Koko Hekmatyar for Mom of the Year
Review copies for both Jormungand and Jormungand: Perfect Order were provided by FUNimation Entertainment
Evenin’ ladies and gents, the Inverseman here with a review of both seasons of Jormungand, adapted from the original manga written by Keitaro Takahashi. How does this action-packed trigger-happy series stack up? Find out!
Jonah is a child soldier orphaned by a drone strike and is now stuck with Koko Hekmatyar serving as her bodyguard. Though weapons have ruined his life at such an early age, his travels with Koko and her team will give him experiences he would have never expected.
Right from the get-go you’ll know you’re in for three things with this show that begin with the letter “G”: Guns, Girls, and Gore. If you’re a big action fanatic with tons of explosions, you’re in the right place. If you wanted moe or Disney, this show will get a skip. That said, to really see the series as a whole, it’s recommended to see both seasons. Season one ends on a big cliffhanger and with a lot of characters without their time in the sun. It starts very explosive and there are many scenes jam-packed with fights moving from episode to episode.
In the midst of all the fights, you really warm up to the characters and the relationships Jonah has with Koko and the team since the character development is pretty tight. Jonah is easily the most human of the cast in a brutal and unforgiving world meeting the members of his new family. The viewer gets to really zone-in on a character and his or her story in an episode from Ugo’s love of driving to Valmet’s yuri-lust for Koko. Oh and then there’s the team’s actual heavy backstories too. The side characters also get some nice time to themselves and are anything but throwaways, they will be coming back. At the forefront, Koko herself is always shrouded in mystery but she’s a real delight from closing deals to playing mom with Jonah. It’s that mystery that makes the viewer just as intrigued in her inner workings and unseen mental battles which the viewer and the rest of the cast devote themselves to uncovering.
However, beyond the characterization, the first season alone doesn’t give much substance plot-wise. You get to see the team’s stories, but you lack the overarching motivations, especially behind Koko. Then in the second season, the action actually takes a slight backseat. The series is still rough and gritty, but we have more political intrigue into who Koko is, what her plans are, and just what are the powerful people on her tail are up to. The viewer actually turns his or her head on a little bit for an action series towards the end, which isn’t half bad.
In this sense both seasons act as bookends to each other where the first injects you into the ultra-violence of Koko’s world as an arms dealer but then you pull back the layers underneath the explosions and blood. The show becomes less episodic and more thoughtful and a wee bit contemplative in the ending. Though I must say, you really have to understand where Koko and Jonah come from to really “get” the ending and the cliffhanger it ends on is fitting but almost criminal.
The only real complaints I have with the series at times the suspension of disbelief. On one hand the series does a fine job with seeing one busty muscle-bound super soldier eliminate an entire enemy force, but sometimes that suspension wears thin where the team easily goes on an island vacation after an intense bloodbath. The ending still raises a couple question marks in my head regarding Jonah’s final motivations, but it still is justifiable. My only other issue is that certain characters don’t really get their time until way late in the game or just had a footnote in the beginning like Wiley and Lutz respectively. Too early and they’re forgotten and too late then the finale arc begins to overshadow a perfectly good episode.
The animation itself is very good, especially in the fight choreography and the way the viscera spills, and it’s no surprise too since much of the animation team also worked on Black Lagoon too. The soundtrack follows the same suit of “fitting and good” so while both may not be of the pinnacle of art, they do a bang-up job for what they need to accomplish. In the acting department, Shizuka Ito really gives those aforementioned layers to Koko and Anastasia Munoz captures that “crazy mom” feel at all times. Only odd choice in the dub cast is Micah Solusod who is rather deep for Jonah, but you also warm up to him. Actually, I prefer the dub for this series, given the international nature of the cast right down to the accents and a script that contains all the edginess and vulgarity it needs. Included with the DVDs are staple commentaries and a quick behind-the-scenes, very cut and dry for FUNimation. Production-wise the series is solid and gets passing marks down to the very last f-bomb.
In the end, I think Jormungand is an overall solid anime. If I knew normal people that were in the mood for an action-packed violent romp, then this would be a show for them. While the substance came a little late, the solid characters and fights engage the viewer very well and more than make up for it. The combined score for both seasons of 24 episodes gets a 4/5. Join me next time when I order one of everything at McDonald’s.
– Good character development makes for a lovable cast
– Great fight scenes and action
– Plot has a couple nice “deep” moments when it does kick in
– Uneven time given to develop certain characters
– Some scenes get a little too hard to believe even for the series
Studio: White Fox
Director: Keitaro Motonaga
Character Design: Kazuhisa Nakamura
Music: Taku Iwasaki
Original Creator: Keitaro Takahashi
Original Run: April 10, 2012 – June 26, 2012 (season 1) | October 10, 2012 – December 26, 2012 (season 2)
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