Jormungand Manga, Volume 1 (English)

February 8th, 2010

I’m dedicating today’s review to YNN correspondent and sometimes Guest Reviewer here at Okazu, Mara, for turning me on to this series.

Jormungand, Volume 1 is a surprisingly silly look at a grim business – the business of arms dealing. Considered coldly, this may well be one of the most vile occupations possible for a human, since there’s no way to even pretend to be doing anything helpful. Arms dealers profit off of misery and it is in their best interests to keep wars going, (something briefly touched upon in Madlax, as we learn that Friday Monday and his organization are fighting the war strictly to keep the war from ending, so they can make money arming both sides.)

When you think of arms dealers, you might not immediately envision a young, attractive, cracked (but not psychotic,) woman, but that’s what you get in Jormungand – a young woman with the whimsical name Koko Hekmatyar. Because I am the way I am, I looked up her last name and discovered it is an Afghan name. Plausibility is fun.

The story starts with the addition of a taciturn “child-soldier” who hates arms dealers, to Koko’s crack squad of lackeys. I was deeply concerned that the story was going to wallow in Jonah’s tragic past and make us care about him, but thankfully not. Instead, Jonah is whisked into the middle of a crackpot situation in which Koko and her lackeys have *way* more fun than is reasonable killing people. And worse – we have way too much fun watching it. The reason side of my head says, “I really don’t want to be enjoying arms dealer shenanigans” but the comics-reading bit says, “screw that.” It helped when Jonah started to feel that way too.

Koko is crazy in a good way. Not like Balalaika from Black Lagoon, who embodies cool competence. Instead, Koko represents the light comedy style of military leadership, made famous by B.D. of Doonesbury. Only unlike B.D., Koko is more often the joke perpetrator, rather than its brunt.

Yuri in this series is represented by one of Koko’s lackeys, Valmet. Valmet wears an eyepatch, (the medical kind), but is nonetheless hypercomptent with weapons. She states plainly that Koko is the only one she’ll go to the wire for, and is seen many times blushing at the Koko in her head and sometimes even the actual Koko outside her head. She fantasizes about holding Koko in her arms and at least once has the stereotypical nosebleed at Koko’s cuteness. So, yeah, she’s on the team. No one who is sane will expect anything to happen between them, howver. Any fun you’re going to have here will be watching Valmet watching Koko. Valmet herself has a rival/admirer, Mildo, but she’s packed off at the end of the arc. She’ll be back, I have no doubt.

The upshot here is, Jormungand is a fun, action-filled story full of entertainining psychotics, murderers and people who spend their lives helping people kill other people, with a teeny hint of eau de Lys just below the ear.

Ratings:

Art – 7 A little quirky good, and a little quirky bad
Story – 7, It’s not going to be high literature, we just want to see people shoot things
Characters – 8 Koko’s what makes it all work, but once she made Jonah spit-take, I even liked him
Yuri – 2
Service- 11 for military equipment otaku, otherwise, 1

Overall – 8

Thank you Mara, this was the kind of thing I like spending my money on. Even if there is no Yuri in it at all, I’ll be getting the next volume. ^_^

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5 Responses

  1. Mara says:

    “Thank you Mara, this was the kind of thing I like spending my money on.”

    You are most welcome. My favorite thing in the world is to be able to show/direct someone to something I know they will enjoy. Yay^^.

  2. The upshot here is, Jormungand is a fun, action-filled story full of entertainining psychotics, murderers and people who spend their lives helping people kill other people, with a teeny hint of eau de Lys just below the ear.

    Now that’s a killer closer for a review!

    I have to admit that I didn’t like Jormungand, but your review makes me think I went into the book with the wrong set of expectations. Volume two comes out this week, so maybe I’ll give it a look. Thanks!

  3. @Mara – Thank you.

    @Kate – And thank *you*. That’s a win for me as a reviewer.

    I have a similar relationship with Sean Gaffney’s reviews – he makes books sound so much more entertaining that they actually are half the time, that I’m tempted to read more, even when I didn’t like the series the first time. ;-)

  4. Ed Sizemore says:

    It’s a great review. Unfortunately, I found the book so off putting that I’m not willing to give the series a second try. So I’ve failed you and Kate ;-) I look forward to your review of volume two.

  5. @Ed Sizemore – It’s okay, I wouldn’t expect you to like it. It’s a good thing we don’t share a TV. ;-)

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