First Impression – Jormungand

Weapon selling is exciting stuff.

So, there have already been some awesome shows out this season, but I’ve been holding out for Jormungand. It instantly captured my attention, what with its interesting duo of main characters – a child soldier and an arms dealer. I can already hear the cheers of all the feminists out there seeing as our arms dealer is a woman. Gurl power! Let’s go kick some butt, guys!
There was just one thing about this show that was necessary to get me excited: White Fox. That studio hasn’t done much, but it is responsible for 2 of the best TV shows of the past 2 years, 2010’s Katanagatari and 2011’s Steins;Gate. The former was undoubtedly leagues better than the latter, but both were top notch works. The underground crime setting with an arms dealer and her child soldier intrigues me and is certainly different enough from most anime, but that’s just a bonus.
I don’t even remember how long it’s been since I’ve caught a real action anime (…excluding Bleach, if it can be considered) because I haven’t been able to find a good one in this genre recently! But guns, blood and emo depressed kids have me very interested. (⌒▽⌒ゞ
Words can’t describe how excited for this I am. Arms dealers? Child soldiers? A BAMF female protagonist? This all sounds like a winning combination. Topping it off of course is the fact that White Fox is animating all of this. This sounds like an extremely win combination and hopefully this lives up to how good it sounds~.

Meet Jonah, the child solider. He’s pretty much emotionless and he hates all weapons and people who have anything to do with weapons with a burning passion. Why? Because his parents were killed by them. A good enough reason, I guess. However, Jonah’s part is short because the next thing you know, he’s being led around by the main woman/illegal arms dealer herself, Koko. Jonah and the rest of her team meet each other with little to no introductions and the mission is explained. In short, the government found some of their stuff and now they have to get it back.

Let’s see, we have a megane, an eyepatch character, an ossan and… Yoshitake?!

It’s Jonah and Koko in one car and two other members named Valmet and Lehm in the other. While she drives, Koko confronts Jonah about his past, and points out his hatred for weapons. Apparently he also hates talking, but Koko takes everything in stride. Meanwhile, Valmet gives her opinion about Jonah… Not that she has one since their introduction was so short. Though in the conversation we learn that she’s extremely dedicated to Koko. Like, borderline yuri-level dedicated. Talking doesn’t last long though since Jonah open fires at people tailing them. There’s a phone conversation with the guys who are in charge of the people attacking (they’re called the Voschod 6) Koko and apparently their whole purpose is to stop Koko from getting to the port (they don’t want the weapons to get to the military since that would mean the country could go to war). However, the guys Jonah killed were just the beginning and the real show starts soon after.

Obviously this is what sunroofs are for.

From there on, it’s a car chase action scene. Valmet gets on top of a van with a knife like a BAMF since she can’t shoot through it and she takes care of the people behind Koko. Meanwhile, Koko and Jonah are still being chased, but Koko’s mind is elsewhere since she’s happy that Jonah just calls her Koko without honourifics. Jonah is still paying attention though and he tells Koko that the enemy has an anti-tank missile. The fist shot doesn’t connect since an explosion from Jonah diverts it’s course. During this, somehow, a stuffed animal flies into Jonah’s arms and the kid breaks his eternal poker face to laugh. That doesn’t last long though and Jonah kills the guy shooting at them. With that, the Voschod 6 are forced to retreat and Koko + the team wins. After that, Koko talks to Jonah about weapons. Yes, he hates them, but he also knows that he can rely on them. Koko tells Jonah that she can teach him to accept weapons as well. Why is she doing this? For world peace. Duh.

It’s sometime later and Jonah is still with the team. On his watch, he asks Lehm about why they all follow Koko since she’s so young (and probably insane… in a good way). Lehm just says that they all have their own reasons. The next mission for the team is to stop a convoy from trying to get in on their market… It’s also important for Koko since apparently HQ will dock her pay if she fails. The team is split up between being Koko’s backup, negotiating with the defence ministry and being the in between for Koko and HQ. Jonah goes with Koko and his alias is as her little brother (because they obviously look alike). So Koko goes to talk to the guy selling the other weapons, Kroshkin.

