Jormungand – 1

Though not always the focus of scenes or dialogue or necessarily even apparent at times, Jormungand incorporates a diverse assortment of heavy, serious themes.  Throughout the episode, various subjects arose and articulated thoughts and ideas on weapons dealing, assassinations, victims of war and death, among others, from the perspective of the characters.  And in the face of all this, Jormungand displays a lighter mood than its story would indicate.  Just how does Jormungand pull off that feat?

Simple, really, when you have a main character like Koko Hekmatyar whose personality dazzles and entertains among the rather calm and monotonous cast of bodyguards and assassins.  Really, even if the cast were that of a comedy series or something akin to another entertainment genre, Koko would outshine virtually anyone with her parade of unmatched independence, informality, and lightheartedness.  Her stark contrast to the remaining cast and the setting of Jormungand sets her as a deviant in her own anime and she is strong enough to influence the anime in a variety of ways.  Among them is that she is the primary component in lightening the anime and allowing the anime to be fun and entertaining despite the number of heavy themes present throughout.

Beyond that, Koko is able to play off the situations and the characters to diffuse any prolonged stay in a heavy subject that might otherwise tranquilize or darken the anime.  Though those aren’t necessarily negatives for other anime, Jormungand isn’t suitable to explore these themes in depth, yet it requires their presence in order to tell its story and develop its characters.  What Koko does here is redirect the anime back to its baseline level of entertainment once the serious themes have performed their duties to advance the characters or develop the situation as much as they need to.  Without Koko to revive the anime from these scenes, the anime would continue to be monotone in a dark and serious atmosphere throughout and lose out on most of its charm and fun.  While it is true that some anime can sustain these themes, Jormungand simply cannot and Koko is essential to brightening up the anime in these heavy times.

Additionally, Koko goes beyond a straightforward comic relief character and actually plays an imperative role in the story.  In fact, she is the story.  Her only role isn’t to provide comedy and lighten the tone of this anime, she is the center of this anime and has to connect with virtually every character and advance the story with its serious themes.  That is a testament to how influential and effective her character is, she leads the comedy and fun in this anime while also leading the story and its rather heavy subjects.  That is quite the feat being able to do so much given the situation.  And because she is the central character in this anime, she’ll continue to advance the story in its proper direction, develop the characters around her in an appropriate way, and make the anime lighthearted and fun for everyone to be entertained and enjoy.

Beyond Koko, however, are other factors that play into the lightheartedness of this anime, but this requires going beyond the remaining cast, setting, and story at present.  An argument could be made for the art to hold some influence in decreasing the heaviness of the anime (but was omitted from this final draft) but it is minimal and inconsequential compared to Koko.  Another argument for having some impact in the lightening of the atmosphere in Jormungand could also be made for the idealistic approach to the action, being in a sense Hollywood-esque, but that would require ignoring several important factors that the action depends on that are the essence of the heavy themes in this anime.

And while Koko does a masterful job of infusing a sense of lightheartedness to remove some of the weight this anime deals with, the anime is still a heavy anime.  The themes of being a weapons dealer with bodyguards and assassins who fight and kill aren’t something that can be dismissed with a few jokes and Koko’s loose personality.  However, without Koko’s inspiration, the anime would be almost entirely heavy throughout and not be as enjoyable as it currently is.  Koko certainly gives the anime a charm that would otherwise be missing from this anime and her effectiveness in lightening this anime will allow this anime to refrain from being tedious or monotonous throughout by providing variety between all the heavy, serious themes that will be present throughout.

Though Jormungand details the adventures of a delightful arms dealer and her crew of bodyguards and other employees, I am curious if we’ll see anything beyond the trade of weapons or how detailed the weapons industry is.  To clarify, I wonder if we’ll ever see weapons manufacturing, where I assume Koko buys her weapons to later sale or if we’ll see the use of the weapons in battle or conflict, where their presence alters the outcome of an event that may or may not come back to affect Koko and her band of merry misfits.  I’d imagine the latter is more likely but the former would put Koko is a different perspective than when she is selling her weapons or protecting her life.  It would be an interesting detail that I’d love to see and I imagine we will eventually but I do wonder how it will turn out and how detailed these interactions will be.

