Series Review

Anime Hajime Review: Angolmois – Record of Mongol Invasion

Original Run: July 11, 2018 - September 26, 2018
Number of Episodes: 12
Genre: Action, Historical
Based on the Series Created By: Nanahiko Takagi

***Warning, the following may contain spoilers for Angolmois: Record of Mongol Invasion. Reader discretion is advised.***

Series Synopsis

The year is 1274, and the mighty Mongol Empire continues to expand its territory. Its newest target is the small, fractured island nation of Japan. However, before the Mongols go after the Japanese mainland, they first must secure the strategically vital Tsushima Island.

Before the massive invasion reaches Japanese soil, the now exiled samurai Kuchii Jinzaburo (voiced by Yuki Ono) is commissioned to defend Tsushima at all costs.

Kuchii has no real stake in this fight, but war is the one thing he knows, and he knows it well. It is not difficult to see that the residents of Tsushima love their home, and they intend to defend it no matter what. Too bad Kuchii understands more than anyone, even the most ardent dedication will do little to stop the oncoming Mongol war machine.

The chances of a Japanese victory are low. They are so low in fact, death seems assured. What can anyone do to stop the inevitable? Well, like any samurai would say:

You fight until your last breath.

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Series Positives

Since I am somewhat of a history buff, Angolmois: Record of Mongol Invasion’s historical setting grabbed my interest. Plus, who doesn’t like a good samurai story from time to time? As fate would have it, a good samurai story is precisely what we got.

This series was enjoyable, as well as rather interesting to look at.

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It’s hard to adequately explain in words, but Angolmois had a wrinkled-paper sort of filter to its art style; the likes of which I have never seen before. It gave this show a unique look, and, consequently, a few scenes stuck out as amazingly well-animated. For example, the segment where Kuchii Jinzaburo and his fellow exiles were caught in a typhoon was an excellent start to this story.

The opening episode aside, it should be noted I am only acknowledging “a few scenes” instead of praising the whole package. Angolmois did have cases of poorly implemented CGI, and, occasionally, character movements, particularly in large battle scenes, went slightly brain-dead. To be fair, these slight hiccups weren’t distracting. However, they were very noticeable.

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Luckily, this series didn’t rely on its animation alone. It was more concerned about its narrative.

Without going into too much detail, Angolmois’ story was reminiscent of tales about Thermopylae and the Alamo. I guess me making such a comparison is sort of like a spoiler, but then again, how do you spoil something based on an actual event?

That notwithstanding, for this review, I am looking at the story of Angolmois as just that, a story. It might come as a shock, but I am not an expert on the 1274 Mongol invasion of Japan. Accordingly, I have little ground to stand on — and even less interest — to call out inaccuracies which may or may not have arisen during this series’ depiction of the Battle of Tsushima Island.

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Therefore, as a story, Angolmois was gripping enough to hold one’s attention, as well as exciting enough to keep adrenaline levels high. Of course, that latter point was helped immensely by the copious amount of action scenes and sword battles.

I suppose it would be prudent of me to warn you about the heavy use of violence in this series. There was a lot of blood, many decapitations, and plenty of disembowelments to make Angolmois sufficiently brutal. Nevertheless, there was something to this show’s gruesomeness that let it stand just a bit taller than average.

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Having done LofZOdyssey Anime Reviews for as long as I have, I’ve seen my fair share of series set during time periods where firearms and other gunpowder weapons weren’t around; and I’ve never thought twice about it. Angolmois was different because this was a story set in an era when the precursors to modern weaponry were just starting to make their way onto the battlefield. The mass ignorance of such devices followed by the terrifying realization of their destructive power added an extra layer of depth to this series.

For instance, there was something tragic about a character being killed by the strange looking metal tube they had never encountered before.

