Title: “Jormungand: Volume 10”
Author: Takahashi Keitaro
Genre: Contemporary, AWESOME, manga & comics, Thriller
Publication Date: January 15, 2013 (Viz – North America)
Source: Edelweiss Review Copy
Summary: Jonah is a child soldier, born amidst the chaotic conflicts that rage across West Asia, his family lost to a war fueled by weapons supplied by the so-called Merchants of Death–international arms dealers. Despite Jonah’s hatred of weapons and violence, he employs both extremely well in the service of high-flying arms dealer Koko Hekmatyar and her band of mercenaries. Their journey through the dark underbelly of the world’s arms markets may lead only to damnation, but will Jonah one day make his way back to the light? Only one thing is certain: it’s going to be a long, hard road out of hell… When asked why she sold weapons, arms dealer Koko Hekmatyar once said, “To promote world peace!” With arms dealers like Koko maintaining the flow of weapons that fuel countless conflicts around the world, peace seems like an impossible goal. Now Koko has a plan to actually make it happen—a plan called Jormungand. But what sacrifice will it take and who will pay the price to realize her dark dream?
☆: 4.5/5 stars – an absolutely pivotal volume of the series!
Review: So, fair warning, this volume deals with the “Jormungand Project” arc of the manga, which, if you’ve been keeping up with the anime, corresponds to episodes 20-24 (or season 2, eps 9-12) of the anime, with Koko putting into action her plan to change the world – and the face of war – forever. If you’ve been reading the series up until now, you simply CANNOT miss volume 10 of “Jormungand”! There are spoilers ahead, so you’ve been warned.
This is a very pivotal volume in Koko’s character development (as well as Jonah’s), and Takahashi does a wonderful job of showing everyone’s true colors, no matter how big or small the character. We start to see all of the pieces of what Koko’s been doing since she got into the weapons dealing/logistics business as a young teenager really come together as a solid plan, one hatched with Dr. Miami when they met as early teens. The scene with Scarecrow and his CIA spooks going deep into Koko’s specific financial actions within HCLI, along with the fact that she’s invested in a second Marchen Toy Factory with Dr. Miami in South Africa, is absolutely riveting. We start to understand everything that’s been driving Koko even before her major scene with Jonah explaining what “Jormungand” is, and how it ties into the just-announced “Hek-GG” package from HCLI.
We also get a glimpse into the interpersonal relationships between everyone in Koko’s crew, and how they rub up against each other and disagree, which is nice, since we always see them very friendly all the time. A little conflict is good for one’s soul (and plot), so it was great to see everyone’s opinions starting to come out.
We also see a cooperation between the world’s major spy agencies to see what Koko’s up to, regardless of what their posturing in public to the media. Everyone’s wary of what Koko will come up with, and they step up to the table, invite her to it to kind of warn her what might happen should she start anything. Yet we see them refrain from actually striking against her – which I find very interesting as that seems contrary to what the NSA and CIA would usually do in a situation like this. I don’t know what kind of research (if any) Takahashi did, but I find it interesting that he stayed Bookman and Hinoki’s joint hand from striking against Koko, especially after Scarecrow and Schokolade’s investigation into her finances. Only until a certain event happens do they do anything, and that’s to protect the asset known as Talker Rabbitfoot more than anything else.
This volume ends on a very dramatic note, with Koko and Jonah sharing a questionable bath moment that will make everyone raise an eyebrow and Koko’s declaration of what she’s been building her entire career and fortune toward. I won’t spoil anything more, but wow. To end the volume on that…it just makes me want volume 11 NOW.
Otherwise, this is a very exciting volume that any fan of the series is seriously going to love. I know I did, and I know I can’t wait for the next one. You can’t miss it. “Jormungand: Volume 10” is out from Viz on January 15, 2013 in North America. Especially since season 2 of the anime has ended and a season 3 has yet to be announced, this will help tide diehard fans over just a bit longer and quite well until the next volume comes out. Definitely one of the best of 2013 so far in the manga category.