Series Review: Jormungand (9/10)

Instant Summary: Protagonist is a weapons dealer with nine bodyguards.

Jormungand was the only title in the entire season that I truly enjoyed all the way. I'm not surprised that I don't see much chatter about the title online, probably because of the unorthodox character designs, but in the end I'm glad to see that most people agree with me that it's one of the better, if not the best, title of the season.

Jormungand doesn't have a general storyline. Every arcs last only about 3 episodes, each depicting a different adventure/mission that Koko and her team of bodyguards goes to. Every now and then we learn a little more about each of her nine bodyguards, be it their background, their characteristics, their history, or their future plans. So, it's really the premises that makes it interesting. Koko is a businesswoman and her product kills people, sometimes her own. But being an arms dealer allows her to keep her men well-armed at all times. So, expect to see tons of action.

And boy, did it rock. The level of action is at least on par with that of Black Lagoon, but less superhuman and more realistic. Well, if you ignore the fact that they all had horrible accuracy until the climax, of course. From the grenade launchers to the sniper rifles to the handguns, Jormungand has gotta have the best small-arms battles in anime I've ever seen. And it's cool to see the level of skill Koko's men has, especially the sexy Valmet and her close combat knife fights.

Koko herself is also an exceptional character. Not only is she really young for a businesswomen, she is also shown to be cunning enough to outwit older and more experienced opponents, fearless in a firefight, and has no qualms with murder, even if she if she is the one to pull the trigger. And there's her trademark smile she always wears on her face, brimming with the confidence you won't expect such a young girl to have. It's easy to see why she could have earned the fierce loyalty of her men or why she is able to make a huge amount of money in such a dangerous business. Using Itou Shizuka's gentle voice for Koko is a GREAT idea; in fact, I feel that this is her best role yet.

But the real interesting thing about Jormungand is how well they blended the less serious elements of the title with the action. For a title with plenty of gruesome deaths, there's actually quite a lot of comedy in it. Stuff like Koko's occasionally childish behaviour, Valmet's one-sided love for Koko, Jonah's inability to count, and Lutz's tendency to get shot in the butt often use humor to break up the seriousness of the story. Stuff like Jonah's math lessons also allows them to go for more character development, and that makes the characters much more familiar and likable, considering how many there are.

The animation gets a little funky every now and then, especially with the last episode, but considering the level of the gunfights I'll say the animation is still great. "Borderland", the OP, also became my favourite song in the season.

I can't wait for the next season, which is already announced.

Plot/Concept: Awesome!
Story Style: Awesome!
Audio/Visual: Excellent!
Value: 9

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