The talk is pleasant at first, but when Koko not so subtly tells Kroshkin to get the hell out of her market, she gets a glass pitcher to the head. Jonah reacts, but Koko tells him not to shoot and he looses his gun. Everything is still going just as keikaku for Koko though since her men have already taken out Kroshkin’s snipers. The military goes back on their agreement with Kroshkin and Jonah pulls out his other gun to kill him off. The entire thing was a success and Koko is only slightly injured.

 

Look into her eyes. Do it.

The dead body makes the sibling bonding complete.

With that, Jonah decides that he’s going to travel with the team for a bit longer. As a right of passage, he gets to cook eggs for the team… and they taste terrible (not to him though).
World Peace FTW:

Word.
My little child soldier can’t be this cute in an apron
The team (left to right): R, Wiley, Tojo, Valmet, Lehm, Ugo, Mao and Lutz

End Thoughts:

This wasn’t particularly what I had hoped for but it wasn’t bad either. My main issue with this first episode was how sporadic and, well, messy the plotline was. The viewers were thrown straight into the action without any sort of bearing as to what was going on. Some shows/movies are able to pull this off quite well (Inception anybody?) but Jormungand felt like it was trying too hard to impress viewers with flashy action sequences and forced humor. Sadly, there was not enough substance to it and it sort of fell flat. This brought to mind Un-Go, which also had a similar flop on its pilot episode. Fortunately, Un-Go proved to be a great show that I enjoyed very much, so I’m hoping Jormungand will be able to pick itself up and do the same. After all, its got a super unique and kick ass story just waiting to happen, especially given the unorthodox cast of characters.

That being said, the action was straight up brilliant. All the shooting kept me on my toes and on the edge of my seat, just waiting to see what would happen next. And Jonah – Jonah was just…wow. It evoked some pretty strong emotions from me to see a child just straight up shoot somebody in cold blood, without even showing a shred of emotion. It was scary, jarring and, most of all, sad. What sorts of horrors must he have experienced that would have reduced him to such an unemotional state? He is but a shadow of youth at this point. His gaze is empty and only his smile at the sight of the stuffed animal reminded me that he is, indeed, a child. I’m a little apprehensive as to what Koko is going to do to this kid, but it should be interesting to watch nevertheless.

Clearly, this show is just oozing with potential. And lots of it. The first episode failed to impress me, but I refuse to give in. It’s going to get good. I just know it. The art was nice, character designs tight, the action sequences thrilling and the sound was boss. However, Jormungand would do good to get rid of the little rap ditty during the preview. I couldn’t take it seriously…

Well that was an… alright episode. It felt half hearted in everything, with mediocre action, a very by the books story, and not enough exposition to make the characters relatable. The character designs feel off in some way, particularly Koko, though that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Given the setting, the show had a very real chance to come out swinging, and I feel that it just struck out looking. Or leaned into a pitch for a hbp at best. The highlight was easily the little rap clip during the next episode preview.

That said, I am curious about Koko. Her lackadaisical attitude, breaking out in laughter during a meeting with her mates, is pretty cliche, I guess, but that’s usually a sign of something interesting underneath. And it’s not like Katanagatari – also directed by Motonaga – started off well, so I’m not ready to give up on it yet. Still, if it’s anything like that other show, it’ll be a very long time before it gets good, so I don’t think I’ll put this in my weekly queue.

…Woah. Yay I finally have a new action anime to follow this season, and this one looks like it’s going to impress. Jormungand has a great first episode – what makes it different from other anime is that it throws us right into the heat of the action, smoothly incorporating bits of character introductions throughout the episode while managing to keep the pace of the episode fast enough to capture our attention. That’s something very few anime manage to do in their first episodes.

