12 Days of Anime: Day 3 – Jormungand: Perfect Order and World Domination

Day 3: Jormungand: Perfect Order

On the third day of anime my waifu gave to me,
three Jormungands…
two rockin’ Joestars…
and a chu2 from KyoAni!

The close-ups of Koko’s face have been getting more and more terrifying as the show has progressed.

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.

adsa

Will men (or even children) like Jonah and Lutz always be forced to exist in order to guarantee others can live a life free from conflict?

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.

According to the themes of the show, whoever is at the end of this drone should take full responsibility,

Even with the advent of predator drones, the message here is that someone still has to be pulling the trigger, and so ultimately we’re still responsible for the ensuing death and destruction. Making it easier doesn’t make it the drone’s “fault” – it just makes our pre-existing desires easier to manifest.

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.

Noticeably, Code Geass also tries to deal with the question of WMDs using

Noticeably, besides imposing world peace in a similar manner to Koko’s (albeit a bit more brutal), Code Geass also tries to deal with the question of WMDs in general (e.g. FLEYA and the Damocles) at the same time.

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.

Before.

Before. @_@

After. O_O

After. O_O

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.

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9 responses to “12 Days of Anime: Day 3 – Jormungand: Perfect Order and World Domination

  1. Koko’s relationship with Jonah is the most fascinating thing in the show.

    Her entire plan here feels tailor-made to make Jonah happy – for the child who so despises war and weapons yet so respects Koko for her neutral middleman role, eliminating war, disabling all weapons, and leaving Koko as their sole keeper, all of this fits perfectly as a naive attempt to give Jonah all the desires Koko most plainly sees in his heart. Telling here is how excited she was telling Jonah about how wonderful her plan was going to be, and even more so, the utter shock in her voice when Jonah so violently rejects it.

    Jonah’s role has been as a grounding for her crazy . He is the face of everyone that is affected by what she does – both a child destroyed by war and a soldier who knows nothing else. They share a powerful bond of some rare form of love that is neither familial nor sexual, but rather the result of each being a perfect representation of what the other does not understand about the world, and at the same time most strongly wishes to understand. They are perfect complements to fill the voids that war has torn in each others’ hearts.

    They are humanizers for each other – Koko needs Jonah to help her realize when her loco has gone too far, and Jonah needs Koko to quell his anger and frustration with the rest of humanity.

    I honestly have trouble following the plot of Jormungand, so I don’t know how long this particular plan of Koko’s has been building up, but it feels like it was all done to impress Jonah – to make him happy, to show him how much she’s learned and how important he is to her. She is desperate to show him just how much she loves him, something we see manifest itself physically in the bath scene. But by being so caught up in appealing to the one side of Jonah she can most strongly relate to, Jonah becomes a goal to her, not a person. And when Koko sets her sights on a goal she will obsessively strive to reach it, no matter what.

    The look on her face, the tone of her voice in the last scene of the episode says it all: when Jonah rejected her plan, the world as she saw it shattered. The creepy faces of absolute confidence and singleminded obsession, which had been getting progressively more intense, were gone in that instant. To put it simply, Koko had gone full loco, and Jonah had brought her crashing back to reality with the force of every aircraft on the planet.

    Jormungand is a chore for me to sit through for most of its length, but when it gets good, MAN does it get good.

    • “They share a powerful bond of some rare form of love that is neither familial nor sexual…”
      This entirely section I totally agree with, and your explanation was short and succinct!

      “it feels like it was all done to impress Jonah”
      I can definitely see this point of view, but I’m sure I totally buy it…yet. They mention she had been working on it for quite some time with Dr. Miami (they never say how long), so I’m assuming they started before Jonah was on board. I’m most inclined she took her plan into full overdrive with the death of R, which is particularly ironic considering he died to save Jonah, who’s death would’ve ultimately caused who-knows-what and would’ve been much worse. Maybe we say Hex had the last laugh in the end?
      As for the plan, I think it’s now morphed into something that simultaneously justifies R’s death and Jonah’s suffering/future happiness, but I can’t help but imagine originally it was conceived out of revenge for a world that has continually shown her it’s worst side. That depends on the timetable though – if there’s clear evidence she began after meeting Jonah, I’ll totally switch over to your viewpoint for the most part. But we’ll have to wait and see – I’m fairly certain the next episodes will elaborate on her motivations.

      “To put it simply, Koko had gone full loco”
      Well-played good sir. ;)

      • Yep, this is where my “I have trouble paying attention to this show’s plot” comes into play. Something about the way the story is told makes it really hard for me to follow most of the time and I have no idea why. So I feel like there was probably some mention or hint or something earlier of when she started the project, but if there was I don’t remember it.

        I like the idea that, rather than starting this project to please Jonah, she had already had it in progress before meeting him and it has only now been contorted to fit her new worldview – a worldview brought about by meeting Jonah and through R’s death. If that is the case, it’d be a great way to even better humanize Koko and show how much yet how subtly she has been changed and manipulated by her own emotions.

        Whatever her reason may be, I’m sure we’ll find out soon enough.

    • i think u are correct mostly, but she did the plan to get out of her job, not to impress Jonah, Koko hated her job as well, she hated it sins she was younger & was put in life threatening situations, her flashbacks & other things made it clear that she hates her job

      • Although you replied to BokuSatchii, I thought I might as well jump in.

        You have a good point. Koko definitely didn’t enjoy her job, and something like this would be a way out of it. That doesn’t necessarily explain why she seemed to wait so long for Jonah to come back to her though, or why his reunion was the touchstone that seemed to be the start of her plan. Or, more basically, why she didn’t just “quit” or do something similar – she clearly had enough time and money that she could’ve gotten along through other means, rather than having this whole world domination thing. But then again, she might be loco enough to go that route, so your guess is as good as mine! ;)

  2. Pingback: Fall 2012 Season Review | SatchiiKoma·

  3. Koko cares for Jonah & wanted hes approval of her plan, dose that explain it well enough, cause its clear that Koko cares for Jonah quite deeply, i think u would W8 to in her choose fir the person u care for to approve ur plan, cause if she would not W8 she wold lose Jonah for good, well i do think Koko & Jonah love each other in a romantic way & Koko W8 for him to grow up more, Jonah seem to be 10-14 & Koko 18-25

  4. they shold continue the story. write new manga, we ton’t know will Koko & Jonah become couple when Jonah grows up a bit or not, & second it just got interesting, cause we ton’t know will Koko’s plan work or will it turn out like Kasper say’d, 2 meany questions unanswered

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