Jormungand – 23

Koko tells Jonah killing her won’t stop Jormungand, so he jumps off the pier and swims away. Kasper picks him up and hires him on the spot. As the plans to shrink the quantum computer commence, Minami informs Koko about Scarecrow and Plame digging into her finances. She decides to summon Bookman to Africa, and when he arrives he is attacked by an armed group that is killed by a platoon of marines who escort him out of danger. Back in America, Plame is arrested by the NSA for breaching the FISA, as Koko made it look like he sent the armed group instructions to assassinate Bookman.

Koko Hekmatyar may be a dyed-in-the-wool supervillain with designs on starting a new world at the cost of hundreds of thousands of lives, but when she kicks as much ass and takes as many names as she has of late, we can’t help but root for her. She also seems to have the support of her team: only Jonah and Lutz are conflicted (it’s probably not a coincidence they’re the youngest members of her team), and only Jonah outright resigns his commission over it, only to be ensnared by Kasper. It looks like Jonah’s going to cling to the status quo as long as he can, but Minami thinks he’ll ultimately come back to Koko.

The main attraction of this episode isn’t even the standoff betwen Koko and Jonah, in which Koko delivers one villainously awesome speech (“I hate the world, but it’s lucky I’m going to reform and not destroy it”). It’s yet another demonstration of Jormungand’s formidable, virtually inviolable power over information.It’s essentially carried out to prove a point to Bookman about just how screwed the rest of the world is against her might (and Koko orchestrates it while lying naked in a hot spring.Boss.) Far from taking up the challenge to defeat her plans, Bookman, eager to see the new world Koko wants to build, decides he’ll let her use him however she wants. Can you blame him? In a world where she’s the new god of information, blasphemy will get you nowhere.


Rating: 8 (Great)

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Jormungand – 22

Koko’s team successfully kidnaps Rabbitfoot, but they get bogged down in a firefight with Plame’s Night Nine SEAL team. Koko deploys one of her UAVs to destroy the Americans’ recon drone, then uses Jormungand to feed false GPS data misdirecting the SEALs to the perimeter of a Cuban military base. Plame has no choice but to abort. Back in South Africa, Koko finally lets Jonah, Rabbitfoot, and the rest of the team in on the master plan she and Miami have been working on: using Jormungand to end all air travel and control all global logistics, in order to force world peace. When she tells Jonah it will come at the cost of nearly 700,000 lives, he pulls a gun on her.

Koko is an uncommonly disciplined young woman, but in the end, also incredibly idealistic. She has been working her entire career as an arms dealer, amassing the know-how, the clout, the connections, and the capital to bring the best scientific minds (all attractive women too, mind you) together to create Jormungand, the means by which she aims to put an end to war itself and make her own kind extinct. We can’t remember the last anime we saw in which we’ve been following someone for so long, sympathizing with her, seeing her weaknesses and watching her succeed, fail, and succeed again…only for her to turn out to be the most diabolical of supervillains. She has a flair for theatricality, obviously. But she also calmly discusses the instant deaths of all 683,822 souls in the air like it’s nothing.

She even shrugs off accusations of wanting to become God by saying she’s better than God for doing what he couldn’t do: forbid humans the use of the sky. But no matter how much she teases and flirts with Jonah (going so far as to kiss him in the bath), he’s not on board with this plan. It may well save millions, but the tremendous number of people she’s willing to kill is the ultimate expression of the ends not justifying the means, because the ends are ultimately unattainable. Warfare is awful, but no matter how many toys you take away from mankind, they’ll only find other ways to fight each other. Swords, sticks, stones, Congress…whatever.

It’s the height of hubris for Koko to believe Jormungand will really end anything, other than those thousands of lives. Death, torture, suffering, slavery will all endure. And like Jonah pulling a gun on her, countless other things she isn’t expecting lie on the horizon with the path she’s on. She may look like a god, act like a god, walk and talk like a god…but she’s no god. But she is one hell of a commander, and seems to truly care about her men (and women). When she took out the CIA drone with her own drone (from her hotel room), then fooled seasoned SEALs by scrambling their GPS – fantastic stuff.


