First Look: Angolmois – Record of Mongol Invasion

Alternative title(s): Angolmois- Henkou Kassenki, Ghost of Tsushima
Manga Adaptation by NAZ
Streaming on Crunchyroll

Premise

A group of ragtag rebels and outlaws are shipped off by the Japanese government to the isle of Tsushima, where they discover it’s first in line for an imminent invasion from the Mongol Empire.

Zigg’s verdict: Cuts Both Ways

Jel expressed his worry in the Preview Guide that this might turn out to be a heavily jingoistic piece of GLORIOUS NIPPON propaganda, and I’m very happy to say that appears to be absolutely not the case. Instead, what we’ve got here seems to be a relatively understated look at a period that’s not represented so much in media. That means there’s a potentially fascinating and unorthodox story to be told, but I’m not sure Angolmois is the show to do it unfortunately. This episode mostly resembles bog-standard shonen samurai anime, complete with a quirky squad for our straight-arrow hero, gratuitous violence and dismemberment, and a few token sexy lady shots thrown in. The fights aren’t bad per se and there’s nothing offensively boring or off-putting about this, but it’s very middle of the road to say the least. As someone who isn’t big into historical shows, I felt like i was grasping for a big hook, a big spin on the formula to get me fully onboard. Unfortunately it didn’t come and so I’m not sure I’ll stick with this, as ultimately benign as it was.

Artemis’ verdict: Smooth Sailing

Given the rather rocky start we’ve had to the summer anime line-up, I’ve been doubly wary of every anime going in, even the ones that sound halfway decent. I’m therefore happy to report that Angolmois, at least, managed to hook me pretty quickly and keep my attention all the way through the first episode. Historical dramas are right up my alley to begin with, and I didn’t even need to groan and shake my head at getting yet another series set during the Sengoku or Edo Period; this one takes place during the late 1200s (for comparison’s sake, a good 200 years prior to the Sengoku Period, and around 400 years before the Edo Period) on Tsushima, an island situated about halfway between Japan and Korea that did indeed face a series of Mongol invasions back in the day. My history surrounding this time period in Japan is very patchy, and I certainly won’t be counting on Angolmois for total historical accuracy, but suffice to say something like this is a real breath of fresh air, particularly this season.

I’m unsure if Angolmois will be mixing in a bit of the supernatural – it felt like the show might be heading that way a couple of times – but either way, expect heavy doses of action that thankfully seem to flow quite well, and a distinctly retro-ish shounen battle feel which hopefully won’t get too bogged down in obnoxious clichés or tired fanservice. While I’m not usually much of an action fan myself, I can appreciate a good fight scene when it’s executed well, and was impressed by what Angolmois had to offer in that regard. I don’t know that I care overly much for the character designs, but it looks like the general art style is being put to good use. More to the point, the pacing is great and the action strikes a nice balance between gore and taste – definitely not an aspect to be taken for granted when it comes to anime. Overall, the premiere struck me as fairly solid and I’ll absolutely be sticking around.

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