Appare-Ranman! is 2020 steampunk anime series by P.A. Works. It is set around start of Meiji era in Japan. Our protagonist Appare Sorano is enthusiastic for engines and inventions but since he’s in that era of Japan he decides to go on an adventure on a steamship he built. Meanwhile Kosame Isshikki who is made to watch over Appare because of the nuisance he creates with his inventions, is also dragged with him in his adventure and they reach Los Angeles, America.
Now with no way or money to return home, both agree on taking part in “Trans-America Wild Race” where Appare gets a chance to make his custom automobile and Kosame gets chance to make enough money to return home. Both will have to work together and race across America in the wild race while facing challenges along the way.
Now I’m going to start by saying what I felt while watching this anime. If you enjoyed Dr. Stone, you’re gonna love this anime. In addition to that, if you’re interested in Mechanics, Machines, Engines and Mechanical Engineering, you’re gonna adore this anime. It’s not like this anime is anywhere similar to Dr. Stone. Not at all. Nor Appare feels inspired from Senku or anything like that. Appare is a totally different character. But the passion and love they have for their respective field makes you to feel they are perfect match. Well, both are aiming to go to the Moon, let’s see who will win this race.
All the characters of this series has their own importance. They go through certain developments and has important places in the seies. Appare has love for engines and inventions. When he gets involved in them the world outside it just disappears for him. Kosame has a certain struggle within himself which constantly stops him from showing his true skills so he’s always trying to conquer that. Hototo is in search for vengeance for his family and tribe.
Jing Xialian has passion for driving and racing but is often judged for her gender. So, she is in the race to show everyone that women can race as well. Al Lyon is racing to show he should be the heir to the company. All the characters have their important place, their own significance and their own backstory.
And did I tell you the villain of this series is my best antagonist of 2020. The way the villain acts will make you to hate that character from the bottom of your heart. That character will take things from you which you hold precious just because that character is capable to do so and will make you feel so helpless and powerless.
Even Appare, with whom almost every character was relying on in one way or another and impressed on how skilled he is, there was a time when he was so helpless that he couldn’t do anything. That Appare who almost felt like invincible to us. The thing with Appare is that he’s so involved with machines that he doesn’t understand what differences humans and machines have. Humans and machines both are different and have their own down-points but that’s what make them. Appare being a human has them as well and when the times come he can’t help but it does help him understand that thing.
Kosame too has his down-points. His thoughts are very limited and for things that seems to him impossible, he doesn’t even try to take a step. He’s constantly in a fight within himself, his past he cannot overcome. But over the time he learns to trust in Appare and the machines he creates and eventually conquer his weaknesses as well. Hototo is often consumed by his desire of revenge but he also eventually learn to cool down. This type of characters and their interaction compose this show and this is what makes this show great.
This show is really creative and knows its thing. The setting and different element of this show just makes you to realize it more and more. One thing that really bugged me in the beginning was that there was no language barrier. The people who just came from Japan could talk with Americans without any trouble. So watching this anime right after watching Great Pretender, which handled that thing in an outstanding way, it troubled me quite much in the beginning but eventually I got adjusted to it.
The animation is good and the character designs are outstanding. The music is very well executed and creates the atmosphere of that 19th century America. This show makes you to see a machine with whole new perspective, you feel what the machine is feeling with Appare as a mediator. We totally trust on the extraordinary skills of Appare but still the show manages to make him and underdog with some really tough competitions. So, it’s also fun watching an underdog facing all odds and coming out on top.
I like the humor of this series very much. Sometimes it builds itself to a very high point just to deliver its jokes with some great plot twists and reveals. And at the end, it’s just the beginning of Appare’s whole new adventure.
I felt this show was really good. It executes its element perfectly with not much flaws you can think of. This anime for sure is very creative, exciting, entertaining and refreshing but failed to get the recognition it deserves. Appare-Ranman! for sure is a hidden gem of 2020.