There are a million questions that Jormungand will inevitably bring up before people even see it, 95% of which I can answer by saying that it is not Black Lagoon. It resembles that much more famous benchmark in many ways, but they’re more because Black Lagoon had a bevy of great action plot devices, rather than because Jormungand got lazy and cheated off Black Lagoon in the last five minutes before hastily airing. If it looks like a duck, acts like a duck, and tastes like a duck, in this case it’s a suspiciously duck-like grackle that tastes equally as good if not better with a heavy plum sherry sauce.
It’s difficult to write about the show without bringing up inevitable comparisons to Black Lagoon, but thankfully it does have enough actually material to write on for a few hundred words. The chief difference between the two series is that Jormungand seems to favor a more segmented approach that chooses to get right to the action, rather than spend several episodes using the main character as a means of audience projection unto the world.
The currently-airing Ozma tried the same thing, with decidedly poorer results, but here it really works and whether it’ll be found sloppy or not will purely be based off of personal preference. I’ll admit that my preconceived expectations led me to believe that it’d weave its tale using an overarching narrative in order to establish characters and their motivations, but once the shock wore off from having my baseless assumptions rejected, I found myself strangely drawn into the world that Koko and co. inhabit.
Koko, you see, is an albino arms dealer whose mannerisms border on (what else?) psychotic. Accompanying her is a recently-recruited hired gun with a strong disdain for people of her profession. Despite this strong loathing for Koko, which I can’t really blame the kid for, he protects her no matter what kind of crossfire she finds herself in the middle of. Their bond wasn’t given too much attention, but it wasn’t entirely neglected in favor of the action either. Among other plot threads, I could see this breathing life into the show during slower moments, when bullets aren’t entering squishy bleeding targets or getting lodged in less squishy ones.
What really sold me on the experience though, aside from Koko’s stylish yet professional outfit, was… well, Koko. It was more than a bit gimmicky, but the first episode peppered in a few quirks that make Koko’s slightly unhinged demeanor all the more pronounced by the end of the episode. Yes, she’s a ruthless dealer of high-grade weapons that cares little for what may happen to those on the receiving end of hot projectiles, but she also throws tantrums and has periodic bouts of sleepwalking. For the last fact, I just may have found a kindred spirit.
And hey, don’t worry if albino psychopaths aren’t your thing! If high caliber ordnance and planes meant to scale the stratosphere are more your speed, then Jormungand offers more than enough to satiate even the pickiest of military equipment enthusiasts. Shit, between this and Upotte, it’s never been a better time to have a fetish for military-grade equipment and weaponry. Granted, it’s a little less literal in Jormungand’s case, but the point still stands.
After getting past the familiar Black Lagoon vibes, which wore off after the first five minutes or so, I found Jormungand to be engrossing on its own merits. Between quality action sequences, smart use of minor character quirks and Koko, there was more than enough to warrant a definite follow from me, and a definite recommendation. This is one suspiciously duck-like grackle that fucking soars, rather than flapping and waddling awkwardly in the direction of an old man on a bench clutching bread.