On Your Mark // Appare-Ranman! Episode 2 & 3 Review
Episodes 2 & 3: In the Dark & Duel
Between Appare-Ranman! episode two and three, the show is progressing in a smooth and fun direction. Too many shows don’t tease the larger plot beats of a show as well as this one is. From the first three episodes we know the who, the what, the where, and most importantly, the why. Its great to watch Appare-Ranman! so far and see everything come together in a concise manner.
For two guys who are complete fish out of water, they both handle themselves very well. Its clear that Kosame is the most dedicated to returning to Japan. He has his family and future bride waiting for him. Its important for him to return, and the race before them is his way back.
Appare is the most unique here in Los Angeles. He really isn’t a fish out of water like Kosame. Not any more than his character is already. He is primed for the land of opportunity where invention is happening. Back in Japan he was an outsider. Here in America he has a chance to be almost normal. Once he finds himself at the racetrack and with the knowledge of the race, he probably really is at home.
The Rogues Gallery of Appare-Ranman!
Something that really stands out is how well the show is at establishing the side characters and the antagonists of the series. The eclectic group of drivers is setting up to be a strong point in the future. So far there is no stand out villain character, save for the man who killed Hototo’s father. Without anyone acting truly villainous it paves the way to establish other drivers the viewer can actually root for beyond Appare and Kosame.
Xialian Ling is the character who is fighting the most adversity in the show. She is the engineer who is damned to a life fixing cars instead of driving them because she is a woman. She has a dual motivation to enter the race. First to prove herself as a driver in the face of her boss and coworkers. Second, to help out her struggling family business. They are well represented classic motivations for her character.
Mr. Dylan is the most mysterious and antagonistic of the racers established so far. All that is shown of him so far in episode two is his penchant for drinking, his excellent shot even when buzzed, and his employment with the excellently named Great Motors. He feels the most like a true antagonist of the series even if he doesn’t seem particularly evil. So far he is just a drunken purple cowboy.
Heir to B.N.W – Al Lyon
Its Al Lyon’s introduction in episode three that really rounds out the cast. His motivations for entering the race are pretty straight forward. As the heir to the BNW family, he wants to challenge his legacy and prove to his father that he should be the one to take charge of the car division. What stands out is that he doesn’t act like a brat. He really is captivated with the engineering of the cars. He is like Appare in a way, which is apparent when he is smitten with the windup Segway.
The is a moment of game respect game at the end of episode three’s race. Even with Appare’s grandiose victory, he respects Lyon in a way. Appare even offers him his little invention as a consolation prize. There is some humanity showing in the spirit of competion.
Great Motors, B.N.W. & Iron Motors
At least as we are presented with so far, the grand motivation for the race is pretty straight forward. Its a bit of healthy competition between the growing automobile giants in an effort to strut their stuff. We learn from a quick press conference at the race track that the three big faux car companies of this alternate history have joined forces to put up the cash prize.
There is something not explicitly said about Appare and Kosame’s interest in this race. At no point does Appare seem like he is entering to get back to Japan. He only uses the money excuse to entice Kosame into helping him. The challenge in building a machine that can cross the continent is all Appare is interested in. I don’t think any part of him wants to go back to Japan unlike the old world Kosame.
It is an absolute shame that the series is now indefinitely delayed. I think there is something really great coming together so far in the first three episodes of Appare-Ranman! The show has cleverly built a so far well rounded cast of characters in a well paced fashion. There is enough tease of the race to get the attention of the audience to be excited for when the show finally kicks it off.
[Sources and Further Reading]
[Image via Funimation]
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