Saturday, May 9, 2015

Jormungand: Perfect Order Review

Jormungand: Perfect Order Review

Warning: The following review may contain spoilers of the second season of Jormungand. If you wish not to know some events in the story, or simply don't wish to find out what happens in the series, please leave the page, since I don't want to damage a watching experience for you.

With that said, thank you, and onto the review:

One of the most action packed series that I've seen is Jormungand. With its fantastic moments of comedy, suspense, action, and overall enjoyment, I was looking forward to the second and final season of a great first one.

Despite having a couple of second seasons fall flat on their faces, there was still hope. After all, we had a great 2nd season of Kamisama Kiss, so it could be like that. Right? Right?

Well, not exactly. Though it wasn't as bad as Highschool DXD New and Date A Live 2 in that department, I'm still disappointed in this season. It wasn't horrible per say, but there were some moments where I was either frustrated as hell with many expositions, to almost nodding off at some moments. While Jormungand is a great show overall, Season 2 managed to hit a few bumps in the road before pulling off a somewhat satisfying ending, though with wistful hope that the season could have been handled so much better.

Let's talk about my major problem with the show overall:


In the first season, the story was very interesting. Not only was the pacing great, but the writers had enough time to meld comedy and the serious action pretty well. Sure, the villains weren't that interesting besides Chen, but at least they were engaging enough.

And here we have Perfect Order. The only episode that I loved was Episode 10. The best arc in this show is the New World arc that covers Episodes 8-10. And that's in the latter half of the second season. Besides that, let's just say this with the first half:


Both of the first 2 arcs in the show aren't as horrible as other shows I've seen, but they still leave a bad taste in your mouth. It mainly has to do with the explanation of certain things we're apparently supposed to know already, and other stuff. This includes a nearly 5 minute exposition on a SR unit. No, seriously. It's almost 5 minutes. I don't know the exact time, but it still was super boring.

In fact, I was really looking forward to the first arc. I saw Hex before I watched the show, and I thought her arc was going to be better than some of the other ones back in its first season. Perhaps she would be connected to Koko, and we would find out why they hate each others' guts.

Well, they are connected. But they never explain why they've hated each other for so long. The main problem that digs this arc into the grave was Operation Undershaft. GAH! But before we go into it, let's first talk about the people behind it.

George Black (also knows by his nickname Bookman, and a CIA agent) doesn't do s**t throughout the series. He's supposed to be the creator of the operation and a big shot, but I found his role in the arc to be very minimal. At the end of season 1, where he makes a cameo, I thought he was going to have a much bigger impact on the show. Yeah, like that ever happens!

We also find out that R is working for the CIA, and is a spy that infiltrated into Koko's crew. So yay for development on one of the most least interesting characters of the show! But that wasn't my main issue. Actually, we should get back to that.

In Episode 1, during a conversation between Bookman and R, they talk about Operation Undershaft. If you're looking for specific details, you won't get any. You only learn about the operation itself, and that it's targeting Koko. At first I was like, "What the hell is Operation Undershaft?" because it feels like the show expects you to know right off the bat before you watch it. I'm not so sure if they mentioned it a little bit at the end of season 1, but still, this is so sloppy, and not a good way to reintroduce me into the show.

Besides that fact that it's targeting Koko, pretty much nothing else is explained about it. Everyone's worried about Koko becoming a "monster" and what not, but never explaining why she'll become that, so answers come up empty. They do mention how Jonah is her "anchor" and some dumb s**t like that, but that never goes anywhere. I wanted to know more about why Operation Undershaft was created, what it's all about, the main reason why they're trying to target Koko, but where those ever answered? NOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!

Also, we also find out that Hex was responsible for hiring the hit men in the last arc of season 1. It's never explained why, so it's just shrugged off as a coincidence. Don't get me wrong, Hex is a interesting villain, and perhaps my favorite one out of the show, but having her be the main one in a arc this poor just wastes her potential.

The second arc isn't really any better. It starts off when Kasper and Koko begrudgingly agree to work together on a mission against Yousuke Hinoki, a top spy who was also the founder of a SR unit, which was the group that Tojo used to work for. Besides episode 4 having Kasper and company killing people, half of the episode is comprised with flashbacks. Look, I don't care about them, but having half of the episode be overtaken by these is pretty annoying.

Don't get me started on how the first half of the series has a s**t ton of recaps at the beginnings of the episodes that annoyed the hell out of me. Yeah, it's nice to review what went down, but I think we're cutting out a little bit of time where something that was brought up before can be explained now. I don't want to end up in Confusion City anymore!

The end of the arc is also just a middle finger. Hinoki's henchmen are killed by Chequita (which became a entertaining scene) and Tojo respectively, Hinoki says that his agents might have gone a little too far with the order he gave them. Oh wait, but didn't you give that order? So, it's actually your fault?

The 7th episode is a return to Jormungand's original form. Wiley's back story is actually quite interesting, as it takes us back to 1991 in the army. Wiley blows up stuff, and that was actually pretty entertaining. In present day, Koko's crew are on a mission in Iraq. The reason why it's a return is that this feels like a normal episode. Trouble ensures, stuff is blown up, interactions between characters are nice, and it feels well paced. 