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Branching off from that, Angolmois did a great job of depicting a younger world that was surprisingly interconnected. It really is mind-boggling how vast the Mongol Empire was. This series was able to have a Mongol general fighting in Japan casually talk about the advancements their countrymen saw in Europe like it was no big deal. Remember, the fastest way to get across Asia at that time was on horseback.

Perhaps another way to put it: Accurate or not, this show turned a chapter in a textbook into something far more tangible.

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Lastly, when taking everything we have discussed into account — Angolmois animation, story, and setting — there was something oddly independent about each aspect. The reason this show succeeded as much as it did was because something was keeping it together.

That something was Kuchii Jinzaburo.

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To sum Kuchii up, he was the best protagonist Angolmois could have had. Not only was he a master swordsman, but he was also a veteran soldier. Not only could he carry himself, but he could also lead and take command when others couldn’t. Most importantly, though, Kuchii was a realist and saw things for how they were.

Kuchii wouldn’t ignore or deny his low odds. He knew his group was facing a near-impossible threat. That made him even more badass when he charged forward regardless.

Angolmois needed a focal point, and it found one in Kuchii.

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Series Negatives

Angolmois was one of those series where everyone spoke the same language despite many people supposedly speaking different languages.

What?

Would it make sense for some high ranking Mongol general to speak the language of the country they were invading? Probably not, and this series went out of its way to indicate the Mongols could not speak Japanese. Nevertheless, for the convenience of the audience, everyone did converse with people on their side in Japanese.

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This was normally not much of an issue, but sometimes it was difficult to figure out who was speaking to who, and depending on the situation, it was unclear if everyone even understood each other or not.

Admittedly, I probably got more hung up about this than most people would. However, I couldn’t bring myself to ignore it.

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On a much more pressing note, although I don’t intend on questioning Angolmois’ historical accuracy, it did feel like this series was twisting a story around true events. For Kuchii, this was fine. Too bad if a character’s name was not Kuchii, this was a huge problem.

I will give one exception to Princess Teruhi (voiced by Lynn) because she was at least crucial to what was going on.

That said, I wasn’t a huge fan of the school-girl crush the princess had for Kuchii. This series got a bit too anime (if that makes sense) when it focused on this irrelevant side plot.

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After Kuchii and the princess, though, I could not have cared less about any of the other characters. And for the most part, this show didn’t either until right at the end.

During the climax of its story, Angolmois suddenly remembered it had like ten other characters it introduced and had done nothing with. Instead of simply letting these characters drift silently into the background, this series decided to jam several episodes worth of development into about five minutes.

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Whatever emotion Angolmois was going for with its ending, it was heavily diluted with a ton of last minute additions.

Also, there was this giant monster of a shark in the last episode. If anyone can tell me the significance of whatever the hell that was, I’m all ears.

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Final Thoughts

There was undoubtedly some needless fluff to this series. Fortunately, this show was never in any danger of collapsing onto itself.

This was satisfyingly solid.

Neat animation, an engaging story, exciting action, a fascinating setting, and a strong lead character, there was a lot to like about this series.

Without a doubt, Angolmois: Record of Mongol Invasion is one I recommend.

But these are just my thoughts. What are yours? Have you seen this show? What would be your advice concerning Angolmois: Record of Mongol Invasion? Leave a comment down below because I would love to hear what you have to say.

And if you liked what you read, be sure to follow me here and on all my social media sites so that you never miss a post or update. Also, please share this review across the internet to help add to the discussion.

I’m LofZOdyssey, and I’ll see you next time.

Post Edited By: Onions

2 comments

  1. I really didn’t care for the visuals in this. They were distinct but I found the filter distractingly ugly. And while I enjoyed aspects of this story, I just found it really hard to care about what was going on with the characters because the show didn’t do enough with them. While there are some really great moments in this series, ultimately it needed to do more with its cast to really have the impact they were going for.
    And I have no idea what was with the talking shark/whale thing. That just came out of nowhere and I assumed it was something cultural or historical that I am just ignorant of because otherwise it was random.

    Liked by 1 person

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