Jormungand – Perfect Order Complete Season 2 (Episodes 13-24)(Cert 15)
2 Discs (Distributor: Manga Entertainment) Running time: 285 minutes approx.
The little ditty that accompanies the episode previews for Jormungand contains the refrain about the show’s lead Koko Hekmatyar: “Her name is Koko/She is loco/I say oh no”. If series one suggests this is a rather naive assessment, Perfect Order confirms it!
Picking up directly after the closing events of the first volume, one of Koko’s most trusted soldiers, R, was revealed to be an undercover agent for the CIA, in a project called Operation Undershaft. Heading the operation is George Black aka Bookman who is using it as a means to manipulate Koko into playing a the role of pawn to suit his own needs but the mission is compromised by the actions of an old enemy of Koko’s, a CIA agent named Hex who plans to take matters into her own hands with a plot to hit Koko where it would hurt the most – by killing Jonah!
This is just the first of many mini arcs that make up this second volume but the theme of young bodyguard Jonah being Koko’s redemption is one prevalent throughout the entire twelve episode run. But is this bizarre love she purports to have for the young orphan string enough to keep Koko from executing her master plan to end all war and fighting by unleashing the ultimate destructive weapon?
As already established this is an odd and rather contrary desire for a ruthless arms dealer with a loyal cadre are ready to kill at her say so. Yet Koko doesn’t exactly have her finger hovering over the button just yet, so is a serious threat or an ambitious dame with the resources at her disposal but is, in reality, away with the fairies? As much as Jonah is a stabilising force for Koko it doesn’t make her immune from succumbing to outside influences and with the likes of Hex on her trail, Koko needs more than a sharp shooting kid for protection.
Many of Koko’s crew have remained a mystery up until now so this series takes some time to explore the histories of these people. We learn about R’s past and how he came to work for both Bookman and Koko, while the first meeting of Wiley and Lehm is recounted for our elucidation. As beneficial as this is to our understanding and appreciation of these characters it does slow down the narrative a little; in fact, action fans may feel short changed by the ratio between dialogue and destruction being in the favour of the former this time around.
But don’t be alarmed, the bullets still fly with abandon, heads are still blown off, blood still spills by the gallon and appendages are still severed in high octane bouts full graphic brutality, just with slightly less frequency. Considering the nature of this show though there is no need to fear that the non-action stuff is all hot air; interestingly, despite being two years old, there are some ironically topical references here to Julian Assange and the fighting in Iraq!
The stories are dense webs of political intrigue and machinations in which people in power are abusing it for their own selfish ideals. Koko is naturally at the head of that list, along with her brother Kasper who makes a return appearance as do other familiar faces from the first season. Their father’s company HCLI has developed a powerful new satellite network, the Hekmatyar-Global Grid, which is said to improve the global communications and logistic records of their client base. Something of such immense international accessibility and penetration would be a deadly weapon in the wrong hands – and guess who has her eyes on it?
For someone so hell bent on world peace and a cessation of all fighting the irony of Koko’s violent means to an end on the surface doesn’t seem to have struck much of a chord with her, while her young protégé Jonah has it instilled in him that he is killing bad people in the name of peace, despite his hatred of guns and mercenaries. But when Koko finally announces her grand plan the relationship between her and Jonah takes a major hit as it would appear the pair are not on the same page after all.
One of the key lessons Koko taught Jonah was about the cost of the average civilian human life in global conflicts but this revelation from Koko suggests she is not so altruistic after all and maybe her words have been hollow after all. For Jonah this comes as a sharp punch to the solar plexus and suddenly his recent association with Koko falls under a dark cloud of questions and moral quandaries, not to mention the pedestal her had put Koko on. Is she really as immoral and insane as people have made out?
With this development and the events of the first volume all leading up to what should be an intense and spectacular finale of epic proportions sadly ends up a damp squib. Between the penultimate and the final episode two years have passed leaving a huge gap in the story and a convenient way out for the writers to not deliver on the expected ending. Whether this cop out was by design or simply a sign of lack of creativity remains to be seen – and let’s face it, anime has a terrible track record with unsatisfactory conclusions – but it is still a disappointment and certainly not worthy of a show which had hitherto been a heck of an exciting ride.
Depending on how much stock one puts in the denouement as a key factor in their overall enjoyment of a show, the flat ending of Jormungand – Perfect Order is likely to serve as a severe detraction which is understandable. However the ending was pretty conclusive thus a third series is all but unlikely, so it is what it is.
But, if you can show it a little clemency, Jormungand debatably remains one of the stronger anime releases of the year.
Dolby True HD: English Language 2.0
Dolby True HD: Japanese Language 2.0
Episode 15 commentary
Team Koko – A Look Inside With The American Director And Cast
Episode 24 commentary
Textless Opening Song – “Under/Shaft”
Textless Closing Song – “Laterality”
Textless Closing Song – “Shinjitsu no Hane”
Rating – ****
Man In Black