Rating: 9 (Superior)

Jormungand – 21

Koko and her team continue to travel the world, making investments in tech companies and kidnapping the scientist Elena Baburin. Bookman meets her at Dulles through Hinoki, and he warns her not to “enter then enclave”, but from Miami she travels to Cuba, to extract the extralegally-held quantum physicist Leila Ibrahim Faisa, AKA Rabbitfoot. Bookman’s underlines believe all of Koko’s actions point towards the development of a quantum computer, which would make all present supercomputers – including those that guide missiles – obsolete. At Fort Meade, MD, Chief Plame of the Special Collections Service is deploying SEAL Team 9 to foil Koko’s plans to capture Rabbitfoot from Camp No in Guantanamo.

As we suspected, there’s far more to Koko and Dr. Miami’s plans than Hek-GG. Hek-GG is just the tip of the iceberg, and even Koko’s brother and father Floyd don’t know exactly what lies beneath the surface. The CIA can hazard an educated guess, though: Koko and Miami’s goal is nothing less than total domination of the digital world. If they succeed in building a quantum computer, stupidly faster than anything else in existence, they could rule a decent chunk of the world. This is supervillain stuff, but we’ve been invested in Koko and her team for so long, we’re firmly on her side even if they’re the bad guys.

Koko is also bored with the current order of things. She wants to shake things up, open the gates to a New World (the title of this arc). This episode was more getting ducks in a row and fortifying her team’s confidence and trust in her. And while they have supervillain plans well in the works, if they don’t have their bodyguards watching their backs and guarding them when they sleep, all of this could go out like a candle in the wind. Just one bullet – out of the millions upon millions of pieces of ordinance – could end Koko’s plans. She’s crossed Bookman and ignored his warnings. Now that she’s peeking out of the shadows, it’s open season.


Rating: 6 (Good)

Jormungand – 20

Koko and Dr. Miami open the new “Marchen Ltd. Facility” where robotic toys will be made. Miami later meets with Curry and Koko with Trohovsky as Kasper announces the Hekmatyar Global Grid Distribution Package, which aims to revolutionize global military logistics and promises to slash the costs of operations through optimization.

The Hekmatyar siblings finally reveal their big evil scheme, and it’s a gigantic global system that will, among other things, make supply lines a thing of the past. This is a network set up by launching 125 satellites into orbit, and military leaders all over the place are liking their lips at the possibilities it offers. Meanwhile, HCLI’s competitors exhibit a mix of anticipatory excitement, panic, and unease. And with good reason: HCLI means to have a monopoly on affordable war.

Those not in on it could see their clients disappearing and their businesses turning to dust. Whether the Global Grid is the full project or merely the opening salvo, Koko and Dr. Miami definitely have a lot of people on their toes, including Bookman. Their grand plan even has a suitable name, Jormungand – a self-devouring creature as the symbol of a business that exploits a self-devouring humanity. For now, Bookman is just keeping an eye on her; who knows how he or her other enemies will respond to this.


Rating: 6 (Good)

Jormungand – 15

Renato pleads with Chief Black to call Hex off, warning that Operation Undershaft will be compromised if she kills Jonah. Black gives him Hex’s location, but leaves it up to him. While walking through Praha with Koko, Jonah senses danger, and they’re jumped by two of Hex’s ten men. Jonah is shot with a paralytic drug and can’t move. R confesses to Koko that he’s a spy, but helps her and Jonah escape. He and Hex face off; he misses, but Hex shoots him through the eye. Lutz and Leim take out all of Hex’s men but two, and she retreats. Black visits R’s grave and meets Koko, but then learns Koko used HCLI to track Hex down to Iraq, where the cave she’s hiding in was bombed by a B-52. Black starts seeing ghosts of R and Hex.

Chief Black’s left hand Hex told him Koko was a monster who must be methodically dismantled and destroyed. Chief Black’s right hand Renato told him Koko was nothing but a normal girl beneath her iron mask. The truth is, she’s both. We saw more sides of her this week than perhaps any time in the past, as she faces the prospect of losing Jonah, is told she’s been betrayed by one of her most-trusted bodyguards who taught her how to carry herself, and then loses that bodyguard shortly thereafter. The mask disappears the moment she hears the truth from R. Her viciousness returns when she orders Hex hunted down. And her mask returns for her meeting with Bookman, save a tear she sheds when leaving a bottle of liquor on R’s grave.

