Posted by KTravlos on 30 September 2018 with categories: Anime Reviews

Our protagonist

What it claims to be about: Angolmois (a reference to a Nostradamus prophesy which is rather irrelevant for the show, as he lived several centuries after the events) focuses on the first Mongol Invasion of Japan in 1274. Specifically it focuses on the early phase of the invasion when the Mongols attack Tsushima, which essentially is a way station for invasions from Korea to Japan and the other way around.

What it really is about: We follow a band of criminal exiles, which are conscripted into defending the islands by the local feudal lord’s daughter, Teruhi. Among them is Kuchii Jinzaburō a spunky samurai with a good grasp of military matters. He is headstrong and that is what nets him his exile. The show follows the attempts of Teruhi and Jinzaburo to defend the island against overwhelming forces, while at the same time exploring elements of Tsushima myths and culture in the era.

Our protagonist again. Another side of him.

Why you should watch it: In general Angolmois is a mediocre show. It does some things right. The “Mongols” are presented ,as was historically accurate, as a multi-national force including Koreans, and Chinese. The Mongol openness to giving service to anyone is also correctly presented, as is their rapaciousness. The Japanese arms and armors seemed well researched to me, as well as the fashion. I found Jinzaburo an interesting character with complex motivations, but with enough blood-lust to not make him boring. The Mongol secondary characters are interesting, ranging from the timid but intelligent, to the blood-thirsty. The show does not dreg into too much overt nationalism and myth making. Do not get me wrong, the view of the Japanese as unique is still there, but it is not done in a vulgar way (I am looking at you Kopeki no Kantai). Indeed the show honestly dives into the more localist and personal motivations of the protagonists, including ones that lead to betrayal, without sermonizing. The end is well played out, being at the same time brutally realistic and still hopeful (in this sense sharing similarities to the excellent Gundam: Iron Blooded Orphans-watch that instead). Character art was in general pleasing to my aesthetics.

Why it is mediocre: The problems though are major. First, the secondary characters on the Japanese side are very shallow. While the Mongols get some great secondary characters, the creators on the Japanese side only focused on developing really Jinzaburo. From the eight exiles only one more gets any real development. The rest are really archetypes. Tehuri is a crucial character but her development is never pursued (perhaps realistically as war engulfs all).

Second, the animation was a complete and total failure. This was surprising, as I expected a historical anime, based on a manga, dealing with such a rumph rumph nationalist fervor topic would get more funding. Indeed the first and second episodes had some good work. Alas, it did not last. Still shots dominate, the battle scenes lack animation, and while bravo for the show pointing out the multi-ethnic character of Mongol armies, all those Chinese, Mongols, and Koreans look like each other. Over the whole animation is a filter that tries to convey the feeling that this is parchment, but fails. Instead it looks like a tv screen splashed with muddy water.

As a result the story suffers and the presentation also does.

Finally, you leave the show with a feeling that you just watched demo for a bigger show on the full invasion of Kuyshu. There is a feeling of indeterminacy. It is true our main characters get closure. But many of the secondary characters seem to have been shoved in for no other reason than to premeditate a sequel. Perhaps there will be, perhaps there will not. But I hope if there is that they actually spend the money for better animation.

The music is nothing to write home about. The Opening is pleasing enough, but not a home run. The rest is

End point. If you are looking for a light historical show and like spunky characters watch this, but do not expect much. A C- in my grading system.

2 Responses

  1. Avatar SuperWooper says:

    I really like the “What it’s about/What it’s ACTUALLY about” breakdown you’ve been doing for these. Very clever way to open a review.

  2. Avatar KTravlos says:

    Indeed. I think it works well and better than a grade system. Thank B: The Beginning. There was such a big discrepancy between what the show claimed to be and what it was, that this was the only way to review it.

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