A Chinese proverb once stated that “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”. With this quote in account, forget about the first step, the packing, and the plans—when it comes to revenge, the ends always justifies the means, even if it means joining the very kind whom have taken loved ones from you. Jonah, a young man with extraordinary combat skills and knowledge in firearms wishes to shed blood to weapons dealers who have taken his parent’s life. As a child having to experience such traumatic event can have lasting effects—but to this young man, no emotions ever come in contact with his facial expressions. To be hurt at such a young age had turned this young man into an invincible fighting machine—his ability is so impressive that he is recognized by one of the most successful and high in demand weapons dealer—Koko Hekmatyar. Koko Hekmatyar is a young arms dealer with an incredible poise and strategic intellect. While working under HCLI, an international shipping corporation that deals armed weapons, she secretly deals with many countries while steering clear of authorities that can potentially pass judicial judgment on her actions. Being the middle-man between man and the tools to create chaos, Koko has the power to potentially bring havoc among the world—or bring upon peace to the forsaken planet.
Starting off, Jormungand is one of the select few anime that is arms based that doesn’t use too much CGI which was refreshing. This is an action packed story containing thrilling yet sad content with a fine dose of irony. As stated, Jonah, a child soldier hired by Koko, claims that he hates weapons dealers. Since the death of his parents, his resentment toward weapons dealers only grew as time progressed. His fondness for Koko grew which was a great tool to show her affect as a static force for this dynamic character. Slowly melting the traumatized heart of a young man, Koko’s brash yet adventurous personality becomes a comfortable refuge for Jonah’s heart. On the other hand, the epic mastermind plots successfully executed with at least 3 points of perspective (almost first person shooter like) gave a good insightfulness of the arms based action. The comparison to video game FPS style is a good way to describe the view setting of the animation which is excellent. An important element with the anime is transportation; the incorporation of sea, land, and air provides great exposure—this includes the cinematic like camera angles with zoom-ins, birds eye views, and the weaponry casting off with every blow. It’s a beautiful piece of work. Some examples with the transportation incorporations include epic car chases, naval combat, and gaudy exposure to chopper status which outshines Koko’s ability to attain luxurious resources. These elements give the sci-fi vibe but the adventurous purpose is fulfilled to a T. Jormungand will satisfy the taste for the action genre.
The opening Borderland by Mami Kawada (singer for Shakugan no Shana, Hayate the Combat Butler, A Certain Magical Index and other high profile animes)—this is quite a humorous selection since the game Borderlands is arms based and an FPS at that (a good game I might add). So to use the song as the OP, I assumed Borderland had to be some sort of Wartime jargon. This is the first time hearing Mami Kawada’s voice become so heavy with electronic enhancements but it is very fitting for the OP animation and theme. Rather, I must say the tune is catchy—debatable on whether to add it to my online playlist though.
I would not say it would be typical j-pop genre (unlike other of Mami Kawada’s work) but the beats up to the bridge transitioning to the chorus is classic anime cultured rhythm. Basically, it is freaking awesome. If not for the catchy opening, I can’t give much support to the Original soundtrack to the whole production. It really was a hit and miss. There honestly wasn’t anything that actually jumped out at me except for one scene where Koko’s comrade—Sofia Valmer, and one of Curry’s bodyguards, Mildo (a woman who has an inappropriate crush on Valmer) have one-on-one pursuit. A sort of electronic mix began to play coordinated with each strike–this intrigued me. Expecting to hear the soundtrack once more, I only ever encountered the song one—either that or the sound of gun-fire or heavy dialogue could have clouded it. Other than that mishap, the score was well deserved.
This arms based action takes me back to a more recognizable traditional anime called Trigun (1998). The cunning strategies Koko and her team of veterans plus child soldier executed while keeping mountain poise was very musing. These actions were much like Vash the Stampede (protag. Of Trigun). Koko and Vash have the same goal to be attained—achieve world peace—but as this goal becomes more possible, each is aggressively pursued. Jormungand takes it to a much higher level—Koko’s ability to manipulate others in order to achieve a favorable product is incredible (something Vash didn’t really have balls for). Methods used by her (and comrades) seem to be a little “unorthodox” –but this was in name of the greater good. In the words of Macbeth, what’s done is done—Koko never looked back. As for the child soldier, Jonah, a new bodyguard that Koko recently hired was introduced beautifully. One of the first scenes was when he protected Koko in a car chase—his heightened senses and precision (especially for a young man such as himself) was most impressive. It was also amazing to the fact that his caliber was up to par (or at least seemingly) to the hired veterans Koko has recruited. His innocent look makes for one heck of a diabolic machine which can easily be mistaken for an easy target. On a random side note, Koko’s brother (who appears in episode 5-Vein) seemed to come off as a total jerk—his first encounter with Jonah, he locked him up in a Cargo storage—but his role seemed to emit “tough love” towards Jonah (which later we discover that Koko’s dominance over her brother shows the closeness of the siblings). It shows how Koko’s up bringing with her brother showed similarities in their “unorthodox” ways.
This anime is a very selective cup of tea—as a discussion I had with a friend, her preference does not belong to anything war-related (which is understandable), yet for those who enjoy this genre, it is a treat indeed. The story can sometime entail many open-ended questions-but these are assumptions that really should be made while going through the show. What impressed me the most is that all the characters carry their weight—even for Jonah. It leaves such an impression that each character. Even Koko’s comrades whom are very skilled veterans have their own story to be told but nevertheless take care of one another as if it is their own.
To be a highly skilled team but even throw in a few laughs, this anime had its share of comical moments (the scrambled eggs everyone got sick off in the beginning was especially hysterical). Jonah’s cold heart really did begin to melt-and even though this was happening, his combat skills became greater. For the sake of the world, Koko Hekmatyar’s unorthodox solutions to almost impossible situations flourish. Without a doubt, she is the glue that ties her team together—not only in just a leader aspect, but to understand each one’s pain while having her charm entice those around her.