Jormungand: Perfect Order is the second season of the cartoon that adapts the comic book stories written by Keitaro Takahashi. The series is animated by fledgling anime studio White Fox (Steins;Gate & The Devil is a Part-Timer) and is scheduled for release, in the UK, on the 25th of August courtesy of Manga Entertainment. As with season one, the show follows the misadventures of a jet setting arms dealer named Koko Hekmatyar and the posse of bodyguards employed to protect her. Her security group includes Jonah the former child soldier, Valmet the one eyed knife fighter and Lutz a sniper whose magnetic like ass cheeks seem to have a knack for attracting bullets.
Perfect Order pretty much kicks off where season one ended. George Black, the tubby head of the CIA’s European branch, has set his sights on Koko hoping to exploit her arms network. Black’s scheme is however derailed by one of his own agents, a loose cannon nicknamed Hex who would rather assassinate Koko than work with someone who she deems a terrorist. The storyline is edge of your seat stuff with plenty of explosive action that starts the series off on a strong note. The highlight of the piece would have to be Koko’s reaction to the spy in her midst, which reveals emotions she normally conceals behind her trademark grin.
After that Koko returns to Japan, at the behest of her brother, to take care of a clandestine team that has been interfering with the family business. As was often the case in season one the writers manage to tie the story to one of Koko’s staff. In this particular case it’s Akihiko Tojo, who apparently used to work for the opposing faction in question. Taking down Tojo’s former comrades proves to be almost as tough as getting Jonah to learn math. The structure of binding missions to one of Koko’s bodyguards continues in the following tale titled Pazuzu. The one off episode sees Koko’s team driving through Iraq, which serves as a good excuse to talk about Wiley – the explosive expert nicknamed after the animated coyote (I hope he doesn’t use Acme brand bombs as they are notoriously unreliable.)
The remainder of the series focuses on Koko enacting project Jormungand, her master plan for ensuring world peace. The five episode run up to the show’s culmination begins with Koko’s team kidnapping a pair of scientists and builds up from there. It must be said that Jormungand’s finale is a divisive ending that may annoy some of the show’s viewership. At first glance the Jormungand project is ingenious, but upon further scrutiny the plan has more holes than Swiss cheese. This is at odds with the script’s usually clever writing and could annoy the more discerning fans of the show. The anime even seems to acknowledge the flaws in Koko’s plan in a scene were her brother comments that dominating high tech weaponry will not mean an end to warfare. Mankind’s inherently violent nature will always find a way to battle, even if it means resorting to hammering skulls with wooden clubs.
My rating for Jormungand: Perfect Order is a four out of five. If you enjoyed the first season this is pretty much more of the same. The action is satisfying, but not in a mindless way as it has intelligent stories to back it up. Although the subject matter gets heavy at times the quirky cast succeeds in injecting humour to proceedings so things never get depressingly dark. I’m scoring the series a little lower than season one however due to the manner in which it wraps up. It’s not a happy ending, as it highlights the depressing fate humanity is heading towards, but I don’t hate it to the level of other critics. I would equate it to the infamous Mass Effect 3 ending. Even if the conclusion to that trilogy is sub-par it would be harsh to say that the overall the series wasn’t excellent.
My grievances with the finale would have to be in its execution. When Koko unveils what she is plotting it puts her at loggerheads with Jonah, the ally she has been bonding with all this time. They both want a world free of global conflict, but Jonah is an idealist who wants to do what feels right whilst Koko teeters on the precipice of villainy, believing that the ends justifies the means. The expectant clash between the two however never materializes ending things on a damp squib. Fans aren’t even given the opportunity to debate what side of the fence they stand on, as the final episode advances the narrative two years. This gives us the hindsight of seeing the aftermath of Koko’s handiwork, thereby telling us who of the two was correct. I think I’ll appreciate the ending more once I am able to re-watch the show and collect my thoughts better… and re-watch it I shall because, despite its flaws, Jormungand is one of the better UK anime releases of 2014.