I wrote about Jormungand a little while back, and now that the series has finished up I wanted to weigh in on some of the issues discussed there (and in the comments).
Concerning motivations, I’d say that the motives discussed previously are largely borne out – Koko’s plan does seem to be a way to get back at the world. But there’s a twist – now I’m not sure if it’s completely out of spite. Compared to Kasper, Koko shows herself to be much more of an optimist (or at least an idealist). Her “I hate the world” speech contrasted beautifully with Jonah’s “I love the world” statements just an episode back…but perhaps she does love the world after all, just in her own, twisted way. While the emotional components guessed at were never explicitly discussed in the show, they were heavily implied in the last episode, leading me to think that Koko motivation has indeed become very Jonah-centric. Not in the sense that she won’t go forward with her plan, but that his acknowledgement and support means the world to her (literally). Most noticeably, although she is able to activate Jormungand for some time (a few days), she delays it until Jonah calls out for her to take action.
Now of course, we come to the actual plan itself. The introduction of Jormungand into space is a clever move, and it does allay my fears of a surprise attack throwing her plan to hell. Leaving aside the technicalities of “imposing” the global no-fly zone (since Koko seems to have done a thorough job), we see that the end result of initiating Jormungand very much is open for debate. And of course, the two possible end results are discussed by the two Hekmatyar siblings (woohoo parallelism!).
Kasper embodies the cynic: he believes that humanity is inherently dark and violent, and that Jormungand will only temporarily thwart our desire for war. Our violent urges will instead lead to different types of war (land and naval-based, ultimately ones more profitable to arms dealers) within Koko’s New World. He believes arms dealers will always have a place in this world to serve the violent impulses of humanity – as messengers of Life and Death. And I think he enjoys what he does.
Koko embodies the optimist: she believes that there is some good in us (or at least that shame/humiliation will override our violent impulses), and so Jormungand will cause us to sit back, reflect, and ultimately work together towards a brighter future. She hates being an arms dealer, but always manages to keep her emotions hidden under a mask. And with the (hopeful) demise of war through Jormungand, her role will be over. Koko even refers to herself as a “former arms dealer”.
Koko’s attitude parallels the resolution in Code Geass (referenced last time), but rather than martyring yourself to end the chains of hatred in order to help humanity “bury the hatchet”, you simply shame them into it. Both involve an individual crazed enough to seek some form of world domination. However, similar to Lelouch’s solution in Code Geass, I have to wonder whether Koko’s solution will be enough, and how long it might last. I do have to agree that shame is indeed a powerful (and often underestimated) emotion, but I’m not sure if I share her confidence here.
We can see that Koko’s plan is still in a way childish, in the sense that it depends on the belief of inherent “goodness” in other people – but ultimately I feel I was too harsh on her in my original post. Especially once we take the (likely) impending wars for water and natural resources into account (something I had completely overlooked, although it’s more apparent in hindsight, and perhaps eerily prophetic…), Koko’s plan no longer seems nearly as brutal or outrageous. And we notice that after the time-skip in the last episode, casualties have already surpassed those she would be responsible for from the activation of Jormungand. The world proves Koko’s point for her, and all Jonah can do is sit back and despair.
Now, the question of whether the world would prove Koko’s point is one that’s up for debate. The series obviously shows the end result if we keep up with the status quo, and most of the scenarios are quite believeable given today’s current state of affairs. But of course this also assumes that we will not band together and fix our problems, even on the verge of World War III, until Koko does something as drastic as this. I mean, our track record currently isn’t so hot, but there’s always hope, right?
Of course, Koko’s not a normal happy-go-lucky optimist – this is Jormungand after all. There’s a reason she’s shown sitting on a chair reminiscent of a throne when she’s talking to Kasper.
This second season (the last episode especially) has also given us a glimpse into Koko’s madness. Here she truly emerges as the physical personification of a dragon (possibly even Jormungand, the World Serpent). Ultimately, she just wants to create the new world – the issue of world peace or the end of conflict, or any overarching moral high ground, seems to have become secondary in her quest to at least try and reinvent the world. Is this because of Jonah? Does she simply want to create a new world for him, together? Kasper’s detailing of Jonah’s tortured psyche, a hatred a violence and weapons but a taste for them, might be hinting at this. I don’t know – this could all be over-speculation on my part, and the show doesn’t delve too much further into their relationship (nooooo – my shota!).
So who is crazier: Koko or the world? I guess Koko really is loco after all, but who’s to say the world isn’t any stranger? Like most of the cast of Jormungand, I too must be caught up in her madness, because I might actually look forward to seeing her tantalizing New World. In any case, this is probably the end of the road for the series, since the manga wraps up at the same point. Personally, I’m satisfied with the open-ended ending, and really enjoyed the show for its full two-season run.