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The conversation some of you will have with a friend before watching the first episode:
You: Hey are you gonna watch Jormungand
Friend: Yeah man! I mean White Fox are producing it and their work is sick!
You: Name one other anime they've done besides Steins; Gate
Friend: I need to consult wikipedia for that.......
(If anyone does has this conversation please do leave a comment)
If you really were struggling to name another anime by White Fox I wouldn't blame you since this production company has only done 4 including Jormungand and funnily enough each have been adaptations of different media: Katanagatari (Light Novel), Tears to Tiara (RPG), Steins; Gate (Visual Novel) and the latest, Jormungand (Manga). With 4 works the company is still at it's infantile stage and can't really be judged as an animation company until they release more works but so far I haven't seen anything negative about Katanagatari or Tears to Tiara and of course everyone was impressed with Steins; Gate, which would ultimately put all eyes on White Fox for their next piece. How will Jormungand fill in the size 20 shoes left behind by Steins; Gate
For a first episode, it definitely was one of the best of the season so far and the most action-packed one to boot. Since the opening sequence was what I assume to be Japanese dubstep, it was quite fast and furious from the starting line. The episode was adapted from the first 2 chapters of the manga and paced out very well, delivering an opening action scene which is then met by a cool-down and an ending to the episode which has both elements of intensity and calm. As a reader of the manga I was pleased that the source material was followed quite religiously, at least for the first episode but I was aware that the pacing that was set out for the episode was also what added enjoyment to watching it. I think what most people might have been concerned with about the series would be the lack of comedy or the excessive serious atmosphere the series could stick to but just as I assumed, the episode didn't stray enough from the manga to change the atmosphere of the series, resulting in quite a few moments of awkward/serious humour which won't have you bursting out in laughter but will have you chuckling for a bit. Something like this, which also happens to be an example of Koko's importance to the story; being an important serious and comedy character.
Aside from the story, which I now have no complaints about after watching the first episode, I wanted to see how Koko Hekmatyar's character will be portrayed after having garnered some serious expectations from the manga. I think they did a good job with her! Not in the way that they managed to get character down 100% but more-so that they managed to add points during the episode where our interest and fascination with Koko as a character would increase; I'm talking of course about the moment towards the end of the episode where she takes out the other arms dealer in an almost evil villain type way by pointing at him and just the night before she was talking to Jonah in such a profound manner, making you wonder if she even likes doing her job since she seems to do it for a noble cause. Yeah right! Oh and of course the voice actress Itou Shizuka was also responsible for bringing Koko's larger than life character to animated life.
As for the other characters, this episode was very Koko and Jonah heavy much like the manga - Jonah being the child soldier in her service - something I think you might see from quite a few episodes but of course the other characters did display their personalities, not all of which will be stuck in our minds but definitely a good start for an introduction to a relatively large cast. The ones that I'm assuming most people would remember is Valmet since she brings about the comedy in that Yuri way. The others were funny but not memorable (yet), but if we can expect a faithful adaptation of this piece there is a good chance there were will be individual character episodes like they had in Tiger and Bunny.
A good first episode: good music, action, story and characters. Too short a summary If so read this following comparison to Lord of War:
1. Yuri Orlov's crew vs Koko Hekmatyar's - Yuri had his drugged up brother and pilots who barely passed his test, Koko has world class bodyguards including a child soldier.
2. Who has better merchandise - Yuri transported trucks full of ammo from nation to nation usually bribing his way without breaking a sweat, Koko transports military choppers and then fights customs to retrieve them.
3. Personality - Yuri is a "family" man and finds it sickening to kill someone, Koko ordered a child soldier to kill someone a day after he joined her crew.
Winner - Koko Hekmatyar
Conclusion: Koko makes Yuri look like a saint who has committed no sins, she's way more badass.