「嘘の城 phase.1」
“Castle of Lies phase.1”

Zephyr is still in the recovery phase from Hurricane Sandy, and dealing with a blizzard to boot, so he asked me to fill in on Jormungand this week. Since this is one of my favorite series, I was only too happy to step in…

Kasper Hekmatyar was much more of an off-screen presence than on in the first season of Jormungand (though his urinal confrontation with Jonah was certainly a memorable part of a memorable arc) but it’s remarkable how well it feels like we know him in spite of that. What we’ve seen of his relationship with his sister is the tip of the iceberg, and barely that – every moment they share on screen is full of subtext, and to call what exists between them complicated would be an understatement. And while only Chiqitua among his squad has had enough screen time to carve out an identity (and what an identity) episodes like this one paint a picture of a team every bit as skilled and loyal as the one that surrounds Koko.

In substance this was very much an episode in Jormungand’s comfort zone – heavy on politics, espionage, violence and superhuman feats of dexterity in urban combat. The character stuff mostly took to the back burner but it was definitely there, most noticeably with Jonah. This is really the first time we’ve seen Jonah so openly displeased at the notion of combat – the fact that he’s in the country he hand-picked to send his orphan charges to for their safety has something to do with it, but you can’t help but wonder if seeing them again gave rise to even deeper emotional causes for his uncertainty this week. By appearances it seems the first time he’s openly considered the possibility that their might be another way of living than the one he’s currently engaged in with Koko.

Japan is indeed a “safe country” as a whole, but the notion of the “SR Squad” headed by Col. Hinoki Yosuke (Nakamura Hidetoshi) isn’t so far-fetched as one might think – many of the organizations mentioned in the episode are real ones, and secret organizations lurking under the cover of the JSDF have been a reality in Japan since before the Vietnam War. Tojo is very much the man caught in the middle here – between an old boss in Hinoki who’s worked his way through the secret underbelly of the Japanese military to become the most powerful spy master in Japan (selling nuclear tech to Iran and then selling intel about it is a neat trick), and another old boss in Kasper who fully believes in his divine right to do business where and when he wants, and to kill anyone who gets in his way. Tojo’s exact role in all this is still a bit unclear, but Hinoki certainly feels as if he has his old subordinates number (and not just his prepaid mobile).

It could be argued that Koko is caught in the middle too, but as she says herself, the one hard and fast rule between the Hekmatyar siblings is that they always help each other out in matters of the family business. Tojo describes his two old superiors as being very much alike, inflexible as rocks and stubborn, and it seems neither has much interest in settling things peaceably. Hinoki himself goes to see Koko to “negotiate”, while sending an assassin dressed as a figurehead from the dummy corporation SR uses for cover to try and take out Kasper. There’s a lot you could take away from that scene, but one thing’s for sure – Chiquita is seriously talented. After saving Kasper from the assassin’s katana with a well-timed kick she takes out a squad of SR commandos with automatic weapons using nothing more than her blade – though she does use her sidearm to finish them off (one head, two heart) once they’re down. Lehm is the most skilled in the series with weapons, and Chiquita in close combat – it’s no wonder they were married several times. And divorced, too.

What seems certain now is that Jonah’s desire to avoid a “bloodbath” in his safe country is doomed – what’s not is how he’ll react to that. Hinoki and Kasper indeed seem incapable of compromise, and neither takes kindly to being showed up. Hinoki sees this conflict with HCLI as a chance to “go legit” – to blow the cover off the SR Squad and assume his rightful place as the power broker in the Japanese military. And as for Kasper, if Chiquita’s skills jumped off the screen this week what stands out for Kasper is his sheer, cold implacability. His smile never leaves his face, but it’s a different sort of smile than it is with Koko, and it hides different things underneath it. More so than at any time so far, it feels as if Koko is at the mercy of events, not controlling them – this is not her fight, but she’s in it up to her neck, and so is everyone on her team, Tojo especially.




    1. I clicked a bit to fast on submit there -.-”

      I am a bit worried about what will happen Jonah for some reason because I have a feeling that those kids will be targeted in the nearby future. I hope I’m wrong. They should be able to keep on living in peace for their sake and Jonahs too. I think this because the assasin that targeted Kasper this episode was tailing him and Jonah last episode while they were visiting the kids.

      1. Well this is one White American College Student who gives zero f*cks cause honestly I was speaking in 3rd person narrative. Either ways…yes, Casper and his team are awesome. Valmet vs. Chiquita anyone?

    1. I get the feeling that Chequita has an inhumanely amazing sense for killing intent from her actions here, and it’s this that gives her such combat prowess. Though I’d say that pound for pound Valmet is probably more technically skilled with her knife-fighting. It’d be a close match, thats for sure.

    2. As a “multiple” ex-wife of Lehm, Chiquita is the strongest female character in Jormungand (there is no contest there, unless you’re fandom bias clouds the fact). I understand you’re a fan of Valmet, but Chiquita is arguably the strongest character, period (some argues that it’s Lehm).

      She single-handily guards Kasper (those 3 stooges don’t really count much). Valmet is probably the 3rd strongest (funnily no one argues that Valmet is stronger than Lehm, though). You will see as they go into the past of Chiquita, Lehm, and willie in later episodes.

  1. I didn’t catch the foreshadowing of possible threats to Jonah’s kids. So obvious once it’s pointed out. That definitely is a form of leverage on Jonah that would force him to turn on Kaspar and indirectly on Koko.

