King of Bandit Jing Collection (Thinpak) (of 1) (Mania.com)
Review Date: Wednesday, January 11, 2006
Release Date: Tuesday, October 18, 2005
What They Say
Hide your coin pouches! No priceless bauble or exquisite jewel is safe from the leering eyes and stealthy hands of Jing, the King of Bandits. With a heart of gold, and a wisecracking, girl-crazy bird sidekick, Jing steals his way through one exciting adventure after another!
Studio Deen’s stylish adaptation of the successful manga gets the thinpak treatment.
For my primary viewing session, I listened to the show in my native language of English. This show was dubbed in 2003 by ADV’s satellite recording studio in Austin Texas, Monster Island, which was sadly shut down in 2005. Joey Hood is well suited as the self-assured Jing, and Ron Berry is a treat as his verbose sidekick, Kir. Grey Haddock turns in a cryptic yet affable performance as Postino, the only other regular character in the show. The episode characters were generally very good, with several excellent performances from Monster Island veterans like Larissa Wolcott, Shawn Sides, and Edwin Neal, and only one poor performance, Nathan Parsons as Angostura in the final story arc. The audio was well mixed, with plenty of action in the middle, but a good use of the left and right speakers as well.
The video transfer is excellent, making full use of the show’s dark but strong color palette. I saw no problems with aliasing or cross-coloration. The show really seems to pop out of the screen, making this a great looking release.
The box art is rather ornate, with gold filigree flowing around the images of Jing and Kir on the front and back covers, as well as the spine. The art is all one piece for all three surfaces, rather than individual images. Inside, the disc cases use the attractive cover art from the individual releases. The back covers have individual episode number, titles and synopsis for each episode with circular screencaps. The discs are black with a grinning cat’s head death mask on each one. Overall, the packaging is well done, with good consistency between the design elements and the show.
The main menu is awash in red, with Jing standing center stage. Individual episodes are accessible along the left side, with language options and previews (available on the first disc only) on the right. The language menu is a simple image of one of the cities with the options on the right side. There is no transition animation to slow the viewer down. The menus are simple but effective and very easy to navigate.
As with nearly all of ADV’s thinpak sets, the only extras are previews, available on the first disc only.
(Please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers) Jing is a young bandit, who uses his youth to fool his intended targets into letting him into places they’d never allow more typical looking bandits. He’s cocky, but not unduly so. His sidekick is Kir, a wisecracking black bird with a taste for beautiful women. Kir also doubles as a weapon that Jing can wear on his arm, firing deadly fireballs from his throat. A young messenger on a motorcycle by the name of Postino shows up in every episode just to give Jing a couple of cryptic words of advice before moving on. The world Jing lives in is an odd mix of surreal, fantasy and gaslight adventure.
Each episode feels is a small parable, usually on the folly of greed or the destructiveness of unchecked desires. Quite often, the prize Jing is after isn’t money or jewels, but simply to see or experience something new. Each episode also includes a beautiful young woman for Jing to charm. In the first disc, Jing searches for one of “The Twin Mermaids” who is guarded by an evil bandit. He then investigates a ghost ship with the pretty daughter of the local sheriff. He visits a city that is tyrannized by a man with a love for timeliness, and he searches for a missing piece of art with the beautiful daughter of the artist.
In the second volume, Jing teams up with a pretty young woman who claims to have the clues necessary to find a fabled city where the inhabitants have learned the secret of immortality. While transporting a couple of Por Voras, a most cuddly yet dangerous cargo, Jing travels with a beautiful, sexy gunslinger who is searching for her father’s murderer. He then travels to an island where musical instruments are made, and Kir helps a hopelessly clumsy but pretty young maker of castanets capture the heart of the man she loves.
In the last volume, Jing and Kir visit a sanctuary for the Por Vora, guarded by a beautiful young woman who will go to any length to protect them from those who would steal them. Finally, there is a three-episode story arc to finish out the story. Jing and Kir arrive in Zaza, a city ruled by a masked woman who holds endless fighting tournaments to erase the memory of a terrible family tragedy. Jing must enter the tournament and fight the mysterious Warrior of the Rising Son just to survive. Jing still somehow finds the time to befriend the beautiful young daughter of the city’s ruler, who has no interest in the tournaments. And then there’s still the matter of stealing the Vintage Smile, the city’s greatest treasure.
King of Bandits Jing is based on a successful manga from Kodansha’s Magazine Z, a fairly recent shounen anthology. Studio Deen did a nice job with the adaptation to anime with a stylish touch and some engaging music by Scudelia Electro. In many ways, Jing reminded me of Kino’s Journey, as many of the episodes were parables, but with more action and comedy than Kino. And interesting conceit in the show is that many of the personal and place names are taken from many different types of drinks, such as Vodka, Cointreau, Mimosa and several others. While I found the entire series to be entertaining, my favorite was episode 9, “The Musical Island of Coco Oco” if only because the main girl, Mimosa, was so charming and she was voiced in English by one of my favorite voice actors, Shawn Sides. Jing is quite entertaining. Just Jing himself, under the stylish action, adventure and romance lies a show with a heart of gold.
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 5.1 Language,English Subtitles
NEC CT-2510A TV, Pioneer 440 codefree DVD player
Mania Grade: B-
Audio Rating: B+
Video Rating: A-
Packaging Rating: B+
Menus Rating: A
Extras Rating: N/A
Age Rating: 13 & Up
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: ADV Films
Running time: 325
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: King of Bandit Jing