So basically:

The next 2 episodes aren't horrible, but they're not as good as Episode 7. They do manage to be interesting, but Bookman returns, and I don't give a s**t about him.

Episode 10 though: YAS!

Not only is there an epic kidnapping mission to retrieve a top hacker from Guantanamo Bay, but there's pretty fun stuff that Koko does, which includes sending a top unit in the wrong direction by hacking their night vision googles with the wrong map. Koko also finally explains her plan that she has been developing with Minami (Dr. Miami) titled Jormungand. This part is super engrossing, and probably one of the best parts of the show. However, Jonah disagrees with her plan, especially on the line of killing 700,000 people from around the world who are in the air.

So, it wasn't because of #TheKiss. When my friend watched this series last year, he was shocked about it for about 5 minutes. Me, on the other hand, wasn't as lucky. You know those moments where you think you're seeing something you're not, but then it hits you about 5 seconds later? I was somewhat in denial. I recovered by watching Bratz, so good times! It still appeared in my sleep though.

Episode 11 is more WTF? territory. It mainly has to do with something that Koko does to Bookman that's so odd. After calling Bookman to meet her in North Africa, he gets ambushed by a local extremist group who believes him to be bad news. He is then saved by marines who hear about someone being kidnapped, and rescue him in the nick of time. Of course you know who's behind this. Koko! Reason being is that she wanted Bookman to see her true power, and what she can do. She also makes an arrest on another character of this alleged assassination attempt.

And if you're like this right now;

You're not alone. Expect watching these events fold down to be very confusing. I was like, "Umm, what's going on? How the hell does this work? Why is this even possible? Umm, what?"

Episode 12 does manage to wrap up the series nicely, though I wanted a bit more from the finale. It was nice how it ended, all complete with a 2 year time skip between Episodes 11 and 12.

The story, in the end, falls short on what it could be. The first 2 arcs in this series are underwhelming and boring, but then the show picks up a little bit of momentum. At the end, though I was sad that the series was finished, I was also happy that this season had finished, and that can be considered both a good and bad thing.

My favorite fight in the anime would have to be from Episode 3. I'll talk about a certain part of this when I discuss the English dub:

Also, this is my favorite part of the entire arc, and not just because R dies.

Let's step up to the character plate:


In the first season review, I talked about how some of Koko's crew members often faded into the background, and weren't given that much development. Only Koko herself, Jonah, and Valmet managed to get the most out of it. I mentioned in my review how I thought some of them wouldn't get development at all, or they would be pushed into the background once again.

Well, DING DING DING DING! I WAS CORRECT! SOME OF THE CREW MEMBERS GOT ABSOLUTELY NO DEVELOPMENT AT ALL! Some of them even get pushed off to the side even more, and are forgotten until some talk about halfway into the show. Valmet, my favorite of the members, suffered a bit from this, but hers was the least, because she still had her "OMG! KOKO IS SO AMAZING!" moments that made me giggle.

R, Tojo, and Wiley are the characters that get development this season. Of course Wiley's was the one I liked the most, since I gave a crap about it and what not. It was also really interesting to see some aspects that I didn't know about him.

Koko also manages to get more development, and we see the more psychotic side of her. She's not much of a "monster" as some of the characters fear she'll become, but she is a little demented.

I already talked about the majority of the character interactions in the first half, and how:

But let's talk about 2 characters that stood out from the pack. 1 being a villain, and 1 being the co-developer of Jormungand.

Hex (as in Witch) shall be up first:

Hex is originally from America, and is a little, erm, how should I put this, insane? Yeah, that ought to do it. She is a CIA Special Activities Divison operative, She was originally in an all woman army until it was purposely shut down. She was then stationed in Afghanistan after her fiancee was killed during the 9/11 terrorist attacks. But after being discharged for her radical methods, she was recruited by Bookman to track down arms dealers. 

While operating under Operation Undershaft, she goes against Bookman's orders and targets Koko multiple times, which leads to the epic showdown in Episode 3. After retreating with her squad into the deep mountainous region of Iraq, Koko sends B-52's after her. Did she die when they landed, or did she kill herself in that split second? Watch this clip in order to decide for yourself:

So overall, Hex was a good character. I do think she could have been a lot better, but she was still nice overall. Her motives were interesting, and she had some great screen time.

Next, I want to elaborate on a character who first appeared in Season 1. Minami Amada, otherwise known as Dr. Miami.

Aww, look at precious she looks in her youth. SOOO PRECIOUS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I think I got too into my Randall Randall side. XD My bad.

Anyways, Dr. Miami is one of Koko's closest friends, and probably the one she shares her secrets with. I mean, they both are working together on Jormungand, so just a hunch. She is obsessed with butterflies among other things, and will often go on butterfly hunting trips without notifying Koko first if they are scheduled to have a conference. She is also a Japanese expert of robotics, and her inventions mostly end up in some shape or form in weapons.

Dr. Miami is probably one of the more entertaining characters of the series. Not only is she kind of wacky, but she does have a good heart. I can see why her and Koko are close friends.

