A ruthless arms dealer on a quixotic quest for world peace. A child soldier born into chaotic conflict. Their lives will intertwine as they journey together through the seedy underbelly of the world's arms market.
It is amazing how little things can crush a show. I was content to give Jormungand a positive review, but the whole entire show got screwed over with one terrible ending. If I had known from the start that this is really what the show had been building up to, I wouldn't have started. The show has made it apparent that it isn't stupid; it has a basic idea of how the world works. This is why the show should realize how terrible the ending would be. In fact there is a conversation that lays out in plain English why the plan that Koko goes
with WON'T WORK. Yet they do it anyway, and it is framed as a good idea. The ending is almost as bad as if Light from Death Note won in the end. Here I was, anticipating a clever ending, but this is the worst ending possible. I hated it, and now I hate Jormungand. Stay away from this show. The fun that it brings for a time could not wash away the bad taste in my mouth the ending gave me.
Guns, war, violence, deals, allies, enemies, and loyalty. What do all these words have in common? If the word, “sequel” also pops into your mind, then you guessed right because Jormungand gets a season 2 and rightfully deserves it! Jormungand: Perfect Order returns with Koko Hekmatyar along the alpha crew in this sequel and presents what they do best: making deals and kicking ass.
Jormungand: Perfect Order is the direct sequel of the original series, Jormungand that debuted a few month after its original ending. The sequel is written by the same author Keitaro Takahashi with White Fox handling its animation and Geneon doing the production.
The series continues off from its prequel and follows Koko Hekmatyar along with her fellow crew including Jonah.
To refresh some things, Koko still plays her role as a young arms dealer. She retains her independent personality that can be seen as playful, cunning, deceptive, but at the same time also ruthless when the events calls for it. Her profession remains dangerous as it's not only involves dealing with other armed individuals but the fact that it's technical illegal under normal jurisdictions. As such, Koko often comes in terms with conflict where it's least expected. Luckily for her though is her crew and Jonah who are always by her side to support her work.
The series continues to follow a journey type of scenario. In this sequel though, the story enhances itself with its development especially in the latter half regarding the Jormungand project. But besides that, other supporting characters gets highlights even from the very beginning such as Hex and R. In fact, this focus on more supporting characters works out for the better as we can see more development from others besides just Koko and Jonah. Unfortunately though, their times are short due to the length of the series. Yet, their moments in the series captured their highlights well and expresses just how dangerous the world of Jormungand can be.
The dynamic duo of Koko and Jonah once again becomes entertaining to watch. At first, it's lighthearted and comedic with the usual raccoon-like expressions from both characters. Later on though, we get a bit more serious as Koko reveals her plan for world peace but not without a cost. This cost will result in both physical and emotional pain as Jonah views Koko's ways of executing her actions as a bit more immoral. She is an arms dealer who deals with weapons that causes destruction. Yet at the same time, she wishes to end destruction to the world and bring world peace. This all comes at a cost.
Like its original series, Jormungand: Perfect Order does pack the action including those road war and full throttle shootouts. Most of happens quite fast and captures the violence of what being an arms dealer is all about because it's a dangerous profession. As result, expect blood being spilled, alliances shattered, and even deaths. At times however, the series slows with what almost seems like fillers such as the episode with Dr. Miami. But the story of this sequel progresses well with its pacing. Despite some of the slow movements, it gets to the point especially later on when Koko's brother, Kasper gets involved with the crew. He is the man that Jonah loathes because of what happened to his past. Yet in this season, a strange alliance later forms between them that shows how far some characters have come in the series. Let's not also forget Chequita who represents herself as one of the most proficient bodyguards known in HCLI with her skills in handling armed weaponry.
The business of trading weapons are still present but seems to rather diminish a bit in this sequel. Luckily, it retains its realism and that being the modern times and military gadgets. The fighter planes, anti-aircraft weaponry, and rockets are all realistic and present in today's real world. Similarly, the characters themselves are depicted with realism. The way they are dressed for their profession and their skills of handling various weaponry are often presented in the series. As such, their skills are protrayed as well in handling such weapons with various skills levels between each crew member. To add on the fun part of the mix are the priceless expressions in the form of those grins, smiles, and laughs curtsey of Koko with her crew.
