A very interesting character, Koko Hekmatyar.
She is a character that I very much enjoyed in Jormungand. Analysis isn’t exactly my strong suit, or at least it isn’t here on the blog (ironic considering my job title is that of an analyst!). So I figured I’d write this post regarding the many faces of Koko Hekmatyar, and hopefully I can think of some insightful observations as we go.
Either way, I’ve got a lot of Koko screencaps!
Jormungand & Jormungand: Perfect Order Spoilers Ahead!
We don’t see very much of young Koko Hekmatyar, but we do hear her crew bring up the past often enough to get a general idea of what young Koko was like as she “rose to power” as an arms dealer.
We know that Koko was introduced to the arms trade at a young age by her father, Floyd Hekmatyar. Floyd had Koko become involved with HCLI (weapon & logistics corporation owned by the Hekmatyar family) early on in her life. Considering Koko’s reactions when her father is brought up, I imagine that she resents him. I’d like to say this is because he denied her childhood or something like this, but I don’t think we ever find out the exact reasons behind her disdain for her father.
Anyways, Koko started out young in the business. An interesting business for someone to grow into like this, and we can see that her early involvement helped to hone her business sense and intuition.
Through flashbacks and stories, we hear a bit about how Koko was earlier on in her career. Prior to the death of one of her bodyguards, we get a glimpse of Koko acting distressed and panicked under fire – I’d go so far as to say she acted bratty, ordering her bodyguards to help her because that’s what she pays them to do. While I have no further proof, and I understand that this would have been a very distressing situation (being shot at), I’d like to think that this is how Koko was back then. Bratty and entitled, even if just a little bit. It makes sense really, considering she is the daughter of a man who owns one of the world’s largest weapons & logistics corporations.
The anime shows us that Koko learns from the loss of her bodyguard and her actions at the time of his death. His final wish was for her to smile more often, and this is what she began to do moving forward. Perhaps she felt partly to blame for his death, as he was trying to protect her while she was in total panic, and this was her way of atoning for his death and making sure it didn’t happen again.
Finally, we also learn that Koko was (and still is) very high energy, and a child at heart. Behind the arms dealing expertise and professionalism, there is an energetic girl. We find out that Koko was often entertained by the explosive antics of Wiley, the squad’s explosives expert. Below is a picture of Koko reacting to one of his explosive demonstrations, next to Wiley himself.
Arms Dealer Koko
Several times throughout Jormungand, we see the arms dealing genius that is Koko Hekmatyar. Not only does she dress as a professional, she also is able to enter into an arms deal and come out with what she wanted. Even if things go sour, Koko manages to turn the situation around. Trained from a young age, it’s clear that Koko really knows her stuff.
I believe that Koko’s territory as an HCLI representative is Europe and Africa. Her brother Kasper deals with Asia, and I guess their father deals with North & South America? Something like this at least.
Koko is a consummate professional. Even when she knows that people are after her life, and rival dealers are out trying to take her business, she just knows where to be and what to do. I’m not sure what else I can really say about Koko the arms dealer, but she is really impressive at what she does. Following her various deals throughout the anime was a very fun experience.
Squad Leader Koko
One thing that is notable about Koko is her large squad of bodyguards. Her crew is much larger than most of the other arms dealers we see in the anime, including her brother. I’d like to chalk this up to several reasons:
- Koko is more aggressive in her tactics / dealings, and so she appreciates having a large squad & variety of talent behind her to help her carry out these aggressive tendencies. We certainly see this style in play throughout the anime, Koko is not afraid to stand up and fight in order to close a deal or take care of her competitors.
- Koko’s charisma attracts talented individuals. She is a sales expert for sure, and we see several times that Koko is very adept at selling the bodyguard job to talented prospects. She is also a very interesting person, one that people may want to be around and work for.
- Koko as a person attracts strong individuals who want to protect her. Not only because she is a fairly slim woman, but because she is a visionary. People who meet Koko would quickly come to learn that she is an important and precious individual that is well worth protecting.
All of these reasons I believe lead to Koko hiring and maintaining such a large, loyal squad of talented bodyguards. Koko really is just such an interesting character, and not just because she is an arms dealer. I never got the same feeling of importance from Kasper as I did from Koko, despite both characters being prominent arms dealers in the world of Jormungand. There’s just something about Koko that I can see attracting people to her.
From the first episode to the last. Koko’s intuition is always on point, and she always manages to put herself in a winning position. Both through battles of wits and actual battles. Many times we see situations play out, only to find out that Koko had anticipated the turn of events all along.
I’m not going to get into the various specific situations where Koko demonstrates her tactical prowess (you really should watch the anime for that if you haven’t already!), but it is clear that she knows when to fight, when to run, and when she can use tactics / trickery to her advantage.
I think this is impressive mainly because it’s not necessarily a skill that an arms dealer would require. Again, Kasper for example doesn’t strike me as the type to win battles through tactical superiority – when we see him in action, he employs more brute force to situations. Which I can understand because he is a very over-confident individual. Koko even mentions that Kasper is the type to down a glass of wine in one gulp – indicative that Kasper rushes into things.
Koko’s aggressive tendencies must have caused her to learn and train her ability to strategize and plan out battles. Considering her bratty side that she had when she was younger, I’d attribute her tactical prowess to the fact that Koko hates losing. And because she hates losing, she uses every possible tool at her disposal to win – which means employing trickery, deception, strategy, tactics, etc. to her advantage.
