It’s as stunning and subtle piece of work that uses seven years of Mongol invasions as the context for character growth. Shoichi the fisherman starts as an ineffective wannabe hero, and in the end proves himself as a samurai. But it’s not presented in some heavy-handed “child of destiny” arc – instead it’s about how a hero is forged through desperation as much as any noble spirit.
Divine Wind pulls off the difficult trick of establishing a setting, getting us involved with the characters, and making the military tactics involved both clear and exciting. And while it’s about the survival of Japan and the Mongols are the villains (so to speak), they’re not presented as two-dimensional monsters. Though it presents large scale battles, every action feels important. In the initial invasion, a single explosion turns the tide and affects every single one of our characters.