Spread evenly throughout Jormungand are aptly placed action sequences where Koko and her team of elite bodyguards showcase their merchandise by brutally murdering potential clients or her competition. Alright, no, not every firefight is justified or triggered through such an unproductive and non-business-friendly concept, but the frequency and predictability of these skirmishes lend themselves to be considered peculiar or unrealistic. The fact that almost every negotiation or situation in Jormungand dissolves to the point where both sides need to kill each other has produced an unnecessarily high occurrence of these action scenes. But had these fights been well-produced, engaging, or in some way stimulating, you wouldn’t be here reading a post questioning what’s wrong with these battles that should be thrilling and exciting. Just what is it about the action in Jormungand that leaves it tiresome and unpleasant?
Perhaps the most obvious problem with the action in Jormungand is the complete absence of danger. Seriously, at no point throughout any of the fights does the audience feel any fear or concern over the safety or well-being of any of the regular cast. Rather than tie the audience in emotionally with any of the characters, we see these super-powered super soldiers blow away the competition. Yes, in terms of training, experience, and tactics, Koko’s team should win compared to the enemies they fight but they have unreasonable and stupid luck which completely destroys any credibility these fights have. Seriously, the worst that’s happened to anyone on Koko’s team is a car crashed (which resulted in no physical injuries or trauma) and a bullet in the butt that probably never bleed or became infected. If that’s the worst that we can expect, well then I suppose we should be concerned about Mao getting a splinter in his finger or Koko getting an wounded ego or something asinine like that. Seriously, does anyone think anything bad will happen to Koko and her team when the second half of this story resumes in the next episode? Hopefully someone but we unfortunately know nothing bad will happen to anyone, so why should we care?
Similarly, without any sense of danger or concern over these battles, the outcomes lead themselves to be predictable in that we know who’ll win and how they’ll win. Though most stories always have the ‘good guys’ winning firefights like these, showing some incidence of failure or struggle on Koko’s part would greatly improve the action sequences. These variable outcomes would lead the action sequences to incorporate and use twists and turns that would surprise or stimulate the audience in some positive or meaningful way. Instead, the action sequences start with Koko and her team shooting up everyone and giving them the victory. The fight that concluded this episode is another painful example of how predictable these skirmishes are. Even after standing at gunpoint and watching one of their members be assaulted by Lehm, the militia just stood around waiting to become the bullet-ridden corpses they desire to be. An improvement here would’ve been having the militia open fire at the first sign of hostility and forcing Koko and her forces to retreat. The fact that they were able to do all that, receive orders from Koko, and then proceed to fire at the militia is horrendously poor sequencing for any type of action scene. And the outcome for this episode, you ask? Why, Koko and her team will fly away in their plane under heavy anti-aircraft fire but make it out with fewer bullets, fewer doctors, and a bunch of cash waiting at HQ. Terribly exciting, isn’t it?
Furthermore, the action sequences in Jormungand are largely repetitive in that they all seem to be initiated and resolved by the same issue every time. Besides the two part episode where the assassins were on the offensive, the fights in Jormungand begin with whoever wants to be killed by Koko tries to undermine her or her business in some way that gets Koko angry enough to allow her minions to murder them. It’s always the lesser side that shows the first signs of aggression but it’s always Koko and her team who get the first shots in and get the outcome they desire, namely their victory. The fact that every firefight follows the same repetitions has led these scenes to grow monotonous and lackluster. Had there been some variability or unpredictability in these fights, then the audience would be drawn into them more, but after seeing the same pattern over and over and over and over again, it just becomes tiresome. And that’s exactly what Jormungand, or any show for that matter, doesn’t need from their action sequences.
As for the action sequences themselves, there’s little to critique on them since they’re usually rather simple and quick, so thankfully they don’t drag on or extend beyond their meaningful use. But the gunfights in Jormungand lack any real excitement which should make the hearts of the audience collectively race or put them in an agitated state where they’d begin to perspire. Rather, these action scenes are directed where we just see the faces of the characters or the weapons they fire rather than putting them in perspective with their targets or the potential dangers around them. The fact that most fights are composed of pointing, firing, and watching the victims fall lifelessly really prevents any excitement from happening in terms of how the fights are shown or presented in the anime. What’d significantly improve this is to show the characters in relation to each other and show what the enemies are doing in relation to our heroes. The way it’s done in Jormungand now is incredibly tame and boring. In fact, it pains me to say this but the action sequences in Upotte!! are better than the ones we’re getting in Jormungand which really demonstrates how poor these firefights in Jormungand are. The way the conflict started at the end of this episode simply showed the characters firing their weapons haphazardly with no indication of where they were, who they were facing, what dangers were in their way (judging from the earlier point in this post, none), and what their enemies were doing to counter, illustrates it as an unappealing and uninteresting action scene.
With that said, there is obvious room for improvement in terms of action in Jormungand. Almost every facet or element of action in Jormungand can be improved in some way with most of these being small or simple changes or modifications. As of now, the action in Jormungand is unsatisfying in that it is unrealistic and poorly portrayed, and this is a problem that has been brought up in the past, too. We’re currently in the middle of yet another fight that features no sense of danger, no sense of perspective, in a pattern we’ve seen far too many times and with an outcome that’s already well known to everyone watching. Adding some variation to these action sequences that affect the story or characters would do absolute wonders for Jormungand but it appears that the action here is nothing more than fanservice for gun fanatics rather than anything substantial to the anime. It’s a shame that one of the supposed strengths of this anime has quickly become its greatest weakness.
I found this representation of Doctors Without Borders in Jormungand to be an enticing contrast compared to the arms-dealers who they were dependent upon to enter the country. Rather than selling weapons of murder used for control, power, and influence, the compassionate doctors were entering this Balkan state illegally to provide aid to those affected by these very weapons. And while they oppose each other in their desired outcomes, the two sides share a number of similar motivations for doing their work and how they conduct themselves. Their use in the story has been positive in that they’re able to provide a stark contrast to Koko and her team but not to the point where it’s causing conflict on its own besides Koko hating the fact that she’s now an escort business rather than an arms one. One detail that struck me as odd about the doctors though is that they were entering the country without any medical supplies or equipment. I suppose they’d be able to manufacture some basic materials or purchase supplies while they’re in the cities but you’d imagine they’d carry some medications and diagnostic equipment with them. After all, in this war-torn region, how would one be able to obtain non-counterfeit antibiotics or even secure an operational EKG? Just something to think about that really isn’t appropriate for the story.