The story of Keitaro Takashi’s Jormungand follows a boy named Jonah who was orphaned by war and has become a very adept child soldier. He joins a group of mercenaries protecting the world renowned arms dealer Koko Hekmatyar. Koko travels with a large team , around not only due to the dangers of her job but also because she is regarded as a great boss for said bodyguards and they would lay their lives on the line for her. Such commitment is explained throughout the series as we see how Koko is no mere weapons dealer, she is an activist for creating a world that if peaceful. How does one do that while selling huge bombs and turret guns? Well I guess you’d have to watch it.
Both Koko and Jonah have their own sense of contradiction with Koko wanting world peace and dealing arms around the world and Jonah being a powerful child soldier who kills people yet claiming to hate guns and those who use them, but the show works hard to make this work in the sense that we do not always enjoy the path we currently walk, but we can make choices finding a better way along that route. It’s kind of like when you meet a young child and they say they want to be some out of this world basketball star. You know it is going to be a tough go, but in the end I found myself supporting Koko and Jonah for the most part and wanting them to succeed somehow.
Koko comes from an arms dealing family, and as such was expected to deal guns around the world spreading chaos and discord. Her brother Kaspar is also in the trade and is far less concerned with world peace and more in tune with the ugliness of reality. Koko has been working on some sort of world fixing plan for years and throughout the series and it is not fully revealed to us at the very end what her actions have come to. She is incredilby cunning and always in control even when business does not seem to be falling in her favor. When she is around there is a great sense of calmness and she instills that sentiment in her team as well.
Jonah’s friends and family were ripped from hip by soldiers and as such he fights fire with fire. And bullets. And bombs and… well you get the idea he is a bad ass.
The majority of episodes include great backstory of her bodyguards, and while not all are fleshed out as much as others, I found it really interesting to hear old army stories from a demolitions expert or a story of revenge from a former Finnish army standout. While you could say this show is episodic in that regard there is an overarching plot going on, the series is just doing what I wish many others did and that is develop character rationales and backstory. The missions they go on are so entertaining but there is not much threat as they are so good as a team that eventually you know they are unbeatable.
Given Koko’s job she is in constant danger, yet she handles things so smoothly it really shows her commitment to her cause and to those around her. Some of my favorite moments in Jormungand were when she treated her comrades like they were parts of her own body, seemingly lost without them. She can also be very silly at times to break the mood, especially around the stoic child soldier Jonah. They complemented each other incredibly well and were rocks for one another as they sifted through the chaos of being in the arms trade.
The animation by White Fox was great. They especially nailed the character designs as they were memorable, especially Koko. Character eyes were also on point, as the color kept my attention constantly and emotion within them was conveyed well. This show also has my second favorite opening song of all time, second only to Watamote. Mami Kawada’s Borderland is just a really great tune and fits the series well. The second opening was not bad in fact I would say it fit nicely as well, but there’s no way it stood a chance here. The dub was awesome as well with a few heavy hitters including Micah solusod and Brittney Karbowski from Soul Eater, Greg Ayres from Another, and a great performance from Koko’s voice actress Anastasia Munoz whom I hadn’t really heard of before but she handled Koko’s mannerisms and tone perfectly.
At the conclusion of its 24 episodes is where Jormungand tends to separate people. Across the internet I have seen forums and debates about the ending of this series and the actions taken by certain characters, and while I admit it was a weird surprise I commend Jormungand for actually having an ending unlike so many works out there. I was very satisfied with where it left off. I will cover this controversial ending in a spoiler section below.
I recommend you buy Jormungand. It is full of action, guns, fan service if you are into that, great character backstory and development and one of the most intelligent main characters I have ever seen. If you like action you will enjoy this but also if you like cool rational thinking crafters of crazy plans such as Light Yagami or Lelouch you will like this series as well. The easy comparison would be Black Lagoon here, but I would also say to watch a series called Gungrave, another guns filled action series with a deep subplot with incredible character development.
Ok, so that ending. The final moments of Jormungand did not plan out how I pictured them in my head, but they were still entertaining. Koko went from a character I adored to someone I disliked a bit at the end with her idea of sacrificing 700,000 people to end aerial combat. Jonah was also perturbed by this and runs off on his own after working with Laspar for two years. In the end, he leaves kaspar who saw this decision coming a long time ago. Kaspar gives jonah money and sets him off on his own life. Jonah though realizes the difficulties of being so isolated and is eventually starving when Koko and her team welcome him back. The series ends with Koko seemingly hitting the button that will start up Jormungand, her super computer that will take out aircrafts like an EMP. Her idea is forced peace, which I srt of agree with but I dislike the actions of a character like Light, Lelouch and to a lesser extent Koko here as I do not support the concept of “sacrifice pawns to save the queen”. Personally, I hate the idea of someone being in charge of another indivusal’s right to live. I feel as a religious individual that God judges people, not other humans, and as such the blatant killing of 700,000 people was not copasetic with me.
That being said, notice that Koko did not hit that button for 2 years, and more importantly to the characterization, until Jonah returned. It is my theory that she waited for 2 main reasons.
First, she waited for the war to engulf the world, liley causing less domestic flights internationally, ergo saving some of the civilians killed. Secondly, she awaited Jonah’s approval. I doubt she could handle going on killing so many without the consent of someone she loved so dearly. Once Jonah realizes that this world is shitty, he realizes he has to make a change somehow, or others will change it for him. And at least he was not making that choice alone.
So do I like Kok’s actions, no. Can I support them, maybe. Are they justified, possibly. Am I beating around the bush? Yes. Koko is still one of my favorite characters of all time and while I would have written this ending differently, I appreciate how it ended up. In addition, i suppose it is technically still up on the air as to whether she activated it or not, as the threat to such power is scary to stop any general. The sad part pointed out by Kaspar is that no matter what Koko does weapons and war will still go on, and that is true, but i I have learned anything from koko it is that we have to make an effort to stay on our path.
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