Jormungand ended up being my surprise watch of the season, as well as my first completed seasonal anime in a while. I don’t even remember why I picked it up, actually. It was probably because I was bored and I had already watched my regulars for the week. I blew through what was there pretty quickly and only had to deal with waiting for the last two episodes, and I have to say, it was a pretty fun watch, although it did tend to did get a little repetitive in the sense that Koko’s team was unbelievably effective and unstoppable.
Jormungand is about the dealings (badum chshhhh, not funny I know) of an arms dealer, Koko Hekmatyar, and her bodyguards who are made up of a mish mash of people. The story starts with her bringing in her newest member, a skilled child solider named Jonah who has a deep hatred for arms dealers because they caused the death of his parents.
Let me start with things that I didn’t particularly care for when it came to this show. First and foremost, almost all, if not all, of the political mumbo jumbo that went on went straight into one ear and out the other. I am a terrible person when it comes to politics and I feel terrible about it. So, the political stuff, unless it was super simple, I really didn’t care for. Also, even though I loved watching the fight scenes and thought the action was great, I do have to say that, Koko has an amazing team of bodyguards. I mean, these guys never lose. Sure, they may get minor injuries or have to make a tactical retreat (that happened like once), but for the most part, these guys work like a group of terminators. Because all of these people are so amazingly skilled when it comes to weapons, the fights are over pretty quickly. The only people who really stood as a legitimate threat to Koko and her team were a two person team by the name of Orchestra. While they weren’t the most interesting, they did manage to put Koko’s team in a tight spot. However, they quickly fell apart when it turned out the brains of the group was not in charge and was went a little psychotic after her stupid partner got himself killed despite her warnings. This girl eventually got killed off to mainly because Koko was able to predict what she would do next and acted appropriately. That leads me to my next point: the bad guys. Jormungand went through a crap ton of bad guys, most of which were pretty easily wiped out once Koko got serious. With the second season coming up the season after next, I hope that Jormungand puts some competent bad guys into circulation who actually pose a threat to Koko and her team. I would like to see them get into a really serious fight with someone who wouldn’t be killed/captured immediately. Those were mainly my issues with this show, though, I would like to say everyone on Koko’s team is ripped to the max, it’s seriously kinda creepy so see.
Now for the good stuff. I suppose I’ll start off by saying that I thought the fights were fun to watch. Sure they were over pretty quick, but that doesn’t mean they weren’t fun to watch. If you’re an action junkie, this is definitely as show that you would probably enjoy because there is a crap ton of action in this show. One thing that I didn’t really pay attention to until I read this on another blog, but I suppose is pretty nice about the show, is the setting. Jormungand doesn’t limit its setting to one area, or even one country. As an arms dealer, Koko travels around quite a bit. Looking back, I think that aspect of the the made the show itself more i more interesting and kept it from getting repetitive setting wise. Although, most of the places they visited tended to have similar situations going on; aka, they were in a way and, or on the brink of war. The animation was pretty nice as well, though I wasn’t a big fan of the funny darkening of the eyes which I thought looked kind of dumb.
My favorite part of the show was the characters. I’ll be honest here and say that at the beginning of the show, while I did like the characters, I found it hard to get used to the complete 180’s they would pull. One moment they could be goofing around, having a great time, and the next, they have turned into a ruthless group of killers who kill without hesitation. I did get over that pretty quickly, but I continue to think that the contrast between them normally and them in fight mode is pretty stark and interesting in a way.
Yeah, most of them weren’t developed very much at all, and even the ones that did get some development didn’t get a whole bunch of it, but I thought they were an interesting bunch of guys nonetheless. One of the aspects of Koko’s team in general that I found really interesting is that most of them, before joining forces with Koko, were working for reputable places like the UN or police, and only end up leaving, for those whose back story is talked about, because of some terrible accident where people on their team were killed. None of them really seemed to have a hard time, though, making the transition from the good guy side to the iffy side, except for maybe Lutz who was seen to have trouble with the idea of shooting absolutely anyone if the situation requires it since his last job as a cop taught him that women and children fall into the innocent category.
