King of Bandit Jing
is a seven volume manga series by Yuichi Kumakura, and has been adapted into a 13 episode anime.
King of Bandit Jing is a series of short, usually disconnected stories starring the eponymous young boy. His partner is a wisecracking crow named Kir who can transform into a Wave Motion Gun
by fusing with Jing's arm; this is the only supernatural power that Jing possesses. Although his reputation seems to extend throughout the universe of the series, many enemies underestimate Jing, not expecting the "great King of Bandits" to be a "little kid"
Each story focuses a new treasure or object that Jing is seeking. He is accompanied by a woman or girl (affectionately referred to as "Jing Girl") somewhere along the way on his quest for this item, and an enemy that either wants to protect what it is he intends to steal or get to it before he does. Much of the appeal of the series comes from the fantastic and often surreal world that Jing lives in, bordering on the Expressionist style.
The manga series was followed by a sequel series known as King of Bandit Jing: Twilight Tales
. The closest that the anime series got to a sequel was an OAV called "King of Bandit Jing: Seventh Heaven"
which somehow managed to be even more incomprehensible than the main series was.
This series has examples of:
- Genre Savvy: Kir sees a bunch of coffins opening and asks, "Is this the part where all the mummies come out and get us?"
- Gentleman Thief: Jing the heroic bandit king.
- Girl of the Week: The Jing Girls.
- Gratuitous Foreign Language: The manga is littered with signs in multiple languages and scripts. Most if not all of them are nonsense anyway. Furthermore, the sound effects are written in both English and Japanese - sometimes in the same panel.
- Impossible Thief: When Jing sets his sights on something, he'll gain access to it somehow. Whether he takes it is a different matter entirely. To demonstrate he has stolen things such as 'Time' and 'Eternal Life'. He once stole 'desire' from a personification of Greed. Granted, a good number of the things he steals are metaphorical (like the aforementioned 'Time'), but it doesn't make his feats any less amazing
- I Will Wait for You: Stir from "The Masquerade Ball of Zaza" refuses to dance with other men at the ball, implying that she is reserving her next dance for the time when Jing returns.
- Just a Kid: Most of the characters don't take Jing seriously because of this.
- Masquerade Ball: Again, a huge portion of "The Masquerade Ball of Zaza" is dedicated to this.
- McGuffin: All the episodes revolve around one of these.
- Meaningful Name: All of the main and recurring characters are named after alcoholic beverages. Also, the episodes are numbered as "Shots" and Kir's Wave Motion Gun is called "Kir Royale".
- No Ending: Neither the manga nor the anime have an actual ending.
- Non-Human Sidekick: Kir, Jing's perverted bird sidekick.
- Prison Episode: When Jing heads to the prison Seventh Heaven in order to find Campari and steal his dream-making power.
- Ridiculously Human Robot: The Jing Girl in the Reviva arc is only revealed to be an automaton when she winds down and has to be fixed by her creator. Her search for the immortality formula made the illusion even more convincing.
- The Rival: Every arc has someone either competing with Jing for the McGuffin or he already has it and is trying to protect it from Jing.
- Samus is a Girl: The Warrior of the Rising Son turns out to be Stir.
- Schizo Tech: Technology varies wildly from place to place.
- Shout-Out: In episode 9, Kir can be heard singing the Theme song for 'I dream of Jeannie' while sweeping.
- Spoiler Opening: The OP sequence of the anime series contains scenes from every story in the show, albeit highly stylized and out of context.
- Talking Animal: Kir and many other non-human characters in the series.
- Theme Naming: Alcoholic beverages. It's not too far fetched to consider the entire show as a drunkard's hallucination.
- Tournament Arc: The story arc "The Masquerade Ball of Zaza."
- Visual Pun: Jing "shoots the bird" to his enemies to taunt them. To attack, Jing turns Kir into a weapon that fires energy blasts, so he then literally "shoots the bird".
- Wave Motion Gun: Kir can turn into one of these when he fuses with Jing's arm.
- Who Wants to Live Forever?: The Aesop of the Eternal City Of Reviva arc.