Jormungand – 01 Review

If they would only act like they look! Instead they get the sort of dialogue my grandma would perhaps call “badass”…

Jormungand 01: A Kid Who Wants To Be Terminator

To be honest, I did have some hopes for this series but the first episode was boring as hell. I mean, alone the kid…! His parents were killed by a plane so he gets into his head that somehow all weapons on earth are to blame for that and he turns into some sort of Terminator which means he’s a soulless killing-machine all of a sudden. How did a kid without parents learn to become a perfect killer with the cold detachment of a seasoned veteran?! The story offers no explanation but instead philosophizes about the paradox of mastering weapons when you actually hate them. Couldn’t they just avoid such a stupid discussion? But no, that’s all they ever care about in the episode and they think with that the characterization of the kid is done! He’s still a soulless killing-machine, though! How do you explain that part?! It’s a disappointment from beginning to end… Jormungand definitely isn’t one of the series where I look forward to watching the second episode.


Synopsis:
A kid has lost his parents and is now killing dudes. Somehow he ends up joining a crazy woman who’s an Arms-Dealer. She already has quite a big team of professionals and we get to see them all in action as they handle some kind of deal/theft/whatever while the episode avoids giving us, the audience, a reason why we should give a shit about all that.

Perhaps they should’ve made him the arms-dealer in the story. He certainly did a bad job of acting like the kid he’s supposed to be…

Review:
Is blankly staring into the air while shooting dudes cool? I don’t really think so but Jormungand apparently does because it’s all about looking cool while a bunch of sociopaths kill dudes to get weapons. It reminds me of Black Lagoon with this gritty feeling that also wants to be cool at the same time. But if anything Jormungand isn’t gritty but simply bleak. A post-apocalyptic setting would’ve really suited this series.
First the presentation and just looking at the colour-palette of the series you can already see that this series wants to be bleak and it wants to be dark. Jormungand is one of these series that tries to do the right thing but tries so hard that it just becomes ridiculous. I mean, just looking at it I can already imagine people despairing over the cruelty of the world. It’s simply depressing, cold and detached. Now in better stories this would be great and thinking of the game Deus Ex: Human Revolution for example a certain colour-palette can set the tone of a story and enhance the setting. Of course stuff like this is something you add after you have found a suitable story to tell.
What is Jormungand’s suitable story, you ask? Well, it’s evil dudes being badass fighting against the scum of humanity. That really sounds like a great idea for a story, right? And if anyone would’ve done anything with that concept it might have worked but this episode has shown that the story just didn’t get enough work. It was like thinking that Muppets is just puppets on a stage talking funny. There’s so much more to this but Jormungand forgets these details that turn such a concept into something truly amazing. The episode got the appearance right but nothing beneath the surface feels right.

The characterization I got from the episode for most of these characters was just “Sorta there as well…”. What’s up with this big cast anyway? Do they want to be some sort of a Black-Lagoon-Baccano-mix?

The characters are the first problem because they aren’t memorable. The story is obviously one with a vague core-idea so you need to excel at things like the presentation and the characters. The point of building up a story like that is going straight to the action instead of worrying about complex setting-politics (like for example George R.R. Martin’s A Song Of Ice And Fire does) and judging by the episode that’s what the creators intended to do. But the characters feel very detached because the less memorable ones get more screentime and because there are just too many frigging characters. Now as for the first point the kid playing the emotionless doll is the worst character of the show, I think. Okay, he hates weapons and so he masters them to do something about people with weapons. The episode tried to explain his way of thinking and also wanted to show why he then stayed with the arms-dealer but since he was completely emotionless those explanations weren’t really a characterization, it was just a rationalization, as if someone tried to explain a cyborg’s thinking. The reasons for a character’s actions only matter if there’s actually a character to care about but this kid is so inhuman that it’s impossible to care for him. The rest of the cast isn’t as bad but didn’t really have a chance anyway to shine. The female arms-dealer, though, is a bit forced in my opinion with this crazy-chick-routine. Mixing craziness and competence always demands a really good portrayal of the crazy part and that part wasn’t very convincing or interesting in here case.
The story was crappy. The plot was just a chaotic mess of seemingly random action-scenes with a story behind it that never really seemed to be a priority to talk about. It was nearly impossible to follow this story or care about it since there was no real dramatic development. There was no larger plan to how things played out, I think. It just went from one action-scene to the next and the exposition didn’t really become part of the action instead of appearing detached as bla-bla-scenes. Add to that the unmemorable cast and the bleak appearance and the story is just unimpressive. Jormungand, though is a series that wants to go for the big bang, these few moments of awesomeness you have in really good action-scenes with interesting characters. The first episode, though, was miles away from creating such a moment. It’s certainly a rather bad start for this series, I think.

A disappointing first episode that’s as bleak as its appearance but instead of being gritty and dark, it’s just meaningless action without any fun. The characters are terrible to shallow and the story was simply a mess. Perhaps if it will lean back in the second episode to handle things in a more reasonable manner this series could be more entertaining but as far as first impressions go it’s a mediocre series.

Episode-Rating: 4,5/10

 

About M0rg0th

We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.

Posted on April 12, 2012, in Anime, Jormungand and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. I think you should read the manga before saying things like that.

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    • Well, if the creators wanted to make sure that only manga-readers would see this then they should’ve turned the series into an OVA delivered together with the manga. As an anime-TV-series it’s supposed to work for everyone and that includes those who haven’t read the manga. In that regard the first episode needed to be a smooth introduction of the characters, the story and the setting. Instead the characters seemed shallow, the story messy and the setting was just vaguely there. Naturally that doesn’t mean the whole series is doomed by this mediocre episode. I will continue to watch it in any case so it was at least good enough for that.

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  2. You got a point, i fully agree, i just hope they really make it into an anime worth watching, because i can tell you the manga is great

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  3. lol well i understand your view point about this anime. however, i can see already on the first episode that they aiming at more laxed and more realistic type of audience. i may be wrong, but this anime is obviously not aiming for types of audiences like you

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  4. my comment means no harm, it is just that you are an “analytic” person when it comes to anime. You probably did not attempt to try to enjoy the anime without analyzing it. If you have tried to enjoy the anime and felt that it was boring first, then this review displays why you felt so bored. Personally, i enjoy this anime ever since the first episode. The realism of this anime makes me tick and enjoy.

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  5. What? You sir have no eye for anime whatsoever.

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  6. I understand that first impressions count, but I feel you need to watch a few more episodes to be able to judge the series more fairly. To begin with I did wonder why Jonah had joined the arms dealers when he was constantly banging on about hating weapons, but I am glad I stuck with the series because it became better and more exciting. I haven’t season two of Jormungand yet, but I’ve heard it gets a lot lot better!

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    • Hmm, yeah, this really is just a first impression. I’ve watched both seasons of the series already and I would definitely say it turned out to be better than I had expected initially. The series isn’t without its flaws, though. Especially the second season doesn’t deliver the sort of pay-off I had been hoping for. In the end, the series really focuses more on the emotional sides of the various characters instead of creating an interesting plot. The series veered a bit on the simple side when it tries to resolve the problems of its setting à la “Guns are evil, people are evil – but someone’s gotta be the good guy who keeps the order, right?”.

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