Posted by psgels on 26 July 2008 with categories: Anime Reviews


Hiroshi Watanabe intrigues me. No matter what kind of utter crap he produces, he intrigues me like no other. The guy is a brilliant writer, he has a bizarre sense of humour, and at the same time he can come up with the most terrible and cheesy storylines ever. The guy has also been around for a decade now, and made a wide variety of series, so there has to be someone who sees something in the guy. Call it a guilty pleasure, but there has to be something wrong when I have no problems remembering his name, and yet I can’t recall the name of the director of Noein and Escaflowne at all. As much as I hate to admit it, the big “twists” in Suteki Tantei Labyrinth and Shining Tears x Wind have made a lasting impression on me.

In any case, King of Bandits Jing is typical Hiroshi Watanabe: incredibly cheesy and incredibly creative. You can see it as a canvas for creative ideas, in the sense of “I have an idea and I don’t care how stupid it sounds”. Seriously, you’ll have trouble to find a series with more creativity and originality than this one. Swords that turn out to be keys? Musical train tracks? Grapes of time? Delicious! On top of that, this series can also boast one of the best character-designers out there: Mariko Oka, who also did the character-designs on Jigoku Shoujo and Ghost Hound. The result is a bunch of absolutely beautiful female character-designs.

But yeah, Hiroshi Watanabe’s series have always been a very strange combination of awesomeness and utter crap, and King of Bandits Jing is no exception. The amount of Deus ex Machina that bombard the screen is only surpassed by the second half of Star Ocean Ex (which, you guessed it, was also directed by Hiroshi Watanabe). The series is incredibly formulaic: King of Bandits Jing and his partner Kir (a horny crow) enter a city in order to steal something, meet a cute girl whose name is a reference to heavy liquor, Gir flirts with her, and at the end of the story Jing has saved the day and defeated the villain in the form of an ugly man. In the final arc, Jing and Kir still enter a city in order to steal something, meet a cute girl whose name is a reference to liquor, flirt with her and end up saving the day by defeating the villain in the form of an ugly man (okay, one of these villains is an ugly woman, but she doesn’t count as she looks way too much like a man!!). Gir gets one episode of development, but this development is never used, and Jing never develops at all. No background whatsoever!

The different stories have a huge difference in overall quality. Some are utter crap, others are average, others are entertaining and one or two episodes are utterly amazing. The one thing I love about Hiroshi Watanabe’s works is that you’ll never know when he shows his best side, and King of Bandits Jing is no different. I want to give especially credit to the artist-episode. It stands miles above the other shorts in terms of storytelling, and it was without a doubt the highlight of this series. The ending of the series shows why Hiroshi Watanabe is the absolute king of cheesy plot-twists, but I don’t care, I love this guy’s works, despite the very obvious flaws.

Storytelling: 7/10
Characters: 6/10
Production-Values: 9/10
Setting: 9/10

3 Responses

  1. senerikfred says:

    Thanks for reminding me that I have to track down this manga at some point. I tried to watch the anime, but it annoyed the hell out of me within the first ten minutes. The note I must make on this is that the anime doesn’t seem to have taken any of its stories from the manga, my investigation of such per wikipedia. And in the one chapter I’ve managed to find of the manga, Jing does get development(and was considerably less annoying than he managed to be in ten minutes of animation), and though there is a girl, neither of them flirt with her.
    I find your fascination with this Watanabe guy beyond me, but the vast differences between your taste and mine make coming here interesting. Always nice to see other people who’ve actually heard of this series, though.

  2. Lika says:

    I remembered loving this manga a long time back and being scandalized by how “toned down” the anime was. Nothing quite brings on the weird like the Jing manga…

  3. Protodude says:

    There’s a two episode ova after this, one of which shows how Jing met Kir.

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  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Wednesday, Jun 29. 2016 01:34 PM)
    @Bam: They’d never allow bringing in toys/games/comics back when I was in school, they thought bringing in such things would make the kids of lower income families feel bad for not being able to afford things.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Wednesday, Jun 29. 2016 01:31 PM)
    @Mario: He’s actually not a big fan of Iranian cinema, he told me before that he found most of it overly depressing.
    Now what you’re talking about there sounds like my kind of film.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Wednesday, Jun 29. 2016 01:30 PM)
    @Bam: I’ll get back into the mainstream blockbusters thing as much as I used to be someday. someday….
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Wednesday, Jun 29. 2016 01:28 PM)
    @Bam: Well, I guess I more brought up the being accused of hipsterism and contrarianism referring to the type of hypothetical person who would never be satisfied with how well you’d defend your opinion.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Wednesday, Jun 29. 2016 01:25 PM)
    Thats the awkward thing though, when casting a superhero role, its difficult to find someone who can get both identities correct.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Wednesday, Jun 29. 2016 01:23 PM)
    Bah implying toxic avenger and Italian spiderman aren’t the best superhero films OmO hahaha!
  • SuperMario
    (Wednesday, Jun 29. 2016 08:50 AM)
    Hey Bam, I remember attended a preview on one of an upcoming Iranian animated feature called The Last Fiction. it was inspired by the poem “Shahnameh” and from what I had seen so far, a very stylish, confident and “bloody” work. Expected to be complete in the end of 2017 thou.
  • Bam
    (Wednesday, Jun 29. 2016 06:37 AM)
    Comic books were super rare and expensive in Iran, being banned and all. Rich kids in elementary would bring them to school to show them off, along with their Ninja Turtles action figures; they looked so cool and I was hella jealous. Me and my brother only had the bootleg Toxic Crusader figures lol
  • Bam
    (Wednesday, Jun 29. 2016 06:34 AM)
    @K-off: I didn’t read the comics either. I watched that weird 60s show, and Spiderman and the Amazing Friends, which had Firestar and the ice guy. I know his personality was quippy and kind of a wise-ass, and McGuire looks kinda like a rape victim of sorts. It was a lot better in costume, I admit.
  • Bam
    (Wednesday, Jun 29. 2016 06:29 AM)
    I mean if we use the term fanboy for whenever someone feels strongly about something, then what’ll we have left for people who LARP and insist to be called by their WoW character names and dress up in gear and persistently speak in fake ‘Ol English?

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