Out of all the characters, I thought the most interesting were Jonah, Koko, Lehm, and even Valmer to an extent (I did like Lutz a lot because he provided a lot of comedy, and I also liked Mao because he was different in the sense that he had a family.).Let me say this, I love Jonah. He’s a kid who is unsurprisingly serious with a surprisingly childish side. Jonah has a terrible hate for arms dealers because they caused the death of his parents, yet he becomes a child solider and a countless number of people. I actually think that Jonah joining Koko’s team did him a lot of good in a lot of ways. Koko isn’t a horrible person and she isn’t outstandingly cruel. In fact, she makes a definite effort to re civilize Jonah, I suppose you could say, by making learn the basic school subjects. I also think that because of Koko and his experiences while serving her, by the end of the show, Jonah had a slightly happier deposition than when he came in and was probably determined to never grown to like Koko or any of the other eight people in her service.
Koko is interesting mainly because we know almost nothing about her or her motives. Her personality itself is also interesting because, while she has no qualms about giving orders to massacre people and can seem a little off her rocker at times, she…smiles a lot. I don’t know if that sounds weird, but she is an almost unusually cheerful person considering her line of work. She also cares a lot about her team which I think its really great and is another why I liked the show. Another interesting aspect of Koko is that she is a really smart person and knows it. She knows how to twist people around her little finger as well as how to tactically deal with a lot of situations, making her dealings with people more interesting to watch.
Now, I liked Lehm because he’s a bad ass old guy. Seriously, that guy is probably one of the top people on Koko’s team and is a total cool cat. Like Koko, I know next to nothing about him other than he has no qualms about killing anyone probably because he has seen enough to know that anyone, no matter how they look or who they appear to be can be a serious threat and should never be underestimated. There was one thing though that he did that I really admired and made me pay attention to him more. Way back during the thing with Orchestra, Jonah rushes out, gun blazing, fully prepared to take down the enemy, but at the cost of his life. As he is running across the courtyard, Lehm throws a cord around his foot and he prevents Jonah from doing his child solider self sacrifice thing by forcefully pulling him to safety. He then proceeded to tell a practically foaming at the mouth Jonah that he should never needlessly throw away his life away like he was trying to. He went on to say that they never attack unless they know the target is the only one not walking away and that they are all trying to live another day. I just remember thinking how much I liked what he said because it showed that, in a way, he does value life. As for Valmer, I thought she was interesting because of her past. Valmer was the character whose back story was probably fleshed out the most and after about episode 9 or 10 she was continually haunted by it until she finally decided she had to go out and deal with it. Surprisingly, one of my favorite aspects of Valmer was how she could be an unbelievable tough person, but she also had a protective side to her that I liked. My favorite instance of this is probably in the last episode where she gets shot several times because she was shielding Jonah. I found myself unexpectedly touched by that scene since I thought Valmer did something really commendable by shielding Jonah.
One last aspect of the show that I liked a bit was how it addressed a lot of human issues revolving around weapons and how they affect people. This aspect doesn’t pop up a lot, in fact, I’m pretty sure this is only brought up once or twice, but its something that stuck with me a bit since I never really thought about it. Koko makes the point that weapons are unquestionably evil and cause people to do evil things, but she also mentions that those evil things are often justified by what the person using the weapon believe in (country, loved ones, self preservation, etc.). It may seem like an obvious concept, but I think that it has a lot of truth. When one fires a weapon and deliberately kills a person, no matter who the person was or what they did, they took a life, and that is a horrible thing. I know I’m getting into grey area here with that statement, but I think that its true. People justify the taking of another person’s life by saying they did it for this, that, or the other thing because they won’t feel as badly if they can comfort themselves, you could say, but saying “It was the right thing to do.”
That’s about all I have to say about the show. I would definitely recommend this show to people who want a fast, action filled watch. I like the show a lot because it brings up some interesting concepts and ideas that I would love to see explored more. The characters are fun, but are interesting in that they all seem to be more complex than they initially appear and I think it would be great to see more character development in the next season. Overall, Jormungand was a fun watch that I think has the potential to turn into something even better if it explores some of its deeper ideas and brings in a really tough, developed bad guy or two that gives Koko and her team a run for their money.
Overall Score: 8/10