The series also continues to the idea of teamwork and how it is crucial for its members to cooperate in order to succeed in missions. In the latter half of the series, Jonah is presented with a situation where the idea presented to him isn't what he likes to hear. As such, a strain sorts is put between him and Koko. It is a bit sad to watch given everything we've seen between the likeable duo especially since the bond is not romance but as loving partners.
In terms of artwork, I would say that White Fox does it again and that means a clear job on the animation department. As mentioned before, the series takes place in modern times and everything is drawn to match its themes. The characters' and their outfits fits within their professions coupled with their figures that show why they are part of the crew. Although it looks a bit dirty at times, it works out right and portrays Jormungand: PO at its finest. I appreciate it and White Fox deserves some praise.
The soundtrack is once again well performed by the choreographer of the series, Taku Iwasaki. He has already done work in related fields such as Gurren Lagann, R.O.D. The TV, and Soul Eater. All of these series have in common with the soundtrack involving fast paced action during intense scenes. The rap beatings and electronic blues are what makes Jormungand: Perfect Order intense. It's well done. The opening song, "UNDER/SHAFT" by Maon Kurosaki is also well orchestrated that demonstrates the theme of Jormungand just like season 1. Oh and let's not forget the previews of each episode that fans adore. Her name is Koko, she is Loco, I said oh no~
Ultimately, Jormungand: Perfect Order is a nice series which deserves a score of 8. Although slow at times, it makes it up with its insightful character cast where even supporting characters get their own spotlights. The ability to fuse together action and comedy in a series such as this is difficult but the directors did their jobs right this time around. It's fun to watch despite the fact that we realize how dangerous of being an arms dealer is all about. All in all, Jormungand: Perfect Order is by no means a perfect series but it is one hell of a ride.
The crazy hijinks and bold plans with Koko and company continue in the sequel to Jormungand. How does the second coming of Jormungand fare? I’m here to tell you that it’s better this time around. How do you improve Jormungand’s formula, you ask? You make it more focused. Spoilers for the first season finale below.
So, Koko and her friends are still roaming the world and everything is swell. Oh wait, no it’s not. The story takes place right after the end of the previous one. R is a double agent who is spying on Koko for the CIA;
Hex, a woman from Kokos past, is here for blood; All this while Operation Undershaft is trying to figure out what the hell Koko is trying to do. So let’s look at the formula set for the previous season and see it it still is in place here.
1. The crew arrives.
2. Stuff goes awry and they need a way out / need to out-think their opponents / straight up kill dudes.
3. Mission completed and on to next arc.
Yep. Although this time around the arcs are longer and more focused on storytelling rather than outmanoeuvring and killing enemies.
Here’s a run-down on the cast if you need to freshen your memory.
Koko Hekmatyar: Arms dealer, handling business mainly in Europe and Africa. Very charismatic and beautiful. Usually very energetic and behaving sometimes like a child, she has a ruthless interior and on multiple occasions called a monster. Although usually cool with a smile on her lips, Koko has one of the most intimidating glares in anime.
Jonah: Child soldier. His parents were killed in an air-strike and he became a child soldier shortly after. Has a strong hate for weapons, but still works for Koko, often serving as her bodyguard. He shows more understanding than expected from a child.
Lehm: Ex-Delta Force operator. Used to be active in Somalia. Second in command of Koko’s crew. Veteran mercenary who takes charge when armed conflict arises. Used to work for Koko’s father. Very versatile in weapon use, ranging from long-distance sniping to close quarters combat.
Valmet: Ex-Major serving for UN forces in Africa. Her unit got slaughtered by Chen Guoming and she lost an eye in the attack. Since then, she suffers from anxiety whenever she sets foot in Africa. Very proficient with knives and pistols. She is also in love with Koko, something which often is used as comedic relief.
