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Angolmois: Genkou Kassen-ki
(Six episodes watched):|
The capable but politically disgraced young general Kuchii Jinzaburou finds that he has been granted a new lease on life, as part of a group of convicts being shipped to the island of Tsushima, halfway between Japan and Korea. It turns out that the Mongols in mainland Asia are preparing for a massive invasion of Japan, and Tsushima will almost certainly be their first stop. Jinzaburou and his companions will basically be cannon fodder in a desperate attempt to defeat or delay the invasion. Sort of like The Dirty Dozen. While Angolmois was kind of rough around the edges (It's pretty easy to guess what is going to happen after prisoners beg their guards to release them from their shackles aboard a storm tossed boat), this seemed in general to be a fairly intriguing story that moved at a decent clip, and was neither too simple nor too complex to enjoy. There were a couple of interesting twists, like who is this blond Mongol leader who is familiar with a Japanese sword fighting style? A traitor? Less interesting was his absurd ability to leap like a grasshopper from a beach to a boat well offshore. But in general Angolmois looked like fun.
A problem soon arose, however. I wish the battles that Kuchii takes part in were not so one-sided; he never misses when shooting an arrow, and I don't think I saw a single one of his people get killed or injured during the counterattack he launched against the Mongols after they had trounced the conventional Japanese army. The show would be more realistic, easier to take seriously, and more intriguing if we got more of a sense that the good guys might just get killed if the aren't careful and lucky. It almost feels like they aren't risking their lives at all. We get more of the same in episode five, where Kuchii's people make mincemeat of the Mongols on a narrow mountain trail. Apparently all the Mongols can do is burn down lightly defended cities, win battles when they enjoy overwhelming numerical superiority, and employ dirty tricks/secret weapons. At least we get a look at Kuchii's past and see that citizens of Japan can sometimes be sadistic assholes, too. But after more of the good-guys-never-miss-and-bad-guys-never-hit nonsense in episode six the thought occurred to me that maybe I should abandon this show. It was feeling more like a wartime propaganda film, in which the bad guys get killed wholesale and the good guys occasionally lose someone (but he dies a heroic death) than a balanced and intriguing drama. I had no doubt whatsoever that the defenders would win decisively in the end (probably with the 'Divine Wind' storm that will trash the Mongol fleet), and that is boring. This is a slightly disturbing trend in some Japanese media nowadays--it almost seems that someone is trying to replace the pacifism that the country has demonstrated since 1945 with the same militarism that led to the war. At any rate, my interest in Angolmois steadily seeped away and I finally quit watching.
Last updated Monday, October 01 2018. Created Wednesday, July 18 2018.
|Official Japanese Series Web Site||http://angolmois-anime.jp/|