Jormungand – 24 (Fin)

Two years after Jonah left Koko, the entire world has been set ablaze by wars and sits on the brink of WWIII. Koko hires Kasper’s men, including Jonah, to guard her as they launch the completed quantum computer into orbit in Kazakhstan. Kasper knows her plan, but he tells her it won’t stop him from selling weapons. Jonah decides to quit, and wanders on his own. Two days later he is in Baku, where Koko and her team are waiting for him. She’ll stop an impending New Soviet attack on the oil fields by activating Jormungand. Jonah agrees to return to her side.

Well, unless there’s a film or another season to follow up, we’ll never see the new world Koko Hekmatyar created, with the help of her hot female scientist friends and merry band of bodyguards. But we’re okay with that. Ending things the very moment she activates Jormungand still leaves open infinite possibilities. Will her way work? Conventional wisdom says no; and so does Kasper. He makes the argument we made last week: people will fight with rocks and sticks if they have to. But Koko is surely well aware of this and any other arguments.

Bottom line: rocks and sticks can’t cause the same mass death and destruction as bullets and bombs from the sky. She also believes putting a proverbial leash on humanity will humiliate them into submission. If they are as nasty, brutish and short as Kasper (and Hobbes) think, there may be nothing Koko or anyone else can do to stop the human urge to wage war. But it’s nice to think that just as two years of watching the world ignite taught Jonah that Koko’s plan is worth a try, perhaps a few years without the use of the skies will convince calmer heads that peace is worth a try.


Rating: 7 (Very Good)

Jormungand – 16

Kasper, Chequita, and his team are in Jakarta, attempting to meet Colonel Nualkhair, but they’re stood up. They go to a hole-in-the-wall restaurant where he laments that a “phantom company” is trying to edge them out of southeast Asia. He orders an assault on Nualkhair’s son’s compound, which is made to look like an accident but will be seen by the phantoms as a declaration of war. The company based in Japan, which is where Koko and her team are headed. During the flight, Jonah reminisces about his previous life. They meet up with Kasper’s team at Narita, and Kasper takes Jonah to see his three orphaned friends at an international school. Kasper asks to speak to Tojo, who once worked for the Defense Intelligence HQ or SR Squad, whom he believes to be the “phantoms”.

With R and Hex dead and Bookman currently hand-less, HCLI moves on to other things, as they’re threatened to be pushed out of SE Asia by a mysterious company that’s messing with their would-be clients. Kasper, who is essentially a beefed-up, more ruthless version of Koko, isn’t going to take it sitting down, and seeks the wisdom of another one from Koko’s team, Tojo. Both teams are so eclectic in their composition, it’s not surprising that they all may have past connections that may prove useful. Tojo is more brains than brawn in ops, so we may be in for a more cerebral arc than the one with R and Hex – though the tidy raid on Nualkhair’s pad was a powerful statement that Kasper doesn’t play around.

This episode was a little weighed down by frequent flashbacks that amount to clips from the first cour’s fifth episode, chronicling how Jonah ended up with HCLI and Koko. This smacked of recapping, which we never like to see in regular episodes. The clips didn’t really reveal anything new, but only served as a large, padded segue to Jonah asking Kasper about the kids he promised would be cared for in Japan. He sees them, and their clean clothes smiling faces are a striking contrast to the abject misery of that wretched base. But Jonah just sees them; he doesn’t meet them. He’s almost confirming that he deems his existence incompatible with normal life and other kids in particular. He couldn’t bear it if the sight of him changed the look on their faces from contentment to fear.


Rating: 6 (Good)

Jormungand – 10

Koko’s men take out the Dragon’s escort force without any difficulty, but Dragon manages to escape with the injured Dr. Riviere. The Dragon mobilizes more men to mount an antiaircraft assault on Koko’s plane, but they’re ready for it, with infrared jammers, flares, and a 122mm gun mounted to the back of the plane by Mao. After depositing the doctors near the refugee camp, Koko calls Scarecrow and Chocolade offering the Dragon for the $5 million international bounty, they agree. Lehm, Wiley and Mao ambush the Dragon’s convoy and retrieve Riviere, then leave the dragon tied up for the CIA to pick up.

One criticism that can be leveled against Jormungand thus far is that sometimes it feels like Koko’s band of merry men have it a bit too easy; that they’re a little too perfect, and that the outcome of any particular mission is never in serious doubt. Furthermore, all their success has led to an atmosphere of warm comraderie that has yet to feel the drama or sting of serious losses. It’s been ten episodes, and not one of Koko’s ten bodyguards have been killed, or even seriously wounded. So…DO they have it too easy? In our humble opinion, no. We’re having a blast watching them succeed. They succeed because they’re pretty much the best at what they do, and those they’re up against usually aren’t.

Take this week’s adversary: the “Dragon.” He’s just a spoiled little shit whose position was handed to him by his father. He has a militia of guys who likely fight for him to put food on their families’ tables and because they fear him. Meanwhile, Koko has a squad of elite special forces who fight for her because they love her, and (with a couple exceptions) simply love fighting, too. They’ve got the skill, resourcefulness, experience, and toughness to defeat just about anyone when they’re humming on all cylinders, and Koko makes sure they always are. The daring aerial escape was the perfect exclamation point on the notion that you do not fuck with Koko, unless you want to get burnt. She’s a Dragon too.


Rating: 8 (Great)


Car Cameo:
The Dragon may command his own militia, but rather than splurge on an S-Class or A8 or hell, a camo’d Lambo, he has a relatively modest Mercedes C-Class (W203).

Jormungand – 09

Koko is hired to smuggle by air a group of humanitarian NGO doctors called ODH into Republic T, Autonomous Region X, where a brutal, petulant militia general known as “The Dragon” holds sway. The Dragon arrives to inspect the cargo hold after the plane touches down, but Koko won’t allow it. Riviere, leader of the ODH, comes out to try to reason with the Dragon, but he is shot in the shoulder and cheek for his trouble. Koko orders her men to open fire on the Dragon’s militia.

A good arms dealer always has an escape plan in place just in case things go sour. Koko is good at dealing arms, which is why both she and her crew are weary of aerial missions. A plane can get to remote places with ease, but it needs time and space to take off and land, and these are resources that can all too easily be taken away. Koko, Lehm, and others continually mention how they have a bad feeling about this week’s doctor-smuggling mission…and they turn out to be absolutely right.

As Jonah has learned, for all her weariness about flying missions and shrewd business acumen, Koko is also a risk-taker who’s often reckless with her well-being, which explains why her force of bodyguards is so numerous and fierce. But far from just the military thugs they often go up against, many have a bit more nuance to them, like Mao, for instance, who even has a family back home he’s supporting. But when things indeed go sour and the country’s Number One Asshat shows and sticks his nose into Koko’s business, she isn’t the slightest bit cowed. She trusts her people to keep her safe, even if she sticks her head right into a dragon’s jaws.


Rating: 7 (Very Good)

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)

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 – 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.