Human and Gritty, Jormungand Episode 6

*a special note: my family is coming from India after seven years, so there will be a delay to my posts for the next week and a half. I apologize!

Just when this show couldn’t get any better, it does. Jormungand in itself is a tricky little thing- arms missile dealers is an excellent way to start off with the themes of moral relativity, which is one of my favorite themes to explore in stories, especially war stories. It does a good job so far with the technical and also through characterization. From body language to how the show doesn’t shy away from getting brutal- both physically and in terms of controversial topics (like child soldiers for example), Jormungand despite being quite the action packed show, still had depth and meaning to it, which is why I like it so much.

Last week’s Jormungand left quite the lasting impression on me- not only did it delve into how Jonah came to Koko and was taken under her care, but it also gave us a good look at the sort of life he led before Koko – the life of a child soldier denied of any sort of freedom- and why Jonah is exactly the sort of person he is. We also got a great look at what’s potentially the most mysterious ‘enemy’ of the show, Koko’s brother, Kaspar, a man who’s more about action than words and yet strangely silvery tongued when he speaks.

This week ties back to the last episode in more ways than one, albeit more subtlety. While Koko and her gang get attacked by pirates, whom they (unrealistically, but to be quite honest I’m a fan of the unrealistic fighting) beat easily, Jonah saves a child soldier on their side. It’s these sort of actions that I really love because they show so much about Jonah’s troubled state more than anything. Jonah himself is a mystery- he hates weapons, but because he still believes in justice he keeps his hands dirty and works for a missile seller. Jonah operates to kill, but last week’s memories are still very fresh in his mind- so he brings back the child soldier he’s supposed to terminate and lets him live. On one side, we could say this is childishness, if not weakness, but Jonah is a child. However, he has been trained to kill, stripped of any birthright or life of freedom that we associate with children. It’s the sort of gritty realism clashing with hopeless ideals that we’ve seen as an undercurrent throughout Jormungand which is why it still appeals to me as more than just another blockbuster entertainment. Yes, we have people who are full of bloodlust for no reason, yes we have big guns and big explosions, but underneath all of that is still a very emotionally resilient and interesting story depicting the worst, and the best, of people.

This is emphasized with the whole “I’m Nice, but I also happen to have a Crazy side of me” trend, or simply what everyone has the case of, when the episode concludes with Valmet seeing a silhouette of someone from her dark and tragic past. It’s from there that we know that this is going to be  a two parter, so there’s no doubt that next week will deal with Valmet’s past. (We’ll probably be following this format: slowly going through the histories of the gang and Kaspar for this season and the next, with Koko’s story to be told last.) So why Valmet first? She’s the character we’re more emotionally invested in, as of this point. While Koko’s gang are very devoted to Koko, Valmet is the one who is emotionally and physically very expressive toward Koko, sometimes (if not mot times) in a comical way. It’s therefore, easy to see why we’d delve into her history first. While Valmet dose serve as your sort of comic relief figure with her undying love toward Koko, it’s going to be interesting to see the animal inside of her, as I’m sure Koko didn’t just choose Valmet for her loving skills. It’s that sort of thing which puts a twist to the trend of everyone having sob stories; we, as the audience, associate with Koko and her ‘cool’ gang, but as seen in this episode briefly when everyone is in the car and their eyes turn red with bloodlust, Koko’s gang is dangerous. Not just dangerous by the fact that they win nearly all the time, not that dangerous. It’s easy to kill people with guns. No, Koko’s gang is lethal because they don’t hesitate when it comes to orders. They are the Team A, and they leave their marks behind everywhere they go and aren’t afraid to show it. That’s dangerous. And while they can smile and act like a family, they know when to kill on sight, and they do it well. It’s that sort of thing I like the most about Jormungand; it shows that it can take itself seriously when it needs to.  These are people of action, in the end, and not words.

Thus, body language is important, and it’s also here where Jormungand triumphs because the direction displays all sort of subtle movements in the characters’ faces and bodies.  The way Valmet stiffens when seeing the silhouette, to the way Jonah never really changes his ‘dead eye’ expression, to the excessively enthusiastic way Koko twirls and flails her arms in the air- these reveal more about the characters than words ever could. Jormungand is not one to rely on excellent dialogue, but it does do a great job of rendering facial and body expressions, and I’m thankful for that; it’s a neat way to once again, go back to the themes of moral relativity, and how twisted, but human, human beings can be. And what a better way to show that through the eyes of a child soldier, travelling with an arms merchant? Keep this up, Jormungand, and you’ll end up being the most entertaining and satisfying show of the season.

Enjoyment Level: 10/10

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