Well, this sure was a pleasant surprise.
I didn’t see much anticipation going for Angolmois so I can’t say it was a glaring omission from my Season Preview but this ought to have caught my interest anyway. An anime set during one of the Mongol invasions on Tsushima? That has to be worth trying. There’s rarely anime set in Japanese history to begin with. Granted, I don’t know how historically accurate Angolmois is. In fact, I’ll just go a whim and assume that most if not all of the characters introduced are entirely original creations. But as far as execution is concerned, this first episode was pretty solid.
The premise is straightforward enough. Kuchii Jinzabouru (Yuuki Ono) is a shunned samurai general due for exile to Tsushima for a crime he has apparently committed. Upon arriving, he soon learns that he and the other criminals who sailed with him are expected to aid Tsushima’s princess, Teruhi (Lynn) in protecting the region from Mongol invaders. Naturally, most of the convicts aren’t keen on the idea but after running into Mongols attempting to kidnap Teruhi, a couple of them including Kuchii decide to help Tsushima in order to survive.
If there’s one thing I admire about this episode is that it wastes no time in defining its two leads as characters. Kuchii is the kind of character you’d want to follow in this story: a hardened samurai warrior who can cut down foes as easily as he can rally his allies. Despite being shunned as a criminal, he appears to be quite honorable as noted when he kills the convicts trying to overthrow the ship and when he chooses to rescue Teruhi. Speaking of which, I was pretty impressed with Teruhi’s character, a princess dedicated to protecting her people in spite of the moral hardships she’ll face. She does serve as a damsel in distress during the episode’s climax though I really like the angle the ending takes with that. The casualties from her rescue weigh heavily on her, making her realize how much stronger she must be as a leader. Overall, the potential in Teruhi’s growth and the contribution Kuchii could offer to the whole story are enticing enough story hooks for me.
Visually, there’s a lot to appreciate about Angolmois. I do find the grainy filter that prevails through whole episode strange but the colors are still striking and suit the samurai motif of the story. There is a lot of bloodshed in this episode though nothing seemed horribly over the top to me and it doesn’t detract from the action scenes on display here. The character designs are pretty solid. Kuchii’s scar and unkempt hair perfectly conveys his hardened personality while Teruhi looks appropriately regal. While the side characters aren’t given much time to shine in this episode, you get a good idea of who’s who and what kind of crime they did be it the scrawny little merchant character or the brutish pirate who partners up with Kuchii.
Angolmois is overall a surprising addition to the Summer 2018 lineup and I look forward to watching a few more episodes of it.
OP: “Braver” by Straightener
ED: “Upside Down” by SHE’S
Thanks for reading!
Angolmois: Record of Mongol Invasion is officially available on Crunchyroll.
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