King of Bandit Jing Vol. #1 - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: B+

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Info:

  • Audio Rating: A-
  • Video Rating: A
  • Packaging Rating: A-
  • Menus Rating: B+
  • Extras Rating: B-
  • Age Rating: 12 & Up
  • Region: 2 - Europe
  • Released By: ADV Films UK
  • MSRP: £19.99
  • Running time: 100
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: King of Bandit Jing

King of Bandit Jing Vol. #1

By Dani Moure     January 19, 2004
Release Date: March 01, 2004


King of Bandit Jing Vol. #1
© ADV Films UK


What They Say
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 girl-crazy albatross sidekick Kir, Jing steals his way through one exciting adventure after another!

The Capital Of Thieves: The notorious Capital Of Thieves is home to the fabled Double Mermaids, a treasure under guard by the city's evil mayor: Jing will do anything to retrieve the prize, but this jewel isn't quite what everyone expects!

The Ghost Ship Of Blue Hawaii: Jing and Kir arrive in Blue Hawaii, a town terrorized by a ghost ship. With the help of a local cop named Rose, whose father has fallen prey to the spell, Jing and Kir must infiltrate the ship and expose it for what it really is!

Adonis, The Capital Of Time - Parts 1 And 2: Jing and Kir are on a quest to steal the grapes of time! Will they embroiled in a plot to liberate the people from the tyranny of the wicked Master Gear? Can they restore peace to the town cursed by the Demon of Time? Will the clock run out for them all?


The Review!
Jing and Kir explode on to DVD in one of the most entertaining releases to hit stores this year so far.

Audio:
While watching this disc for the first time, I listened to the Japanese track. I noticed no dropouts or distortions, and the mix itself is pretty much your standard stereo mix. The English 5.1 mix sounds good, with a slightly more immersive feel. The dub itself, which I spot-checked while writing the review, sounded very good, though I did feel that Joey Hood sounds a little bit old for Jing, though that may be because I was more used to the youthful, more energetic sounding Mitsuki Saiga on the Japanese track.

Video:
The video looks excellent throughout. With Jing being a relatively new show, it has the "shiny" look that most newer series seem to sport, and the transfer itself really shows it off. I noticed no problems at all with it at all, with even aliasing almost non-existent.

Packaging:
The cover sports a great-looking image, with Jing and Kir towards the bottom in full focus, with a faded image of Mirabelle from the two-parter as the main image amongst a montage of pieces from the episodes. It all blends together really well, and looks very nice. The logo, done in a style to mimic the original Japanese logo, is off to the right. My only complaint with the front cover is that there's no volume numbering, or even naming, whatsoever (though the number does appear on the spine), which is potentially a bit confusing. The back cover has a nice arrangement of screencaps, as well as a brief series description and a short synopsis for each of the episodes. You also get the standard ADV UK information boxes, which clearly list the language options, aspect ratio and runtime. I say it in a lot of my ADV reviews, but I really do like these boxes a lot, as they really are very useful.

Menu:
A short set of clips play to the beginning of the opening theme before the main menu appears. The layout is nice, with the image being a slightly zoomed part of the cover focusing on Jing and Kir. The extras and language options are listed, followed by a selection for each of the episodes. Strangely, there's no scene selection to speak of. Both sub-menus are also static, playing the same theme as the main menu. It's a little repetitive, but functional.

Extras:
The extras are a little thin, with a set of nice production sketches playing as a video to the ending theme. This runs for about a minute and a half. The other extras here are the standard clean opening and ending. I expect these to show up on every volume, as seems to be the standard for newer ADV releases.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
King of Bandit Jing is a relatively new show, with its 13 episodes airing in the middle of 2002, and hitting DVD in the US in the middle of last year. It's very shiny, well animated, and surprisingly entertaining to boot.

The story of Jing begins in the Capital of Thieves, as Jing and his female loving companion Kir, who just happens to be a bird, arrive on the scene. Everyone is awaiting the arrival of the one and only Bandit King, who's apparently coming after the Double Mermaids, a treasure owned by the mayor of the city, Cognac. After stopping a thief (and retrieving a jewel in the process), an old woman tells them that all the thieves are here after the Double Mermaids, who are apparently stashed atop a tower. She tells them that security is extremely tight, and everyone who tries to steal the mermaids is caught, and their treasure taken, so Cognac keeps getting all the more rich. Eventually, after a journey to a tavern for information, and getting a ride from a giant bird creature, Jing and Kir infiltrate the tower with the old woman, who turns out not to be so old after all, and free the Double Mermaids. It's all in a day's work for the Bandit King!

