Anime Reporter prepares to tarnish its soul, entering the world of Jormungand, Keitaro Motonaga’s crime anime based on Keitaro Takahiaski’s manga of the same name.
“I have devoured five continents. I have slurped three oceans dry. The vast sky alone remains out of my reach, for I am trapped in this body which lacks wings hands and feet. I am the world serpent. I am Jormungand!” These are the words with which the series begins, though they’re not to be taken in any way literally. While this series shares its name with the Norse snake of legend, it’s entirely devoid of magic or the supernatural and instead focuses on the exploits of a team of arms dealers.
Koko Hekmatyar (voiced by High School DxD’s Shizuka Ito in Japanese and Deadman Wonderland’s Anastasia Munoz in English) is an ambitious and highly respected figure in the arms dealing world. Her loyal team of bodyguards from all forms of military and combat experience would make her a force to be reckoned with, even without her brilliant tactical mind and knack for manipulation. When we join the action, Koko and crew have just adopted a new member into their fold. Jonah (voiced by Horizon On the Middle of Nowhere’s Mutsumi Tamura in Japanese and Soul Eater’s Micah Solusod in English) is a child soldier. Jonah’s incredibly difficult history have given him a deep and very understandable hatred for arms dealers, leading him into moments of great confliction as he fights alongside Koko and continues to use the weapons he despises.
It would be easy to imagine this series diverting into friendlier territory, with Jonah finding a life away from guns or somehow teaching his new comrades the error of their ways and convincing them to abandon their work. That, however, is not even close to what happens. Every character within the series is aware of just how shady and blood-drenched their world is and continues along that path with relatively few worries. Jonah, despite his young age, can fairly regularly be found killing foes with speed and no remorse. This is not a happy ending kind of anime. Violence is unapologetically plentiful and graphic throughout and the overall tone is dark and very gritty.
There are several likeable characters on the team and a nice range of personalities and expertise. For the first season, Koko and Jonah are the main protagonists and they also receive by far the most exposition time. Coming in closely after them is Valmet (voiced by Fairy Tail’s Sayaka Ohara in Japanese and Guilty Crown’s Carli Mosier in English), for whom the phrase “tough as nails” would do no justice.
This muscular, eye patch-wearing soldier is about as deadly as they come and is haunted by her greatest loss in battle, which included the loss of her eye. Valmet shows little affection for any of her teammates with the exception of Koko, with whom she seems to be madly in love.
Plot is used fairly casually and mainly comes in the form of Koko playing government officials like a drum or trying to outwit business rivals. Principally, the series is concerned with different missions to deliver or protect cargo and a couple of episodes which focus on one of the downsides to being an international criminal, when assassins make attempts on Koko’s head. Action is well and truly the name of the game with Jormungand but it’s carried off so well that viewers may not even notice the lack of plot. Action scenes are full of suspense and perfectly paced, showcasing a lot of technical knowledge and strategy in the process without becoming too reliant on military jargon.
Jormungand Season One is available on DVD and Blu-ray in the UK and from 21st July 2014 from Manga Entertainment UK. Strong language, graphic violence and a tiny amount of nudity earn this series a 15 age rating. For more information, check out the Manga UK website and stay with us here at Anime Reporter for more reviews and updates.
78% – “Bloody Good Stuff” – Jormungand may not be ideal for fans who want a generous serving of plot with their anime, but it’s sure to satisfy viewers who want to see some blood splatter with plenty of gunfire and explosions thrown into the mix. Fans of Black Lagoon should check this one out.