「滅びの丘 phase.1」 (Horobi no Oka)
“Hills of Ruin phase.1”

Jormungand starts its last arc of the season and wastes no time going straight down to business. As a result, the comedy aspects are pretty much nonexistent this time around. There were the continuations of the running gags involving Lutz getting stabbed in the arse and Scarecrow getting owned in one way or another, but it’s just nothing like any of the previous episodes. And really, in the end, it’s just a testament to how great the writer and director are. Their ability to change the atmosphere and mood on a whim… it’s just amazing and it’s an aspect that gives each episode more impact than it normally would have. And to say the least, this is something that bodes especially true for this episode.

See, many of the other episodes were tempered a bit by the comedy and the surgical precision by which Koko’s team completed its missions. In a way, the past episodes had me feeling like there was no conceivable way Koko’s group could be defeated. And I mean, why would there be? They easily dispatched the Balkan Dragon and his militia, fought off Orchestra, fended off Karen Low and the Daxinghai Company, trashed Amalia Tolokhovsky handily in political maneuvering, and they even have an agent in the CIA helping them from time to time. Sure, there were some sticky situations and certain people got shot in the buttocks a few times, but it definitely didn’t feel like they were really challenged. But in this episode, everything changes, as Koko’s group actually feels and looks vulnerable for once.

I mean, with the comedy getting cut out from this episode, the sense of foreboding you get from what should have been simple mafia deal going sideways, the scenes of Koko’s group burying the mafia members’ corpses, Koko’s abnormal demeanor, Valmet and Jonah both being away from the group, Valmet having that nightmare to start off the episode, the sudden flashbacks to the past, Karen Low’s reappearance, Lehm getting knocked out… everything just oozes negativity in one way or another, and it just sets up a dark atmosphere that knocks out that aura of invincibility Koko’s group had up until now. As such, the farfetched idea that Ugo might actually die becomes much more believable than it would have otherwise. I mean, I would have never considered the possibility of someone on Koko’s team dying up until this point, but this episode, with the mood it sets and the events that happen… just puts that doubt into my head that it’s actually possible this time. Granted, I do have expectations that some of the group will die before the end, but I would’ve never believed it’d possibly come so soon. And it just emphasizes how great the writer and director are for being able to give us this mood change—to be able to manipulate how we feel during the episode and to effect the impact of events throughout.

And notably, this goes without even mentioning the other great parts of the episode. Influence of mood and atmosphere aside, there’s just some great character development, as well as deeper philosophical aspects inserted in the episode.
Like Koko’s recruitment of Valmet first hand for one. We see how Koko knew the things going through Valmet’s mind and how Koko was as a child. We also see why Valmet’s so dedicated to her after seeing the Matrix-isque (red pill or blue pill) options she was presented by Koko… and it just gives Valmet’s character that much more depth, while also making their relationship that much more complex. This is without mentioning how Koko opens up and says Valmet’s more than just the average soldier to her and that she’s spent more time with Valmet than her parents. It’s just quality character development.

Moving on, Jonah following Valmet shows some great character development as well. Sure, he was supposedly ordered to follow by Koko… but the things he says to persuade Valmet to let him stay with her just emphasize how he’s gradually developing as a person. He could’ve easily said that he was just following orders, but saying that he was there to protect Koko’s interests showed that he had deeper, personal motivations for coming—a big difference compared to when he first arrived and merely cared about orders and who to shoot. And it also goes to show how big of an influence Koko has been on him and how she’s so different from the typical arms dealer. Heck, one could go into a whole philosophical discussion about her and how she’s a walking representation of the “don’t judge a book by its cover” phase. Though, I do suppose virtually everyone in this show could fit into this category. In any case, Jonah totally deserved that shower with Valmet by the way.

And last but not least, there was the brief exchange between Lehm and Koko this episode where the latter mentions “It’s not always possible to hold one’s end of the bargain.” And well, it’s just a darn powerful quote to me, as it’s something that can be easily applied to life as a whole, rather than just in the context of the show itself. And it’s just something that further hammers in how deep the people in this series are and the quality of this show as a whole.

Sadly, next week marks the last episode of the season for Jormungand though. Like they say, all good things have to come to an end and that end (albeit temporary) is coming soon. At least we’ll have a second season to look forward to in the fall though, and I hope to be the one who ultimately continues coverage of this show then.

Full-length images: 01, 10, 11.

Author’s Note:

  • Now on Twitter. @ZephyrRC 😀
  • Also, if you have time, take a quick look at my article about some spring 2012 anime that deserve more views.

