[gallery link="file" columns="4" orderby="title"]
With fine action, emotional moments and yet another great addition to the already divine soundtrack, Jormungand comes to an end and does so in a manner that makes me anticipate it's return in the Fall.
NOTE: The series review is at the end after the episode review.
This episode really did have everything that made Jormungand one of my favourite series of the Spring season and what's more it ended at a very appropriate place, allowing for a smooth and reasonable transition into the second season.
The action this time around was one of the best in the entire series since not only was it exciting and fun, like watching The Losers, but it had been spread out throughout the majority of the episode instead of being concentrated at just the beginning or the end (like the rest of the episodes had). Valmet's fighting style was less of a highlight in terms of action, when compared to Hugo's drive 'n' shoot scene but it did will in resolving one of the few ongoing plot points of Jormungand's first season.
Going back to Hugo, this episode was finally his chance to shine, much like all the other crew members bar Lehm (arguably), and he did not disappoint. Hugo's involvement in the crew also brought up the point that Koko doesn't care about the past of a person but rather their true character, a point exemplified at the beginning of the episode where she kills off everyone in the mafia she was dealing with except for Hugo.
Moving on from the rather exciting fight scenes, we were met with an emotional confrontation from Karen Low after she had found out about the death of her beloved general, a scene so hauntingly beautiful that was burned not into my visual memory but instead my auditory memory. This scene just proved to me that Jormungand's soundtrack was the best and widest in terms of range of the year thus far, and to top it all off it was sensible; very few would use Italian music that sounds like it belongs in the Godfather for the aftermath of an enemy's death but it works so well that you get drawn in even more - that and the reversal of fortunes going on during the scene.
And then there was the end; a strange mix of feel good and serious plot development to give this episode that little bit of spice that it deserves. All the feel good did was remind us of the happy times of Jormungand and Koko's love of her friends whom she considers to be family and then we were struck with quite the major plot developments which not only introduced the presumed "Big Boss" of antagonists, CIA higher up George Black, but also quite the shocking revelation that R is involved with him. I think R's involvement with the CIA was the very convincingly shocking, for the simple reason that not much is revealed about the characters throughout the series so it's hard to see something like this coming and George Black's introduction was spot on in terms of timing; he's not the type to get duped like Scarecrow, he's known as the Bookman, Literary Man (Adib) and even Puppeteer (Burratinao), a set of names that imply high intelligence and reputation which makes him that much more suitable to be the main antagonist in the next season.
A satisfying end to one of my favourite series of the season, with high expectations for the fall! Jormungand you will be during these next 2 months.
After 12 episodes, I am convinced that Jormungand belongs on a short but exclusive list of anime that have managed to surpass their source material. Now when I say this I'm simply pointing out a reason why many fail to get into manga, and that is the superiority of an anime with great animation, voice actors and soundtrack, all of which provide more colour to the story and unfortunately cannot be possessed by manga and this case especially action manga. The adaptation's faithfulness to the manga is the most admirable I have seen in a while and one that not only satisfies fans of the manga but in my opinion gives them a fantastic experience by animating it so well and if anyone were to remember episodes 4 and 5, these would be enough to convince you of the show's high quality.
Other than the animation and soundtrack, the series composition did a great job with the pacing which left me feeling like the first season was entirely dedicated to building up Koko as the ultimate character whilst introducing a few characters that will become useful to the plot in the future.
Even with me holding the series in high esteem, that's not to say it doesn't have its flaws. For one, I'm pretty sure that the episodic nature of Jormunand is enough to put off some people and this flaw is exclusive to the anime since the manga made the arcs seem longer (something that's good or bad depending on personal taste) but for me it was the occasional shortcomings of the anime when it came to building up the story, the biggest example being the arms dealer versus arms dealer arc, covered in episode 8. That aside, I have no other complaints regarding how the series was executed.
I goes without saying that Jormungand has secured itself as one of my favourite anime of the season and one for which I won't need a second thought to watch or blog the sequel. I think WHITE FOX should be congratulated on another job well done.