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Jormungand Episode #13 Anime Review

4 min read

Jormungand’s back, which means it’s time to see all of our crazy, amoral friends again.

What They Say
The Snake That Admires the Heavens – Book Man hopes to use HCLI’s massive communications network by manipulating Koko in “Operation: Undershaft,” but not everyone in the CIA agrees with that plan. Hex is bent on killing Koko, but first she wants to make the woman suffer.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
The new season, Perfect Order, begins again after a three month hiatus. I was somewhat afraid that we’d be in for nothing more than a clip show to remind us of all the story threads, but Jormungand pushes ahead with only a few flashbacks to story threads that have not yet been resolved.

The episode begins with the same speech as the first episode of the first season, in the voice of the world serpent Jormungand, expressing his weakness towards the sky, as he lacks wings, legs, and hands. Accompanying the speech, instead of a rocket launch, is a series of satellites orbiting the earth, their purpose as yet unknown.

After the new opening theme, we’re given a bit of a surprise. Rather than starting off with Koko and Jonah, or even R and his CIA handler, we open of Dr. Miami shopping in Port Elizabeth when she comes across Karen Low, sitting on the street site by Chen’s old building. Low’s distraught that her master, and would-be lover Chen was killed by Valmet, and is unsure what to do with herself. Miami takes an instant liking to the former soldier, however, and presses Low into becoming her secretary. Low, having nothing better to do, accepts the offer. The show weaves the flashbacks to episode 12 into the story naturally, as Dr. Miami is filled in on Low’s past.

The battle hardened Karen Low is nonetheless run ragged by the spacey and capricious Dr. Miami, so when she offers a vacation to the Solomon Islands, she gladly accepts. Unfortunately, the destination isn’t the islands so much as a launching platform nearby, one attended by Koko, Jonah, and Valmet (who looks to have grown about two to three cup sizes since season one). Karen and Valmet still have unfinished business to resolve, but the two are brought to a heel by their respective owners. The rocket launched is said by Koko to be the last needed to finish a powerful new surveillance and logistics system for HCLI, but Koko and Miami seem suspiciously happy about the prospect. Jonah suspects something, but can’t hear the two scheming over noise of the rocket launch.

This episode also introduces us to R’s secret project with the CIA: Operation Undershaft. Named after a weapons dealer in a Shaw play, the CIA operative R is to keep an eye on Koko Hekmatyar, the presumed “weakest link” in the Hekmatyar clan, to see what the family is up to. R is concerned about the assassins sent to attack Koko back in episodes 11 and 12, as they served as a potential risk to his cover. R, a consummate professional who bears Koko no personal animus, asks his handler “Saw” to investigate who sent the assassins. Saw doesn’t tell R, but he suspects a paramilitary agent by the name of Hex.

Hex looks set up to the the “big bad” of the season, as she’s introduced in a series of scenes that show how ruthless she can be. First, she tries to seduce another agent into giving up the true purpose of Operation Undershaft, a real surprise in a series where powerful women haven’t really used their sexuality to get results. Secondly, she summarily executes a terrorism suspect in Afghanistan who refuses to give in to interrogation. Hex’s feud with Koko appears to be passionate and personal, and as the episode ends, she appears willing to target Jonah in order to wound Koko as deeply as possible.

In Summary
While not much new happens in this episode, and the introduction of the new rival is rather by the book, the episode get high marks from me for starting the season off sprinting. Rather than replay scenes in a lazy clip show, the episode actually takes various conversations from the manga where characters discuss the events of previous chapters and re-arranges them into a cohesive whole. In this way, we’re reminded of exactly where we left off while characters add new observations and context to what we saw months ago. It’s a fantastic way to get the audience back up to speed while at the same time setting up episode 14. It’s great to have Jormungand back and ready for action.

Grade: A

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Review Equipment:
Sony VAIO 17″ HD screen