The duo arrive in Los Angeles and while Appare can certainly repair his steamboat, there’s no way it’s capable of going all the way back to Japan. With no money and having trouble finding a job, the guys need to find a way to make money quick to head home. And with the world in his favor, Appare finds a flyer mentioning a race and he and Kosame head there to discover car racing. And from there they learn about the Trans-Atlantic race, and this is where it all begins.
I don’t know what it is about this series, but it’s just so entertaining. This episode was cool and we got to meet some new characters, and I already like Xialian. She’s a very sweet and honest girl, as well as adorable, and I feel for her when she was laughed at for wanting to be a race car driver. At this time in history, women didn’t drive and they certainly didn’t become professional drivers since it was only for men. So at night she sneaks off to drive one of the cars anyway to let off some steam, and to at least get a little taste of her dream. I do like Appare’s way of thinking, where he says not everything is impossible, why follow what people dictate? Kosame isn’t totally wrong in his thinking either though, and I’m glad he’s there with Appare because he’s always kinda in his own world. I also wish Appare had apologized for the car getting damaged since it was his fault for suddenly standing in the track in the dark, but he at least repaired it and actually made it better, saving Xialian from getting in trouble. There is one thing I don’t quite get, is how is Xialian a mechanic? Women weren’t drivers in this time period that’s for sure, but I don’t think many of them were mechanics either. And an immigrant on top of that. Yes, the Chinese were brought over to do labor and all that, but I don’t think women were. Her family running a laundromat is on par for what Asian immigrant families did and still do, but if even a woman mechanic is still a rarity now, then it was basically impossible back then. It’s just a little strange and isn’t the only thing a little out there in this anime.
The fact that Appare and Kosame can converse with everyone is plain strange and kind of kills the immersion of the story (haha, as if you’re supposed to be immersed). I’m not too surprised that Appare might be able to handle English better since he can read English shown by him reading a Jules Verne novel, but Kosame? And everyone else? Not having a language barrier is really weird, but I suppose the writers thought the anime would be less fun if there was constant communication problems because then they wouldn’t be able to speak to Xialian or the native girl.
I suppose I shouldn’t take the anime too seriously anyway when some of the character designs are wacky in comparison to the regular-looking background characters, and the insane designs of the race cars we saw last week. Because there’s no way Xialian would be able to walk around like that. You have women completely covered in long dresses, and there’s Xialian with her midriff out and about. So…I guess I’ll let that slide.
With certain things being off from a historical perspective, they did show the racism at the time with that scene in the diner. I was expecting way more because Kosame and especially Appare stand out so much since they’re in traditional Japanese clothing, but they got a snide comment along with the Native American girl at the diner then at the end. I guess they’re trying to make it historically accurate in some ways.
One thing that’s really interesting in this show are Appare and Kosame as characters and what they represent. Like I mentioned last week, while America was moving forward with the Industrial Revolution, Japan was still behind but was very slowly starting to change. Kosame even mentions this when he monologues about his sword and that he was told it was time to put it down, but he refuses to. Kosame very much represents the traditional Japan he knows and loves, but Appare clearly shows the Japan of the future as he’s open to change and technology, and exploring the world and learning more. While he wears a traditional robe and has a certain lip paint (if someone knows what this style is called, please let me know thank you!), he also wears overalls, a “monocle”, and his hair is just wild and all over the place. Their two viewpoints in life tend to clash, and one thing that occurred to me is that while Kosame definitely wants to return to Japan…I don’t get the feeling that Appare wants to. Or at least he doesn’t even look concerned about it at all. His way of asking Kosame “You really want to go back to Japan that badly?” makes it seem like he doesn’t care or want to leave Los Angeles. He tells Kosame that he’ll make his own care and they’ll enter the race so they can win the money and head back home, and if they do end up winning, I can totally see Appare staying put and just letting Kosame go on his own.
Like I said, there really isn’t anything for Appare in Japan. He’s not especially close with his family except maybe for his sister, no one really likes him, and getting his hands on certain resources and tools is tougher for him. What he wants is basically right there in Los Angeles. Kosame, on the other hand, has his family, his fiancee, his dojo, and basically his pride for his country. I fully expect this type of conflict to come into question later and it’ll be interesting to see how it plays out. It was also interesting that Kosame froze up once he heard the gunshot, so it seems he’s had a traumatic run-in with the weapon in his childhood. His traditional ways and his words about his sword at the park make his stance, and what he represents, even more powerful.
Even though there are certain things that are off, I’m enjoying this show a lot. It looks like we’re going to be meeting more of the characters next time. And while I’d like to say I’m excited…well, I am. But with Japan in a high state of emergency because of COVID-19, it’s been announced this morning that after Episode 3 next week, Appare-Ranman! will be put on hold until further notice. This is disappointing to hear, but not at all surprising considering other shows have followed suit, and we should probably expect more announcements like this. Safety comes first, so while it’s sad, I’d rather people are kept safe and healthy first and foremost.