King of Bandit Jing volume 1

Meet Jing- in case you hadn’t guessed it from the title, he’s the youthful and fast-fingered King of Bandits. Travelling from city to city with his wisecracking bird sidekick, Kir, Jing has set himself the task of stealing the treasures of the world, whilst Kir concentrates on sampling the local women. Along the way they’ll meet bad guys, distressed townspeople and even the weekly “Jing girl”, but you can be sure they’ll come out on top no matter who they encounter.

King of Bandit Jing is a title that seems to have passed under the radar of many an anime fan, and having watched the first DVD for myself, I can firmly say that this quite definitely a good thing. Based on the tone of the series, it is presumably meant to be a comedy, but nonetheless there’s precious little amusement to be found from this uniquely uninspiring brand of slapstick ‘humour’. Every story follows the exact same pattern: Jing comes to steal item from bad guy; Jing meets girl; girl helps Jing defeat bad guy; assorted townspeople are saved, the end. Add some lazy plot devices, such as a mysterious guy who repeatedly shows up to advance the story, or Jing’s ability to defeat any enemy by ‘equipping’ Kir on his arm and firing ‘Kir Royale’ energy blasts, and there isn’t really much to hold the attention.

Such an average series could still be made workable if its lead characters were actually likeable, but unfortunately, King of Bandit Jing fails in this department as well. Jing himself is relatively inoffensive, but only by virtue of having little in the way of personality- we don’t even know how he came to meet up with Kir and become the King of Bandits. Kir, meanwhile, is entirely dislikeable, coming across as little more than an old lecher with a poor taste in jokes, whilst the rest of the cast is of the generic one-shot variety.

By this point, it should come as no surprise that the visuals are nothing special- animation is simplistic, whilst the vast majority of character designs are just plain ugly. Action scenes are equally low-budget, relying almost entirely on the Kir Royale attack and its accompanying recycled animation.

Final Thoughts
I’ll probably rent the rest of King of Bandit Jing for the sake of completion, but don’t take this as an endorsement- the series is both tedious and unexciting. For your own sake, leave well alone.

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