Review of Jormungand (Season One)

jormun

Jormungand is a twenty four episode anime series based on Keitaro Takahashi’s comic books. Manga Entertainment has recently released a two disc DVD set collecting the first season and has plans to bring out season two (dubbed Jormungand: Perfect Order) during the tail end of August. That’s convenient given that my birthday happens to fall around that same time. Given how impressed I was with Jormungand’s first dozen episodes I’ll be sure to purchase Perfect Order as a gift to myself. In case you are wondering, I share the same birthday as The King of Pop. Free virtual cookies and high fives if you can deduce my D.O.B.

The series follows the business dealings of Koko Hekmatyar (not to be confused with the chocolaty cereal promoted by a cartoon simian.) Koko is the daughter of a wealthy businessman and an entrepreneur in her own right, after establishing herself as one of the globe’s prominent arms dealers. Selling weapons can be a risky venture so Miss Hekmatyar has assembled a formidable squad of bodyguards to protect her pasty hide from dissatisfied customers and hostile business rivals alike. The group she has hired, whose ranks include ex-military and law enforcement agents, are so skilled that they could give the A-Team a run for their money.

When the show kicks off viewers are introduced to Koko’s newest underling named Jonah, who happens to be a child soldier of Arabic descent. After being raised in a war-torn region Jonah has a deep hatred for guns, but is forced to serve under Miss Hekmatyar after being blackmailed by Koko’s scary brother. Despite being polar opposites, Koko is gradually able to win over her young protector’s admiration, as there is something captivating about the way she carries herself. Her angular features, skill at manipulation and insane personality make her sound like a villainous character, but she is nothing like a stereotypical weapons merchant. Rather that strive for profit it’s implied that she is using her position to orchestrate world peace. An arms dealer who wants to cease world conflict? What’s next? Microsoft to stop selling software at exorbitant prices?

The set’s twelve episodes range from adventures were Koko is pursued by assassins to stories were she uses her wits to trump rival dealers. I liked how a good chunk of the set’s content included two parters, as it gives the plot lines ample time in which to develop. Although Koko’s team is fairly large in size some effort is made to give all the cast screen time, whether via flashbacks or by tying their current mission to some aspect of a character’s past. From the group I especially liked Lutz (a sniper who refuses to harm girls and often suffers buttock injuries) and Valmet the one-eyed knife expert who morphs from a cold-hearted killer to a giddy schoolgirl whenever in the presence of her attractive boss.

My rating for the first season of Jormungand is five stars. It’s a darn sight smarter than the likes of Dragonball and One Piece, which Manga are presently bringing out, but sadly I doubt it will sell anywhere near as well. If you enjoyed Black Lagoon this show should be right up your alley, as it features plenty of brutal violence dished out by a cast of quirky characters. Jormungand also reminds me a little of Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex as the manner in which Koko’s team competently tackle their missions is very similar to what you would find in a story featuring Public Security Section Nine. There’s no excuse for missing out on this show, especially as buying the DVD from Amazon is much less risky than purchasing arms from a pale psychotic lady.

9 thoughts on “Review of Jormungand (Season One)

  1. August 29th, eh? Cookies plox.

    On Jormungand, it’s a bit funny that you mentioned Black Lagoon at the end, because that’s the kind of vibe I was getting from the review. I’ll have to check this out before too long.

  2. Like the puns in the review πŸ™‚ – hmm I think I thought about seeing this one didn’t get round to it, and the name reminded me of the ouroboros/snake that eats it’s own tail.

  3. This review makes me want to watch Jormungand; it sounds like a genuinely smart action series. I really liked Ghost in the Shell and if this is similar in tone I’m sure I’ll like it as well.

  4. Good stuff. πŸ™‚ I didn’t get the GITS:SAC vibe when watching but now you mention it, I can see the similarities in story structure and with the group set up. I still think this series is crying out for a series long arc or perhaps a multi-episode OVA.

  5. Lutz is one of my favourite characters, too – his poor butt! What I liked most about Jormungand is the strong female characters of Koko an Valmet. Great action, drama and comedy! I’m really looking forward to seeing Perfect Order. The trailer here also reminded me of how great the soundtrack is as well.

  6. Good to hear you liked Jormungand, it’s one of the ongoings I picked up back when it aired in spring 2012. Personally I found it fairly enjoyable but didn’t care all that much for it. The action wasn’t bad but it seemed like the material aside from that was a bit limiting. The whole weapons merchant aspect of the story was fairly intriguing but it seemed more like a means to establish the plot than anything else. It’s been a while since I watched it though, so there’s probably a lot I’ve forgotten about it.

    As a side note, regarding one of your last remarks about Jormungand being a smarter series than One Piece, I’m not entirely sure I agree with that. I definitely get that Jormungand could be seen as the more mature story and OP often seems rather goofy and childish in its style (it is, at its heart, still a Shounen after all) but I find it’s actually a pretty well-constructed world filled with a variety of conflicting ideals, powerful themes, and often meaningful character development. The early stages of the series probably don’t show that a whole lot, but as the sheer scale of the OP world increases there’s quite a bit of both depth and complexity to it all later on. I guess I felt that Jormungand seemed more like an episodic type of deal where the main characters get involved with missions and badass gun fights happen but that there wasn’t a whole lot of development, especially with such a wide cast. Koko’s definitely a pretty powerful personality but I think her charisma carries her more than her characterization. Well, it’s all a matter of opinion anyway and it’s been so long since I watched this that I probably forgot a bunch anyway.

    I think I should also mention that I have yet to watch season 2, I sorta just forgot about it and never bothered to watch it. Not sure how much it’ll impact my overall opinion of the series but I think I’d enjoy it all the same so hopefully I can give that a chance soon.

  7. Pingback: Review of Super Sonico: The Animation | The Otaku Judge
  8. Whoa, I was not expecting to see you give this such high praise! The first season was just decent for me. I watched it because a lot of reviews had compared it to Black Lagoon, which you did, but it did not feel nearly as good. It was a lot weaker for me on all fronts. Then season two came around and… it didn’t help my opinion. I’m off to read that review next πŸ™‚

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