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King of Bandit Jing (Vol. 3)

ADV Films // Unrated // October 14, 2003
List Price: $29.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]

Review by Don Houston | posted November 23, 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 3. 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".

As the series progresses, I'm still on the fence a bit since the volumes being released have a mere three episodes each and that's simply too little to offer unless better extras are included (which was not the case here). I'm actually liking the episodes themselves a bit more and when the season is over, I may just have a marathon viewing session to view them all (sometimes that makes them more enjoyable) and see if it may make me want to increase my ratings a bit. While some series are best taken in small doses (heck, some are best in infinitesimal doses), I think this one may be better in large doses. Here's a brief description of the three (I wish it were four or five) episodes included here:

Episode 8:Don't Drop The Por Vora:
Jing and Kir are on their next treasure hunt, locating a series of gems that are named after the solar system (Systema Solari), and take a job that may lead them to the rarest of the gems. The job? Take two cute little creatures, Por Vora, to a mining camp. If it sounds too easy, that's because Jing doesn't know the creatures are used as explosives and the path to the mining camp is full of dangers.

Episode 9: The Musical Island Of Coco Oco:
Jing seeks to find a treasure on an island that is known for making the best musical instruments. He and Kir fuss at each other about how best to go about the mission and eventually try it alone. Before too long, they discover the treasure but need to figure out if it's worth taking after all.

Episode 10: The Lullaby Of The Por Vora:
The guys find their way to a little town called Bluwari, which turns out to be the home of the explosive Por Vora. This time, they meet a self appointed guardian of the little fuzzy critters, Elixir. With some scumbags trying to capture a number of the creatures, can Jing, Kir, and Elixir find a way to save the species or will they end up in the hands of the bad guys?

I think the series is still worth a rating of Rent It since there were only three episodes to the DVD with minimal extras. Still, it was fun to watch and light hearted enough that a lot of people, younger and older, will have fun with it. Don't look too deeply for a lot of meaning in most of the episodes, although there was a bit of moralizing going on, and you'll have a good time too.

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. The music track was pretty solid and I think it grows on you a bit more than some other series' music has done lately too. In my opinion, the original track was a bit better but the dub was well worth checking out as well.

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: This was more of a guilty pleasure for me than something I found deep and intriguing. For the most part, I think it will please its intended audience but the series would be better if they had more value added extras to go with the scant number of episodes. Check it out if you enjoy buddy anime, I identify with Kir enough to admit warming up to it so perhaps you will too.

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