Author: Takahashi Keitarou
Genre: Manga, Crime, Thriller
Publication Date: May 14, 2013 (Viz – North America)
Source: Edelweiss Review Copy
Summary: Death is their business, and business is good.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…
Jormungand, Koko’s plan to force peace on the world by taking control of global logistics, is ready to launch. When it does, all human movement by land, sea and air will come under the control of HCLI’s satellite network and quantum computer system. But when Jonah learns that the first stage of Koko’s operation could cost the lives of nearly seven hundred thousand people, he finds himself at a deadly impasse with Koko and her team. Peace sells, but who’s buying?
☆: 4.5/5 stars – a fantastic finish to one of my favorite manga of the 2000s so far!
Review: With this volume we say goodbye to one of my favorite new manga within the last five years. I’d been hoping with the end of the second season of the anime that the events that happened there hadn’t been an end and instead, just was waiting for Takahashi to catch up with his own writing process, but unfortunately, it wasn’t. While some might say it’s a bit anti-climactic, I think it’s a way for us to imagine what might happen after those final pages. After 11 volumes, it’s time to say goodbye to Koko, Jonah, and the crew in “Jormungand: Volume 11”.
Everything that’s happened so far has been building up to this. In this volume we get a full reveal of what Koko, Miami, and the rest of her cohorts have been building in secret for years, as well as a two-year fast-forward in between the first four parts of this volume and the final chapter. When you finally see Koko explaining her plan and her reasoning behind it to Jonah and the rest of the crew, suddenly a lot of the stuff that seemed odd or out of place in previous volumes? It totally and utterly makes sense. I have to give it to Takahashi for planting all of these little bits and then bringing them together in such an utterly explosive way.
And then there are there characters – and there’s major development in this volume. Is Koko mad? Is the rest of her crew just blindly following behind her Jormungand plan in order to bring world piece? Is Kaspar not as bad as we thought when we were first introduced to him through Jonah’s eyes? All of these questions also get answered as Jonah goes on a quest to really figure out how he feels about the Jormungand plan, as well as his own place in the world (which will vanish if Jormungand is put into action). Does he want to continue being a child mercenary? And then there’s the CIA, Scarecrow, Shokolade, and Bookman – what will they do if Koko tries to put Jormungand into play? Will they stop her? Or, will they sit back and watch what happens? Again, all of these questions that have been building get answered, and not necessarily in a way you’d expect. Kaspar isn’t such a bad guy after all – but that’s all I’ll say about that when it comes to spoilers.
What Takahashi does best, though, is make the reader think. Put yourself in Koko’s position – all of that war you’re forced to see as you carry on the family business. What would you do? If you had the money and the power, would you construct a plan like the Jormungand project in order to bring world peace? Or would you let yet another world war happen, with more and more casualities, and more children like Jonah being born into the world to be trained as child soldiers? What would you do?
At the end of the day, Takahashi definitely doesn’t fail to deliver here, and even though I hope we get a spin-off, or a sequel of post-Jormungand Day, there does feel like there’s an end, and closure here to a certain degree. Looking back, I honestly can’t see this series ending any other way. And I’m glad it did.
Final verdict? If you’ve been following the “Jormungand” saga, you simply must end your journey with this volume. If not – what are you waiting for? I’m going to miss this series a lot, and for the execution alone, it makes my best of 2013 list in the manga category. “Jormungand: Volume 11” is out May 14, 2013 from Viz in North America, so be sure to check it out when you get the chance!