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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  • Emma
    (Saturday, Nov 1. 2014 02:56 AM)
    @Realist: =< Ah I see, was asking around just in case it was worth watching.
  • ninjarealist
    (Saturday, Nov 1. 2014 02:42 AM)
    @Emma I haven’t seen that one, no.
  • Emma
    (Saturday, Nov 1. 2014 02:25 AM)
    @Realist: Have you seen only lovers left alive by Jim Jarmusch?
  • afgm
    (Saturday, Nov 1. 2014 02:05 AM)
    @Syndrom: Don’t strat too hard…
  • ninjarealist
    (Saturday, Nov 1. 2014 01:00 AM)
    @Emma Very true. But a lot of people don’t realize or acknowledge that.
  • Emma
    (Friday, Oct 31. 2014 08:24 PM)
    Death billiards getting an announcement like that, I’m pleased with the news but am surprised by it. It was the best of those shorts that have been cropping up in recent years.
  • AidanAK47
    (Friday, Oct 31. 2014 05:39 PM)
    Well well well….Death Billiards is getting a full anime. The short was a great and does have potentail. I like. I like a lot.
  • Syndrome
    (Friday, Oct 31. 2014 04:23 PM)
    Ok, fourth episode of Psycho Pass was really good. I was afraid of what this second season would looks like, I’m strating now to get hyped.
  • Emma
    (Friday, Oct 31. 2014 02:25 PM)
    @Realist: Stereotyping is intrinsic to human beings in too many ways, so much so that even when a “safe”, “attractive”, “normal” looking person is caught out they still become surprised at the revelation, even if they admit that stereotyping is wrong.
  • Emma
    (Friday, Oct 31. 2014 02:14 PM)
    I think I’ve got a good handle on Yamaguchi Mikoto as an author now, I also read the first volume of Mayonaka and as I thought, it began deceptively and that maybe there wouldn’t be too much to it, but turns into something surprising, far more interesting.

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