Jormungand: Perfect Order – 10

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Enter the Dragon.

One of the many things I love about Jormungand (it’s a long list) is how internally consistent the story is.  It’s outlandish beyond reason, of that there can be no doubt, but the internal logic always holds up.  Everything that happens in the story happens for a reason – “There are no coincidences in Jormungand” was one of the very first things I said when I started blogging the series – and everything that’s happened in the first 20 episodes was a build-up to what happened in this one.  And everything that happens from here on out is a product of this week’s events.

If truth be told, this development has been foreshadowed since the very beginning of the series – you can’t get any further back than the title itself – though I’d be lying if I said I predicted the specifics of it when I read the manga.  The theme of the dragon has been front and center (Jörmungandr himself being the wyrm of the world’s end), most dramatically in the first season’s finest and most important story, “Dragon Shooter”.  Even if Koko seeks to create a new world there’s no denying that she seeks to destroy one, too.  In “Shooter” she railed against the idea that she was turning into a dragon herself – and quite obviously clung to Jonah as a lifeline to keep that from happening.  I don’t think the title of the song that plays over the previews has ever made more sense.

You know that when Lehm’s Delta Force vs. a Navy SEALS team isn’t the headline, you’ve got some pretty big stuff packed into the episode.  I really think Jormungand is at its best when it’s a stripped-down, lean and taut dramatic machine that relies on the strength of its characters and an approachable premise to succeed, and this episode was an unbelievably intense thrill ride from start to finish.  Everything we’ve seen of Lehm’s superhuman powers led us to the moment where they’d be tested against the finest military unit available, truly a clash of the best vs. the best.  And as the elite of the elite dogs of war were going through their paces, the elite among the spymasters were in combat of their own – one arm of the U.S. Government against another, and the winners of that chess match against the ultimate revolutionary.

Lehm vs. Night Nine didn’t disappoint – especially after the death of R, the sense of threat to Koko’s team has never felt more real.  Aside from Lutz’ cursed ass they came out mostly unscathed, though it was a near thing, with a wounded Lutz and Jonah ending up at the bottom of a cliff in a Cuban mine field.  In the end that was a blessing in disguise – by ignoring Koko’s orders to stay put (it was a quietly revealing moment for Lehm when he said “Why couldn’t they just stay hidden?”), they provided a crucial turning point in the battle.  I’d have to say ultimately this bout ends in a draw, though Team Koko escaped intact with their quarry Dr. Faiza (Kanada Aki) in tow – without the timely world premiere of Jormungand it’s impossible to say how things would have turned out.

The nature of Koko’s master plan has been revealed slowly, like layers being peeled from an onion, and the Battle of Camp No was a small indication of what it can do.  How powerful a thing, to simply change around pixels on the image of a map – powerful enough to thwart one of the elite special ops forces in the world, because it’s something no one would expect.  Koko’s plan is all about re-drawing the map both figuratively and literally – completely changing the world by re-writing the boundaries of what can and can’t be done.  The concept is easier for a young man like Scarecrow than an old war horse like Bookman to grasp – his “Operation Undershaft” plan seems very much a product of an old mindset by comparison, notwithstanding how bold and daring it is by the old definitions.  I’ve never tried to put a leash on a dragon, but I don’t imagine it would be an especially pleasant experience.

Ultimately Jormungand comes down to the two things that it was always destined to, Koko’s master plan and her relationship with Jonah – and the two are utterly inseparable.  Indeed, it’s possible to assume from Koko’s behavior that she’s doing all this for Jonah – or at the very least, that her feelings for him were the catalyst to drive her to achieve her dream.  And just what are those feelings, and what is that relationship?  It’s a testament to how complex the answer is that to say “they love each other” is the easy part – they most certainly do.  But what does love mean when it’s between an arms dealer in her 20’s and a boy half her age?  Does she care for him as a protector, a mother even – a symbol of everything she wants to preserve?  Maybe Koko wants to impose a false innocence on both the world and on Jonah – he has only two possible paths after all, to grow up or to die.  And there’s little innocence in her behavior with Jonah in the bath, though perhaps there might be love.  Koko has played a sort of half-sexual teasing game with Jonah all through the series, but never so overtly as this – as if the excitement at the impending reveal of Jormungand caused her feelings for Jonah to boil over.

I don’t think Jonah’s feelings for Koko are much less complicated, to be honest.  Jonah is a very, very unusual boy, that much should be obvious, but it goes beyond his odd life circumstances and to his makeup itself.  Again, that he loves Koko is utterly beyond doubt – and in his own words, he loves the world too.  He kills people with weapons he hates, and he fears for his own life and that of his friends.  Jonah has played the protector role himself though he’s still a child, and sees an importance in protecting the world he loves.  He’s been a sort of proxy conscience for Koko since the beginning, openly so since “Dragon Shooter” – perhaps even the only thing keeping the dragon from truly emerging.  It’s clear that Jonah is old enough to understand that Koko is a very beautiful woman and to be effected by that – even to enjoy her advances – but clearly, he doesn’t know what to make of the feelings those advances inspire in him.

