Jing: King of Bandits

Alt titles: King of Bandit Jing, Ou Dorobou Jing

TV (13 eps)
3.6 out of 5 from 5,231 votes
Rank #3,254

Join the king of thieves Jing and his plumed partner Kir as they seek out the greatest treasures in the world - and steal them. From desert bandit fortresses to the innermost sanctums of kings and queens, if there's a magnificent treasure to be had, you can be sure Jing has his eyes (and later his hands) on it.

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StoryJing is 100% episodic. There, I said it. If you are reading this and are suddenly not interested, stop reading now and go pick up Juuni Kokki. Else, let's continue... Jing is the world's best thief and is known for his desire to capture the most beautiful and unique treasures in the world. His pal, Kir, is a talking bird who loves the women, and follows him wherever he goes. King of Bandit Jing follows Jing and Kir as they travel to various towns and places, as they try to steal a different one-of-a-kind treasure. As mentioned, this is an episodic series. There is no central plot, and really, nothing that ties the episodes together, except for the mention of Jing's mysterious crystal that he carries everywhere he goes. There are some episodes that are mini-arcs, one being two episodes in length, and one being three episodes. Besides this, it's sort of like watching Kino no Tabi -- you see a different story each time, but it still ends up being wildly entertaining. Really, that's what it all comes down to: the humor. Jing succeeds because of how utterly hilarious it is on just about every aspect. While other series are full of random comedy, Jing excels at being the most relaxed and laid back random comedy I've seen. The randomness is fairly extreme, but there's a coolness and calmness about it that make it even more amusing. Hell, the first two minutes let you know what kind of a show it will be (I won't spoil, but it's hilarious). I knew after those few minutes that I'd love the show. The characters and animation style contribute to the humor as well, making the story lighthearted and comical all at the same time. I marked down two points because it definitely would have been nice to see more about Jing's crystal or other things about himself, though some of these things are explained in the Jing OVA. The ending was very open, yet fitting given the style of the TV series. All in all, I really enjoyed the "plot" of Jing, even though there wasn't actually a plot at all! AnimationI loved the animation style of Jing, and haven't seen many things like it. It's completely cel shaded, and not a lot of thick black lines used anywhere. The colors are extremely vibrant and interesting, and in general the animation has a very fun and crazy style to it. The character designs and townsfolk/monsters are very humorous looking and have their own quirks. Things like the city designs really impressed me. For example, there's a two arc story about a town full of clocks (check out the Jing theme here on the site to see it), and it really reminded me of something Tim Burton would have made. Also a heavy favorite are the cute little bomb-animals (also in the theme) who really are ridiculously cute for a reason. The only aspect of the animation I didn't enjoy was Jing and Kir's transformation sequence. It was fine the first few times, but like with shoujo magical girl shows (THIS ISN'T ONE, don't worry), the transformation is identical every single time, which gets annoying. SoundThe audio for Jing is extremely fitting, more so than most series out there. I can best describe it as electronic and synthy beats, but very quirky and random at the same time. Sometimes sounding totally off key or even wrong, the music helps give you that feeling of pure randomness and confusion, which helps a great deal. Also used frequently was a particular rock song (the title track). It was played during most fight scenes or badass scenes in general, and was a favorite during the transformation type scenes. CharactersJing and Kir are really the only characters we are introduced to, and they aren't developed at all. Regardless, they have a very solid personality, and that's what nets this such a high score. Kir is a completely womanizing bird who literally wants nothing more than to woo the ladies. Jing is cool, calm and collected, and knows he's the man as far as thievery and treasure hunting. It sort of reminds me of Grisham from the original CSI series. He's damn good at what he does, but he doesn't act high and mighty. He's kickass in a very disarming manner, which makes his character great. Same with Jing. In addition to these two, there are tons of very amusing characters throughout the entire series in each location. Villians are always comical looking in some way, and are wacky and quirky. Even the most minor of characters usually has a funny line to say or something to contribute to the ambience. I remember at one point, Jing is standing next to a HUGE HUGE man and is able to make some sort of wisecrack about him. The man was only in the series for about 15 seconds, but still contributed in a hilarious way. OverallJing is one of my favorite series, and sits happily on my shelf in its shiny box set. It's random comedy at its finest, has great animation and a super fitting soundtrack, so you can't really go wrong with this one. Bear in mind that a lot of people don't like Jing specifically because of the episodic nature, but the answer to this should be obvious: DON'T WATCH IT IF YOU DISLIKE EPISODIC THINGS! For everyone else, Jing is a fun and entertaining ride...


