OP: 「Borderland」 by 川田まみ (Kawada Mami)
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「ガンメタル・キャリコロード」 (Gan Metaru Kyariko Rodo)
“Gun Metal – Calico Road”
Prior to every season, I typically make a quick list of anime that plan to watch and the expectations I have for each. This time around, there were a quite a handful of shows that made it to my “high expectations” column, and one of them was Jormungand. Based on Takahashi Keitarou’s graphic novel about a child soldier named Jonah (Tamura Mutsumi) who joins a group of arms dealers lead by the charismatic Koko Hekmatyar (Itou Shizuka), the premise itself just oozes potential greatness. A dark and serious atmosphere, protagonists that seem anything but typical, animation done by White Fox (the studio behind Steins;Gate), and a Black Lagoon vibe— what more could you ask for? After watching this first episode, it’s quite clear the answer to that question is: not much.
I mean, when you start a series with such a bang, you just can’t help but be awed by it, especially when you consider the many paths this first episode could have taken. For one, it could have merely introduced the characters. With such a sizable cast, it’s not hard to imagine such introductions taking multiple episodes and detracting from the series in the long run. Luckily, Jormungand doesn’t do that. Rather, the episode itself revolves around demonstrating how Koko’s group works, following them through an operation to reclaim military armaments seized by customs, and a second operation to counter a rival arms dealer’s attempt to encroach on their dealings. Sprinkled in between, we see how each member of the main cast responds and acts in various situations, how they speak to others and among themselves, and how Koko and her group do their jobs. With this, we get a good feel of the personalities of each member of the main cast, without spending too much time explicitly doing so. Basically, what Jormungand does is throw you right into the action, while seamlessly integrating both character introduction and development in between. Suffice to say, the fact that it’s done so well plays a major part in allowing the episode to maintain its hectic pace. The pacing in turn, is key to series in the Action genre, as well as a reason why this episode was so great.
As for the characters themselves, they’re exactly like what Guardian Enzo said in his preview excerpt. The characters are larger than life and not much in this show turns out to be what you expect. I for one couldn’t have foreseen just how crazy each of the characters are, let alone the fact that each of them have so many sides to them that only show up during certain situations. What makes it even more crazy is how you’re able to realize how deep each character is in just the first episode, without any explicit focus on introductions. I know it’s only the beginning of the series, but I’m darn sure that at least one, if not a few characters from this show will be in my list of favorites before all’s said and done. I mean, when you have crazy characters like Koko Hekmatyar, who’s motherly one moment, acts as kid, then turns outright insane a moment later, it’s hard not to fall in love with the characters in this show. And this is without mentioning other characters like the suave, leader figure Lehm (Ishizuka Unsho), and the virtually emotionless Jonah, whose developments and interactions are sure to be aspects to keep an eye on as the series goes on.
Another great aspect I noticed was the random insertion of comedy, which is done in such a subtle way that it doesn’t detract from the seriousness and intensity of the story, yet still gives you a nice chuckle from time to time. The series itself though, remains mostly serious, as it touches upon potentially controversial aspects such as child soldiers, war, and arms dealing. In a way, there could be more to talk about Jormungand in terms of the aspects it touches upon, rather than what happens in the episodes themselves. That’s not to say the episode wasn’t great or the series isn’t worth talking about, but merely goes to show how deep and how rooted in reality some aspects of the series are.
Moving on, the first episode just gets better and better the more I look and talk about it. White Fox comes in with some gorgeous visuals in the animation department and the well-known Iwasaki Taku takes the reigns for the music in Jormungand, creating some awesome, blood-pumping compositions that just match perfectly with the atmosphere. The OP by Kawada Mami, while not quite different stylistically from some of her previous works for Shakugan no Shana, does a great job in matching with the opening sequence. Furthermore, the lyrics are perfectly catered towards the story itself, and the song’s pacing preserves the adrenaline rush you get from the moment you start watching. The ED by Yanagi Nagi in turn serves as a great contrast to the opening— a calm, but haunting ballad that eases you out from the torrid pacing of the episode and truly emphasizes what an ED theme should do.
Overall, as you can see, I absolutely loved this first episode. Granted, the fast pace might not be something everyone will like, but I still have no doubt in my mind that this will be one of the top series this season. In fact, out of the 11 shows I’ve watched this season, this is one of the best first episodes. I’d say Jormungand is second only to Fate/Zero at the moment—higher than even Sankarea and Accel World, whose respective first episodes were quite amazing in my book. Unless dark shows with violence aren’t your thing, you owe it to yourself to watch Jormungand.
