Category Archives: Franchises

Wolves and Koko Puffs

When I was reading about people’s first reactions to Jormungand the animation, some compared it to Spice & Wolf. I didn’t really see the comparison being valid beyond the superficial similarity of having a strong personality of a woman in the context of the intrigue of bartering. But after 3 episodes, I see where the real similarity lies.

Koko is a wolf. In fact she is the wolf that Horo never seems to be, at least after 3 volumes of the novels. It’s how far I’ve read in Spicywolf before giving up.

By wolf I mean, perhaps, the best example of wolf that anime keeps on using: the fable of the Little Red Riding Hood. This is the human wolf–a wolf pretending to be a person in order to achieve the wolf’s wolf-y goals. Which is usually about being a wolf’s survival, or desire to eat somebody, or some such.

An example of the Little Red symbology in play is Jin-Roh. And Jin-Roh is, by all means, the best fictional depiction of what it means to be a wolf, in my humble opinion, in the context of Japanese pop culture. It’s a little more psychologically edgier than the simple “ronin” or lone wolf concept, which is more about the individualism that we Americans associate with our cultural heritage. Indeed, in order to appear wolf-like, these individuals have to exist alongside with normal human beings, and even work with them. It is very hard to act aloof and deceptive if there’s nobody close to you. It’s why the Big Bad Wolf gets to have a conversation with Little Red Riding Hood. The culture of fitting in, as it is in Japan, makes the wolf blend in to his or her environs easier. It’s the wolf’s disguise.

Koko is rather the exception in that regard. She stands out like a sore thumb at a glance. Her manic smile is clearly a sign of something is odd about this one. Some might even consider her moe, which is probably running against the grain in a Black Lagoon-like setting. Koko’s wider-than-usual mouth makes me asks why she has such a wide mouth. The childish and girly exterior betrays the calculating and pragmatic mind it carries. To that extent it is already less of a wolf-in-sheepskin as much as just a wolf (as opposed to Jin-Roh, where the “wolf” is actually a wolf pretending to be a sheep inside a wolf’s skin). She is clearly a wolf among wolves, except this wolf looks like a sheep.

Indeed, Koko, why do you have such a big mouth?

The setup is pretty nice given that we’re seeing the story developing as a relationship between Koko and Jonah. Jonah looks like a wolf, too, but I suppose we’ll get to see if Jonah only looks the look or not. For starters, he might not even rock the look that Koko does.

There’s a lot to like, for me, about Koko and Jormungand the anime. It’s great to see Iwasaki being fun to listen to again. It’s unfortunate that the radio drama cast didn’t carry over again but I’ll live. Koko’s shotacon ships also adds to that wolf-ness, don’t you think? Like, she’s gonna eat him whole? LOL. I think White Fox’s got a solid hit on their hands again.

PS. If you’ve never seen Oshii & Okiura’s masterpiece Jin-Roh, go knock yourself out on Hulu. Or import the re-release Blu-ray!


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