[DVD] Anime Review: Jormungand (2012)
The world of anime has welcomed a few memorable villains over the years, including DEATH NOTE‘s Yagami Light and CODE GEASS’s Lelouch. Whether they were born evil or perhaps they simply rebelled against the unjust system of law and order, we have never gone beyond the realm of villains. We’re talking about arms dealers — also known as those who provide weapons to civilians, governments, and terrorists across the world.
From the studio behind STEIN’S GATE and THE DEVIL IS A PART-TIMER, White Fox Studio comes with another gutsy series that will entertain viewers. Based on the manga series by Keitarō Takahashi, JORMUNGAND is a powerful masterpiece directed by Keitaro Motonaga that questions morality and world peace.
In this politically-charged world of JORMUNGAND, the story revolves around Koko Hekmatyar, an arms dealer who also happens to be the daughter of HCLI’s business tycoon Floyd Hekmatyar. Despite working under HCLI — an international shipping corporation that deals with arms trade – Koko’s name alone is feared by everyone in the industry. With a knack for negotiations and strategies, she secretly sells weapons to various clients across the world whilst avoiding local authorities and law enforcement agencies.
For an illegal arms dealer, you need an entourage of top-notch bodyguards, and that is exactly what Koko has. Travelling with a team of ex-military veterans, Koko inducts a new member to the team who appears to be an emotionless child soldier called ‘Jonah’. With instincts sharp as a hawk whom will kill without any hesitation, Jonah (ironically) despises weapons, violence and arms dealers altogether.
Never before have we come across a fascinating show that portrays a realistic picture of the weaponry world. With plenty of references to firearms and explosives, the amount of research based on real-life weapons is supremely impressive. From the way Koko’s bodyguards wield the weapons to the display of arms including M2 machine guns, AK-47 bayonets and FGM-148 Javelins, we are constantly mind-blown by Jormungand‘s attention to craft and detail.
Like a natural arms dealer, Koko and her crew embark on one great escapade around the world to do business in countries such as Iraq, Japan and France. From war zones, Arabic landscapes to German villages, the show has done a great job in bringing these visuals to life. It is in these very realistic settings where we see Koko taking action and negotiating with her clients in a battle of words and wits.
Due to Jormungand’s challenging ideas about war and world affairs via dialogue and storytelling, this anime can be mundane at times. But surprisingly, the intensity of the show captures our attention from start to finish, and even manages to crack a joke or two every now and then.
Funnily enough, trouble always find Koko wherever she walks and breathes. Throughout the anime, Jormungand throws in a great amount of epic battle scenes to counterattack the show’s excessive dialogue scenes. With bullets flying everywhere and blood splattering like paint on canvas, the show’s animation and choreography is bloody amazing—literally. And let’s not get started on Jormungand’s soundtrack composed by Taku Iwasaki. It is truly an edgy soundtrack filled with experimental beats and instruments that reflects Jormungand‘s unique personality.
Somehow in this extraordinarily distorted world, the audience (along with Jonah) find ourselves enjoying the company of Koko and her team. From knife-fighting to explosives, each character is a leading expert in their respective military field which makes Jormungand highly interesting to watch. With this in mind, Jormungand makes us guiltily perplexed. These characters may be involved in illegal arms trade but they are far from villains, and as a result, this makes it difficult for us to judge them.
Jormungand‘s leading lady is one-of-a-kind. With striking blue eyes and a sinister smile, Koko’s extremely charismatic and daring demeanour has earned her great success in the business. Despite this monstrous persona that she sells herself to the world, Koko’s wall-front is tested when her subordinates are in danger or when their loyalty is being challenged.
Creating war with one hand and creating peace with the other hand, travelling the world with an arms dealer could not be easy for Jonah. There may be times where Jonah questions the morality behind Koko’s actions but being next to Koko is where Jonah belongs in the world.
Overall: To be frank, JORMUNGAND is an anime that is unlikely to strike a chord with anime viewers. With a bit of patience and the show’s combination of intriguing characters and action-packed scenes, you will unexpectedly find yourself wanting more from this series.
JORMUNGAND: THE COMPLETE COLLECTION (Episodes 1-24) is now out on DVD and Blu-Ray. You can view more info on Madman Entertainment’s site [here]
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