As I approached the end of term my life became quite hectic. I had not watched anime for months, so decided that the best way to prepare for the summer holidays was to get back into doing the things I enjoyed before work took over my life. After a bit of surfing about I came across a 12 ep mini anime that grabbed my attention. I admit, I am shallow enough to judge it by its opening on YouTube.
OOOOO! I thought and dug a bit deeper. Turns out this series is about an arms dealer and a child soldier. Interest grabbed I watched it.
First point, this is not an anime for fluff bunnies. The violence is ever present but it is not overly graphic either. Jonha’s story of how he becomes a child soldier and later enters into the service of an arms dealer, (Koko) is an interesting one. Jonha is not the main focus of the story. Jormungand is one of those anime that seems to lack an overall plot and is instead a collection of short stories about certain characters of the group. This can work well, but with a large cast I found myself getting irritated when the story moved away from my favourite characters.
I am clearly not the target audience for this anime either. There are a number of “teenaged male” draws here. A lot of the girls are very well endowed and the two main women are gay and it is implied in a relationship with each other. There is a liberal dusting of fan-service but not enough to make me sneer at it. There are many cheeky jokes, as you would expect but it’s nicely played against the fact the Jonha is oblivious to half of them and for what he does understand he does not really care or react.
Jonah himself appears cold and emotionless at first. His fierce loyalty to his employer seems baseless. As the series progresses and his story unfolds he starts to show signs that he is actually a child and Koko’s determination to “melt his icy heart” is actually working. Jonha also has something he desperately needs to do so being part of Koko’s team suits his purposes.
Koko is not your average heroine. She is a master manipulator, frighteningly clever and has absolutely no fear of her own death. Again it is intimated that she has some sort of purpose that drives her to excel in her business even though she is aware it will claim her life one day. She is not classically beautiful or even particularly pretty to my mind and her being so young is explained as her father and brother are both in the arms trade. Her brother (Casper) explains the situation well. They were both born on a container ship. They have no loyalty to any country and all they have ever known is the family business. Koko is utterly insane but knows her business and is ferociously competitive.
The other men in Koko’s group get less screen time and this was why I was left with the impression that the series was trying to cover them all but did not quite have enough time to establish their characters.
The fight scenes themselves are well choreographed and never seem to fall into the “bleach” mode. (I.e. the characters shout at each other for a while then fight a bit, then go back to a nice wee chat, then fight a bit more with the next superpower up the food chain.) The weapons are real and the fights, while typically anime (everyone having such high blood pressure that it fountains everywhere when spilt and there are 20 pints of blood in a person,) show that the capability and limitations of each weapon have been taken into account. Strategy gets Koko and her team out of many a tight spot rather than brute force.
This attention to detail also filters into Koko’s business deals. I actually found this side of the story to be more interesting than the blood and gore. Koko also has competition, there are others, including her own brother who want to make a profit too. Also the CIA are stalking around the background trying to extort money from Koko by trying to catch her breaking international regulations. While I am sure this is not official CIA policy I can well believe secret agencies need “alternate” funding from time to time.
So over all this was enjoyable but to be good needed more time. As it stands it is a clever little oddity but not much more.