Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Jormungand (Anime)

Continuing my viewing of anime new to me via +Hulu, next up on the list was Jormungand, the wiki can be found here.

I'm a little torn on this one.

I like the character designs.

Many of the individual stories are well done and provide a nice sense of action and information.

The characters almost each get at least one episode to shine through as we learn more about them.

I like the animation style and art.

I like the soundtrack.

Hated the payoff. The whole payoff of the series is, for me at least, essentially counted by the main character's brother who spells out what's going to happen regardless of what Koko does.

If you want to see an anime about weapon's dealers that looks like it's part Nicholas Cage Lord of War and part post modern, Jormungand is for you. There are some observations about the modern world that are getting more and more referenced. For example, in a recent James Bond movie, the whoel sleight of hand of the incident being oil when it was really water? Referenced here in that water is going to be the biggest resource people will be fighting for. Overall I enjoyed it because the character interaction and friendships that develop are nicely done.

If you want to look at a series and think, again, you might enjoy it.

But if you want to see some of the grand scheme come to actual payoff? Nope. Nowhere near as bad as Berserk when it first came out mind you as the manga for that wasn't even locally available but still kinda of a "Well now the story's actually starting" bit for me.

Spoilers below!

The series is broken up into individual missions with an overarching mission for Koko, the leader of the mercenaries who act as her bodyguards. The viewpoint character here, is Jonah, a child soldier whose parents were killed by weapons sold by a weapons dealer but he's a good soldier so while he hates what he does, he accepts it.

Koko and her various guards and allies, include a wide variety of characters which makes a nice change of pace from everyone being super skilled at everything. For example, the 'driver' is a former mafia member while some of her other 'standard' guards are former members of various specialty units.

In many ways, this would be the perfect adventuring group and scenario. They have a powerful patron who values them. They are paid well. They have access to some of the most modern and devastating weaponry on the market.

They also have a constant source of enemies. Their patron needs them precisely because she is worth a lot of money and because a lot of people would rather she be dead. This gives the character many unique enemies to battle that are as bright and colorful as they themselves are.

The patron even has her own goals and has the wealth and allies to at least try it.

In this case, which to me is a perfect super hero challenge, she is crafting Jormungang as a quantum level computer and intends to use it to ground mankind from the sky. She feels that without the ability to travel via the air that it'll make things more difficult in a 'flat world' and hey, only some odd 700,000 people will be in the air or crushed by planes falling out of the sky at the time to achieve it.

Imagine the characters have to knock out satellites orbiting the earth in order to stop the deaths of almost a million people. And of course in a super hero or even super spy campaign, those satellites might have armed defense systems ranging from lasers and missiles to even more gonzo stuff the higher technology the setting has available to it.

Her brother, Kasper, doesn't mind. He goes on a little bit about how he's a weapons dealer and he'll use boats as his ancestors used to. He'll sell them guns until there are no more guns, and then knives and then clubs because he's a weapons dealer. And to me, it's a strong argument that all those people are going to die for nothing.

The viewers get a hint of how terrible the world is becoming in the last episode when Jormungand is activated, but then the series stops. We don't get to see how things actually play out. Some people love that. It sets up the whole thing  either for the reader to make up what happened in their own head, or leaves room for a sequel down the road. Me? I wanted to see the payoff of gathering all those scientists and going through all those betrayals.

Jormungand is two seasons and I'm unsure of how closely it follows the manga as I haven't read that yet. Only problem? I think it's a little expensive. Season one and season two are a little over $40 bones each. Ouch. While the commercials are indeed annoying, I'll stick with Hulu on that.