Full Length Images: 03, 20, 36
ED: 「Ambivalentidea」 by やなぎ なぎ (Yanagi Nagi)
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“Her name is Koko. She is loco. I said ‘Oh no'”
When I reached the episode preview, I just started cracking up.
That hook reminds me of MIA’s style of music every time I hear it.
By the time the series ends, this is going to be the most ‘memorable’ preview theme 😛
Maybe it can be a ringtone…
Heck yes. I’ve been waiting to watch this show since I saw it on the Spring preview. Realistic gunplay anime are hard to come by, and I have never been disappointed in this sadly small drama. Jonah and Koko really stood out as sources for comedy in this first episode, though I get the feeling we’ll be plumbing Koko’s much darker depths before this anime is done. I haven’t read the manga, but I get the feeling there’s some more chilling things hidden under that ditzy veneer.
It’ll be interesting to look at the crew of mercenaries signed on with Koko, but Jonah in particular will be a blast to watch. I’m extremely curious about his past: who trained him, where he’s from, which country left him an orphan, etc.. I’m really glad this premiere didn’t disappoint.
Jonah: Why do you sell weapons?
Koko: For world peace.
Also the eyebrows/lashes of Jonah/Koko remind me of Shiro in Deadman Wonderland..coincidence?
Yup, thought the same thing. It’s a good thing too.
It’s actually true……the only reason why the world war III has not happened yet is because the Russian, US, and China all have nuclear weapon and almost equal land,air,and naval force. Especially in eastern Europe, having a strong weaponry would definitely help in maintaining peace in your nation *cough*Georgia* cough*
I felt like I was watch a hybrid of Stand Alone Complex and Black Lagoon. I had the most ridiculous simile on my face all the way through it.
I look forward to the adventures of Fox Face … I mean Koko!
Totally agree. I can’t wait to see more of this!
Actaully when i read the manga koko face always looked like a snake. But that could be what the artist is going for since the title is “Jormungand” and Jormungand was a snake. Basically koko is supposed to represent Jormungand or at least thats what i think the author is getting at.
LOVING THIS! The sweet feel of Black Lagoon (which is sitting nicely among my top favorite series) in this series is a wonderful thing. Jonah also reminds me of Jo from Bakuretsu Tenshi with his emotionless attitude. I am going to look forward to more of Jormungand and if it keeps up the pace and atmosphere, the 2nd cour this fall will be something to look forward to.
My most anticipate new series this season, very faithful adaptation (and consider it’s already finish after 11 volumes, I highly hope the studio will keep up the good work.)
Valmet is goddamn awesome.
I’m very please with this season so far 🙂
Pretty awesome and quite faithful first episode. New viewers, don’t get too hung up on the Black Lagoon thing – beyond the obvious superficial resemblance these two series are as apples and oranges.
Awesome premiere indeed! Even though I may have felt some random moments throughout the episode, much like the almost-rushed finale with the dinner gag, Jormungand as a whole has gotten me pretty excited. It displayed a wide array of characters and some cool script. It definetly has the potential to be something great, and being White Fox, I want to believe those guys have developed an eye for potential adaptations.
Haha, I never thought I’d hear myself saying this, but I’m really digging White Fox’ artstyle.
It sets them apart from more mainstream anime, and it acts like a stamp too: “What’s this thing I’m watching? Oh look at the characters, this must be from White Fox! This must be good then” or so I’d like to believe.
As for animation, even if slick and smooth, I’m not hoping much: it wouldn’t surprise me if they follow the formulaic Blow-budget-in-the-premiere&finale-of-season. But given this has much guns involved, I do expect them to deliver more smoothness than S;G did, at the least…
Most exciting first minutes for a premiere this season, though. Heaps better than Fate/Zero’s too, imo. I could get really used to this opening…Besy moment by far!
Best*…Or rather just a cool moment x)
Mildo vs Valmet next week!!
I can’t help hearing Tama-nee from ToHeart2 when Koko speaks. Makes perfect sense too cuz I could see her doing that. =P
While the first episode was certainly a blast, I thought they also did a very good job in introducing the characters amid all the action scenes. It was seamlessly incorporated and I thought that I got a good idea of the basic personalities of the other characters that got some screen time. I bet the rest of the cast will be given the same treatment as well, and that certainly won’t be an easy feat considering the size of the cast. However, with a second season being planned, I think they may have plenty of time to develop a great deal of the cast. Anyway, after the first episode, I am certainly looking forward to more.
