Helen McCarthy on girls, guns and dealers in death
Teenage arms dealer Koko Hekmatyar travels the world selling weapons in her work as an unofficial subcontractor for international shipping company HCLI. Under the cloak of its main activities, the company has a lucrative and illegal network of dealers in death. Constantly surrounded by her team of ex-military bodyguards, Koko has a new travelling companion – a withdrawn, seemingly emotionless but very skilled child soldier named Jonah. Jonah actually hates arms dealers, and has joined Koko's crew to find the arms dealer responsible for his family's deaths.
If you can't see what's coming, you haven't watched enough anime, or enough war movies. But if you’re after a show that gives you gallons of blood and flocks of flying artillery, thick and fast enough to level buildings, without a single preachy precept to leaven its amoral revelry in death, but with real character development and plotting strung so tight you could play a guitar riff on it, this is your show. Opening with a running fight down a freeway where anti-tank missiles and heavy vehicles are tossed around like party favours, the first episode never lets up, setting a standard that the show maintains throughout.
There are echoes of the premise of Gunsmith Cats –
a deadly killer girl with actionably young sidekick, hiding behind a hail of bullets from a lifetime of abuse. Jormungand
doesn't quite live up to that perfectly polished artefact but it's good, and dangerously seductive in its embrace of action as its own justification. It reminds us how good it can feel when the bullets and bazooka rounds fly, the choppers explode and cannon fodder shreds in a red storm, how admirable it is to see a group of professionals get the job done effectively. The moral issues are given more room in the second series (coming later in the year), but the scales come down on the side of making mayhem fun.
Jormungand season one is out now on UK DVD and Blu-ray from Manga Entertainment.