In a way, we like how this arc turned out. It didn’t cheat by letting everyone stay alive, or eliminating all threats around Koko and her crew. Hex is dead, but the rather strange scene of Bookman conversing with her and R’s ghosts tells us Bookman remains as dangerous as ever, and he vows to continue “dancing” with Koko “till she screams”, which is just creepy when accompanied by his attempt at dancing. Losing Jonah would have definitely had more impact, though. Koko’s loss of composure is only temporary, and she roars back fast after R’s death. We’re not so sure she’d so quickly forgive someone enough to give them so quick a death as she gave Hex if it were Jonah who was killed – nor do we think she’d forgive herself so quickly.


Rating: 8 (Great)

Car Cameos: The cars that line Praha (Prague) include a Peugeot 406, a BMW 7-Series, and many Mercedes-Benzes: an S-Class and GL-Class, plus Bookman’s CL-Class coupe.

Jormungand – 14

This episode, like the last, was a lot of table-setting, but we got more specifics about the relationships between Chief Black, Renato, and Hex. Those specifics give us a better understanding of what drives them. All of this is leading up to Hex going after Jonah, the one life she believes will matter to Koko above all others. Koko isn’t just hanging off of Jonah to tease him, or as some kind of act. He’s her restoration project, her bodyguard, and her little brother.

Is Hex hunting him just because she’s evil? Well, no. She’s a bitter former elite special forces officer who was cast aside by the military and joined up with the CIA. She also lost her fiance in the 9/11 attack on the Twin Towers. That attack was orchestrated by terrorists who got weapons from arms dealers like Koko. In Hex’s eyes that makes Koko every bit a terrorist as Bin Laden, and she’s going to make her pay nice and slowly.

Black won’t allow her to kill Koko, but he’ll allow her a “sacrifice” if it makes her feel better; after all, she’s his left hand while R is his right; and he needs both to fulfill Operation Undershaft. Yet Hex and R have totally different mindsets; Black’s two hands don’t know what the other is doing, nor do they understand. R owes Black a debt and wants to be loyal, but he’s none too pleased about Jonah’s life being dangled in front of Hex like a mouse for a cat. He’s safe right now, with the trust of both of his bosses, but inevitably he’ll have to make a choice he won’t like that will betray one of them.


Rating: 7 (Very Good)

P.S. In one  of the many flashbacks, Koko is totally freaking out; fearing for her life. You know, like any normal person would. R tells her he’ll protect her…but she has to keep smiling no matter what.

Jormungand – 12 (Fin)

Gregoire gets the jump on Ugo, but Lehm is able to incapacitate him, while Liliane is dealt with by Koko herself. Ugo drives Koko out of danger, but Dominique follows and a chase ensues, ending in Dominique’s car being wrecked. Koko lets him go if he tells her who hired him, and he does. Meanwhile, Valmer drugs Jonah and asaults the refinery on her own, cutting her way through Daxinghai until she reaches Cheng and kills him. Later, Karen catches up to and shoots her, but Jonah shoots Karen back, and gets both women help in time to save their lives. Valmer vows to stick with Koko henceforth. A CIA chief with many nicknames meets in Paris with R.

With Valmer and Jonah out of the picture for the time being and Lehm, Lutz and Ugo in deep shit, Koko & Co. looked decidedly vulnerable last week, but to our surprise, Team Dominique is dealt with in the first five minutes, and no one is killed or maimed. Huh. So much for lasting consequences! The balance of the episode was about Valmer. She’s a big strong Finn on a mission to avenge her comrades – and her eye. We like how she tries to keep Jonah out of it, but he’s a harder kid to shake than she’d thought. Her rampage through Daxinghai’s refinery is thrilling, especially, because it’s such a cathartic, cleansing event for her.

It’s good that Valmer can put (the majority of) her past behind her, because new threats are on the horizon that spell trouble for Koko in the future: the fact she has a CIA mole in R is most disturbing – up until this point, we’d assumed everyones’ loyalties were secured , if not by Koko’s reaching out to them (as she did with Jonah, Valmer, and Ugo), but by the big bucks she pays them. Alas, there’s a chink in her armor. That mitigates the ease with which she dismissed the threat of Dominique (though he and his are still alive). There’s a lot more to cover in the second season, which won’t arrive until October. We’ll be waiting anxiously.


Rating: 8 (Great)