OP: 「I got it!」 by Mia REGINA
「晴れ、ときどき小雨」 (Hare, Tokidoki Kosame)
“Sunny, with Occasional Showers”
Appare-Ranman! is a P.A.Works original series, and anyone who’s been down this path before knows those are highly variable endeavors. So I’m going to cut to the chase and give my baseline impression of Appare-Ranman! episode one’s quality: 4/4, this is good stuff. The characters are distinctive, the setting they’ve chosen is seldom-used and vibrant, and they do far more show than tell, at least for your typical anime original premiere. It’s good! Give it a watch.
Now let’s discuss why it’s good.
When I first realized that Sorano Appare (Hanae Natsuki) was getting title billing, whereas fellow main character Isshiki Kosame (Yamashita Seiichirou) had not, it felt like our kendo buddy was getting snubbed. But no, it makes sense; it’s Appare’s worldview that the show turns on, whereas Kosame is here to be his foil/the voice of reason, so it makes sense to give the eccentric inventor his name in lights.
Both are good characters, though—Appare is a little less likable (and probably, more annoying to some) due to his airheaded implacability and how insufferable he can come across as compared to his contemporaries. Though in Appare’s defense, his family and society come across as small-minded (with some exceptions), so he comes out looking better for it. Still, it is his optimism and sense of adventure that launches things off, though I really appreciate that it’s not some bullshit act of god that leads them to be stranded, but rather an act of character. That gives them both agency within the story, which by all rights should pivot around their actions … or else they’re not much of main characters.
Speaking of main characters, Kosame could easily be a wet blanket, and might still develop into one! Yet he has the (ironic) advantage of being run over by Appare, of having the more pliable and amenable personality, which means he gets sucked into the wake of the more hard-charging Appare. That means he functions as a voice of reason without getting in the way of the fun stuff. I love it! I also suspect that the duo of Appare/Kosame will help keep each other from being too boring/too much until they’ve had time to develop layers and depth.
Animation is great, production is great, we’ll see how long it lasts (or how many episodes we get) before Corona-chan takes her due. In the meantime, what I most love is Appare-Ranman’s chosen setting. While P.A.Works will undoubtedly not get everything right about turn-of-the-century 1900 America, what they’ve shown so far is a mixture of period appropriate atmosphere with a distinct lack of Japan-o-centrism. Which, look—I have no problem with people having pride in their nation/culture, and telling stories that celebrate the good parts. But that would have been inappropriate in a story that set primarily in America, and I was afraid it would happen anyway, as it has with so many anime before. (Drifters was a mild example—why so many obscure Japanese drifters when there’s a whole world of interesting historical figures?—but there are more egregious offenders.) Here, though, I can feel the affection for the time and place in the wide shots alone, not to mention all the background characters and in the so-far good English, which ought to be the bare minimum in this interconnected world of ours. Point is: da setting is good, and foreign settings and/or characters are often not good in anime. Yay!
If I were you, I’d watch Appare-Ranman! I won’t be blogging this because I won’t be covering anything this season (Corona-chan has me too busy), but I will be watching it. Toss out a comment if you want me to harass the other writers to consider this for coverage 😉 Cheers!
ED: 「I’m Nobody」 by Morikubo Shoutarou