TV; 12 Episodes
Genre: Action, Adventure, Seinen
Producers: White Fox
The serpent metaphor is appropriate for an arms dealer that roams the world looking for the next deal, reaping and sowing destruction wherever he or she goes about. Even more so for Koko Hekmatyar, a true snake when it comes to business.
Jormungand follows her story with her colorful band of bodyguards in tow as they deliver arms, dodge assassins, and drop the competition (quite literally). It’s a bloody adventure piloted by director Keitaro Motonaga and studio White Fox, both of Katanagatari fame. Expectations were high considering the two were teaming up yet again and boy did they deliver.
While it’s hard not to keep your attention on the great combat sequences, it’s the sharp writing that’s the star of the show. Through the frenetic din of gunpowder and explosives the series is able to elevate itself beyond being just an action title. It provides social commentary on the true nature of evil. Often times it’s easy to question the morality of the protagonists and rightfully the script does so as well.
Koko is a leading lady that displays a stark duality. The amount of compassion and love she shows her subordinates is proportional to the poison she shoves down the throats of her rivals. It creates an interesting dynamic as each mission unfolds and generates an undeniable magnetism for her personality.
As the tale progresses this theme of duality is reiterated in each member of the cast. They are so much more than hired guns who have found the best payday. Discovering what their backstories are and what makes them tick is the big reward for watching this series.
Jormungand has the frenetic ‘just one more episode’ pacing that makes it an addictive watch. The plot itself is structured in small mini arcs of paired episodes that gives the carnage and mayhem some sense of direction. The breakneck speed is balanced by a joke or two for good measure.
Through both its audio and visual presentation, the show sucks you in. The art direction carefully crafts the dense jungles, expansive deserts, and bustling cities. These worlds feel bold and lively much like the character design.
Aurally the soundtrack doesn’t just stick to the roaring guitars of your run-of-the-mill action title. Tribal rhythms and cold electronic sounds are brought into the mix to create an eclectic and enjoyable soundtrack. Stand out performances from Sayaka Ohara as Valmet and Mutsumi Tamara as Jonah are the cherry to an all around great production pie.
I’m glad Jormungand will have a second season. The title scratches all the same spots Black Lagoon did a few years. While it has a flair all it own, it never sacrifices its substance for it. I would definitely recommend this series to anyone thats looking to get a little more from their gunslinging shows.
Story : 8/10
Characters : 9/10
Pacing : 9/10
Production : 9/10
Entertainment : 8/10
Overall : 86/100