Jing: King of Bandits , also known as King of Bandit Jing, is a Japanese manga series by Yuichi Kumakura about the adventures of the bandit Jing and his partner Kir. The manga is licensed in English in North America by Tokyopop.
King of Bandits Jing is a series of short, usually disconnected stories starring the young boy who calls himself Jing, the Bandit King. Although Jing’s reputation seems to extend throughout the universe of the series, many enemies underestimate him, not expecting the “great” King of Bandits to be a “little kid”.
The stories vary a great deal, especially between the initial manga series and the sequel series, Jing: King of Bandits: Twilight Tales. In the initial series, stories often border on comical and cartoonish. Each arc includes a new treasure or object that Jing is seeking, a woman or girl who accompanies him 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. Settings also vary; Jing travels to a clockwork city, a desert with living lava, and even deliberately gets himself arrested to steal something from inside a maximum security prison, among other fantastic locales. He always escapes in the end of each arc, and always manages to steal his target, although not always in the way that the characters or the reader expects. Each arc also features the upset of some restrictive societal norm thanks to Jing’s intervention; rulers are dethroned, prison riots are caused, an entire corrupt religion is reduced to shambles.
Twilight Tales also ran seven volumes. Jing no longer manages to steal every treasure he sets out after in the arcs. In Twilight Tales, more often than not, Jing actually winds up fighting the sought object, or having to destroy it in some way. There is also a short arc featuring Jing’s past. In both these childhood arcs, Jing is already calling himself the King of Bandits. There is no fixed ending for either series.
A recurring theme in Jing: King of Bandits is references to alcoholic beverages. Chapters are referred to as “shots”. Each storyline arc features at least one person who is named after an alcoholic beverage. In addition, each town or city is named after a cocktail, and Jing and Kir’s “Kir Royale” attack is also a cocktail, observed by his catch phrase (in the English dub) “Gimme a Kir Royale” uttered almost every time before he uses it. (In the original Japanese dialogue he merely says “Kir Royale”.) More information about the specifics of each name can be found in the Tokyopop releases (Volumes 5 and 7).
This manga is so much fun! You will end up reading it twice because there is so much going on in the background that you start reading the background stories and forget about what going with Jing and Kir. The stories are usually short but they are important because character development happens over the course of the manga. The setting is very unique with fantasy themes sometimes, sci-fi others, and even a prison break story. Jing has some of the most fun and unique manga that I personally own. Now I have a question for my readers, would you like me to review manga in this Manga Monday space? I would like to but if you guys don’t want to read reviews then I won’t do them. Just leave me a comment about what you think!