Selling weapons for world peace. Seems legit. After all “world peace” can also be attained if everyone dies am I right? After watching Jormungand I really feel that viewers will either love it or hate it, though I seem to be on the fence yet again..
First off, the name Jormungand originates from Jörmungandr, a sea serpent from the Norse Mythology so there might be future references from it. Secondly, this series is very technical, meaning that there were a lot of military terms with the likes of guns; aircraft etc. In fact, the dialogue was so complex that I totally abandoned trying to listen raw since I can’t even understand what the subtitles were trying to explain. It might just be me, but I had to re-watch several scenes a couple of times to understand what exactly was going on since the whole premise wasn’t clarified in plain black and white.
For the benefit of those who were scratching their heads or about to scratch their heads, I’ll briefly summarize the two action-packed scenes that happened. The first operation was to retrieve a cargo shipment that has been retained by the authorities and the second to deal with another rival arms dealer trying to have a piece of the pie, or cake; whichever is the lie. The larger picture of things unfortunately though were left out, presumably to be accounted for in the subsequent episodes.
The admirable thing is despite all the gunfight and highway chasing going on, this opening episode still manages to dedicate time to introduce the premise and characters. At this point little is known, Koko Hekmatya (Itou Shizuka, ara ara!) is an arms dealer with a seemingly random bunch of people following her. When Koko says that they all have a screw loose somewhere, I’d assume that she herself is crazier than the rest since she is the leader and all. I mean, selling weapons for world peace? I could buy (no pun intended) that if I wanted to though..
The newest member to join the gang is Jonah (Tamura Mutsumi), a child soldier who drawn into the fray when his parents got killed. Jonah himself probably isn’t in the sanest state of mind since going through wars basically make you a mentally hardened killing machine since it basically boils down to: “Kill or be killed”. That is the ugly truth of wars, there is nothing glorious about it, just people being sent to die because some people refuse to get along with one another. Each member has their own back-story, which should be delved into later on.
One thing to note that this series, while fictional (?), mirrors real-life issues. Although we may or may not realize it consciously, there are still wars continuing in other parts of the world. Arms dealing continues to occur behind our backs; behind locked doors. Rarely have I seen anime that has a non-fantasy theme that is not slice-of-life. In other words, serious business. This show is not for the fainthearted nor “rainbows and unicorns”-type of viewers. Why can’t we all have nice things? Indeed, time to take off that rose-tinted glasses.
A point to merit is that while maintaining a heavy atmosphere for most of the episode, this series manages to inject very minute bits of comical moments into it. That will always be a plus to me since having a change of mood; even if just for a little, is something nice as long as it isn’t awkward. Having Itou Shizuka voice Koko helps greatly in this since I expected Koko to be voiced in a much deeper tone. To put it in another way I would say she is an odd fit?
The overall plot hasn’t been revealed quite yet. What are their true goals? I can guess that selling arms probably makes one filthy rich but there has to be a greater purpose than that. I’m not sure if this is intentional or a good move by the writers since some viewers do base their impressions just on the first episode.
At the end of the day, I feel that this series is fairly niche and it appeals to a certain group of audience. In terms of action, it probably ranks alongside Zetman, Fate/Zero. Speaking of which, I personally think that this series is similar to Zetman in many ways, except that Zetman has more sci-fi elements. More blood will be spilled and there will be guns, lots of guns. People will die and explosions will occur.
Ah yes, the technicalities since first impressions are ever so important. Visuals were amazing, not the characters themselves but the detail put into inanimate objects and backgrounds stood out for me. Since the animation is done by White-Fox (Steins;gate), the character designs do share a certain resemblance. OP and ED sang by Kawada Mami and Yanagi Nagi respectively. Both fairly are big names in the scene; especially the former. The soundtrack is also better than majority that I have seen so far.
After all that has been said and done, I thought long and hard on whether I should continue watching this series. Make no mistake, this series is not average or mediocre by any means. The biggest factor to watching anime is always enjoyment. Did I enjoy watching this episode? The short answer is no. Therefore I have decided to either put this series into a dusty list of to-marathon at the end of a season, or to just “drop” it entirely. Let me state my reasoning below:
- Technical, difficult dialogue. Not understanding advanced Japanese dialogue is one thing, but when subtitles themselves do not convey much meaning, it severely impacts my understanding and thus enjoyment. I’m not saying that the subtitles are bad, from what I can make out of it by comparing the translations and hearing, it is fairly accurate.
- This series was not in my final to-watch list at the start of the season. The others in this category are “Zetman and ES:AO”. So far Zetman has impressed me enough so I have decided to continue watching (but not covering) it. This on the other hand, didn’t quite make the cut.
- I don’t have high expectations, but I also won’t say that my expectations isn’t met. Like mentioned before, this episode has done a brilliant job at introducing the premise to the viewers, it just isn’t a show for me. To further elaborate, I don’t dislike what this whole series is about per ser, but I don’t exactly favour it either.
- The good news (or not) is that this series will be 2-cour, with the second half airing in Fall. Pacing-wise it is a good thing, but I’m wary of 2-cour shows because basically it consumes a “slot” in my watching schedule. Currently I am following a record number of 15 series this season and to be frank I’m looking to reduce my load to make time for other commitments.
Jonah/Koko eyebrow/lashes look like Shiro from Deadman Wonderland, coincidence?