Studio: White Fox
Genre: Action, Adventure, Seinen
Release: S1 (2012), S2 (2012)
“Though I devour the five lands and drink the three oceans dry, I am powerless against the sky for I have neither wings, legs, nor hands. I am the World Snake. My name is Jormungand.”
Here’s an action-packed anime that takes a cold hard look on modern warfare and terrorism through the eyes of a master arms dealer: Jormungand. Even though there’s only a handful of shows I was able to watch in the same genre (Full Metal Panic!, Canaan, Ghost in the Shell, etc.), I’m beginning to like them more and more. As said shows practically scream realistic war situations, cold-blooded mass killings, worldwide political conspiracies, power-drunk dictators and inequality between groups of people, the warped characters born from these inhumanities usually turn out to be quite interesting. We can learn a lot from them too.
Plot: We have Jonah (Jonathan Mar), a moreno child soldier of West Asian origin with silver-white hair. He hates weapons to no end- those who invent, manufacture, sell, and use them. Such hatred was born from his parents being killed with such tools. After being orphaned, he was forced to join a military base along with other orphans. Even though he hated it, guns and killing were the only things that kept him alive.
After a twisted turn of events, he finds himself traveling the world as a hired gun under Koko Hekmatyar- a young and attractive arms dealer who works under the HCLI- an international shipping corporation that secretly deals in the arms trade. Publicly, she leads the HCLI’s European and African Logistics Division. Other than Jonah, she has eight other hired guns, mostly ex-war veterans, working under her.
Jonah, trying his best to appear cold and emotionless to everyone, somewhat develops a soft spot for Koko (although his hate for weapons and arms dealers in general doesn’t change one bit.) Throughout the first season, he’ll get to know more about his eight teammates, their unique pasts, and why they sport so much fierce loyalty to this deranged woman who sells the things he hates the most.
Who’d buy that world peace crap, right? Still, he decided to tag along. What follows would be their gun blazing arms transactions around the world: selling shiploads of weaponry, armed vehicles and even infrastructure to governments, private corporations, mafia, militia and terrorists alike. And among that long list of buyers are their enemies who want her head on a silver platter. Why she chose such a career, and why she literally laughs in the face of danger, is a mystery for you to find out. There was even this one time she gave a batshit crazy smile when a gun was directed at her at point blank.
There’s no good or evil here. Only kill or be killed. There’s no context of prevailing justice depicting they must protect their country and their people. Actively driven by their business interests, they simply cater to whoever wants to buy their goods as long as they pay in cold hard cash. It doesn’t matter if you’re a terrorist or from the government. Just try not to pay her using drugs lest you’ll be dead. This is how things are in the real world- there’s no black or white, only shades of grey, and you could die the second you hesitate to kill a person. A harsh reality, no doubt.
In Norse mythology, Jormungand refers to the World Snake that circles the Earth. This is the code-name given to the secret mission of Koko’s team at the start of the pilot episode. A new world order with Koko as God, perhaps? Anyway, make sure not to sit this one out!