with his guardian Kosame. Both are on the opposite ends of the spectrum. Appare represents the future flinging itself blindly forward while Kosame is the past holding onto what it knows and loves.

There are a few interesting vibes from the pilot episode. Watching through the first couple minutes calls to the seventh series of Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure, another cross country race from California to New York. From the dress and the period it is set in, there is also a Samurai Champloo inspiration hidden within.

Peeling back in time to see how our heroes ended up in a wild west reverse canonball run. In Japan, the show jumps back a year earlier to a small village during the Meiji Restoration. It is a period of great change in Japan. The Tokugawa shogunate has collapsed and the Emperor has taken back control of Japan. The country has begun to finally open up its borders to the world at large. Its an opportunity for young Appare to be inspired by the changing of technology around him.

Old Country Vs. the New Frontier

There is an obvious dichotomy from the opening sequence to the setting of the rest of the pilot. In Los Angeles, where the race begins, there is a very flashy and techie vibe to the wild west set dressing. Back in Japan, its still very old country and conservative. It is really punched home when you see the same contrast between the two main characters.

Kosame represents the old way of life. He is young, but his ambition isn’t particularly built out. He is fine with settling down with his arranged marriage, and leading his dojo where he practices kendo. Life can continue on for Kosame as it is, and he will never feel unfulfilled. Its stark contrast to the hero of the story, Appare.

Appare represents everything changing in the time of the story. He is young, ambitious, and anxious to grow his mind. Its a period of great change in Japan and the larger world. From his interactions with the local leader of the village, you can tell that he represents thew ways of the old country in Appare-Ranman!.

A Path for Growth

Something I like in stories, and something that is often well founded in anime, is character growth. Both characters are really well fleshed out and focused in just the first twenty plus minutes of the show. Appare-Ranman! has a very clear path of character growth laid out in just the first episode. On one side you have the in his own head Appare. No one know what to do with him because he can’t get out of his own way. Socially distant because he sees the world mechanically. The path is straight forward for Appare. The show needs to open him up to the human side and see the people beyond the machines.

I think Kosame will also make for a great character study. Even at the very beginning of the race you get a sense of his panicky and closed personality. He is trained in the old ways of the samurai, and there is much for him to learn and grow with the world around him.

The whole show has a lot of great dynamics laid out in just the first episode. Even the promise of an exciting action packed race as the backdrop to the series is thrilling.

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[Image via Official Site]