I find myself really interested in learning about Koko, probably even more than I am about Jonah. She’s – well, bluntly put – pretty much insane. Even in one episode she had so many different persona (hehe) changes and you can already tell she has many sides to her. I’d really like to find out what makes her so respected by her team, and most of them are also batshit crazy in one sense or another. I mean, you have to be pretty awesome to get a group of batshit crazy people to follow you, right? xD Lastly, a random thought but: Is there some signed agreement between all the anime this season to have awesome OPs and EDs? Because now I have a lot of songs to wait for.

…Wow, Koko is way more feminine then I expected. I think it’s because I was expecting a voice like Jonah for her (even though I knew Shizuka Itou was her seiyuu), but I much prefer how it turned out. The rest of the characters seem amazing too though. The best part so far? Well aside from Koko’s antics, it doesn’t look like we’ll be getting any of those annoying “Nooo I don’t want to fight. Guns are scary!” characters who take up the majority of the episode with their bitching. Jonah is badass. The entirety of the team (who I don’t know their names, but I’m sure I’ll learn them later) is badass. I love all of the characters so far and their interactions.

The OP and ED are equally impressive. At first it was only the OP that I liked (and I’ll now forever associate the word ‘Boarderlands’ to guns thanks to this and that shooting game), but then I realized HOLY SHIT, that’s Nagi preforming the ED. Maybe it’s not supercell, but at least she’s still in the business. Combined with that  OST, this anime has really strong music all around (…I had that preview music in my head for an entire day). As for the animation, I’ll admit that I’m normally really picky about character designs, but the weird character faces works in this anime. The action was decent too. My only complaint is that it just kind of threw all of the characters in there and expected us to follow. Sure, Jonah and Koko are easy enough to pick out, but what about the rest of the team? …That being said though, I wouldn’t want an episode wasted on long character introductions. I just hope they take the time to sort the characters out in later episodes. There are a ton of them.

So yeah, not a bad start~. It was flash and hard to follow, but I really liked the action and things got less confusing the second time I watched it. I’d love to see this flesh out as the episodes go on.

Preview: 

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37 Responses to “First Impression – Jormungand”

  1. Kyokai says:

    I hope we get to know more about Koko’s Afghan/Pushto lineage because that would be awesome. You don’t get a lot of anime these days with strong female lead so I expect a lot from this. Also, being two-cour, I think we still have time to make up our minds about how this will go. Personally, I liked diving into action rather than sitting around explaining things.

    • T.K. says:

      Her name is Koko, she is loco, I said “Oh no!”.

      • Kyokai says:

        You got that right! I’m gonna love following her. :3

      • BlackBriar says:

        You couldn’t be more right about that. She’s a yandere and she’s off her rocker. We need more strong female leads like her.

    • Karakuri says:

      YES! I was so excited when I saw that this was continuing in the fall and this hasn’t even gotten to the second episode yet. As for the diving into the action, I think I like the concept more now after giving it some time.

  2. Bass says:

    I think Zabo nailed it with the Un-go comment. The first ep just threw you into the mix without much warning and as a result, it was pretty messy.

    That said, the premise alone holds a lot of potential. An arms dealer who takes a child soldier under her wing? That’s pretty out there if you ask me. The rest of the cast seem to be willingly following Koko, so her back story must be pretty damning if she can control all those skilled assassins.

    Overall, a mediocre first ep but it’s got all the pieces needed to be interesting.

    • Karakuri says:

      I’d say it was messy, but totally worth it.

      As for Koko’s backstory, I can’t wait for that episode. She’s young for one thing and like you said, everyone follows her willingly. That’s got to be one hell of a story.

  3. Kencana says:

    First time I saw Koko, I thought that she’s another trap. I;m glad that she’s female.