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  1. #1 by azeriraz on April 11, 2012 - 3:02 AM

    Koko is definitely a big part of the story – something that equally important in the manga as well.

    • #2 by avvesione on April 11, 2012 - 9:45 AM

      Glad to hear that, she left a really favorable impression on me for her character and this anime. Sounds like you’re quite familiar with the manga, so I’m looking forward to what input you have over the course of the season. Going to read your post on it to see what your impressions were of the first episode.

  2. #3 by Emperor J on April 11, 2012 - 6:00 PM

    I really liked this episode. I was expecting Black Lagoon, and got something that was both different and just as light-hearted at times.

    • #4 by avvesione on April 11, 2012 - 6:23 PM

      Yeah, from what I’ve seen on other blogs and twitter is that Jorm is making a lot of comparisons to Black Lagoon, Darker than Black, GITS, Canaan, and other actiony anime. That’s not bad company to be compared, too. Plus Koko and the comedy were both better than expected and really added a different dimension to the anime that is often weak in the action type genre. Overall, I’m happy with what this first episode was able to do and I’m glad to hear you thought the same thing, too.

      Also, thanks for visitng the blog, I see you’ve been visiting every blog in the tourney and I’m glad to see you visiting and commenting! Good luck to you and your blog now and in the future!

      • #5 by Emperor J on April 12, 2012 - 7:18 PM

        It’s just my attempt at trying to not be outdone in the social stakes by a blog with anti-social in its title. I probably should have done this a while ago, but the tourney just provided the impetus.

        • #6 by avvesione on April 12, 2012 - 8:03 PM

          Ah, well, regardless of your outcome in the tournament, visiting and commenting on every blog will do wonders for others to remember you long after the final votes of the tournament are counted. I’m planning on doing something similar, just when I have more time to actually read everything. Once again, thanks for the visit.

  3. #7 by Zammael on April 11, 2012 - 10:19 PM

    Agreed on the Koko character. She makes the entire show work by offsetting its heaviness, which is encapsulated in that child soldier, the stoic Jonah.

    As long the show realizes its strength is the interplay between those two opposites, and explores the background of gun running and its moral ambiguity, it will carve a niche alongside the other classics of its genre (Black Lagoon, Darker than Black, Canaan).

    • #8 by avvesione on April 12, 2012 - 8:04 PM

      Yup, as long as the anime can have fun like this episode while also telling a story and having above-average action, then this anime is solid for me. I’m excited to see where it goes with these two characters but I’m glad that Koko is loco and loves to make this anime fun!

  4. #9 by Detetiv on April 12, 2012 - 2:40 PM

    Reminds me of Daughter of 20 faces but instead of a Girl running away & be taken in by a guy who’s the boss it’s the other way around. Jonah’s eyebrows look quite weird… idk

    • #10 by avvesione on April 12, 2012 - 8:07 PM

      …I didn’t even notice his eyebrows until now….

      Interesting comparison for Jormungand. I’ve heard about Daughter of 20 Faces before and can understand your comparison since they do sound similar. The set ups are pretty much identical but I’m sure the stories will go in very different directions. Glad to hear you watched it and it sounds like you enjoyed it, too!

      • #11 by Detetiv on April 13, 2012 - 11:02 AM

        The problem is the boy’s eyebrows… they annoy me.. Daughter of 20 faces is Detective Conan meets Momo the White Shimigami or Letters from the Departed/Shigofumi

        • #12 by avvesione on April 13, 2012 - 1:00 PM

          Really? They annoy you? Maybe he’ll lose them in a battle or completely shave his head, eyebrows included, in an upcoming episode? Nah, sorry to hear about that but that’s something that probably won’t change.

          Also, I might look into Daughter of 20 Faces more now that you mention those anime because I’ve been meaning to get into Shigofumi for a while now (friend loved it).

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