Jormungand – 06

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Jormungand rule #1: every boss must have a sexy, badass female bodyguard.

After easily its two most emotionally transparent episodes to date, Jormungand is back testing the audience again with one closer to it’s earlier form.  I’m hard pressed to think of a manga with a complicated plot that explains less to the audience – there are no training wheels here.  With little verbal exposition and generally stone-faced characters, all of the plot and character development comes from what actually happens – which inevitably leaves it to the audience to make their own interpretations of what it all means.  I’m continually surprised the manga proved as popular as it did, and the anime seems to be doing OK too.  There are a lot of cool firefights and explosions, which I guess doesn’t hurt…

As is so often the case, this episode was a string of semi-connected events, introducing several new characters and re-introducing others, leaping around the globe and back and forth in time.  Again, as is so often the case, it’s in watching the characters face the crucible of the events unfolding that we learn a little bit about their nature.  In the first instance, Team Koko is still about their freighter off the African Coast when they’re attacked by (presumably Somali) pirates.  From the ensuing carnage, we see that Koko is pretty much pitiless when it comes to pirates – hardly surprising for someone literally born on the high seas – and it’s confirmed that Jonah still has mercy in his heart, as he declines to kill a young boy trying to board the freighter as his compatriots are being slaughtered.  If you had any doubts, this sequence should have erased them – Team Koko is a force to be reckoned with.  These people are all very, very good at the business of killing other people.

Meanwhile, seemingly unrelated events are unfolding across South Africa.  The DIESA Expo – a kind of annual trade show for weapons merchants, despots smugglers and commandos – is about to begin, and among the people it’s attracted are Chinese tycoon Chan Guoming (Hashi Takaya, one of my favorite seiyuu)head of Daxinghai, a powerful mining company.  He’s accompanied by one of those deadly beauties, Karen Lo (Kato Saori), stylish and deadly, which she proves by easily disabling and generally abusing the hired dog of our old CIA friend Scarecrow, who seems to have focused on Chan as a potential target for extortion.  Also in town for the DIESA event are more old friends from British arms dealer CCAT, Curry and his bodyguards Mildo and Lu.

Koko is headed for DIESA too, and it’s there she plans to meet the strangest and most mysterious of the new characters – Dr. Amada Minami (Toyoguchi Megumi yes, from Black Lagoon).  Minami is an old friend of Koko’s, a  butterfly otaku, and apparently quite flighty and unpredictable.  She also has an office full of what appear to be mechanical butterflies and the attention of Chan Guoming – and when she decides to go to a snowy mountaintop and search for butterflies and blow off her meeting with Koko, Chan sends Karen and a team of heavily armed commandos after her.  He also meets Koko at the DIESA site, and invites her to dinner – an invitation she accepts, alone, while sending the rest of her team to the GPS coordinates Dr. Minami’s assistant gave her.

It’s hard for me to judge, having read the manga, but it felt to me as if this ep revealed almost nothing of its true intentions – even by Jormungand standards.  It’s almost entirely  a setup episode, but as to what it’s setting up all we have are hints – it’s clear, for starters, that Minami is more than just a lepidopterist.  It’s also clear that (as was hinted at last week) Valmet has a lot of bad memories when it comes to Africa, and that there are connections to the events of this episode.  Mostly though, that’s all this ep is – a series of hints about who the people in the cast really are, played out in events like the pirate raid, and the eventual showdown between Team Koko and Team Karen on the mountain.  It’s there we see just how ruthless and intolerant of failure that Karen is, and how recklessly brilliant (enough to foil Karen’s ambush) Jonah is.  As to how all the pieces in this jigsaw fit together, for that we’ll have to wait another week.

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  1. f

    Man, I have to say "Kato Saori" aka the voice of that bob hair lady reminded me of a female version of "Hirotaka Suzuoki". It's like one of the coolest female voice ever~~~! So cold. But what's with the voice actress having only like 5 roles credited with all of them just some random bit parts? Anyway the Pulp Fiction-Uma Thurman-lookalike made a good impression to me. Too bad since they seems to kill off bad guys relatively quickly in this anime, so I have my doubt whether we'd see this cool character beyond next episode.

    BTW, anybody can reply to this, but who y'all think is the strongest character in this show? I know, I know, it may sound a bit immature, but c'mon. Let's be fair and pick 1 male and 1 female character and by strongest, I mean 1 vs. 1 fight capability. So Koko's out from the get-go. My pick would be Chiquita for female and Lehm for male, with Lu the close 2nd (the quiet one is usually freakishly strong, you know). I know I am going out of limbs by not picking Valmet here, but Chiquita was quite something else in ep 5.

  2. I'm only going by what you've seen so far in the anime – no spoilers – but I say Lehm is overall number one. On the female side, it's much harder to say. It's something of a guess, really – like saying "Who'd win a fight between Ali and Joe Lewis?" Chiquita would be a pretty damn good choice.

    I was surprised to see Kato Saori with so few credits, too – makes me wonder if it's a pseudonym, for some reason.

  3. f

    Enzo, since you wrote that you've read the manga, I'd like to ask (unless it is a major spoiler or something, which I doubt): Is Valmet's right eye really no good anymore and that eye-patch thingy is not for just some costume device (ever since that "Rei")???

    Judging from all that blood, I guess it's no good anymore. Darn it. I always thought that she would suddenly pull that off and say something like "I can see dead people with this green doll eye" or something…….. Wait, wrong show?

  4. Sorry, no spoiler tags in comments, so I can't say. If you want to PM or mail me I'll tell you!

  5. B

    Man Valmet looks like she's about to fuck someone up at the end of this episode. Pay attention, Area no Kishi's Kakeru. This is how you deal with past trauma, by finding it and kicking it's ass up between it's ears, not by being a whiny bitch.

  6. S

    When they did the flashback for Valmet and her eyes/expression changed, I knew 2 things instantly: 1) there's about to be a DAMN awesome fight scene coming and 2) it's going to be next week.

    Valmet going loco is going to be nuts.

  7. S

    It's nice to see the proper use of a mini-gun. And you don't mess with Team Koko when she's got her rap-song insert playing.

    I'm a bit surprised Koko would be without a bodyguard, but maybe they have a local group they work with, giving her some cover. Or she realized that Chang was without his super-scary ones as well. And, I didn't take Koko for being a huge 5-star Chinese food fan. Then again, I guess you can't take anything about Koko for granted.

    I'm also now really curious what Kaspar & Change ended up running into each other over. Probably just a turf war, but CCAT is pulling out of all of East Africa. That's a bad sign for everyone else.

    Revy's voice playing a butterfly maniac. That's pretty inspired. Though I get the feeling Dr. Miami is either an explosives or automation expert. If explosives, then it's for weapons design. If it's automation, then it's control systems for weapons. Either way, it's something to do with weapons. (This is Jormungand, after all)

  8. Incidentally, Dr. Miami was a very odd translation mistake. It’s Manami.

  9. B

    My understanding from the show is that Dr. Miami was her nickname? The subs I had mentioned both names.

  10. I don't remember her ever being called that in the manga, but I'd have to re-read it to be sure – I might have forgotten.

  11. I

    Nice episode but totally eclipsed by How I met your mother's season finale.

  12. J

    pffttt…sitcoms in general are pretty lame. Anything with a laugh track is pretty insulting if you ask me (If you have to add a laugh track to a show, who are you targeting? People who don't know when to laugh?). Well…at least it's not at the same level as big bang theory, that show is just all kinds of bad. If anything, HIMYM is okay background shit haha

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