    • tatsuya says:

      wait …koko is a female ~~(  ゚,_ゝ゚) maybe I’m getting old “i can’t tell the different or maybe because to much Versailles

    • Karakuri says:

      As am I. …she does look pretty manly, but the voice totally evens things out.

    • BlackBriar says:

      Whew!!! Thank goodness she’s a female. After suffering a devasting shock in Phi Brain learning that Ana was a guy, I would’ve died if Koko turned out to be a trap. She’s too damn hot to be one.

  4. Reaper says:

    The moment I saw this, I felt the whole spiritual successor to ‘Black Lagoon’. Not by the same company but had the feel to it, with Steins;Gate art. OP had me hooked, and the whole idea with the characters and story is not used very often (a team of elite ex-soldiers, assassins and a child soldier following an arms dealer who sleepwalks in her underwear. YES!) Definitely looking forward to each of the character’s story (especially eyepatch lady; seems like there’s a bit of yuri in this…) and the ‘funky song’ at the end…WIN!
    ‘Her name is Koko, she is Loco, I said oh no!’ 😀

    • Karakuri says:

      People keep comparing this to Black Lagoon. I think I’ll need to watch that. YES! BACKSTORIES! I imagine that it’s going to take up a couple episodes at least unless some of them were recruited at the same time, but you just know that those are going to be badass episodes.

      OTL Don’t even start. I’ve had it in my head for 1 1/2 days now. The same 10 words. Over and over.

  5. akagami says:

    Oh wow, I had a totally different reaction than you three. I wasn’t really impressed with the description, and I’m not big on action shoot-em-ups, so I was going in expecting something like Canaan (which I didn’t really enjoy).

    Like Reaper said, it felt exactly like Black Lagoon. Intense and compelling with crazy batshit characters (I didn’t really enjoy the OVAs that much though, the crazy batshit levels were beyond what my brain could handle).

    I really interested to see where this goes.

    I didn’t feel it the plot was messy at all, but then again I watched UN-GO (which some of you mentioned) and Horizon (which a lot of people hated at the beginning) and I loved both from the start.

    And Haruka (Itō Shizuka) as Koko (OMG WIN~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~“`)

    SO SOLD.

    • Overcooled says:

      (Note: I had to edit your comment because it BROKE METANORN. No one comment was ever meant to have so many ~’s in a row. SORRY!)

      • akagami says:

        Not a problem. Excuse me while I continue my squealing in the corner.

    • Karakuri says:

      …I enjoyed Canaan OTL. But yeah, they went crazy with the action and all of the characters proved that they belonged within the group for sure.

      I can’t comment on either of those, but yeah. Hopefully this is good!

  6. Rakuen says:

    Well, I wonder who will “win” this little struggle, Koko or Jonah. Having a split season like this lends itself well to a cliff-hanger with death or betrayal (or both) involved. I’d say Jormungand would be a good ride if they can properly build the series up to that point.

    Oh, thanks for posting the character reference photo too. It’s good to see Jormungand’s assassins all have character. That is, they all have distinctive looks to them.

    • Karakuri says:

      …You know, I never really thought of them as being in a struggle at all, but you’re totally right. They are in a sort of struggle and the possibility of a cliffhanger ending is likely. If they build up to it of course (like you say).

      LOL that was more for my own reference than anyone else. Yeah, though I can see myself confusing a few of them with each other unless their personalities prove to be different. …If they really wanted to impress me, they would do it subtly too without having to dedicate an entire episode to flashbacks.

  7. Overcooled says:

    I liked how they threw us into things. As long as I can follow for the most part, I’m good. I LOVED this first episode – it’s just the kind of intense action I love. I’ve seen enough car/gun chase scenes to last me a lifetime, but this still impressed me. Awesome =w=

    AHHH, TORMENTED CHILD SOLDIER, YESSS!! I hope he has a mental breakdown at some point <3

    • Karakuri says:

      YAY! You know, I don’t think I’ve seen something with this much action since… I don’t even know. It was indeed impressive though~.