Structurally, King of Bandits Jing is of the same type as Cowboy Bebop: Jing visits a bunch of different cities and has self-contained adventures in them. Most arcs are one or two episodes long, with the final arc being three. There are few callbacks between episodes.King of Bandits Jing initially seems like a pretty standard episodic shonen series. The first two episodes are in that general style -- with goofy/cartoony characters and settings that are pastiches of existing genres. With the Adonis arc, there's a shift in the tone and visual style toward dark, moody, and surreal settings, and while goofy humor and sight gags remain present, they are heavily toned down. This more or less continues throughout the rest of the show. In the end, barring the first two episodes, King of Bandits Jing is more similar to Flip Flappers or Madoka Magica than to One Piece. The only recurring characters between arcs are Jing and his annoying horny animal sidekick, Kir. Jing's silent demeanor fits with the darker tone of later episodes, but Kir is a comic relief character whose presence increasingly clashes with the tone as the show goes on (and he's consistently drawn in a cartoony style that conflicts with the dominant art style of later arcs). While he has a couple tonally consistent lines, and while he has a single episode to himself that ends up being enjoyable, he's mostly a detriment to the show. In terms of visuals, Jing uses a mix of cell animation & digital filters. The cell animation looks gorgeous -- it makes excellent use of color, in particular -- but the digital filters haven't aged well and look quite cheap. The sound track is excellent, and fits the show well. During the first two episodes the only indication of the tonal direction the show is heading in is the moody opening and ending themes, both of which are things I'd listen to on their own. The BGM doesn't distract from the viewing experience but is at the same time good enough at tone-setting that it's noticable -- something shared with shows like Rah Xephon or Evangelion that make particularly good use of sound, and rare otherwise.


