Jormungand – 05

Koko and her team are aboard a container ship when word comes that her brother Kasper’s ship will be paying them a visit. Koko has Jonah hidden away, but he meets Kasper anyway in the head, tries to kill him, and is stopped by Kasper‘s bodyguard Chiquita. Flashback to three months ago, Jonah was being held on an army base in Western Asia when an associate of Kasper’s visited. The soldiers took away Jonah’s friend Marka and he never saw her again; he finally blew his top and shot up the entire baseto avenge her. Kasper arrives to assess his work, and stated he wanted the base wiped out all along. After imprisoning him in a container for several days, he lets him out and gives him to his sister, who promises to treat him better.

The Hekmatyars are not your typical family. For one thing, both Koko and Kasper were born and raised on container ships at sea, so they have no homeland, and no patriotism for any particular country. They’re nomads. Here we were thinking Kasper was going to make life miserable for Koko & Co, but it turns out they’re fairly nice and cordial to one another (he even lets her push him around). It turns out Jonah was a gift from Kasper, and this episode deals with his backstory, which, as we suspected, was quite traumatic.

Kasper didn’t mince words or hide behind riddles when he met Jonah: he was the one who arranged the sale of weapons to the people who destroyed Jonah’s village and killed his family. He gave Jonah time to find his place in the world and decide how he’d live it out. Considering all that shit happened just three months ago, Jonah has made great progress, and he has Koko and her warm, kind team to thank for it – we like the idea that they’re taking turns educating him. He’s in a good place now. Part of him probably wishes he could stay on that boat in the sea forever.


Rating: 7 (Very Good)

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Jormungand – 04

After a car chase in which both cars are wrecked, Orchestra ignores Chinatsu’s warning and goes out in the open and is shot by Lutz with a sniper rifle from 900 meters. Chinatsu manages to escape on a passing truck. A CIA agent named Jerry Schatzberg AKA Scarecrow arrests Koko, but her father has connections with the police, and she is released. Something Scarecrow says reminds Koko she’s being hunted, and after an evening stroll with Jonah, she correctly predicts Chinatsu showing up on the roof of her hotel. She offers Chinatsu a job, but Chinatsu goes for another gun, and Lehm kills her.

Both episodes in this assassin two-parter have had very effective, efficient cold opens. Part one’s showed us exactly who Koko & Co. would be dealing with, while part two’s showed us how Chinatsu met Orchestra. The latter is not for the faint-hearted; Orchestra literally murdered every single person in an opera house, including Chinatsu’s family. Only Chinatsu survived, and picked up a gun to try to kill him. That warmed him to her, he took her under his wing, and she bonded with him through the trauma he caused her. When he’s killed – in a very well-orchestrated sniping that left no doubt – she is alone again, with nothing left but her hate for Koko.

We were kinda surprised the series wasn’t going to keep these two around, but we suppose it has other, bigger fish to fry, and certainly other assassins, organizations, and governments who’d like Koko in pieces (including Mr. CIA, who automatically loses points for sucker punching her). After Chinatsu’s final explanation for why she always goes commando (psychologically, it made her a better shot), followed by Koko telling her why she deals arms (which we can’t hear, but startles Chinatsu), she too is killed, and Koko instantly moves on to other business. We also liked her talk with Jonah, about how kindness is a weakness, and how 60% of the worlds weapons are in the hands of civilians. The more you know!


Rating: 9 (Superior)

Moretsu Pirates – 24

Thanks to some creative evasive maneuvers, the Bentenmaru is able to just escape the Grand Cross’ clutches and jumps to the Pirates’ Nest. Coorie dolls herself up to get preferential treatment from the maintenance unit, and the ship undergoes repairs. Marika meets with Barbalusa, who believes they’ll be lucky if ten pirate ships make it there. Marika is also confronted by Quartz Christie, captain of the Grand Cross, who states the reason for her actions, then vanishes. Misa discovers Luca has been replaced by an android, there are two Kanes, and Ririka is a secretly member of the crew of the Parabellum.

This episode was full of surprises large and small. We had no idea how the Bentenmaru was going to get away from the Grand Cross, but it turns out all they needed was to look the bully in the eye, sock it in the nose, and run like hell; guile, in other words. Other pirate captains tried battling it conventionally, and they were all destroyed. Marika keeps the Bentenmaru moving, makes multiple feints, uses her weapons as a diversion, and jumps out as soon as they’re able. Even then, the ship takes heavy damage. A sustained one-on-one duel with the Grand Cross is untenable.

It was also a nice surprise to see Coorie out of her baggy clothes and nerd glasses, it turns out she’s quite the hottie! But more surprising is the fact that Luca seems to have been replaced by an friggin’ android at some point (with no explanation of where the real one is), and even more confusing, there are apparently two Kanes, one of which may be another android, but both of which are up to something. Finally, the twist at episode’s end was something we were hoping for: Ririka did not in fact retire and go on vacation. Far from it; she’s back on the job, now working for Ironbeard. The Parabellum helped Marika out before, perhaps it will again, but we’re curious as to why Ririka didn’t tell her daughter the truth. Perhaps she didn’t want her to worry?


Rating: 3.5

Jormungand – 03

Unhinged assassin and self-described “musician” Orchestra and his sidekick Chinatsu target Koko while she and her team are in a middle east city (probably Dubai, from the look of the police cars). They get the jump on Koko when she and Valmer are shopping, but Jonah, having escaped Tojo’s lessons, foils their initial attack, leading to an extended firefight. Lehm provides backup, allowing Jonah to lead Koko away. Orchestra and Chinatsu run out of ammo and retreat, but plan to complete their mission.