     

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  • 45 Comments

      1. Yes! A Valmetcentric episode! Her backstory and first meeting with Koko was good. And when Koko said that she sees Valmet as a sister, a teacher, and something more, I think my goggles are a bit too tight.

        I highly assume that Ugo will survive, and so does Lehm.

        Once again, Lutz gets owned right in the butt! This running gag is just for the lulz!

        Liliane is one crazy cute girl. I wonder how she, Dominique, and Grego, will be able to run a restaurant. I hope she does not die next week.

        I am glad to see Lo again but I am very disgusted with how Chen and his new lieutenant treated her when she came back to them. I hope Valmet gets her revenge and kills them!

        When Jonah mentioned that Valmet told Schokolade to get some info about the man who killed her entire platoon in Africa, I was hoping to see some Valmet/Schokolade interaction. Alas, I only see a single frame of them together.

        Next week, we have another Valmet-centric episode! YES! MORE VALMET, PLEASE!

        John Hayabusa
        1. Liliane’s seiyuu is actually the same as Popura in Working, so their restaurant should be named Wagnaria West.
          “Hey, stop calling me smallish m—–f—-r, or I’m gonna blow your head off!”
          “No! Don’t shoot me!”
          Bang! Bang!
          “I did blow it off anyway, nishi-shi-shi-shi~”

          U Doh
      2. I am doubtful that Ugo will die.He can surprise us yet with some trick like Mao did. If there is one thing I can 100% trust Koko with, that is picking the right men (and woman!) for the job.

        ewok40k
    1. Wow! You made my day with the statement that a second season is coming this fall!

      I can’t say enough of the power of this episode – I’ll be torn if Lehm was killed at the end
      of this episode.

      I don’t know what to expect in the next episode – the drama is so compelling anything is
      possible. I really want to see bolt-cutter guy get his in the most horrible way imaginable.

      Even as a child Koko seems to have had a genius for picking good people – she has played her
      strength well. And at the end, I understand her (roll) call out to her team, but I also believe
      she wanted to hear that they were safe rather than a casualty count. Excellent!!!

      mac65
        1. yeah that’s what I saw too…

          I mean I could obviously go back and watch it to check, but that is what I thought. I think i’m just too scared to confirm it, hah.

          foofiebeast
      1. Noooo!! Lehm can’t die. This whole thing will just result in Lehm having another scar on his manly body!

        And I’m glad to hear that there’s another season but I was really surprised that there’d only be one more episode.

        Watt
        1. Because some people just don’t give two shits about side characters, and that is extremely disappointing. I was actually excited to know what an ex-mafia’s life would turn out to be after leaving an actual mafia, and here we have people who go “Ah, Ugo can just die, as long as they don’t touch the main characters. And I must have my dose of hot women every week lololol.”

          /rant

          Junglepenguin
      1. I wish I could see their reaction to it, that would totally make my day, sadly I’m spoiled by reading the manga, so I know exactly whats going to happen, its still fun to watch it animated though, pity they left out some of the things Jonah said in the manga though, (though that’s a minor complaint).

        Mlmmt
    2. That’s the 2nd time Jonah got to shower with Valmet (first time was after knife training). Valmet just go on and admit it those boobs don’t belong Koko they belong to Jonah.

      ssj4jw
    3. The shocker was seeing Koko actually “shoot” someone! You gotta be LOCO the pay COKE to KOKO!
      Wat? Jonah got to shower with Valmet AGAIN!?
      How DARE the enemy think Ugo is SMALL-FRY!
      Oh and Valmet? Go KICK that bitch and her master’s ass!!

    4. Valmet is a retired major of the FRDF the finish rapid deployment force. Every member of the FRDF is an NCO or sergeant non commission officer. They are trained better than normal conscript and equivalent to finish coastal Jager(marines) non quite elite para Jager.
      They are in charge of balkan peace keeping and are fully fluent in english. FRDF are excellent marksmen, their small arms proficiency test out class US army standards. THe FRDF comprise of 10% frontline female.

      dh19440113
    5. The thing I liked most about this episode is how obviously pissed off Koko was. 😀

      I never thought she’d be the one killing one like that. I had to repeat it to believe it.

      Bonus points for her character! XD

      JHN
    6. Of course we don’t want to see the good-hearted car-loving Ugo to die, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he does. The series never really focused on his background story and no one dying/getting seriously injured under Koko’s group amidst all this violence seems pretty unpractical no matter how good they are. Plus I could see him being put aside for the sake of refining the development of the story and characters.