Spoiler Alert! This show is about a character named Jing, and he’s a bandit. Story - 9/10 The show follows our titular character Jing, and surprise surprise, he’s the most feared and revered “King of Bandits”. While Jing does steal you’re normal thiefly delights, like gold and jewels, he tends to focus on items that have something a little deeper in them. Each episode, or grouping of episodes, has Jing and his companion Kir tracking down a legendary item that is often more than meets the eye. Of those items Jing is after, about eight in total, they each have a message behind them. Be it a mother’s love, the greed of man, or how a life focused on revenge may not have the happy outcome you hoped for when you get it, it’s as if Jing finds life experiences and knowledge more important than the physical items he can get his hands on. Only in the end do we actually see him take off with the item he first set out for, but even then there could be a second meaning to what he was looking for. Along with those messages comes one other reoccurring aspect, a pretty girl for Kir to fawn over, who eventually has a strong connection to the object. Each story plays out on it’s own and can be enjoyed without having any knowledge of the others. They are all comical and easy to follow, but end up having a lesson of some sort at the end. The part I enjoyed most about Jing is that despite being so lighthearted, many of the episodes had extremely tender and emotional moments without being overly gooey, they also were never shoe horned in, but actually play nicely within the story itself, if not also being central to it. Animation - 8/10 The animation has a feel of combining traditional Japanese styles along with what we would have seen from older American cartoons. While Jing, and Kir too, look like what you’d receive if you asked someone to draw you typical anime hero, many of the other non-human inhabitants of the series appear as if they’re straight out of the mind of Tex Avery, or more recently the Spumco team of John Kricfalusi and Bob Camp. All those minor and background characters are what really make the show, adding a wacky aspect to the show. The scenery is equally as interesting as the characters, as each city has a personality and look unique to itself, in both the world of Jing and pretty much throughout the entire anime universe. Each looks as if it came out of the mind of Dhali, from the towering spiraled Capital of Thieves, the possibly “Persistence of Memory” inspired Capital of Time or the brilliantly designed Techno Color Town. In an anime where each story isn’t very deep, the towns themselves give you a little bit of story on their own. While new series have come along that have greater detail and clarity, available due to the newer and more powerful tools animators have on hand, I think the series holds up because you can have all the best computers and animators in the world, but if you don’t have the imagination to create those characters or environments, they are worthless, and Jing’s team had the imagination needed to make the series a visual hit. Sound - 9/10 Like most aspects of this series, the music, and well the audio in general, is highly underrated. The opening song, Shout It Loud by Scudelia Electro, can be given one of the best compliments about an anime song, that it’s something you would actually listen to even if you heard it elsewhere. Musically it’s a great composition and the vocals sound like that of a really top quality band, it’s surprising that they haven’t transcended Japanese music like L’Arc-en-Ciel or the Pillows have. Not only is it an excellent song, but it’s put to good use throughout the series, capping off some amazing moments in the series. There is also a piano version of the song titled Crystal Note  which again is used to perfection as the underlying tune to some very beautiful moments in the show, moments which also sometimes are accompanied by the song Jing Girl, which is equally as pretty a song. Other songs vary from the whimsical Lady Killer and Dragon Paw, the serene Together We Fly,  or the sometimes annoying Kir Royal, which plays every episode when Jing and Kir combine their skill. The many other songs we’re treated to, mostly instrumental pieces, play in perfectly with the shows light hearted and at times goofy feeling.   Looking at the voice over artist it’s strange to see that they don’t have extensive anime backgrounds. Jing’s human, Joey Hood, did an amazing job bringing out a character who’s voice can portray such a range of emotion with only the slightest of variances. While Kir is a bit more in line what you’d be use to hearing in anime, he’s equally as green and also as perfect. The cast of characters that interact with Jing and Kir fall into the same boat as our heroes. Each one has a unique voice that matches their quirky look and personality.   As a whole KoB:J could be the dark horse in any competition of best overall sounding audio in an anime series. Not once was I ever thrown off by an annoying voice or song, never bored by their lack of emotion or aggravated by thirty characters having the same V.O. artist who has no ability to vary their output. This was a show that would be a delight to listen to even as an audio CD. Characters - 7/10 Jing, just as the title implies, is the greatest bandit alive. He’s wanted in every town in the land, but has managed to stay free in part to the fact he looks like a teenage boy as opposed to a seasoned and grizzled thief. When things get tough Jing never breaks a sweat, and often uses his intelligence and agility to best anyone, or any situation, that may befall him. While not exactly Robin Hood-esc, he often ends up using his skills for good, instead of just thievery.  Accompanying our hero is his sidekick and secret weapon, Kir, a sarcastic Albatross with a love of beautiful ladies. Kir often has a snarky comment in response to Jing, but he’s always there whenever Jing needs him to transform and unleash his powerful “Kir Royal” attack to save the day. The only other reoccurring character in the series is a mail carrier known as Postino. He delivers mail to all over the planet, and thanks to this he often has tips for Jing about his latest target or the town where he’s planning his heist. Most of the other characters fit the same niche for each episode. Often there’s a beautiful girl for Jing to help, and Kir to swoon over, and an evil King or greedy villain for him to defeat in a way that makes them look rather silly. None of them are very interesting or original, but they help move the story along and support our main characters. While the none of the sub characters have a very deep backstory or captivating personalities, they are entertaining and fit the feeling of the show perfectly. The shinning jewel of the show is actually Jing himself, as the creators managed to make a character that is truly likable and who you can root for throughout the whole series. Unlike other shows where our hero tends to have few, if any, redeeming traits, Jing is almost nothing but them, a hero that is actually a good guy through and through. Overall - 9/10 If you’re a cynical person, or someone who just focuses on anime for the violence or overplayed sexuality rather than storyline and character building, than Jing isn’t going to be for you. It’s a series where you need to be open to actually feeling emotion for a subject, even one as strange as a robot doomed to living forever. Each episode is a great adventure story that has you rooting for a happy outcome for all those involved. No matter that outcome, we’re pretty much always left with a profound message or idea that it’s worth your time to ponder.  The show has a high rewatch-ability factor, as well as a story that should resonate well with a wide audience. It’s disappointing that a series that is so good in all aspects, as well as being a somewhat family friendly, doesn’t get the recognition of others that are just episode factories with scripts written with boiler plate plots used over and over again.

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