Happy New Year to my dears readers! You have not heard from me since Christmas, but I’m still around. My schedule for the near future promises to be freer than it has been for the past several months, so I hope to produce more content. This content will include my top five anime from 2018, a run down of what I watched for Fall 2018, and what I intend to watch this season. (So far, Boogiepop and Others, The Promised Neverland, and The Rising of the Shield Hero have caught my attention.) Two of those posts are late indeed, but better late than never!
In the current post, I want to encourage everyone to watch Angolmois: Record of the Mongol Invasion. Angolmois came out during the summer of 2018, but I did not discover it until December of last year. I love samurai anime, especially those with a strong core of bushido. Angolmois does not disappoint on this score as it drips with the virtues of the samurai. Any fan of samurai anime or medieval action would do well to pick up this anime.
The scenario for this display of samurai excellence concerns the Mongol invasion of Japan in 1274. Their first target is the island of Tsushima, which they hope to use as a waypoint on their way to Kyushu and as a means of seasoning their green troops. Our heroes are a bunch of captive ronin (Even though all anime aficionados know what ronin means, Crunchyroll translates this word as “exiles.”) who manage to overcome their guards upon a storm-tossed sea. Surviving the storm, they direct their ship to the nearest land: Tsushima. Lady Teruhi greets these ronin and offers hospitality, but the ronin soon find themselves impressed into the coming war against the Mongol hordes.
Kuchii Jinzaburo, a master swordsman and former high ranking samurai, accepts the defense of this island as his fate and quells the initial discontent felt by the ronin. On one hand, it might seem odd for these disparate individuals to become so enthusiastic in defense of Tsushima. On the other hand, they cannot expect anything but death or enslavement at the hands of the invading Mongols, and what man would be so indifferent to the dangers faced by his country as to shirk the duty of fending off invaders? Even the pirate Onitakemaru feels obliged to take a part in the campaign.
Princess Teruhi and Jinzaburo face impossible odds in holding off the invading Mongols. Their main goal becomes the survival of Teruhi’s people and to prevent their subjects’ enslavement. These high stakes make for gripping action and battles, especially because no one seems immune from the Grim Reaper’s scythe. I also love the realistic feel of the combat. True to history, the bow is shown as the primary weapon of the samurai class; though we are treated to some nice hand-to-hand combat as well. The sword gained prominence during the Sengoku Jidai (the time from the middle of the 15th century to the beginning of the Tokugawa Period in 1603) as the weapon symbolizing the samurai class. And, I like how Angolmois properly refers to the Japanese swords of the 13th century, the forerunners of the katana, as tachi.
If you choose to watch Angolmois, you’re in for a story of high adventure, high stakes, and heartache. The story is so riveting that gathering pictures for this post make me want to watch it again! The action tends to be quite violent and realistic with samurai oft shearing the heads off of their foes. (Occasionally, much tenderness is shown towards the head of a fallen warrior in a way that is strangely touching and really immerses one into the period.) On the plus side, there is very little fanservice, though there is one scene with brief nudity.