Then there are the rest of the cast, that aren’t given much other than support roles most of the time. Technically only Koko and Jonah are the only real main characters, but Valmet and Lehm are given much more time on screen than the other side characters, so they sort of sneak into main roles.
Mao: One of the regular grunts of the group. Was discharged after a training exercise went awry. Picked up by shortly after. The only one of the group to have a family (as in wife + kids). He lied to them in order to leave. Teaches science to Jonah between missions.
R: Former Italian intelligence officer. Revealed in the last episode of the former season to be a mole for the CIA.
Ugo: Former Mafia driver and enforcer. Spared by Koko when his family was destroyed. A behemoth of a man, he possesses immense strength. The crew’s driver when needing a getaway.
Lutz: Former police sniper, part of a counter-terrorist unit. Very hesitant to kill young targets.
Tojo: Previous Japanese black-ops operative, working in places like Cuba. In charge of teaching Jonah maths between missions.
Wilee: Former explosives expert and ex-lieutenant of the 20th Engineer Brigade of the XVIII Airborne Corps of the US Army. Assigned to give Jonah English lessons between missions. Is the only member aside Koko to be black-listed by the FBI.
The perils of having a huge cast like this is just as apparent in the second season as it was in the first one, but the show does a better job at dealing out screen-time this time around and you quickly get a good vibe where everyone’s at. It’s still the same colourful cast with no subs, so if you liked them in the first season, there’s more goodness here. The opening arc, dealing with R being a double agent and Hex coming after Koko is without a doubt the series’ strongest, with some strong, emotional moments. It sets up a season that is in its entirety better than its predecessor. The stakes are raised for Koko and her compatriots. Nobody’s safe in this crazy world.
The second season takes a step back from the group dynamic at times and focuses solely on Jonah and Koko. They’re interesting contrasts. Koko is the daughter of a shipping magnate and presumably had a very peaceful, or at least pampered life as she grew up. Jonah meanwhile, grew up in a war-zone and had his parents blown up by a bomber, coincidentally sold by Koko’s brother, Kasper. Jonah hates weapons with all his being, and Koko sells them for a living. The two make a fantastic leading duo and represent the tension and morals towards the end of a magnificent series.
The morality of the characters are brought froward into the centre this time around, and when Koko reveals her master plan that she’s been working on for a long time, it’s surprising it wasn’t brought up earlier. I can understand the reason why it’s hidden for so long, but I don’t agree with the choice. It would have been interesting to have it in the open for longer and see how it affected the supporting characters.
So, the story. It’s better, considering there’s actually a story this time. From the first episode to the last, every episode is connected to Koko’s goal, which is revealed a bit into the season. The series sheds its episodic skin, and so the arcs are more focused and character-driven, much to my joy.
The art is just as clean and well-done as it was in the first series. Maybe even better. Some backdrops are absolutely stunning. The character design is much like the first series, although a bit more realistic in general this time around, when it comes to the supporting cast of revolving antagonists/partners.
The voice acting and soundtrack of the series is way better than the first season. Actors have more opportunities to get heated here and some excellent dramatic episodes bring out the best of all. The music is still top-notch, and the opening song especially is fantastic.
The theme and pacing are still the same in this second serving of Koko’s adventures. The more story-focused approach leads to a better balanced product, with the episodes being better structured and the tone being a bit darker. With it, my pleas for the show to have less comedy are answered, as the show did turn towards the more serious in this venture, and the show is better off without the forced comedic elements.
The antagonists and threatening forces this time around are more realistic and grim. There’s not a crazy villain with ridiculous fighting techniques. It’s guns vs guns and tactics + strategy in a wild dance of death.
Enjoyment-wise, Jormungand: PO lands a step above its former series with more thrilling planning; cooler action; better humour; and tear-inducing, heart-wrenching drama. Once again with a Jormungand series, the variance is its strength, balancing several genres and giving them good time. It’s one of those series’ where you finish one episode and keep watching. Not because there’s a crazy cliffhanger, but because the atmosphere, characterisation and execution of the series is so fantastic that you can help wanting to spend more time in Koko’s mad world. Jormungand: Perfect Order is a rare gem to find in today’s anime world, a show with an identity so unique and fresh you can’t help but be swept away by its charm.
