Angolmois: Record of Mongol Invasion
by Paul Jensen,
How would you rate episode 3 of
Angolmois: Record of Mongol Invasion ?
Kuchii points out the importance of momentum on the battlefield in this episode, which is appropriate since we get to see that momentum swing back and forth several times. Things start off with Kuchii and some of his fellow exiles appearing in front of the retreating Sou troops and rallying them to stage a counterattack on the Mongols. This buys our heroes enough time to regroup and mourn their dead, including the island's lord and his son. Teruhi and Kuchii clash over what they should do next, with Kuchii eventually going ahead with his plan to stage a night raid on the Mongol army. It seems like a good idea at the time, but things go downhill in a hurry when Kuchii's position is given away by the men he'd recruited as guides.
The initial counterattack marks an important step in the overall narrative of Angolmois, with Kuchii and the exiles establishing themselves as an important part of Tsushima's defending forces. It also gives us a chance to see what some of the other exiles can do, with at least one of them revealing himself to be a former general like Kuchii. The counterattack itself is perhaps more interesting from a strategic perspective than it is in terms of entertainment. The scene does a plausible job of showing how Kuchii and his allies are able to take advantage of the Mongols' disorganized pursuit to tip the tide of battle back in their favor, but it's not quite as thrilling as some of the previous action scenes. There are some still frames and motion lines mixed in with the animation, and the frequent self-introductions from the exiles are clunky enough to drag down the pace of the scene. It's still serviceable, but it's more effective as a plot point than it is as a raw action sequence.
While the fighting might be a step back from the style and spectacle of previous episodes, it's balanced out by an improvement on the emotional side of things. The return of Sukekuni and Umajirou's heads makes for an emotional moment, as it forces Teruhi and the other Sou leaders to confront both the losses they've suffered and the difficulty of the task ahead of them. Kuchii also takes a modest step towards adding a human side to his action hero credentials when he's asked about his family. That new piece of his backstory helps to paint Kuchii as someone who was successful on the battlefield but struggled to keep his home life together, and that feeling of loss and frustration makes him a bit more relatable. The tension between Kuchii, Teruhi, and the Sou officers is less compelling, but it does at least make sense; it's still too early in the story for everyone to fall in line behind the new guy, even if he did just pull their butts out of the fire.
While we don't get the full picture of what's going on just yet, the night raid looks like it could make for an exciting development. For once, Kuchii appears to be on the back foot; without the element of surprise, his small force is at a major disadvantage against the Mongols. Watching him dig his way out of that hole next week should be intriguing. Teruhi's role in the fight could also be worth keeping an eye on, since she and Kuchii aren't yet on the same page in terms of strategy. We get to see her embrace her leadership position behind the front lines this week, so I'm curious to find out how that will translate into combat. I don't really buy the cliffhanger implication that she's been mortally wounded at the end of the episode, but only time will tell on that front.
Ultimately, this episode is more of a transition between acts than a point of high drama. It hands off the task of defending Tsushima from Sukekuni and the regular troops to Teruhi and Kuchii's ragtag forces, and that exchange is handled reasonably well. A couple of emotional scenes help to further humanize the characters, and the back-and-forth battles continue to unfold in a believable manner. I'm a little concerned about whether or not Angolmois can keep the intense swordfights coming, but apart from that the series seems to have everything under control.
Angolmois: Record of Mongol Invasion is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
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