      Nymphetamine2791
    7. Lehm is only one that can laid-back smile at the sight of raging Koko, no oversized thug will finish him so easily…
      I thought Valmet was over her past in the “Africa and butterflies” arc, boy I was wrong…
      Jonah surely has been developing, setting up a nice sort of triangle of relations with Koko and Valmet…I wonder if the shower scene is going to get animated?
      So far nobody in the team Koko has died, despite sometimes blatantly waving deathflags (Mao, looking at you…) – our current enemies are just a bit upgunned version of the orchestra, and I bet diamonds versus empty nuts on Koko team.
      I am more interested how “Valmet vs the PRC” will go, especially with the disgrced ex-lieutnant girl, and the mysterious boss. Good thing she has Jonah with her.

      ewok40k
    8. It’s hard to see KOKO’s team not pull security over hotel they’re staying. It’s as if they are invulnerable one episode and easy target the next. Lehm is supposedly the ex-delta is bleeding on the floor. I don’t buy that. Why would they stay at a hotel that can be easily attacked. Shouldn’t they have made a threat assessment and stay at a place that’s defendable.

      dh19440113
    9. Jonah, why are you so goshdarn cute? And how is Jonah/Koko/Valmet turning into my OT3 for the show when all the ages are completely wrong?
      If Jonah says “Nee-san” to Koko I may just have a heart attack. Be sure to send me to Yamaku.

      Bio D
        1. Well, if they get steamy shower scene right, meet me at Yamaku. Lets hope we dont end drinking buddies on the roof…
          Many enemies made me want them to stay alive (the mad hatter girl!), and some even did manage to do so (young pirate and ex-actress), but I have not much hope this time. They are too determined to get the job done…

          ewok40k
    10. this ep.11

      koko call everyone for another job while valmet wonder her past life.
      also it show how valmet meet koko & has key to go with koko.
      after flashback valmet cut hair go somewhere with johan on koko’s sake to watch.
      meanwhile 3 members hit crew doing some boom, chop neck, & etc on job now target koko.
      koko going loco yet back to work give her crew a kick.
      valmet ask johan why cause koko see valmet get info from chocolade on her past.
      so koko sent johan watch valmet meanwhile person who give valmet eye-scar look wonder.
      & karen hit muds yet want to redeem so another day.
      3 members hit crew look at info on targets so pick one by one start with mob-driver.
      koko meet with chocolade on valmet’s past & on chen attack.
      then koko go for deal meet but see “white dust” BOOM NO DEAL shoot them all.
      after that they buried them now relax but sneak attack & oh no?

      next ep loco valmet get revenge!!!

      KLAC_OF_PERSONALITY
    11. Jonah shine!!!!!! Die!! you … you … lucky Bastard !!!!! 🙂
      I let it pass the first time he showered with Valmet but a second time ?! I wanna be an orpphan child soldier!!!!! 🙂

      I’m happy I got my Valmet dose of the week and she is out for blood yes!

      I’m not a manga reader; but doesn’t it feel weird these “contracts” to take down Koko? First Orchestra now this team (btw their strategy seem legit: kill the subordinates first to weak their defense/ofense power; then hit the target: Koko). I know Koko must have various if not many enemies. But to me it feels there’s a hidden bigger enemy coordinating/odering the kill contracts. nice cliffhanger for end of season if it is true. Howerver as fas as we can tell they could be random attacks.

      Yes!@
    12. Awww they cut down on the assassin leader’s epic dark circle. I was looking forward to see his character animated in such an exaggerated whiny way. Oh well. XD

      The most important reveal in this episode is definitely seeing Koko actually shoot someone to death. It shows that she’s not only brains, but also gets her own hands dirty when time calls for it.

      NaYa
    13. Ugo better not die!!! I dun think he will die but my heart keep saying he is dead…. but I believe they are all hired for a reason, so logical thinking say he will not die…

      Tingster013
    14. I’m actually happy that Karen is making a comeback despite all that stuff that is happening now. It just makes the show that much more exciting cause now there’s even more to expect, added on top of wondering how Koko will break through the group of assassins. Maybe another Karen and Valmet fight? =D

      This might sound a little more far-fetched, but I think there was a reason for us to see Koko drinking some alcohol…(foreshadowing some crazy shiz she might do)

      But Ugo… ='(

      DaExterminator
    15. What, it’s already ending? This is the pits…

      I love Fujiwara Keiji, and I’m glad that he got a role here. Just because of that, Boss might be one of my favorite characters of the series, even if he’s going to die next episode.

      And I have a hunch that Ugo and his “killer” are related in some other way, too. Because really, both their names and their constitutions are quite similar.

      SingerOfW

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