The irony here is that while Koko was right that Jonah’s answer to her question “Do you still love the world?” was the key to his reaction to her plan, the answer he gave had exactly the opposite meaning from what she thought.  Koko’s shock at Jonah’s response to learning what Jormungand really is was genuine but shows how truly detached from reality she’s become – knowing Jonah as we do, how could he have felt differently?  There will be some debating among viewers about the merits of Koko’s plan, I’m sure, even with the 683,822 deaths she so casually dismisses – but if you’ve been watching Jonah and listening to his inner monologues, there can be no uncertainty as to what his feelings on the matter would be.  The plan is radical – ground humanity forever, destroy the ability of the military to function – and insanely clever (using the creation of Hek-GG as a cover for an even grander plan even her own family knew nothing about), but the debate is an old one – does the end justify the means?  Is Koko justified in making herself “greater than God” and taking those 683,822 lives – to start – if it means she can impose a peace of her choosing on the world?  Everyone on her team has always expressed unwavering loyalty to Koko when the chips are down, and she to them – but the key to everything is the odd boy with the red eyes.

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  1. K

    After the episode was over and reading some comments on the net, I couldn't help but wonder if the reaction would be the same if it was a 20 year old man kissing a 10 year old girl all while invading her bathroom,naked.

  2. k

    her plan will not work

  3. B

    I do think Koko's plan has some merit in general principle. However, I have three problems with it as it was presented in the episodes:

    1.) No warning? You possess a shitload of satellites and a quantum computer, it should be easy to hijack the world's broadcasts and give everyone like a 24 hour warning to get on the ground. Some won't and would still die 24 hours later but the number could certainly be sharply reduced with this simple expedient.

    2.) Koko's cavalier attitude about it makes me question her actual motives. If she truly cared about the world and wanted to impose a real peace, shouldn't she at least express some remorse towards the innocents she has to sacrifice to make it happen? You can't make an omelette without breaking some eggs but you can at least take a moment to feel sympathy for the broken.

    3.) So, like, she grounds aircraft, and that magically ends war? Maybe she gets rid of guns too. Then people just go back to killing each other with swords and spears. Take those away, and they'll kill each other with rocks and sticks or their bare hands. Conflict is part of human nature and no amount of imposed peace is ever going to change that.

    I've always been mostly an "ends justify the means" kind of guy but of course it depends on the situation. I'm not sure her goal here is realistically achievable, I don't trust her motives for doing it, and I feel like if she HAS to do it she could plan it better to minimize casualities.


  4. A

    I can't vouch for numbers 1 and 2, but for question number 3, ground all aircraft is just one part of the plan, there is more of it I believe.

  5. D

    Well there better be more than cutting off all air activities and killing off 700,000 folks if Koko seriously believed that would bring world peace. Last time I checked there were a plenty, I mean, A PLENTY wars and killings before 19th century, prior the human's air activity.

    How incredibly naive and spectacularly stupid is that? Well, I will just force people go back to 1850! There will bring world peace! Yeah right.

    Perhaps Koko meant to forcibly "impose" world peace by threat of raining down missiles from the sky for those who defy her and still engage in wars and conflicts in land and sea. That notion is just as silly. When will people learn they can't force somebody to do things they don't want for ever? It may work in short terms, but it will no doubt break down just as quickly. If anything in the entire recorded human history tell you something, it should be that.

    Anyway the writers disappoint me a little for this silly logic, but I give them a benefit of doubt at this point; after all, they will have two more episodes to explain themselves for this silly little unicorny utopia plan of theirs since I don't buy it for one nano-second for now.

  6. A

    Like I said, there is more. Notice how Koko said air, sea and ground in her speech. We saw during the Navy Seal attack that she can mess up coordinates, so there's is definitely more to it than that. Not only that, but think about it for a second, think about how much war relies on air support. It be like you traveled back in time to the B.C. era. How messed up would you be if that happened. This is probably a bad analogy, but what I'm trying to say is that it will be huge. Plus, if Jormungand can affect planes, then it sure as hell can affect boats and cars and radars and GPS and computers (The list goes on and on). With the satellites, she can also monitor anything and only she and HCLI will be the only ones who will have control of anything if the whole world went out of whack like that. Meaning only they will be able to have something modern to work with while the rest of the world is literally back in the stone age. Think what your (and my) life would be like if you (and I) had only a bike as means of transportation, you (and I) had no internet to use, I sure wouldn't be able to function well after that. Sometimes you have to think outside the box and focus on information that is less pronounced. Sorry about the rant there.

  7. d

    Forced world peace will never work, Anonymous. No matter how you try to rationalize things. It just won't.

  8. A

    I never said it would work. I'm just saying there's more of a possibility then you guys think there is.

