Jing: King of Bandits or King of Bandit Jing (王ドロボウJING Ō Dorobō Jing) is a 13 episode Anime based on the manga series of the same name. A slightly unknown Anime in the sense it never went mainstream and flew very under the radar, many Anime fans might not have bothered with it or even missed it all together. It is to this day one of my favourite Anime series in existence. With such a simple idea and plot this Anime manages to entertain and engross the viewer over the course of the series.
Released: May 15th 2002
Studio: Studio Deen
Director: Hiroshi Watanabe
Writer: Yuichi Kumakura
The series follows our protagonist Jing also known as the bandit king and his partner in crime Kir. For the most part King of Bandit Jing is a series of typically unconnected stories although having an underlying plot connected to Jing himself that helps to keep the viewer engrossed, this storyline is only hinted at and mentioned infrequently but it does very much make you want to know what and why he is doing what he doing. The episodes or “shots” vary but have a reoccurring theme in the narrative of Jing and Kir traveling to different settings for example a clockwork city, technicolour town and a city of thieves in the hunt for a new treasure that Jing desires usually with a random woman in tow. What is refreshing about the series is that each episode is individual in the sense of the ending or result of how Jing steals his target which is not always the way the viewer expects. With each episode there is usually an upset to some restrictive establishment due to Jing’s involvement, kings/rulers are dethroned and corrupt religious institutions are crumbled.
What can be seen throughout the series is the constant reference to alcoholic beverages in particularly cocktails. Episodes are called “shots” and in each one there is a person whose name is an alcoholic beverage. This continues with place names where each and every one is named after a cocktail of some kind for example Blue Hawaii and Coco-Oco. As a child watching this series you couldn’t appreciate these names as much as an adult but now I realise how much adult humour and references there are in this series especially from Kir.
King of Bandit Jing is solely focused on the travels and adventures of Jing and Kir so one would think their character development would be a core piece of the story but it’s not. There is some development but nothing major but you still find yourself liking them both.
Jing himself is known as the bandit king and often deceives his enemies as they don’t expect the “bandit king” to be so young. He is all the characteristics of a thief; he is slick and charismatic with confidence to boot. For the most part chooses his targets at random, from myths or rumours he hears. Jing is as cool as a cucumber even when being attacked by gambling zombies, he keeps this attitude up throughout the entire series. This leads to him being a bit boring, nothing seems to bother him or dent his mood even when things don’t go the way he plans which isn’t often and in the grand scheme of things he’s a dreary protagonist but thankfully he is saved by his side kick Kir. His character design on the other hand is amazing, from his gravity defying sleek black hair to his trademark flowing orange trench coat – his boyish design with his manly attitude for some reason works amazingly within the surroundings of the series. The only piece of personal information we have about Jing and his life before being the bandit king is his connection to a gem he constantly has on his person but its purpose is never fully exposed.
Kir being Jing’s right hand man so to speak is a talking albatross but luckily not the typical talking animal character, he is the comic relief and genuinely funny at being it. He has a fiery personality with a big mouth he doesn’t know how to keep shut. He flirts incessantly with every woman he meets and is always shot down but more for the things he says and not that he is a bird. Where Jing expresses interest in his targets at random and not by worth, Kir is much greedier. Jing’s main attack is called a ‘Kir Royale’ and not to ruin what is an amazing attack sequence but basically Jing uses Kir as a weapon. It is an awesome idea for a weapon and is executed perfectly with amazing animation and music with a kick ass tagline of “Gimme a Kir Royale” tying into the constant reference to alcohol.
The animation in this series is downright amazing, it is cell shaded with hardly any use of thick black lines which creates a nice balance with the amazing bright colours used throughout the series. The animation matches the tone of the show unbelievably in the sense that the bright colours and shading complements the humour and craziness of the story. King of Bandit Jing is one of my favourite Anime series but I am also one of the first to say it has its faults.; where it falls down on lack of character development it makes up for in clear comic relief within the characters and episodes. The show doesn’t take itself very seriously and that’s not a bad thing but don’t expect a lot of depth or substance.
That said if you’re looking for a laugh and easy going Anime then King of Bandit Jing is the Anime for you.
[easyreview title=”The Arcade Verdict” cat1title=”Story” cat1detail=” Where there is a lack of a continuous story the individual shots are entertaining in narrative” cat1rating=”7″ cat2title=”Animation” cat2detail=”Amazing in the bright colours and hints at comedy” cat2rating=”9″ cat3title=”Music” cat3detail=”Well balanced with the series” cat3rating=”7″ overall=”true”]