Scoring Preconditions: While I rate all parts, the overall score takes in most consideration from story, character, and enjoyment. Art and sound are not factors in the overall, although they can slightly enhance or detract from enjoyment portion. I score from as unbiased a view as possible and I view it in a critical sense, not in a simple enjoyment sense. Thus I give at most a one point overall bonus for enjoyment. Story and characters matter most. I will state exceptions to this rule depending on the anime.
Summary: I felt the premise of the anime was weak from the get go. For those who
don't know, the makers of Black Lagoon made Jormungand. Now the key difference between Jormungand and Jormungand: Perfect Order is 1) Darker feel 2) More plot. Otherwise, its very similar to Black Lagoon in its all out action feel. Details to follow.
Story (4/10): Koko wants to build a supercomputer and do what with it? Spoiler alert: Crash every flying thing down to earth. This is the plot. Nothing intricate to it. No offense, but Treyarch had more creative ideas with Call of Duty. The story isn't original at all and the maker didn't make the plot complicated. Essentially Koko succeeds every time and her goons get everything necessary for the computer.With the notable exception of Jonah and his running away part, everything was entirely predictable. And Jonah's past really was pointless throughout this whole anime. I'll talk more on Jonah in the characters section. In general, the plot was pretty generic and on its own, not worth the watch. And finally, the makers tried to add some morality talk similar to with Black Lagoon, but unlike with Black Lagoon, they failed epically here.
Art (10/10): Other than the fact that the Hekmatyars and Jonah are albino, I found the artwork enjoyable. Perhaps they were pointy chinned, but I fail to see the problem. Of course art is subjective so I won't deny that it may not appeal to certain people. But I thought it enhanced the anime. If nothing else, the gun artwork was pretty epic.
Sound (10/10): The opening theme UNDER/SHAFT is on my playlist and I enjoyed the song. Ending theme I felt was not really a match with the mood. Gun noise and background music enhanced the feel of the anime.
Character (7/10): I want to start off by saying that Koko gets crazier in the second season. She loses her more comical sense in favor of a tyrant like temperament. I personally have no problem with that. Compared to the second season, I felt it was more realistic of an arms dealer. We also got a better look at her true inner feelings so character development for Koko was great. Now on to Jonah. I'm still not sure whether to like Jonah or hate him. First of all, the idea of a child soldier being the center piece is ridiculous. The fact that he is surviving and actually killing professionally trained adults is beyond me. But the bigger problem I have with him is his whole do I hate or do I not hate Kasper Hekmatyar. No offense but if you really hated him, you wouldn't look to him as your next employer after running away from Koko. After all, he did starve him in a shipping container for a week. Jonah does play the quiet role well though. But I had a bigger problem with the fact that his character development really goes nowhere. He first says no to project Jormungand and runs away only to change his mind and return to Koko. I have a hard time with characters that can't make up their mind and seeing as this basically consisted of the last couple episodes, both the story and the character suffers for it. The only reason the character score isn't a 3 is because I love Koko.
Enjoyment (10/10): Now I watched this anime in anticipation of the action. The gunfights in this season as well as the first are still some of the best I've seen. While not always entirely realistic, it was great to watch. If I had to describe it, it was like watching a first person shooter in reality from a third person view. You get a lot more cool but unrealistic stuff and the guns are up close. That and Koko as a character was sufficient enjoyment for me.
Overall (6/10): First off, I weighed the enjoyment a little more here seeing as the action is its biggest asset. The story and Jonah merits a 5 or lower overall, but Koko and the action add more to this anime. The reason I don't give it a 7 though is because the premise of this anime was bs. i simply can't give it a higher score from a critical perspective as it really wasn't all that good. I'd say as a viewer, its at least a 9/10, but from a critical sense this is the score i give because it is neither creative nor intelligent. One word to describe this season and the first is: explosive.
Thanks for reading this. I'm open for discussion so if you have anything to add, message me and I will get back to you.