Keywords: , , , ,
Notables: Animation - P.A. Works
HANAE Natsuki
R1 License - FUNimation
After a certain mishap, the brilliant but socially inept engineer Appare Sorano and the shrewd but cowardly samurai Kosame Isshiki find themselves drifting on a boat from Japan to America. Broke, the two decide to compete in the Trans-America Wild Race to win the prize and return to Japan. The two battle crazy rivals, outlaws, and the great outdoors itself as they race through the wild West from the starting line in Los Angeles to the finish line in New York — in the steam-powered car they built.
(Summary Courtesy of Anime News Network)

TV anime that premiered on April 10, 2020.
Animated by PA Works.
Licensed by Funimation.
OverallArtAnimationCharacter Design MusicSeries StoryEpisode StoryReviewer
Unevaluated Stretch [series:3826#628]
(Two episodes watched):

I had noticed that this show was pretty popular and therefore expected a lot of it--whatever it was about, it would surely be both clever and outrageously funny. But the bizarre race that the episode began with--it reminded me of an old Hanna-Barbera cartoon--was about the last thing I was expecting. Appare is a highly eccentric inventor in Japan in a strange time period that consists of elements of the years between 1870 to 1920. He's fascinated by imported steam engine technology and has apparently invented one which works even if you don't bother to generate any steam. Most people probably won't worry about whether the technology and the dates make sense as much as I do. Appare and his 'caretaker' Samurai Kosuke are forced to flee from the country and wind up in Los Angeles. I am wary of shows with lots of fanciful gadgets and flamboyantly dressed characters; it has been my experience that those are often signs of a lack of depth within the actual characters and the plot. I suspect Appare may not be nearly as colorful as the outfit and makeup he wears. He strikes me as kind of obnoxious--I don't sense any excuses for his trouble-making attitude. If he was being harassed unfairly, just for being unusual, that would be one thing, but he doesn't seem to give a damn about anyone but himself. As a result I sympathize with Kosuke rather than Appare. I suppose the sheer strangeness of the premise will oblige me to watch episode two, but this show will need to provide some sort of engaging conflict in order to keep me interested.

In episode two the story moves steadily along--Appare and Kosuke need money to return to Japan, they learn about the cross-continent race with a million dollar prize that is planned, and they meet a couple of equally flamboyant characters who will no doubt also be competing. But the story didn't 'grab' me any more than it did in episode one. There are too many unlikely circumstances and coincidences; and the scenes in the OP sequence where swords are more effective than guns did not convince me that this story was going to be particularly plausible (and Appare completely repairs a damaged race car overnight?). While the visuals are very good, in general it seems pretty shallow; completely good guys versus completely bad ones. It almost feels like a children's show. If I don't really care whether Appare and Kosuke win this race and make it back to Japan, and I don't, there's not much point in watching any more.

Last updated Thursday, May 07 2020. Created Saturday, April 25 2020.

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