  2. I nominate Chiquita for most bad-ass ever. She’s pretty much an one woman army.
    No wonder Lehm divorced her, bet he couldn’t win a single argument. XD

    And Kasper is just awesome. First I though he already anticipated an attack, then I was surprised he looked surprised only to lol when he was just surprised about how “amazingly thin” the katana used was. XD

    But it’s obvious to see that while Koko is more defensive with her assualts, Kasper really likes to go for the kill.

  3. so now yea kasper need info one of koko’s crew aka tojo get info on SR unit that tojo used to member on.

    so tojo talk to person in command of SR unit sure after get choked & feel valmet’s “amazon” on the back & long blah yawn mention of SR unit history.

    drunk koko give all yes valmet wants & oh tojo got his call from SR so then day arrive SR start their “plan” but their belt-katana sword got booted & own’d by Chiquita.

    so now charge with kasper crew on full alert with Chiquita own’d more SR people with kasper going excite loko it’s so YES YES YES.

  4. Where is my head lock by Valmet! Want to be in heaven and hell too.

    Also her : “what? … you want to bath and sleep together! Sure I help you, Koko!” was classic Jormungand season one missing this season luv it!

    Finally : “Please explain it so Jonah can understand it… Oh my God! He fell asleep standing!” Totally can relate to our staff meetings in the afternoon.

  5. Something about Chiquita makes her extremely attractive as a female character.

    It’s like a female version of Ichimaru Gin…hnnngggggghhhhhhhhhhhhh!!! The more screentime Chiquita gets the more I love her.

  6. I actually had to make an anime blog with an entry just for this episode! The Chiquita scene was unreal in bad-assery! Pure visual delight!

    She is extremely talented and I can see how she and Lehm were probably at each other’s throat all the time and way more so than Ms & Mr Smith!

    Oh and Kasper’s cool demeanor impresses me far more than Koko – it doesn’t appear (yet) that he has a broken little princess personality somewhere down there as Koko does and the way he laughs off the assassination attempt and focuses on the thinness of the katana brings a smile to my face 🙂

  7. Well, mighty arms merchants they might be, but I don’t think messing with government agencies is good for the business. I am sometimes worried entire series might end in the Bolivian Army Ending one day…
    Mind you, SR is relatively small and without political influence, so I dont doubt HCLI joint forces can deal with them, but getting yourself into shootout on Japanese soil is recipe for disaster… The way Koko’s squad (Tojo aside) stand out in the crowd ruins any chance of them quietly slipping out of country in case of getting on the bad side of law enforcement. And getting things covered up with money has its limits too.
    Also, is it me or Tojo has just been given death flag passed from the R?

  8. There’s a scary difference between Kasper’s methods and his Koko’s. I have to admit, I was shocked
    at the put down of Ms Kurosaka after she was disarmed and, if not unconscious, incapacitated. Honestly,
    I can’t imagine Koko doing the same.

    This may be the true depth between Kasper’s and Koko’s differences, far beyond sibling rivalry. Kasper is
    proactive when threatened, while Koko maintains a defensive posture and doesn’t pick fights (but she won’t
    back down when threatened). They’re close without animosity and while they may not agree on “business”
    execution matters, the siblings seem to be there for each other and keep each other’s best interest in heart.

    Chiquita is seriously talented…

    …to the point of being casual about it. I’m surprised she didn’t yawn while taking out Ms Kurosaka.

    Great episode – I guess Koko up at bat next week.

  9. I’d say even more telling is the way Kasper went about “dec;arong war” – murdering a man with only loose relation to the business, and everyone in his home (as far as I can tell, basically murdering civilians). I am seriously wishing him laser-guided karma at this point…

  10. ah, i kinda missed that in the manga but you’re right, chequita indeed always finishes with 1 head 2 heart. (probably even with kurosaka?)

    and considering valmet: chequita is also a knife freak, i remember how she lectured jonah on knifes in the toilet in season one. and considering that she is friends with valmet and senior to valmet, i can guess that she is something like a mentor to her too. valmet definitely wasn’t that strong when she was recruited by koko. and there’s only one character she could have learned those knife skills from.

  11. Weel, having read the manga, all I can say that next episodes gonna be quite action-packed….Brace thyself, guys!!!!!!

    pretty much after next episode i’m gonna be in the dark (the same as u guys) since the translated chapters only cover until this arc….

  12. Oh. Em. Gee. So many awesome moments in this episode hahaha! Tojo’s reaction to Valmet’s sleeper hold. Jonah falling asleep. The assassin lady’s katana and then Chiquita most politely kicking her and shooting her without a single glance. Bahaha. I think I love Koko and Kasper equally now. They’re both awesomely nuts in their own ways. Every time I watch this show, I feel like I could be an awesome arms dealer… Then I remember it’s technically bad and I could go to jail forever for it lol. I’ll stick to wielding Adobe CS6 and a pencil.

  13. JSR unit don’t know how to stack up properly, the point should have a corner shot or a ballistic shield. The unit behind should stack and cover all angle of attack rendering chiquita unable to get close without a grenade.

  14. Good unit would use grenades against their opponents, smoke combined with thermal sights, and/or gas to get them disabled… and an opponent not caring for collateral damage would just blow the whole hotel up (hat tip to Mage Killer…). But my fave solution would be laser-guided karma from a drone five miles out…


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