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Jormungand, Vol. 11

It’s time for the midweek manga review, here at Sequential Ink! This week I’ll be taking a look at Jormungand, Vol. 11, but first… the news!

 

 

 

 

Without further ado, this week’s review of Jormungand, Vol. 11!

Jomrmungand, Vol. 11Jormungand, Vol. 11
by Keitaro Takahashi
Viz, 192 pp.
Rating: Mature Readers (18 +)

After ten volumes Keitaro Takahashi’s manga about war, arms dealing and more comes to its conclusion. Koko’s ultimate plan to end war stands revealed, but the fact that it’ll cost 700,000 people their lives causes Jonah to question it’s implementation.

I didn’t like this series when I first read it several years ago, and unsurprisingly, returning to the last volume hasn’t really done anything to make me rethink that stance. Koko’s entire plan hinges on “shaming” humanity via super computers that can decrypt and access any network. She simply shrugs off the 700,000 casualties that will follow as a necessary sacrifice for the greater good. A good chunk of the volume is spent with Koko showing off the power of her super computers by making an example of a potential threat to her plan, via an elaborate trap and rescue operation. The rest of the volume is heavily focused on Jonah wandering off confused about whether he should side with Koko or not. Sadly his internal moral struggle is reduced to nearly nothing. Having been absent from the series for an extended period, this volume doesn’t do much for me. That might sound odd, but with a well written series and a well handled resolution coming in at the tail end can cause one to seek out the rest of the story to see how events lead up to this moment. Jormungand, Vol. 11 doesn’t do that.

The biggest problem with this volume, for me, was Koko’s plan. It’s just stupidly over the top and feels like something from one of the campier James Bond movies. Her willingness to sacrifice nearly 1 million people in the hopes of “shaming” the world out of war simply furthers this, making her feel less like someone making hard choices and more like a cackling villain, something that’s reinforced by her cackling after admitting that it might not work. While the volume has quite the open ended climax, it feels like Koko’s ultimately vindicated that her plan isn’t insane and half baked when Jonah returns to her in the end.

Page from "Jormundgand, Vol. 11"

Pretty sure it’s you, Koko.

Keitaro Takashi’s artwork wasn’t terribly appealing in the early volumes, and it continues to be so in this climatic volume. Faces are distorted, body postures are stiff and awkward, and there’s an abundance of toning to make up for the lack of backgrounds. Characters simply standing around look strangely and unnaturally posed throughout the volume. Faces in particular stand out as being very odd looking. On more than one occasion Jonah’s face ends up looking like a disturbingly smooth and angled lump, giving it a creepy unnatural feel and making it rather unnerving to look at. None of the character designs are terribly memorable either, with most consisting of fairly contemporary clothing. The one that jumps out the most is Valmet, but that’s due more to her distinguishing eye patch rather than anything else. The brief action scene we get ends up feeling like a bit of a rushed mess, with no real panel to panel flow and no sense of where people are in relation to each other.

Ultimately Jormungand’s final volume failed to elicit any reaction from me other than relief that I bailed on the series way back when, saving myself both money and time. The insane plot for world peace lacks the moral ambiguity needed to make it work, and Koko’s attitude simply makes her come off as an over the top super villain rather than an intelligent and competent schemer seeking to make the world a better place. I know it’s got a fairly strong following, but the initial volumes didn’t impress and neither did the final volume.

Jormungand, Vol. 11 is available now from Viz Media.

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