I read some of the manga way back didn’t leave much of an impression on me. The anime..well it’s definitely channeling Black Lagoon though I found myself getting annoyed at the illogical “problem” they had. Whats that the weapons are in country but some bureaucrat for reasons that make little sense won’t release them from the port. Let’s get in a gun battle on the highway. When simply calling the customer who appears to have been the military of said country would have solved the problem immediately. Still I’ll give it a few more episodes, action is solid.
“Yes, everyone knows that you should watch Fate/Zero this season. But you know what? You should be watching Jormungand too.” Couldn’t have said it any better. +The team like nature of this episode reminded me a lot of Ghost and The Shell series. Which is never a bad thing. Potential abounds! 🙂
Totally agree with this.
I wasn’t planning on watching this, but I’m so glad I did, that was pretty awesome.
terrible, terrible food……….
Need gif of Koko rolling around on the table
This show went from my “Check out” to “Watch” list. Nice introduction episode, and very good post! Keep up the good work! :]
Another Seinen show??
What did I do to deserve this fortunate turn of events?? Hell yeah, I will watch this. First I’ve got Uchuu Kyoudai and now this. Now I have two! At the same time!!!! And I may even get THREE shows I watch at the same time with Sakamichi no Apollon!! What is going on here? (And there is also Nazo no Kanojo X, another Seinen show. And Lupin the Third. These two aren’t for me, but WHAT IS GOING ON!!) Gimme Seinen shows and I will devour them! yum yum. Thank you!!
well, obviously I meant two “Seinen” at the same time. Not two shows, period. I watch a couple of other shows like Fate/zero, so by no means I am being snobbish here, but merely stating my pleasure of the sudden abundance of Seinen shows.
Love it so far too bad it’s only 1 cour series :C
clearly you haven’t read the post above. It states that this is 2 cours with a break in between during summer.
unique character designs here. Especially really thick impressive eyelashes on two main characters. It’s almost like they have two sets of eyebrows. And this show being Seinen, I can see there is no so-called moe main characters here. Those female characters look tough as nail. I like it; we need these type of shows to take a break from all those eyes big as fists w/ no nose ones. Look at Koko’s face and the word “moe” is not first or eighth word that comes to mind. Now we can all focus on plots and character developments instead. It’s different; and that’s Seinen for ya.
cute moment of the episode : )
I like the part where Jonah ask, “What does she do with people tailing you.” She replies, “Shoot first ask questions later.” He instantly does it without a moment of thought.
It’s actually “ask NEVER”. It’s nice to know Koko has enough faith in her merchandise to let them do all the talking.
Best moment in an entire episode of cool moments. It feels a bit weird calling a messed up child soldier badass, but there you have it.
Jormungand immediately stood out to me when I read the season previews, and the first episode did not disappoint.
I’m liking Koko already. I love how her attitude/personality seamlessly changes between situations. One second she’s a playful/ teasing onee-san, the next, she’s a bloodthirsty BAMF.
Despite a lot of great shows this season, seinen still seems to be my preferred genre. Very much looking forward to this series.
“I cannot reach the sky, for I have no arms and legs. I say thee: who hast need of arms and legs when thou has ballistic missles?”
I was hooked from the word “go”, but the moment Jonah threw a grenade to divert an anti-tank missle? That was love. This is going to be number one on my watchlist for the rest of the season.
Just curious, where is the setting set at? Are they in Japan or Russia?
This episode they were in Unnamed Eastern European Country. They just speak Japanese for the same reason everyone in American films speaks English.
the cityscape looks like Prague or Krakow, so it could be eitehr Czech Republic or Poland (both countries use MiG-29s and Mi-24s, so the tech side matches too)
After digging thru my backlog of anime episodes, managed to watch this… ok, so port city this means somewhere on the sea, Russian language names of specfor units (Voschod = East in russian FYI), and US humvees and Javelins = does not compute. No country in Eastern Europe bought Javelins, Poland was only to buy any western missiles but those were Israeli Spike’s. And Poland would never use Russian unit names in military. Some humvees went to few Eastern Europe countries as part of their Iraq and AFG units. They might have taken up most stuff from Poland though, because name on the cancelled contract with Kroshkin uses uniquely Polish name Stanislaw (and by complete coincidence my father’s name!).
My military otaku side has found THE show for the season.
Ah, my yuri goggles see’s a potential Koko x Valmet relationship!