Besides the majority of our forgettable crew members and returning characters, we also have some new ones, such as the former head of the SR unit (Hinoki), some of Kasper's bodyguards (named after Edgar Allen Poe), subordinates to Hinoki, his daughter, a Russian doctor who only speaks once, a famous hacker, and someone who works in Washington who Koko sabotages in the kidnapping mission.


White Fox once again animated the series, and they are also known for producing the animation for Steins Gate, Akame ga Kill, and Is The Order a Rabbit?

The animation is still on fleek for the most part. The action scenes still look fantastic, and close ups look great as well. However, this season, we had more struggles with shots from a further distance. Sometimes arms decrease and increase in size, and facial expressions often appear without detail. There's 1 particular moment in episode 5 that made me burst out laughing. During a conversation between Jonah and Tojo, Jonah's arms at one moment appear very bloated, and it looks very odd.

The short moments of fanservice return in Season 2 with a little more frequency. There's one example of censorship I'd like to talk about from Episode 10. It happens after the kidnapping operation of Rabbitsfoot, and it's a bath scene involving Koko and Jonah. Besides seeing snippets of the scene in Japanese, I watched the whole series in its English dub, and comparing the two overall from TV to DVD is a little odd.

My friend helped out with some pictures from my laptop and from his phone, so here's a comparison between Koko on the original aired version compared to the final one of DVD:

The version on the DVD is censored by me because this is a safe environment. And it's in the only way I know best. XD 


Oh, don't worry manservice fans. I'm not going to leave you on a rack to dry. Here's some Jonah screenshots my friend also got:

This is going to be a little perverted, but pay close attention to the steam around the bottom half. Don't worry, no privates! Just look:

See? I told you it wasn't going to be too bad. I just censored out the thigh. 


#sorrynotsorry #mancandy

I do have to admit that Jonah's stomach looks different than from Episode 9 in the first season. Maybe it's because he's sitting, or a different animation director worked on this episode. I wouldn't know though, I'm too embarrassed to watch the beginning of Episode 9 again.

Regardless though, the animation for the most part is still on par with Season 1's, though with a couple of slip-ups.


Taku Iwasaki returns for composing in Season 2. He has also done the scores for Black Butler, Black Cat, and Heaven's Memo Pad.

Once again, the music is pretty epic for this series. Besides hearing some pieces that I loved, I got some new favorites, mainly 1 though. This would be Hard Drive Music. Here's a link of it from Youtube so you can listen to it:

I haven't seen too much of the second season in Japanese, as I again watched it mainly in English. And much like Highschool DXD New, it takes a dip in overall quality. But unlike that show, this dub actually still manages to do consistently good. Of course there were some horrible additional voices, and Micah's voice pitch for Jonah changes between episodes, but it's not too bad. I wouldn't say it's as good as Season 1 though.

Also, we had a script writer change. Considering that the 3 in charge of script writing also worked on Psycho Pass, another show licensed by FUNimation that came out in March of last year in the US, we can assume that they were recorded around the same time. Though it lacks Bonny's humor, it's still a nice script, despite the fact that the writers change between names for Koko's unit. Though crew returns and is used less frequently than in Season 1, we also have squad and team. Others are there too, and it depends between script writers what gets written. It's quite inconsistent.

Onto that really bad dub moment I was talking about in that fight with Hex earlier in the review. It's when R tells Koko that he is a spy. In Japanese, which I watched the day after from that clip, I could sense some emotion behind it. In English, it's so dry that it literally becomes comical. Up to the point of:

Seriously, I was laughing hysterically in my head. This is never a good sign. There was also a painful moment in Episode 6 that made me cringe. Oh, what good times indeed!

But beside that, I didn't really have any issues. My favorite new additions into the vocal cast were Jaime Marchi with her performance as Hex, as she manages to sound calm and sexy without sounding old. Martha Harms does a relatively entertaining Rabbitsfoot, complete with an accent. Leah Clark manages to use more of her range as Kuroka, Brandon Potter sounds young and enthusiastic in his guest appearance as a character. Finally to wrap things off, Blake Hackler does a fantastic job in Episode 7 as the translator, (Shame it's his only credited role. The accent was pulled off REALLY well) and Stephanie Sheh as an additional voice in Episode 9.


Best way to sum up this review would be:

The story is easily the biggest problem of the second season. The first half feels like a slap in the face compared to what Jormungand is fully capable of. Though the second half manages to improve in some ways, I still think this season was just overall weaker than the first. 

Though with its issues overall, Jormungand is still a great show through it all. I just wish that the second season was better. Oh well, at least we had some great moments.

Score: 7/10


Unique elements of story still there.

Better second half.

Animation is still great.

Score is awesome.

Valmet, Koko, Jonah, and Hex.

Episode 10 has magic of 1st season.


First half.

Some things either not explained, or seemingly left unknown so viewers have to pick up the pieces.

Some of Koko's crew continues to get pushed to the side.


English dub is slightly weaker.

Koko's plan towards Bookman in Episode 11 is lofty and unrealistic.

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