Monday, January 27, 2014

Her name is Koko. She is Loko...I said "oh no!" (Jormungand)

Title: Jormungand
Writer: Keitarō Takahashi, 
Yousuke Kuroda
Director: Keitaro Motonaga
Episodes: 12
Related Series: Jormungand: Perfect Order

Jonah is a child soldier and the newest bodyguard for Koko, an international arms dealer with an entourage of hired guns. The cold-blooded kid hates Koko’s line of work, but following her into the darkest corners of the black market might be the only way he can find those responsible for his family’s slaughter. Besides, his employer isn’t like most merchants of death. She uses guile and cutthroat tactics to keep her clients armed to the teeth—all while cultivating her own warped plan for the future of world peace.

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This might just be the best use of the "next time" feature that animes routinely employ at the end of each episode. It'll take a sharp utensil to the brain to dig it out of my head. It's in there for life and I'm okay with that.

Save time and skip to the bottom of the page for final thoughts.

My awesome friend Amy recently, and by recently I mean last night, introduced me to Funimation at the Movies Meetup in the DFW area and it was super entertaining! They had a screening of the first four episodes of an anime I had vaguely heard of, but never watched called Jormungand.

While the anime is not going to make it to my favorites shelf it was fun, goofy and had an offbeat humor that had the theater laughing. There were some truly hilarious one liners, my favorite being when Koko calls Jonah "a nice kid" and he answers back "Nice kids don't shoot people in the face." Koko then follows this up with a ridiculous metaphor about niceness being encased in a bullet. Probably one of my favorite scenes in the four episodes.

While enjoyable, the anime had a too much talking. It'd be one thing if the dialogue was interesting, but for the most part it was a lot of ammo speak. I know they're arms dealers, but still it seemed a little dry and the language took me out of the moment.

The characters were also a bit too preachy, especially Koko.  They argued a common theme in anime of world peace and whether or not weapons have a place in obtaining such peace. Can lasting peace truly be obtained at the end of a gun barrel? This will probably be delved into even more during the rest of the series.

It also tried too hard to get over how crazy Koko is. Every other villain was commenting on how "psycho," "crazy" or just plain "bitchy" she was. They needlessly used a sledgehammer to drive home Koko's eccentricity. Her actions were crazier than any offhand comment made by other characters. Actions still speak louder than words and subletly is not lost on viewers.  No need to shove it in my face repeatedly. Am I repeating myself...maybe employing said sledgehammer technique? Kind of annoying.

Usually, I find fan service to be distracting and tiresome in anime (I mean seriously how many panty shots of big breasted women can you see in an anime and not be bored?), but the little that these four episodes had was refreshing. It lightly made fun of itself and fan service in general. Valmet's nosebleed scene in the first episode (or it could have been the second) was perfect. I defy you not to laugh at Koko's reaction to Orchestra's only female assassin's reason for not wearing underwear.

Final Thoughts

Despite the long winded dialogues, more like monologues, and sledgehammer tactics at character building, I did enjoy what I saw of the series, especially the hints of supernatural elements surrounding one of the characters. I'll probably eventually watch the rest in the series since I'm interested in seeing where it goes.

I hope there are future meetups as this experience was fun. Some of the voice actors were actually present for the screening and there was a quick Q&A as well as door prizes! Also, you could take your picture with Maka and Soul - who could pass that up? Certainly not me.

The crowd was laid back and just genuinely happy to be out watching anime on a weekday. The Alamo Draft House had decent food and a decent price. Has good waitstaff and comfortable seating. Those putting on the event were friendly and enthusiastic. I definitely hope to attend more events like this in the future. Probably with my awesome friend Amy!

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