Click here to browse our reviews of the first season (12 episodes) of Jormungand.
Dr. Miami finds Karen Low on the street in Port Elizabeth and hires her as a secretary. She meets up with Koko on a ship in the Solomans to watch the launch of the last of the 126 rockets sending up satellites for a navigation support system that will give HCLI a decisive business advantage. Meanwhile, R meets with Bookman, who wants Koko kept on a leash, while Hex – who sent the three assassins to Koko – wants her dead…but not before she hurts her.
The last time we hung out with Koko & Friends, Valmet was gettin’ her catharsis on, Koko was getting rid of assassins, and R was revealing himself as a CIA mole. This week picks up pretty much where we left off, but also shows us what was going on in the first episode with the rockets. It’s a huge project that will no doubt make Koko more money (whether or not that’s what she wants), but is also netting her plenty of unwanted attention from concerned (she’d say nosy) parties all over the world.
Like R for the two years he’s worked for her, we’ve still only seen the Princess, the girl with the mask so perfect and complete, ascertaining her thoughts and true self are all but impossible. R believes that mask isn’t indestructable, and even saw her lose composure for a brief moment. Hex, a new face this season, is planning on shattering that mask, and the episode is not subtle about her potential first target: Koko’s teddy bear Jonah. We’ll see if the Real Koko (if there even is one) comes out this season as a result of external forces.
Rating: 7 (Very Good)
Car Cameos: Many cars seen in previous episodes are also seen here, including a Citroën C4 3-door, Mercedes C-Class, and Volkswagen Touareg 2. Hex drives up in a yellow Bentley Continental GT convertible.
Yuuta is chosen as one of the class reps with the beautiful Nibutani Shinka, and feels like things are looking up. But Rikka acquires a lost “chimera” (cat) and requests he take care of it, as her sister is allergic. Shinka points them to Tsuyuri Kumin, whose cat is missing. They go to Rikka’s house, and the cat isn’t hers. Rikka’s sister Tooka confronts them, and blackmails Yuuta into taking the cat with inflammatory audio of him from eighth grade. Rikka escapes, Yuuta and Kumin follow, and Tooka pursues and duels with Rikka, defeating her. Yuuta adopts the cat.
The surprisingly engrossing story of a lost cat combined with Yuuta’s clinging to the notion of living a normal high school life and gradually failing was enough for us to rank this as an 8 relatively early, but that was before a totally unexpected diversion into Rikka’s imagination when she battles her older sister. What’s merely and umbrella and ladel become huge, FLCL-esque weapons wielded with lightning speed and deadly force in a kick-ass action scene. But this eye candy was only the icing of the cake; a means to an end.
It showed Yuuta that there’s still value in a vibrant imagination – it gives excitement to life and makes the ordinary extraordinary. He totally geeks out on an antique weapon on Rikka’s wall – checking himself too late to avoid Kumin’s bemused/charmed gaze – but it doesn’t seem to matter. Both Kumin and Shinka earlier on aren’t really put off by Rikka’s behavior, nor do they turn their nose up at Yuuta for it. Perhaps Rikka’s over-active and Yuuta’s re-emerging Chuunibyou-ness and Yuuta’s desire to make friends in high school aren’t mutually exclusive. Only his desire to be dull and normal is.
Rating: 9 (Superior)
Car Cameo: Honda Civic sedan on the bridge, right in the beginning.
The coalition led by Heathcliff, Kirito, and Asuna defeats the boss, at the cost of fourteen lives. With 25 floors left, players wonder if they’ll really be able to clear the game. Then Kirito figures out that Heathcliff is really SAO’s creator, Kayaba Akihito, who confirms it, telling him he’d be the final boss. As a reward, he gives Kirito the chance to duel him right there, and Kirito accepts. When he’s about to get skewered, Asuna breaks her paralysis and takes the blow for him, and dies.
Kayaba then kills Kirito, who is able to bend the game laws to stick around long enough to kill Kayaba. Kirito is reunited with Asuna in the sky above Kayaba’s Ruby Castle as the game deletes itself. All players are logged out. A malnurished Kirigaya Kazuto wakes up in a hospital bed, removes his NerveGear, and gets up in search of his love, Yuuki Asuna.
Holy Flerking Schnit! We picked the wrong week to go on vacation…it should have been after this episode, which ends everything we knew only halfway through the series! The final boss is revealed. Asuna dies protecting Kirito. Kirito dies killing Kayaba. The game is over. The remaining episodes will be called Sword Art Offline, amirite? (Rimshot!) Seriously, we’re bowled over by what just happened, and haven’t a clue what’s to come. This was no cheap plot twist – to us it was a bold and risky move that changes everything – as long as it holds up.
As soon as Asuna died, we knew something fishy was going on. When Kirito died, well, duh, he was going to show up somewhere, not just end up in a void. But we weren’t prepared for the awesome beauty of the last scenes: SAO’s always excelled at backgrounds, but the vistas here take the cake. But perhaps most powerful is the feeling of enormous loss we felt right along with him both when Asuna died in SAO and when he wakes up, unsure of where the real Yuuki is. Such is the strength of his love, he’s able to stand up and walk looking for her. We’ll have what he’s having in his I.V.!
Rating: 9 (Superior)