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King of Bandit Jing (Vol. 2)

ADV Films // Unrated // September 2, 2003
List Price: $29.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]

Review by Don Houston | posted October 5, 2003 | E-mail the Author
Movie: I like quirky anime series (big surprise, huh?) and ADV had obtained the rights to a number of them over the years. One of the quirkier shows they've released has been King Of Bandit Jing 2. The show is about a young man, Jing, who apparently has extraordinary abilities in the stealing business. He roams a medieval time period full of dragons, magical creatures, and other assorted characters, with a weird bird sidekick, Kir, that not only talks but chases cute women as well. When Jing gets into a fight against powerful enemies, Kir turns into a weapon that shoots fireballs after he attaches to Jing's arm. Most of the time though, Jing is able to fend off the various challenges that come his way using his sharp wit and keen mind, which is why he has earned the title "King of the Bandits".

Episode 5: The Little Girl from Technicolor Town:
ADV said, "Jing and Kir find themselves on a whirlwind rescue mission in the Technicolor Town of Pompier to save a young girl placed on the auction block after being transformed into a sculpture masterpiece. The evil Drambuie wants to make her a part of his art collection, but not if Jing and Kir have anything to say about it!" I thought the themes of art, personal freedom, and duty, were expressed very interestingly here with the girl's father (and his quest) to be a telling tale of lost priorities. Jing seemed to have an intuitive understanding of this concept and helped show the rest of the cast a few answers (to questions they didn't even think to ask).

Episode 6 & 7: The Eternal City of Revaiva 1 & 2:
ADV said, "Jing and Kir embark on yet another adventure as they meet Vermouth, a young girl who needs their help on her mission to discover eternal life. Unbeknownst to them, the hunter Pernod and his partner China Lilet are close at their heels, hoping to get their hands on the treasure first. Jing, Kir and Vermouth arrive at the city of Revaiva, unknowingly leading the meddling duo Pernod and China Lilet there as well. They meet King Cointreau, who believes Jing's fate is to be their next king. But Jing foresees lurking danger and takes matters into his own hands." Once again, the themes of personal choice versus personal responsibility and duty took the center stage. It became obvious that great gifts were not without their down side and personal priorities for free spirits like Jing might vary from those of others. In taking one gift, you are forced down a path that you may eventually want to leave but are forced to continue down.

Jing is not primarily motivated by the treasure he steals, or by the fame that accompanies his exploits so much as by the challenges his craft provides him. Like most tales of wandering do-gooders, the specifics of their tales are what make or break the entertainment value and this set of a mere three episodes was somewhat lacking for me. As such, I have slightly downgraded the rating to a Rent It since the price was the same but no corresponding extras were provided to maintain the value quotient here.

Picture: The picture was presented in 1.33:1 ratio full frame as originally produced in Japan. The colors were bright and vibrant and the anime style was reasonably complex

Sound: The sound was presented with an option of either Dolby Digital stereo in Japanese with English subtitles or 5.1 English with optional song subtitles. Both were very clear and crisp with no problems noticed.

Extras: The extras were limited to some trailers, a bit of original artwork, a clean open and close and a paper insert that lists the chapters.

Final Thoughts: I can't honestly say that I'd automatically have rated this one higher if it had another episode attached to it but it sure in heck didn't help the score. The series is designed towards a younger crowd but there were some adult themes, however off beat they may have been played out. I think it will take more than a couple of viewings to get a handle on this one but in the context of the series, I'll reserve judgment until I see future volumes.

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