Day 3: Jormungand: Perfect Order
On the third day of anime my waifu gave to me,
two rockin’ Joestars…
and a chu2 from KyoAni!
So here I’m going to talk about a couple things Jormungand-related. First off, I like the show – the 2nd season has really shone compared to the first, which was good but nothing amazing. I’ve enjoyed the hardship and the extra extent to which Koko’s team, and her compatriots such as Kasper and Dr. Miami, have been fleshed out. Plus it’s started to build to a head and actually start answering some of the questions it brought up in the beginning of the series. On that note, let’s segue right into it…
Is war a fundamental facet of mankind? This is a tricky one, and the show seems to imply that the answer is “yes”. Or most precisely, that arms dealers or other like them will always have a place in the world. Do I agree? Ehhhh, maybe. I’d like to think not, but cold, hard reality always seems to seep in and contaminate my hopes.
Are guns the reason for violence? Or is it people? A question that seems to be seeing a lot of attention nowadays. The show firmly comes down on the latter – ultimately, a human in some way, shape, or form needs to pull the trigger. Even in the future if we can construct AI, the ones who build it will ultimately be responsible for it’s actions and will be the ones who will bear the responsibility. According to the show’s philosophy, guns simply allow the inner part of our humanity – the violent, irrational, hateful urges buried deep within us – to surface. It doesn’t create them. I find it hard to argue with this logic, especially the latter, and can only counter saying we might be able to better control our urges if such weapons weren’t available. But this is only deals with the external manifestation, not the internal problem. Another good point, brought up by Omonomono, is that Jormungand does do a good job showcasing the delusions of power and grandeur that weapons bring about in people, and so it can be argued that guns are partially responsible for deaths. If forced to concretely pick a side though, I guess I agree with Jormungand – given any sort of tool, the responsibility for it’s usage ultimately lies with the user, not within the tool itself. But that’s not to say the tool has no effect on the user. But that’s possibly a discussion for another time.
Can you “impose” peace? This is also an especially tricky one, and a question that has come to fruition with Koko’s masterplan “Jormungand”. I actually have to admit, I was quite stunned at the sheer naivete of this plan. To me, it seemed like Koko was trying to get back at the world for forcing her to endure hardship. It’s not feasible at all in the long term – it’s only a matter of time until Koko either dies, or someone else invents another quantum computer to beat hers. So her small “kill 700,000 people now to save lives in the future” argument totally falls apart when you consider what timescales are at work – mainly, that it would be only her lifetime, or around 70 or so more years. Even assuming she didn’t abuse her God-like powers and manages to keep her dictatorship up, it would require some time to make all those deaths up. Maybe not the cruelty that usually accompany those deaths in warzones though.
But let’s just talk about the issue in an abstract sense. Luckily for us, it has already been discussed, and in none other than Code Geass! There, Lelouch “imposes” world peace by straight-up conquering the world. And what’s the resolution there? He martyrs himself to eliminate the chain of hatred that has arisen, in the hope that humanity will work together to bring about a better future. So Code Geass’s answer is that a dictatorship, even a benevolent one, is not a valid answer, and that in the end it must be the will of the people. Or maybe that until humanity can fully work together for world peace, we don’t deserve such a dictatorship (in a similar train of thought as overreaching technologically before we’re ready). Seen in this light, the answer is simple: No. Koko’s plan is then both fundamentally and practically flawed.
I, however, tend to take a moderate stance – done correctly, such a dictatorship may indeed lead to world peace. It would involve not only creating a world without conflict, but keeping it long enough to raise a generation that will not cause one (among other things, but that’s the main one). And that’s tough to do, but theoretically possible.
What is the relationship between Koko and Jonah? Another great question. Let’s go into what Jonah is meant to symbolize first. Being a child, he is meant to show a purity not often seen on the battlefield (nonetheless tainted by war, his heart remains honest). Not only that, his hair is white (another symbol of purity) while his eyes red (as blood). It’s good use of color associations (even if it turns out to be totally BS on my part). So Jonah is supposed to be a beacon of hope, of purity and innocence, amongst the enternally festering wound in the side of mankind that is war. And his presence, as R implied, is what keeps Koko at least partially anchored. He’s thus someone special to Koko, who she wants to be around at all times, who reminds her of her humanity and causes, and who she manages to talk to and tease all the time. He might be (and probably is) the core reason behind her plan in the first place. In this context, a shota-esque relation is nothing unusual – a simple morphing of an idealistic love into a more physical one, complete with all the strangeness that accompanies it. In fact, it’s very understandable and was portrayed quite well, and I’m glad to see the show didn’t shy from exploring this direction. I’ll also include a section of Guardian Enzo’s post from Random Curiosity that talks about the same dynamic:
Ultimately Jormungand comes down to the two things that it was always destined to, Koko’s master plan and her relationship with Jonah – and the two are utterly inseparable. Indeed, it’s possible to assume from Koko’s behavior that she’s doing all this for Jonah – or at the very least, that her feelings for him were the catalyst to drive her to achieve her dream. And just what are those feelings, and what is that relationship? It’s a testament to how complex the answer is that to say “they love each other” is the easy part – they most certainly do. But what does love mean when it’s between an arms dealer in her 20’s and a boy half her age? Does she care for him as a protector, a mother even – a symbol of everything she wants to preserve? Maybe Koko wants to impose a false innocence on both the world and on Jonah – he has only two possible paths after all, to grow up or to die. And there’s little innocence in her behavior with Jonah in the bath, though perhaps there might be love. Koko has played a sort of half-sexual teasing game with Jonah all through the series, but never so overtly as this – as if the excitement at the impending reveal of Jormungand caused her feelings for Jonah to boil over.
Of course there are a host of another issues (the changing nature of conflict, for one, is spotlighted in the show), but I’m too lazy to discuss them here. And besides, the show illustrates them much better than I could put it into words.
Note: I admit to taking photos from Random Curiosity, since they were just such high quality.