Being an arms dealer is no picnic, as “you get free hatred for everything you sell”, but Koko manages pretty well with her positive attitude and upbeat outlook, both of which are infectious, and are probably a reason why she and her team work so well. But Lehm warns Jonah that it might not be wise to get too close to Koko & Co. if he intends to continue hating arms dealers for all eternity for callously selling “demonic” weapons that turn even peaceful people mad. Of course, Jonah is finding he doesn’t hate Koko, and goes out of his way to tail her in case trouble brews.

And boy howdy, does it ever brew. Fresh off another job in Oman (in a very violent and unsubtle cold open), Orechestra and Chinatsu arrive on the scene, and they’re quite the characters, content to spray copious ammo in the general direction of their targets, and not above launching grenades at the cops. If arms are a drug, they’re straight-up junkies. They’re a tight duo, and pretty much as good at surviving as Koko & Co., which explains why the showdown is only half-over by episode’s end. But Koko is her usual cool collected self, and she’s confident she and her beloved team will get her out of this mess.


Rating: 9 (Superior)


Car Cameos:
The Dubai (?) cops show up in a BMW 5er, but it doesn’t last long. Orchestra and Chinatsu regroup in their Big Red Truck, a GMC Sierra

Jormungand – 02

Koko’s team is travelling along Russia’s war-torn southern border when they’re intercepted by troops loyal to Major Polluck, who is locked in a battle for a local pipeline. He wants to continue doing business with HCLI, but Koko is hesitant. She also bumps into Curry of British rival CCAT, along with his soldiers, Mildo and Lew. Polluck’s men escort both Koko’s and Curry’s team to an area where they’ll have reception to contact their suppliers. Koko captures her leash, while Mildo kills hers, and Polluck sends more men after them both. Koko pretends she and her men will fight them off, but they drop their weapons and let the troops move in on Curry & Co. Everyone ends up escaping unharmed, and the border war fizzles out the next day.

Koko is a very interesting young woman, and people assign her a bevy of labels: princess, nuts, hysterical, magnate’s daughter, lucky girl, vixen, unpredictable wench. We’d simply label her a badass and a born leader whose followers all love and respect her. This episode is a showcase of her cool under pressure and fire; she’s in the middle of a war zone and is strafed by attack helicopters on more than one occasion, but her sly smile never leaves her face. She’s also sharp enough to think ahead, sparing the lives of soldiers, and refusing to do business with small-time soldiers who want to prolong pointless battles.

Is she morally equivalent? Sure, but she’s not out to be a saint; she’s a merchant, and she won’t accept credit as payment. Her instincts tell her Polluck’s cause is a losing one, so she wants to get out of there as soon as possible. And sure enough, once she and Curry’s team are out of there, the little war ends. We enjoyed the rivalry between Koko and Curry as well as the duel between the unhinged Mildo and the collected Valmer. These two groups respect each other, and are content to let one another alone; after all, it’s a big world and there’s plenty of business to be done.


Rating: 8 (Great)

Car Cameo: Curry’s team rides in a Mercedes-Benz C-Class…a W203 to be exact. Koko seems partial to her armored Volvo S80, one of the safest cars around.

Jormungand – 01

Arms dealer Koko Hekmatyar initiates child soldier Jonah into her outfit, now nine strong excluding Koko. Jonah takes the initiative while they’re engaged in a violent car chase, and in a subsequent mission to cancel a rival arms dealer’s deal with the local government, he acts as her wingman during diversionary negotiations with the rival’s leader, Kroshkin, and the mission succeeds.

With all the hiatuses this week, we decided to finally crack open the action/adventure series named after the norse world serpent. And after one episode, we’re fairly impressed. As haven’t been watching anything quite so focused on guns and crime and other adult themes this season, Jormungand scratched an itch we didn’t even know we had. Better late then never, right? Since the second season doesn’t air until October, we’ve got plenty of time to catch up.

Jonah the child soldier is a bit wooden (he reminded us of a Darker than Black doll) but young Koko, the ringleader, is full of energy, panache, and gumption. We really dig her design – she looks like a sci-fi villain or a snow goddess: pale complextion, ghostly white flowing hair, and hauntingly blue eyes set in a foxy face. She sleepwalks, and you get the sense she has a bit of a screw loose, so we look forward to learning more about her. She’s ably voiced by Shizuka Itou, and she’s just plain fun to watch (She can also take a coffee carafe to the head like a champ).

The series is packed with cars, chases, guns, shooting, and coordinated plans. The other eight members don’t get much screen time, but I’m sure we’ll get to know them in time – standing out are the eyepatched Valmer and the laid-back veteran Lehm. The pace is fast, and the soundtrack – by Taku Iwasaki, one of our favorite anime composers – complements the style of the series perfectly. Stay tuned for more belated reviews as we definitely plan to keep watching.


Rating: 8 (Great)

Car Cameos: SO MANY. Koko and Jonah start out in a new Volvo S80, while Lehm and Valmer follow in a first-gen Honda CR-V. They’re tailed by BMW 5-Series, an old Chevy Van (armored), and eventually, a Humvee. In their second mission, Koko drives a stylish Citroen C4 3-door hatch.