Mike wonders aloud which anime would be a good fit for the prestigious Criterion Collection.
Reviewby Allen Divers, Jul 15th 2003
King of Bandit Jing
There's a thief among us, and he calls himself the Bandit King! While his reputation often proceed them, Jing and his buddy Kir, a womanizing Albatross and occasional weapon of mass destruction, still manage to make the best of a given situation. So what's first for the erstwhile Bandit King and his trusty sidekick? How about entering the Capital of Thieves and stealing away the fabled Double Mermaids. While he's at it, he'll take on a Ghost Ship and face off against the will of time as he targets some of the most priceless treasures ever.
King of Bandit Jing is a non-stop action riot video game brought to life in animated form. Catering to an attention level that can be satisfied by a quick stop at the local arcade, each episode moves quickly from beginning to end, with hardly any room for character development. Focusing more on action, excitement and adventure, King of Bandit Jing proves to be a tongue-in-cheek series looking to have a lot of fun. King of Bandit Jing moves like a true Hollywood blockbuster filled with action, adventure, and lots of explosions.
Pumping this as a special release, ADV put together the standard editions of a single DVD release and a special version including a box add the first DVD. Volume one of the DVD contains the first four episodes of the series. Filling out the disc is a standard assortment of extras including some original artwork, the textless versions of the opening and closing segments, and the original trailers for the show. Also included is the standard assortment of ADV trailers for current and upcoming shows.
The visuals for King of Bandit Jing seem like a bizarre mix of two opposite genres. The world of the Bandit King takes on the qualities of a post-apocalyptic future, with desert landscapes, tattered clothing and a bizarre mix of technology both futuristic and primitive. Thrown on top of that is a mix of characters and creatures that seem better suited to entertaining a younger audience. With animals that turn into weapons and men with keys for hands the viewer feels like she's watching something straight out of a video game. Encouraging that tie in comes the soundtrack with its strong rock influence.
The soundtrack itself is a mix of hard-rocking music mixed in with a series of incidental music ranging from easy feeling sounds to stronger action oriented beats. The English and Japanese share the same background music as well as sound effects for the series so the entire tone is carried through both. The English dub was handled by ADV's sister studio in Austin, Monster Island. Utilizing a script that stays close in spirit to the original Japanese, the English cast comes across as a good mix of voices with no real bad choices standing out. With Jing and Kir really the main recurring characters so far, the side characters are varied enough to not feel like it's the same voices each episode.
While the visuals and sound encourage the video game feel for the show, the characters and story help solidify the feeling that this show is pure entertainment. King of Bandit Jing follows the adventures of Jing and his buddy Kir as they move from town to town in search of treasure. Based on that simple premise, these early episodes of the series don't do much to dissuade the viewer that there's any more to the story than this. Jing comes across as a sort of Robin Hood with Kir acting as his merry man as well as Jing's weapon of choice. Jing also serves as the straight man to Kir's wisecracking, womanizing act. It seems to make things easier to swallow that the perverted old man character is portrayed by an Albatross in this series.
The four episodes of this disc do nothing for character development other than letting the viewer know that Jing is the Bandit King and Kir likes women. No background information about the world they live in, how they came to be thieves or where they are going in this world is shared in anyway. Once the viewer can get over that, they are free to enjoy the comic hijinks and high-action sequences that this show has to offer. Thrown in with all the action is strong amounts of slap-stick comedy that make Jing a fun and simple adventure series.
King of Bandit Jing is a high-adrenaline action packed series played with a rocking beat. While the fans won't be declaring this an instant classic, there's plenty there to keep the masses entertained. With its polished look and simple premise, King of Bandit Jing is sure to be a popular title amongst the mass market set, with ample opportunity for television play.
Overall (dub) : B
Overall (sub) : B
Story : C
Animation : A
Art : A
Music : B
+ High-action to a rocking beat
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