Angolmois story is roughly based on the Mongolian invasion of Japan during the Bunmei Era. Since you’re probably as unfamiliar as I am with the history of that time, let’s try and make sense of its first episode.
Japanese Original Episode Title: 率土の最果て
As there are a lot of things to look at in this episode, let’s look at the plot as briefly as possible. A group of exiles is sent to Tsushima, an island to the west of Japan, and kill their captors on their way there while on a boat. The government of Tsushima accepts them with honors and announces to them via its hot-ass princess that the only reason they are exiles and not death convicts is because they need them to fight the Mongolian invaders that are on the way. While they are being held prisoners, princess Teruhi is abducted by some guys with masks, but the protagonist, an exiled general with a mysterious history known as Kuchii Jinzaburou, escapes his imprisonment and saves the princess, then gets rewarded with a lecture. Sweet.
Themes & Trivia
As themes and trivia are quite essential to understanding what is going in this episode (and unless you are Japanese you probably are as oblivious as I am to the Japano-Mongolian war) I’ll be spending most of this review explaining a couple of things that took place in this episode.
First of all, yes the Mongolian did invade Japan. The invasions took place in 1274 and 1281 and were major military efforts to conquer the Japanese archipelago after the submission of Goryeo (yes, that is Korea). The invasion was ultimately a failure which is why we get to watch an anime about this from the comfort of our home. Specifically, that is their first invasion that we are witnessing in the anime, in 1274. The Mongols invaded the Tsushima island on October 5th, as it is mentioned in the show. Tsushima is an island of the Japanese archipelago situated in the Korea Strait, approximately halfway between the Japanese mainland and the Korean Peninsula.
During the invasion, Sō Sukekuni, governor of Tsushima, led a cavalry unit of 80 to defend the island, but he and his outnumbered unit were killed. He belonged to the Sō clan (宗氏), a Japanese clan that governed and held Tsushima Island from the 13th-century through the late 19th-century, from the Kamakura period until the end of the Edo period and the Meiji restoration.
The Mongols later landed on Hakata Bay, close to Dazaifu, capital of Kyushu, the third largest island of Japan and most southwesterly of its four main islands.
The Kamakura shogunate , which is mentioned several times in the show, was a Japanese feudal military government. However, at the time Japan was ruled by the Shikken (shogunate regents) of the Hōjō clan, who had intermarried with and wrested control from the Shōgun of the Kamakura shogunate after his death in 1203.
But was this any good?
It’s okay. When I picked this show to review I was hoping for something more like Golden Kamuy, which I really enjoyed, as in an actual story taking place in real historical time and framed by the events of the era. Angolmois is a bit different. It is more focused on telling the story of the era rather than that of the characters, I believe. Its main weakness at the moment is the massive amount of information it throws at the viewer’s face with little to no introduction. Then there’s the sound which is very mediocre; I find the voice acting quite basic and the mixing very poor on some occasions – especially when the invaders were talking, I couldn’t hear a thing. Visually, the animators have gone for a very odd choice of aesthetic – they have layered a strange inanimate texture all over the show, which was interesting in the first few minutes but then I was like wait… what? I could accept such a thing from indie animators and one-man projects but I find this very cheap for a production coming out of a professional studio. However, to be fair, I have not watched any other NAZ productions and I’m not familiar with their work or their size in the industry (which I’m guessing is not huge). Anyway, don’t expect the visuals to be impressive. I’m particularly bothered by the protagonist who I already dislike as he is a typical macho blockhead and (apart from being ugly, sorry, terrible comment, couldn’t help it, I know) seems like he’s been drawn and developed in the 80s, sporting a mullet and two oversized eyes over a bulky nose. To my knowledge, he is not styled over anyone historical, and his appearance is too meh for me. The same goes for pretty much anyone. Overdrawn aggressive angry guy with pointy fangs named Onitakemarou. Typical old school japanese chick princess Teruhi. Annoying measly short guy. Nothing new.
How did you find the first Angolmois: Genkou Kassenki’s first episode? Let us know in the comment section! And don’t forget to check the rest of the Summer 2018 anime reviews on MANGA.TOKYO!
Angolmois: Genkou Kassenki (Record of Mongol Invasion)
Summer 2018 | Anime Info | Simulcast