Daisuke OnoAoi YukiSora AmamiyaFumiko Orikasa
Episode 1 also reviewed here: Anime 1st episodes 2020: A
Medium: TV, series
Year: 2020
Writer/director: Masakazu Hashimoto
Actor: Aoi Yuki, Daisuke Ono, Fumiko Orikasa, Kazuyuki Okitsu, Kenjiro Tsuda, Natsuki Hanae, Seiichiro Yamashita, Soma Saito, Sora Amamiya, Takahiro Sakurai, Tetsu Inada, Tomokazu Sugita
Keywords: anime, historical
Country: Japan
Language: Japanese
Format: 13 episodes
Url: https://www.animenewsnetwork.com/encyclopedia/anime.php?id=22558
Website category: Anime 2020
Review date: 1 October 2022
Appare Ranman
It's great fun. I don't imagine I'll ever rewatch it, but I had a laugh. A bunch of loons compete to race across the Wild West in the year Anime-1890 (approximately), including:
(a) APPARE, KOSAME and HOTOTO. Appare is an apparently emotionless jerk who claims not to care about people, but he's kidding himself. He's an inventor. He's Japanese, but a self-inflicted set of circumstances took him across the Pacific. Kosame is the nicest samurai in the world and everything Appare isn't. Hototo is a Native American child who wants revenge on his father's killers and thinks Kosame is a weakling.
(b) XIALIAN, the only woman in the race. (If you think that's a bad gender balance... well, this is the 19th century and Xialian is facing enough sexism to sink the Titanic. She's awesome.) She's Chinese and she knows kung fu, because this show is cool and if you're going to have samurai, gunfighters, outlaws, knife fighters, etc. then you also need kung fu.
(c) AL LYON and SOFIA TAYLOR. Al's the super-rich European heir to the famous automobile company, BNW. (Ahem.) Sofia's his chaperone. They're both lovely, actually.
(d) A WHOLE BUNCH OF OUTLAWS. This show loves outlaws, because they're cool. (Don't argue. In this show, they are. Yes, even the psychopath who shoots his own sidekicks and wants to commit acts of terrorism to prove that power and violence is the master of all.) They have an Outlaw Code or something. There are three super-outlaws, aka. the Thousand Three, who are so tough that even the police are too scared to fight them. One of them, TJ, is a black man who wears a noose around his neck and has purple mega-dreadlocks, a green rock star coat, a shirt that's open down to his navel, a striped turquoise headband and a pink/purple love machine car with a kissing face on the front. There are also lesser outlaws, who are a laugh too.
It's funny. The show has a pretty big sense of humour, often involving Kosame.
The theme songs are great. I never skipped either the opening or the ending.
The action is fun and the plot is, thankfully, not nearly as racing-focused as I'd been expecting. It sets up a big cross-country race, but this takes several episodes to get going and then soon gets derailed by all sorts of things. The racers spend much more time helping each other than they do trying to win. There's also that psycho who just wants to smash up the race, because "cars" do not equal "violence".
The fight scenes are fun and pitched just right. They never overwhelm the show and the tone is always light. That gunfight in a crowded ballroom should theoretically have left lots of bystanders dead or injured, but this isn't that kind of show. Everyone gets to be cool in the finale. There's a samurai vs. gunslinger battle. (No actual cowboys, though. Odd, that.)
The show's not campaigning for social justice or anything, but it's not completely unaware of some historical issues. Xialian has to fight sexism, which is so entrenched in society that there are actually sound commercial arguments for why Xialian was getting treated like that. Hototo is a Native American and white men stole everything his family had. TJ's, uh, necktie is quite a statement.
This show is full of energy and life. It's charming, with a varied, interesting and likeable ensemble cast. It's fun. It doesn't seem to be saying much beyond "isn't this cool?", but it has some nice character beats. "I'll fix everyone's car." Don't expect a huge amount of depth, but you can expect to enjoy it.