Angolmois: Genkou Kassenki – Anime Preview
Synopsis: In the 13th century, the Mongolian Empire rapidly expands across the globe. Later historians who studied the prophecies of Nostradamus would say that Mongolia was the birthplace of the “Great King of Terror”, Angolmois. And at last, the force of the Mongolian Empire would turn their attention toward Japan… 1274: The Bun’ei Invasion. This story is a fresh look at the great battle that rocked all of medieval Japan: the Mongol Invasion. It shows how the people of Tsushima panicked, struggled, and eventually rose up against the overwhelming forces of their enemy. (Official Crunchyroll Synopsis)
1st Episode Review (Warning: Minor Spoilers to Follow):
Tom: Angolmois suffers from a few baffling presentation decisions. Predominantly Angolmois’ biggest oddity is despite some wonderful art, they’ve chosen to layer a gritty dirt and grim filter over the entire production. It’s so noticeable, so pervasive that you might pause a moment to wonder if your TV is in desperate need of cleaning. I can only assume they sought to add a visual edge to the series, to try and bolster the depiction of this brutal time in Japanese history by adding more detail and dirt to the production, but instead it’s entirely distracting and a real black mark on an otherwise good looking production.
Linny: Even if you’re able to overlook the visual issues (like I tend to do), that grainy, dust like filter becomes impossible to ignore in certain shots, like during bright scenes that should be filling you with awe, not making you want to grab a dust cloth. And it’s not just the dust filter that’s part of Angolmois’ very ‘unique’ aesthetics. There’s also the way the episode depicts heavy rain with thick streaks of scratchy white all over the screen that gives the show its own look for sure but also, combined with the ‘dust’ filter, makes for a visually distracting experience.
Tom: Beneath these odd filter choices sits an otherwise visually strong production, with fun action, a gritty nature and a compelling story with a unique setting. There’s a lot to love here as we wade into this rarely explored period in history, meeting brutal characters and plenty of bloody mayhem as the Mongolians are on the cusp of invading Japan. If you can get past the filter, Angolmois offers quite a bit of brutality for those who are fans of violent period pieces.
Linny: Angolmois is a bit vague when setting up its protagonist; preferring to keep most of his past and even his current mindset clouded and mysterious. Not only are we not told the exact story of his fall from exalted warrior to exiled prisoner, but his actions in this episode are unpredictable. One minute he is spouting noble and heroic words, then another he’s sporting a devil may care, selfish and jaded attitude as he lights buildings afire. And on a more personal preference note, the episode does a twist reveal for our Princess character, lady Teruhi. Her initial introduction is a harsh one, as she informs Kuchii, our hero, and the rest of his prison companions that she’s freed them for her own designs to use as pawns in a battle against the invading Mongols. But it’s revealed later that Teruhi is actually a very soft hearted women, barely hanging on to her tough act in order to save her nation. While there is definitely merit to be had in a gentle woman rising to the occasion despite her inner conflict, in this case, I worry that she is set up to be ‘rescued’ by our hero stepping in and doing what she cannot and reducing her to nothing more than just another damsel in distress.
Tom: Despite Angolmois’ bizarre presentation choices, what’s beneath the grimy and distracting filters is generally engaging and makes for a strong start to a series focused on the Mongolian invasion of Japan. I’m willing to recommend the series with huge caveats, namely for the distracting presentation and iffy character work. If you can look past those elements, what’s here seems like a potentially good, brutal action drama.
Linny: Angolmois shows definite promise for those seeking gritty, action packed war stories with a boisterous and wild leading man. You will either have to ignore or embrace some of its more ‘interesting’ visual choices and if you can do either, what’s waiting for you is a brutal story that isn’t too gory or bloody (for now) but most definitely thrilling.
Angolmois: Genkou Kassenki is available for streaming via Crunchyroll.