Jonathan Mar AKA Jonah is a child soldier with a hatred of guns and an even stronger hate of the people who sell them. Due to circumstances beyond his control, he comes under the employ of Koko Hekmatyar, an arms dealer. Over the course of his employment Jonah finds that there is more to Koko than meets the eye, and that there is more to life than metal and blood.
Animated by White Fox and produced by Geneon, Jormungand certainly has a feel that is reminiscent to the very popular Black Lagoon, as Geneon produced both series (they also take place in the same universe).
At first glance Jormungand seems to be a Black Lagoon clone, and in many ways it is. The fast paced gunfights and dirty language all scream Black Lagoon rip off, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Whereas focused on the Lagoon Company and their mercenary activities, Jormungand shines its light on the suppliers of weapons and how they do their business.
Koko and her merry band of bodyguards each bring their own unique personalities and skill sets to the table. From de facto leader Lehm, to one eyed badass Valmet, to former mafia driver Ugo; everyone in the group meshes well and gets their jobs done quickly and efficiently.
Jonah himself is hardened soldier when need be but also has moments of childlike wonder, such as when he marvels looking at the ground from the nose of a plane, or when he happily swims in the ocean with his fellow bodyguards. His main trait is that he hates weapons and the people who sell them, but his interactions with Koko and the others serve to soften him up a bit.
While we see things unfold through the eyes of Jonah, the obvious star of the show is Koko. Her eccentric and offbeat style of doing things is a constant source of amusement thorughout the series but its evident that underneath her exciteable exterior is something more sinister.
There are a lot of players shuffled around in these 12 episodes but each one of the body guards are given some form of personality, some even getting some back story. The 2 part “Musica Ex Machina”, the best two episodes of the season, give a minor history on Lutz as well as give us a first glimpse of Koko’s more devious mindset. “Vein” details how Jonah joined Koko and Valmet gets a look through in “African Golden Butterflies” and finds resolution in “The Hill of Doom” (the other good 2 part episode), the latter also shining a light on Ugo’s past.
The action scenes are the main draw of Jormungand and for the most part they are done pretty well, providing firefights in different terrain and locales. “Musica ex Machina” shows Koko’s group being hunted by the two man mercenary group Orchestra in the city, “African Golden Butterflies” features a battle in the snowy mountains, and “The Hill of Doom” features fights in a hotel, a highway, and an oil refinery. Some of the fights range from fun (the shootout on the highway) to downright brutal (A transaction going sideways at an airfield).
The animation works well with the shows lively atmosphere. The unique character designs make action scenes fun as well as gruesome. The music mixes things up well with moments of rock, hip hop, jazz, and classical pieces being used when necessary. The opening things is lively while the ending haunts you with its eerily ominous yet beautiful harmony.
Neither the Japanese nor English tracks are bad, but there are cases where the Japanese track outshines its English counterpart; but not by much. Anastasia Munoz does a great job of capturing Koko’s unique personality but there are times where she can be a bit flat. Micah Solusod does pretty well at capturing Jonah’s standoffishness, but at the same time comes just a bit short of portraying his innoncene. The rest of cast does well enough, the standouts being Carli Mosier’s Valmet and Lindsay Seidel as Chinatsu.
As far as extras go Funimation does their usual textless openings & endings, show trailers, as well as 2 commentary tracks; one with ADR Director Chris Bevins (who also plays Tojo), Anastasia Munoz, and Carli Mosier; and the other features ADR Engineer Cris George (who plays Ugo), Micah Solusod, and Chris Smith (Lehm). There is also a nice little extra where Christopher Bevins and Cris George explain the casting process for the main cast which is pretty interesting.
All in all Jormungand is a pretty enjoyable watch that’s full of fun and character. There is a lot to like despite a few minor flaws and is definitely worth a watch if you like you like action shows with a bit of humor.