      I love Jonah and his soulless gaze~. Though, uh, I’m more looking forward to seeing him open up to the team. xD

  8. Gecko says:

    I’m pleased with this. Yes, the plotline was a bit messy, but come on, weapons dealings aren’t all clean. I prefer to be thrown into things immediately, like how Otonashi was thrown into big things rather quickly in Angel Beats!. Build-up into a big mission is just boring. I like the pacing of the characters and their action to be set up right away. The plot was a little hard to follow, with multiple missions and random transitions, but I think I’ll be fine. And every character has some kind of double-sided contradiction to fit with them so far, which is a bonus. I feel like this morality situation is playing off of Death Note perhaps, although we’ll see later if that’s right or wrong.
    And yes! KOKO! Finally, a strong, leader type of female who has a bunch of guys working for her! I like it!

    • Karakuri says:

      I’ve warmed up to the fact that they threw us in there now since I would hate a slow episode. The downside is of course, the messy plot, but still. It was worth it… I just have to pay attention to what’s going on xD. Oh, a moral struggle like Death Note would be an amazing addition to this show. Let’s hope it works like that.

      Koko is a bamf for sure. She has my vote for female character of the year for sure xD

  9. The_Magus_Killer says:

    Koko = Itou Shizuka = = Morishima Sexy Jessica = Morishima Lovely Haruka

    Okie-dokie, Tachibana-kun! Wow! XD

    *Amagami SS+ Plus OVA “Mr. & Mrs. Tachibana”: Tachibana Haruka is a lovely housewife by day, a certain weapons dealer at night, while her husband, Inspector Tachibana Junichi tries to catch the mysterious ‘Koko’, arms-dealer extraodinaire of HCLI. Both do their jobs for world peace. Who will win? You be the judge!* Insert epic music here

  10. Jrow says:

    Because of my lack of Internet for the moment and having seen this episode just before that, I’ve been rewatching Black Lagoon. That show is still incredibly awesome!

    I feel the same as OC and Gecko. Cool first episode. Also enjoying the Amagami role play Magus has prepared.

    • Karakuri says:

      ….Still… haven’t… seen… Black… Lagoon. Are they really that similar?

      Amazing action for sure. Let’s hope they keep this up.

  11. Moni Chan says:

    I watched this anime in my anime club at my school. When I saw Koko and yelled out “IT’S A TRAP” everyone laughed at me

    • Karakuri says:

      …From her character design, I wouldn’t be surprised if they had Wakamoto Norio as her seiyuu or something. I’m just thankful (and yet slightly disappointed) that it never happened.

  12. Hoshi says:

    ~I like this, but I’m so confused on all the political/weapon name jargon that I’m left only admiring all the bad-ass action scenes (which is how I am when watching most action movies lol). The whole time I was watching it, I kept thinking, “I have no idea what the hell is going on, but it’s violent and looks cool, so yay!”

    I’ll keep watching though to see if it makes anymore sense for me…

    • Karakuri says:

      ….I felt lost on that aspect as well. I’m not a big weapons/military person, but as far as I can tell from a quick google search, the organization they were fighting was fictional.

      …Somehow I have a feeling that if they don’t bother explaining who they are, it’s not going to be important who they’re fighting. This anime seems too fast paced to waste time on explaining who they’re fighting if they’re only there for 15 minutes.

  13. BlackBriar says:

    Hahaha, wow, this looks like pure fun. Less talking, more ass kicking. Though I haven’t seen the series myself, I’ve heard this is being compared to Black Lagoon. I’m already in love with the OP “Borderlands” and the ED isn’t half bad either. The animation is top notch awesome.