This is a great opener that introduces us to our two main characters, Jing and Kir, and shows off many of their traits and how they go about their business. From Kir's lady loving to Jing's cool and nonchalant attitude when it comes to thwarting the plans of thieves, it works extremely well in setting everything out.

The second episode is another good one, with Jing and Kir traveling to Blue Hawaii, where a ghost ship has been appearing. They're quickly confronted by scared townsfolk, as well as a woman named Rose, who happens to be the Police Chief's daughter and tries to arrest the pair. But her father is under the curse of the ghost ship, which leads Jing, Kir and Rose to the ship to find out what is truly behind it. Of course, it turns out not to be a ghost ship at all...

The disc ends with a great two-part story, where the guys travel to Adonis, the Capital of Time. The town is under the control of the Demon of Time, and anyone who enters is forced to adhere to an extremely strict time code. But the town holds the legendary Grapes of Time, so naturally Jing and Kir can't resist. On entering, they see a girl about to be executed in front of other townsfolk, but her crime is simply tardiness. Jing and Kir obviously have a problem with this, but the townsfolk are deadly serious. Master Gear appears, and the first confrontation is under way. Gear is unaffected by the Kir Royale, though, and Jing is blasted by Gear's companion, Sherry. The search is on for Jing and Kir, but they manage to escape underground, where they get caught up in the fight to liberate the townsfolk from Master Gear.

This two-parter really shifts things up a notch, with double the run time allowing the writers to tell a more intricate, detailed story, while upping the stakes with both the supporting characters and the enemies. It's also another great opportunity to delve further into the characters of Jing and Kir, and see several different sides to them, especially their more compassionate and caring sides, as they help the underdogs.

It's hard to put a finger on what exactly makes the series quite as good as it is after these first four episodes, but I think it stems from it just being a lot of fun to watch. There's little in the way of an over-arching story; instead the series revolves around Jing and Kir as we follow them on their adventures, which lends itself well to the episodic nature that the series has started with. The pacing is actually very good within the episodes themselves, as things play out with enough time spent fleshing out the characters that need it and as much time as is necessary spent on exposition.

The characters themselves are easily one of the series' strengths. Jing is an excellent lead; the young Bandit King who is calm and collected in almost every situation, so that you know if he gets worried, then the stakes have been raised. It's hilarious to see him work with such skill, too, especially in the first couple of episodes where he's constantly one-upping the thieves before they make their moves, be it by tripping them up before they pounce, or joining with Kir for the massive Kir Royale attack, it all gives a great sense of his humorous personality. But rather than just be one-sided, we've already got to see a more compassionate side to him, just as we have with Kir. Kir is fantastic too, with his amusing one-liners and his great womanising skills. The scene in the first episode with Kir and the two women at the bar is an absolute classic. But he also manages to be sweet and charming at times. The supporting characters are fleshed out well within their individual stories, though thus far none seem to be sticking around for the long haul.

The series also has its own style, with some very nice character designs and good animation. With it being a shorter series, I definitely hope the quality remains consistent, as it really does look great. The music is also very fitting, and the opening is a particularly nice upbeat number, while the ending is more sombre.

In Summary:
It'll be interesting to see where the series goes from here. It could develop some overall story arc, but with it running 13 episodes, I could quite easily see it remaining episodic, with a few more two-part episodes along the way. And if it remains like that, I'll be quite happy as long as the remainder is of the same quality we have here. It's another series that isn't too deep, but has some nice stories and fantastic characters, with bags of humour thrown in. It's got its own unique style, looks fantastic and is presented in another great package from ADV. Jing definitely gets my vote.

Features
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Clean Opening,Clean Closing,Production Sketches


Review Equipment
Philips 28" Pure Flat Widescreen TV, Pioneer DV-464 code free DVD player, JVC gold-plated RGB SCART cable, standard stereo sound.


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