It will never happen because Koko ignores Valmet’s advances.
That’s not entirely true. If you read past volume 6, you’d know that Koko considers her as someone closer than average. However, she’s pretty much shota for Jonah, so it stops right there. Should the anime follow Valmet character’s in this one, without tuning down the yuri, you will get to see Valmet kiss Koko, though it’s a chaste kind of peck.
This reminds me of black lagoon, and I loved that show.
There are not many Anime that manage to convince me that they’re good in the first episode.
Jormungand did that before the first half was over.
I don’t usually go for wild-west shoot ’em up type Animes, but these characters and their
interactions in just this 1st episode were done so well, that it really took me by storm.
Very serious but the comedy is appropriate and fits perfectly with Koko’s character.
I liked Koko’s sleep walking scene.
Expecting Jonah to be some cold dysfunctional kid-killer was thwarted by his concern that
Koko was hurt during the mission and made his act of shooting the dealer all the more intense.
Very interesting dynamics – I look forward to see what’s in store…
Wasn’t planning on watching this since the art doesn’t look that appealing to me but hey, it’s ALL HAIL GODDESS Yanagi Nagi doing the ED so I’m gonna give this a shot later.
oh no loco koko & yet this indeed worth some watching.
yea give 1st ep did ok fine sure it like squad version of black lagoon & bad eggs ko everyone even koko.
& only thing missing is like put face paint on koko with her saying “why so serious?” aka a female joker.
Can’t express enough how amazing this ep is- definitely right up there with fate/zero
I’m the only one that thought of the Joker at the sight of Koko?
same too give all we need face paint, knife, & “why so serious?”
I absolutely love the first episode. Morally ambiguous characters don’t come too often in animes and Koko and her crew are definitely right up there along with Fate/Zero’s Kiritsugu.
Jonah’s an interesting kid, a cold blooded assassin who seems to be uninterested in everything except his mission, but that random burst of laughter shows he does find “certain things” amusing. Pffff… I don’t give a damn. Just tell me who to shoot XD
Can’t wait to see more!
I wasn’t too impressed with the first episode. I’m sure it will get better but I hate giving an anime a chance purely based on the fact that it “might” get better as opposed to the first episode actually getting me hooked.
I feel the character designs are also quite bland, even when compared to Black Lagoon which had a smaller main cast. Not too fond of the art style and the white hair/eyebrows on Jonah and Koko. I know this is the world of anime and not everything has to be in line with reality, but I much would have preferred for Jonah to have been a black kid without such anime-fied features, such as red eyes and white hair. As he is, he may as well be a dark skinned Japanese boy. And it’s not as if we haven’t seen good black character designs in anime who actually at least look legitimately black. (Dutch from Black Lagoon, Satoshi Batista from Michiko to Hatchin)
There’s a lot more that I really didn’t like but to my surprise, everyone else in the comments seem to have enjoyed it so I’ll cut my opinion sharing short so I dont run the risk of making myself a rebuttal target. It’s my first time commenting on this site so I’m not sure what the community is like when it comes to a seemingly unpopular opinion 🙂
Don’t worry you’re definitely not alone in disliking the character designs. While plot did it for me the character designs didn’t. Not a fan of white hair and eyebrows at all.
^ ur not the only one without a good impression of this first episode. First, the character designs are just not pleasing to my eyes. Second, i find the actual premise really… uninteresting, even though the intro i read on the schedule seemed interesting. Just not my type of anime, i guess. Gonna watch 1 or 2 more episodes, unless something hooks me im dropping it.
Oh cool. I literally actually thought I was the only one. lol. I’ll also probably watch for an episode or two purely out of principle. Never a great reason to watch something, but I guess we all do it sometimes, just in case.
Can’t imagine how it would be nice.
But i watched it anyway.
Don’t really love it but its pretty good.
The action is a ‘should-have’ thing, I like the humor that came with it.
Also the characters are pretty interesting.
An insight to the arms dealer business?
Got me thinking of Stark Industries in Iron Man.
Somehow HCLI Corporation feels a bit more shady.
At first look I thought Jonah is a girl.
Ok, a quick read at the wiki article.
Got a feel of the characters and the direction the story might go.
Like Black Lagoon like Jormungand.