  9. k


  10. I won't go into specifics but I don't mind clarifying this, as AFAIK it's spelled out pretty openly in the episode. There's more to the plan than simply clearing the skies. This is much bigger than that. Koko is about changing the rules with Plan Jormungand.

    As for giving people a warning, I subscribe to the view that she wants to send a very clear message that she's serious and not to be trifled with.

  11. K

    So Enzo…… Forgive me for indulging, but.

    If you have NOT read the manga and already knew how things would end, do you give Koko the free pass/benefit of doubt whereas you don't for Kiritsugu of Fate/Zero? Remember people, that one was also pretty big on scarifying a few to achieve a greater good for the mankind. It can't be apples and oranges since for anyone else except for those who are close to these two characters, these two cats are exactly the same and the one on their approach on things: end justify everything, screw those few suckers and my way the high way.

    But I understand that you do know the ending and therefore can't give her the same Kiritsugu treatment. However!! Just pointing out for those who haven't read the manga, you can't expect those of us who were critical on Kiritsugu to NOT see her the same exact light here. Otherwise it's just blatant bias machine furiously pumping through the brains.

  12. If you think I'm giving Koko a free pass, you don't sound as if you read the post I wrote. And saying that certainly isn't a spoiler.

  13. A

    Very amusing to find Enzo's seemingly defending consequentialism for a change, LOL! The fact that Koko's a girl also helps soften the stand against it a bit, too.

  14. e

    Jonah, if you weren't that tough and mentally precocious of a morality pet I'm not that sure I would able to swallow Koko's moves on you on screen this week. As things are I'm a bit sad for both of them instead.

    Well, this was intense. And while rationally I'm torn between giving Koko the benefit of the doubt (there's method to her madness… maybe) vs 'the road to hell is paved with good intentions', my gut reaction to the grand plan was: wth dragon lady?! Team Jonah all the way. At least so far.
    I don't dare predict what's happening next. Hence… I'll shut up and wait I guess.

  15. P

    Seriously Enzo, I don't know why you're so confident that there are more to Koko's plan to forced world peace upon commoners that we all can buy into, but hey I haven't read the manga, so I don't know.

    But only way I can see any forced plan would work would be by turning on brainwashing machine waves from those 110+ satellites in the sky and turn folks into sheep (I don't necessarily mean this in a bad way, but yes in a way. It'd be like forcibly turning off aggression genes permanently like a virtual lobotomy). I don't care whether she takes away planes, wifi, GPS, guns, knifes, stones, sticks, whatever. This just won't work until she fundamentally changes the human nature if she is seriously about this world peace stuff. So I don't see how "this plan" could be compelling, no matter what's more to come.

    However on the same token, I am ALSO confident that Koko is 100% NOT killing off those 683,822 unlucky bastards. There is nothing (in short of the brainwashing stuff I mentioned) in the this "Jormungand" world peace plan that would make Enzo confident enough to hold off full-on rant mode on Koko's tight arse IF she actually went through this bluff in the manga. So assuming that she doesn't mass-murder folks, I can see how the rest of "the plan" could be compelling. It only works if she doesn't do spectacularly stupid, which she won't since that would be like a giant middle finger jabbed in the readers' faces like "school days" anime or something.

  16. Just to be clear, when I say there's more to the plan it's strictly in practical terms – in response to the argument being made that "How is Koko knocking planes out of the sky going to make for world peace?" I'm merely saying that it's apparent based on the episode (and watching her character for two years) that Koko's plan is much more than that. I'm making no value judgments whatsoever on whatever the rest of the plan might be.

    However, my moral judgement on the portion of the plan that calls for 683000 people to die when she launches it should be very obvious from the post – not to mention from which character I've been most sympathetic towards for the entire series. Anyone who chooses not to see it is obviously more interested in manufacturing a false argument than in anything I've actually said.

    Even if I wanted to get into a full-fledged discussion of the morality of Koko's plan in its full terms, there's absolutely no way I can do that now for reasons that should be obvious.

  17. A

    I do get that you were sympathetic towards Jonah. I suppose most people here including me were a bit taken back by the nonchalant attitude of Koko here and then read the post, founding it to be somewhat lacking on full-on stern rebuttal of Koko. I don't think it was as obvious and strong as you'd think; otherwise there won't be as many comments about it. But I also get that perhaps you are saving it for the end as you do know the end. You probably don't want to reveal anything yet and also can't do the spur of the moment commentary like the most of times when you don't know where the story is heading.

  18. A

    Anyone sees the resemblance to Schneizel's plan from Code Geass? Which is why I think Koko's plan is just too idealistic. I agree with Lelouch's counter-argument.

  19. m

    lutz is such a badass (no pun intended)
    i don't get what's with the heated arguments here, shouldn't we at least wait till the whole scheme of Jormungand is revealed? the author isn't clever to this point to be blatantly stupid

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