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Anime review: ‘Jormungand’ season one

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Jormungand Season One

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On February 18, 2014 anime publisher FUNimation Entertainment will release the first season of the action/drama/comedy series “Jormungand”, in a DVD/Blu-ray combo pack, and they provided us with the opportunity to see this insane adventure series.

The “Jormungand” anime series is based on the manga series from Keitaro Takashashi, which is available in North America from Viz Media. The series features animation by White Fox, the studio behind the “Steins;Gate” anime series.

“Jormungand” follows Jonah, a child soldier who has been taken on as the newest bodyguard for an eccentric arms dealer named Koko Hekmatyar. As the newest member of Koko’s entourage, Jonah learns to adapt to his new environment alongside his new companions, which vary from former mobsters to elite soldiers. There is one major drawback for Jonah as part of the crew however, due to his family’s slaughter, he hates weapons and is on a quest to kill arms dealers.

Despite that fact, Koko seems to embrace Jonah as part of her crew wholeheartedly, and Jonah never really has much time to plot killing any arms dealers thanks to her. Koko has a knack for getting her crew into trouble, so even when a job should be just a simple trade, Jonah and the rest of his new team almost always find themselves squaring off against powerful arms dealers, elite mercenary groups, incompetent CIA operatives and corrupt military. Good thing that Koko’s crew is one of the best and they know how to win a firefight, even if it means firing heavy artillery out the back of a plane, in flight.

The “Jormungand” story is definitely an entertaining one, it is pretty dark and the series has a nice blend of action and drama, with enough well-placed comedy to keep you on your toes. Jonah makes for an interesting character as he feels much older than he actually is, but every once in a while you get to see him act like a kid, which keeps you from forgetting that he actually is one. Koko on the other hand is Jonah’s exact opposite, completely unstable, she has a great head for business and is ruthless when it comes to planning strategy, but when they aren’t being shot at she acts like a little kid, which is a pretty scary thought.

Each episode, or two, serve as individual adventures for Koko and Jonah, so most of the stories are usually wrapped up fairly quick, with the main story lurking in the background throughout. Because of the episodic style of the series, the story always moves at a quick pace, so from time to time it can feel like the story moves a little too fast, but at the same time the pacing fits nicely with an action series.

Visually “Jormungand” has a good look, the picture quality is clear and the color is vivid. This review is based on the DVD version of the series, it is likely that the Blu-ray version will have at least slightly better quality. The action scenes are fast-paced and everything looks smooth. The characters also have interesting designs, each seems to fit with their personalities well.

As far as the voice casts go, I found that both the English and Japanese versions of the series worked well. If you would rather watch in English then “Jormungand” has a quality cast that sounds good, and the Japanese cast is just as good, if not better. Should you watch the series with subtitles, they are clear and easy to read, have nice flow and remain on screen for a fair length of time.

Included as on-disc extras with “Jormungand” are trailers for other FUNimation Entertainment releases, and the textless opening and closing. Also included are episode commentaries for episodes one and twelve.

“Jormungand” is an action packed anime series filled with plenty of violence and drama, as well as a fair amount of comedy, that help to make this dark anime entertaining throughout. It is a little crazy to see Jonah so emotionless as he is tasked with killing someone, and Koko is definitely one of the more outwardly psychotic characters I’ve seen in a while, but the two have an interesting chemistry. I’m looking forward to seeing where things go in season two.

Fans of “Black Lagoon”, “Phantom: Requiem for the Phantom” and “Canaan” should definitely look into adding “Jormungand” to their collection.

Jormungand Season One

Publisher: FUNimation Entertainment
Runtime: 300 minutes
Number of Discs: 2 DVDs (Also on Blu-ray)
Number of Episodes: 12
Languages: English, Japanese with English subtitles
Age Rating: TV-MA
Release Date: February 18, 2014

(A review copy of “Jormangand” season one on DVD was provided by FUNimation Entertainment.)

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