Note: This was quite the episode to talk about by itself, but combined with having two writers who typically write a lot in the first place, this post ended up quite long indeed. As such, I’ve separated my post and Guardian Enzo’s via a line and also put both posts under their own respective spoiler tags past the second paragraph for easier viewing.
To say the least, I was a bit surprised at the sudden focus on Jonah this episode. I mean, the preview last time gave a small indication, but I never expected it to focus on him to such a degree, let alone be filled with so many revelations. Don’t get me wrong though, this wasn’t a bad surprise by any means. In fact, it was one of those pleasant surprises that you don’t mind having on a daily basis and it just goes to show how great this series is.
See, the first two to three episodes were pretty much all about how Koko and her team go about things. We got some glimpses into the personalities of each of the characters and basically just got enough to know that they’re complex and each have their own unique story to tell. However the main focal point was still the action, which while unrealistic (and intentionally so), made for an entertaining start to the series. But in the end, there’s just no way for a show like this to survive only on action scenes, so there was an expectation that character development would follow inevitably. This is what episodes 4 and 5 are about. And naturally, when shifting gears like this, there’s an apprehension that something’ll go wrong, like the characters being not as interesting as you thought, the presentation wasn’t up to par and/or didn’t mix well with the story, etc. But, Jormungand doesn’t fall into this landmine, and it’s exactly this ability to shift between moods and between a focus on the story/plot versus a focus on the characters, that make it a great series.
Continued after the spoiler tag…
With this episode, clearly, Jormungand has stepped up to claim its place as one of the best shows of the season.
This has been an extraordinarily faithful adaptation of Takahashi Keitarou’s manga so far – more so than I expected in fact, given how unconventional the first volume of the manga is. Getting into Jormungand is a little bit like trying to hop a moving train, and I was pretty sure that White Fox would add a couple of stops to make it easier for the new passengers, but to their credit they didn’t – be that wise or not. I’m pleased to see that most viewers still got swept up in the many fine qualities of Takahashi’s story, and they’ve stuck with it long enough for the story to embrace the audience, like a youngish bottle of Bordeaux that needed a couple of hours of air to open up. We saw that process start with last week’s stellar episode, and continue in a big way this week.
That stipulated, there was one change that I noted as significant, and that was a significant reduction in Jonah’s first-person narration. Given that Jormungand is hardly a warm and cuddly story to begin with that surprised me, but now I feel like I understand why the choice was made, and that was to give this week’s episode greater impact. And it did, though whether it was worth keeping Jonah such a Sphinx for four eps is a fair question. As I’ve said, to understand Jormungand you really need to do two things – watch Jonah and listen to Lehm. But when Jonah does say something, you damn well better pay attention – because this is not a boy who speaks unless he has something that’s worth saying.
Continued after the spoiler tag…