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I always did wonder what arms dealers did on their days off...
With the African Butterfly phase over and it's enemies being put on hold for a later date, Jormungand moves onto the Dragon Shooter Phase taking place in a fictional country in the Balkans but before that the crew heads to the beach!
We finally get an episode for the crew to take a breather for a bit, seeing as all of the previous episodes had them thrown into battle straight away and with the first half(ish) of the episode comes a lot of care-free humour and effortless character exploration. After allowing the boys to have their fun, which was nice to watch for the humour and the reminder that Jonah is in fact a child, we get a little bit more insight into the lives of Koko's crew and a little about how she was in the past.
Mao tells Jonah about his family and Lehm's many marriages to Chiquita (very scary), which then ends up effortlessly leading to him talking about a conversation he had with Koko upon joining the team; a conversation where Koko supported Mao's choice to lie to his children. The conversation didn't reveal anything new about Koko's character since she's been portrayed as someone who cares quite a lot for children through her various actions (lectures about guns taking priority over children and the loudest being her pseudo-adoption of Jonah) it would have been a shock if she told Mao that him keeping his job a secret was stupid. The part of the conversation that is still obscure and adds to the mystery that is Koko Hekmtyar was her saying "we deal in a disgusting business." This statement doesn't clear up anything about Koko for many reasons, mostly because she's quite the contradictory character who will proclaim hate for weapons and love for children and world peace while and still claim to know her products very well and be seen as a demon by people like assassins and other arms dealers.
From the care-free scenes and conversation with Mao, the episode moved on to the main plot of this arc and this time it was time for Koko to deal with humanitarians and rebels; for those of you keeping count, Koko has now been shown to deal with arms dealers, police, armies, assassins and CIA agents. This ongoing plot development, whereby Koko deals with many groups of people is one I've appreciated a lot for the reason that it gives insight into the life of an arms dealer much like Beck gave insight into the harsh reality of making it in the international music industry and Bakuman gave insight into how cut-throat the manga industry is and because it's a plot development that's very real and bordering on the factual with quite the bit of emphasis on the business aspect. Unlike the other times where this was done from Koko's point of view, this time round we got the perspective of what humanitarians do to carry out their and how they feel about encountering people like child soldiers, a point that was brought up in the episode when Maggie (one of the humanitarians) was asked if she was shocked to find Jonah in Koko's crew. As someone who is intrigued by the politics of everything, I found this to be very enjoyable and relevant since of course arms dealing will take precedent over providing aid, leaving organizations no choice but to employ the likes of big weapon companies.
With episode ending with the crew's arrival into Country T, where the rebel leader Dragon catches wind of this all and is adamant on killing those who want to provide aid and thus eventually leading to hostilities to be exchanged, I couldn't help but feel even more impressed by manga artist's take on politics. Being someone who knows a lot about the war-torn Baltics, all of the events that transpired (including the description of the leader) didn't feel like a far cry from reality and the anime only helped make the story have more of an impact than the manga. The only thing that remains to be seen is whether Koko will help out properly with the humanitarians, which will undoubtedly make her perception remain the same until season 2 but other than that the ending came at an appropriate point in the story and should set up episode 2 of this arc for a decent dose of that action/strategy/mind games mix we are so used to from Jormungand.
With 3 episodes left for this season, it looks like the next episode will finish off this current arc and the final 2 should enter another arc/ finish off another arc that should allow season 2 to cleanly continue in an effortless manner. As a side note for those interested in the manga, current episode has taken us half-way through the 5th volume and should be finished by the next 1-2 episodes.