Am I the only one who thought about Ishbalian people when I saw the kid ?! 🙂
I’m joining the minority that wasn’t overly impressed. The first paragraph of this episode’s summary contains several assumptions that just didn’t work out in the end (at least for me). I wasn’t feeling any Black Lagoon vibes, that show is somewhere else. For me the plot here was a total mess, partly because they tried to introduce a rather large cast (which didn’t work either, not to mention the cast is not very likeable). The action was present in large doses, but felt quite like an anime routine. For me the most impressive element was music. However, the director is not using it properly IMHO. And yes. I thought of Ishbal when I saw Jonah (where do the Japanese get these weird stereotypes?).
I felt the same. While reading about the series/manga I felt strong Black Lagoon vibes like everyone else. But, the first episode definitely didn’t deliver that in my opinion. I can’t put my finger on why, but the total package didn’t reach Black Lagoon levels. We’ll see in a couple of episodes if it reaches the level I had anticipated.
Best show of the season! I had the same thrill that I remember having while watching Black Lagoon!
Thanks for airing the issue of shows that waste precious episodes introducing their entire cast, but have no qualms about having them do nothing all the while. I’m impressed with this show’s opening and can’t wait for the next episode.
I never expected this manga to get an anime.First, Area No Kishi, then Medaka Box, Kuroko following after, and now Code Breaker getting an anime too.
What’s next? Shingeki no Kyojin?
Actually, I want that to happen asap 😀
Koko…the crazy yet likable woman that I’ve always wanted to see in my animes. <3
Depending on how the rest of the series go, the show is either gonna churn out epic characters, ideas as a precursor to another generation of anime, or excellent memes.
A Commando reference in the first episode?
Well I’m hooked!
It seems whenever a Japanese writer has enough confidence to base the setting somewhere other than Japan and nearby locales, it’s something to keep an eye on. Gunslinger Girl, Black Lagoon, etc.
The series certainly gets the most out of the war torn regions of Eastern Europe, Africa and the multinational cast brings great potential for smart comedy as well as interesting group dynamics, nevermind their “unique” personalities, which is to say their a bag of loose bolts.
I’m looking forward to see how the studio adapts the manga, with its time skip and round about structure. Having finished the manga series I can barely wait to see the action on screen.
I’m especially glad the expressions and unique style has made its way into the show.
Favorite moment was seeing the “happy” faces when they heard the hunt was on.
The Next “Black Lagoon” ^^
not really interesting…
I’ll watch the 2nd ep but for the moment it seems too classic and “already seen”
Rather than Black Lagoon’s ‘Hit anyone in the way while we’re doing bad stuff you punks’, this has a more ‘Shit we got in trouble let’s get out smartly and continue business’ kind of feel so I can’t say that if you liked Black Lagoon you’ll like this.
I couldn’t hold back and went to read all the translated and raw manga out so far. All I can say is don’t expect the same stuff from Black Lagoon in here, there’s gunfights, action, deaths etc, but the overall feel is not the same. I still enjoyed it and it’s a nice manga, it just doesnt have the punch for younger kids, more like directed for slightly older teen audiences.
Omgah, a Haruka Morishima guns dealer…
This just blew my mind- sexiness on a whole new level.
Was expecting Koko to be like Wilhelmina Carmel, but got Haruka Morishima instead.
So far, I’m a little underwhelmed by Jormungand. Mind you, I heard good things about it so I’ll keep watching but the premiere felt kinda dull. The characters themselves seem fairly good although so far, they’re pretty one-dimensional (beats me how you see this as ‘deep’) and the Black Lagoon vibe hurts it for me because Black Lagoon was something special and this feels more as a ‘business as usual’ show. I liked how the female leader goes into childish little rant and rolled on the table about her pay possibly getting cut though.
But my major criticism is aimed at the main character. He better start showing some emotions and backstory pretty soon because his type of character has been done to death before and they’re most of the time a complete bore to watch. And the way he’s so skilled from the get-go was a big letdown. I prefer how Lagoon handled bringing someone who’s completely over his head trying to survive in a ruthless world he barely understands.
If all he’s gonna do is kill baddies effortlessly and with little emotion with the occasional smile, then this series is gonna off my watch list pretty quickly. But hopefully, there will be charismatic villains coming soon to keep things interesting.
just started watching it now because i couldn’t sleep. i like the execution so far. i found myself suspending my belief more often than not, though (mostly in the characters’ train of logic — e.g Show Spoiler ▼
). if it was a light series, i would’ve let it go, but this is a bit on the serious side. i’ll have to see if it’s gonna keep bothering me in the rest of the series.
I LOVE THIS BLACK KID – JONAH – HE IS KICK ASS
okokok WHYYYY is the kid who hates arms dealers working for one!?