As I mentioned earlier, Koko is a very high energy and childish person. Just like her professional squad of bodyguards, she can turn serious in an instant – but when she doesn’t feel the need, she shows a very childish side. Temper tantrums when she is angry, to goofy and unpredictable actions when she is happy and energetic. Koko must have realized that she would never make it if she maintained a serious composure her entire life. Arms dealing is probably one of the most stressful professions one could have, I imagine. Acting childish and goofing off is a method that Koko likely uses to blow off steam and maintain her sanity.
When you consider that being a frontline soldier is one of the most stressful jobs that anyone can work, I have to think that being an arms dealer whose life is constantly in danger must experience a similar level of stress. If Koko acted serious all the time, who knows what type of person she would become?
Speaking of which..
The final face I’d like to mention is devious Koko. Throughout the anime we see glimpses into the inner monster that is Koko Hekmatyar. What is going on behind that smile? While I just mentioned that she probably acts childish to blow off steam, what if the whole thing is just an act?
Is there any part of Koko Hekmatyar that can be considered good? Her actions and attitude might suggest that she has a light-hearted side, but who knows for sure?
For a very long time we see this hidden side to Koko. It’s abundantly clear that she is hiding something, not just to us the viewer but the characters within the anime as well. Eventually we do learn that Koko has a secret plan for the world that only her and Dr. Miami know about. Then we begin to wonder, is this an evil plan? What’s going on in Koko’s head?
Even after learning about Koko’s plan, it’s hard to say for sure whether her intentions are good or bad.
For those who may want a refresher or are curious, Koko’s plan was to build the world’s first quantum computer, which she aptly named Jormungand, capable of outperforming all known computers on Earth. Using this, she could hack and control the entire digital world at a whim. Once launched into Earth’s orbit, the computer itself is basically untouchable.
Koko then wanted to completely shut down all air traffic, emptying the skies of all aircraft. This not only prevents war from the skies, but also prevents a lot of global trade, travel, etc. She then could shut down the seas as well, and even land transportation for the most part if she liked. The idea is to forcibly bring about peace by slowing the world down, through forcing people to take a step backwards technologically.
My real question with Koko’s plan is why she came up with it in the first place. Does she truly have an admirable ideal of creating world peace and reducing lives lost through war? Or does she harbour a grudge against weaponry & dealing arms, and simply wish to destroy the profession? Maybe the whole thing is to get back at her father who forced her into the lifestyle?
Either way, I do think that it’s admirable. I personally believe that technology and by extension globalization are moving too fast for humanity to keep up, and worry that our world is headed towards major conflict and strife in the future as a result. When you think about how devastating the last world war was, and add new technology to that, the prospects are certainly frightening.
Being a traditional person myself, I also see older ways and methods of living as more honest in this regard. Technology sort of feels like cheating, or moving away from what we humans were designed to do. There is just so much that we don’t know, and yet we continue to charge forward with new technologies. Even now there are generations of people who are born into a world that is vastly different from the one that I was born into. Are people really getting smarter? Or just more reliant on technology?
Anyways, my point here is that I actually quite like Koko’s plan, or the idea behind it at least. I just don’t know what her personal reasons are. They may be good, they may not. She demonstrates that she is willing to sacrifice human lives in order to see her plan come to fruition…
Koko Hekmatyar & Jonah
Only she doesn’t put her plan into action right away because of Jonah. Why is this?
The final piece of Koko that we see is her relationship with Jonah. Koko dotes on him, constantly hugging him and treating him like a prized pet. While Jonah is one of her bodyguards, I don’t think she hired him for his fighting ability – although it does come in handy many times throughout the anime.
Squad member R mentions that he believes Jonah is Koko’s limiter. Jonah is someone who keeps Koko grounded in reality, and prevents her from acting too rash or becoming a monster.
I think that this theory is somewhat correct, but I’d like to expand upon it.
I believe that Koko brought Jonah in not just to keep her own actions in check, but because Jonah hates weapons and war. Why is this important? Because I believe that Koko also hates weapons and war, just as much as Jonah, if not more. She sees this part of herself in Jonah. Jonah’s presence motivates Koko to bring her plan to fruition, to attempt to forcibly end war worldwide.
And this is why Jonah’s opinion was so important, and why she waited for Jonah before enacting her plan. She could have enacted it once the quantum computer was complete, but when Jonah left her squad after hearing that there would be initial casualties, she waited. Koko waited for two years for Jonah to come back – because Jonah represents her reasons for Jormungand in the first place. She wanted someone who was just like her to approve of her plan, and Jonah was that person.
Jonah is the final piece to Koko, and the reason for her actions throughout the anime. It’s only once Jonah joins that she begins to actively work towards her secret goal. It certainly explains why Jonah is a main character, despite not seeming that important. Jonah truly is a very important character to Koko Hekmatyar, he is not just a child soldier turned bodyguard.
Anyways, that’s my personal theory as to why Koko was so close to Jonah, and why she was willing to put her plan on hold for two full years (while the world erupted in war) until Jonah came back before putting her plan into motion. His approval was truly important to Koko, important enough that she may have never gone through with it at all had Jonah not come back to her.
And that’s all I have to write about Koko Hekmatyar!
I hope you all enjoyed this rare analysis post.
Koko Hekmatyar is a fun character that makes Jormungand a great anime, so I really wanted to write about her.
Until next time.
Thanks for reading!