    Koko is what I call one hot mess. Her personality is quite cheery and happy, most would say even childish. And her appearence, her albino skin combined with possible yandere traits, especially when she deals with her obstacles, she reminds me of Deadman Wonderland’s Shiro plus the way she commands her loyal and totally devoted mercenaries and doesn’t back down from anything, Sir Integra Hellsing. Hence the little song along with the preview “Her name is Koko, she is loco, I said “Oh no!””. Though she considers Jonah a little brother during the times they are together, I can help but think she might become a shotacon.

    First time seeing this character and I see that Jonah is badass. “Shoot first, ask questions never”. Though his actions seem contradictive. He joins Koko’s crew despite his overall dislike of arms dealers and the fact that he absolutely hates guns. The empty look in his eyes makes it seem that his very soul was ripped out of him. It must be the trauma of those who’ve lost their families (Sasuke, Minene/Ninth, Yukiteru, Kaito, etc…).

    • Karakuri says:

      Hell yes to all of that! The OP is amazing, the ED is amazing and the ass kicking is also amazing. In short, this was amazing >w<

      Oh, a Hellsing comparison. Yeah, I’d say that Koko’s position is pretty close to Integra’s where she has a force to be reckoned with at her fingertips and nothing is going to stop her. …I wouldn’t blame her if she became a shotacon. Hell, Jonah is so adorable, I might just become a shotacon xD. I’m just surprised you mentioned nothing of the yuri potential.

      Hell yes he’s badass. Not just his scenes in the car chase, but the way he just drew his gun when he was woken up for his shift. I can appreciate fast reflexes. Yeah, the kid is contradictory, but like Koko said: Jonah knows he can rely on weapons. Plus I think he’s so broken inside (possibly due to self loathing/hate of everything.) that he’s past caring at this point.

      • BlackBriar says:

        The OP is awesome and it’s even better knowing that the singer is Mami Kawada, the one who sang both the OPs for the two seasons of Toaru Majutsu no Index. I was so busy being thrown into the action, I didn’t have enough time to stop and think about the plot but I also didn’t mind a bit about that. i’m definitely following this.

        Koko, though somewhat childish, presents herself as an authority that shouldn’t be challenged and should be feared. Just look at her team of bodyguards who are mostly composed of ex-military veterans. I find her views may be warped because she said she’s doing this for world peace but she’s an arms dealer and what they do basically provokes chaos. That sounds like a big contradiction. The possibility of her being a shotacon is strong. And that it seems she takes pleasure in seeing people die.

        Yuri potential? Oh, thank you, Kara. LOL. I almost forgot about that. Jonah may be the new kid (no pun intended) in the group and he may not realize it but he is getting all of Koko’s affection. Something that Valmet wants because she’s in love with Koko but Koko is oblivious to bit of information. She’ll be competing with a child. Valmet even said if there was a traitor around who killed her, she’d kill the traitor and then herself. Talk about pure devotion.

        After seeing Jonah laugh after holding that doll, he may just be a broken shell trying to regain his humanity and that might happen through spending time with his new master. His skills are impressive. Whoever trained him did a good job. Thanks to his appearence like his white hair and eyebrows along with his background of hate towards arms dealers and weapons, he could pass off as a revenge seeking Ishbalan child soldier from Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood.

  14. Foshizzel says:

    My only complaint…albino main lead “boss” why is she like that? Design wise I do not like the character designs, but that is a minor thing I can get around that thanks to the action scenes.

    Koko is badass! So yeaaaahh I guess I can over look her unique color scheme…

    • BlackBriar says:

      Maybe it’s just me or the new craze this season but Koko’s pale white complexion, facial expressions and movements like when she was sleepwalking, had me thinking that she could’ve been a zombie. Like Rinne no Lagrange’s Lan, she needs to go out in the sun to get a tan because both of them are so pale that wouldn’t think there’s any blood flowing in their veins to show they’re alive.

      But still, Koko is badass. Don’t ever cross her path.

    • Karakuri says:

      ….This is just me contemplating, but I think her colour palette is to contrast her with Jonah.The two are character foils personality-wise anyways, might as well take that further.

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