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Jing: King of Bandits #1
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Written by maehara   
Thursday, 20 May 2004 00:00
Jing, King of Bandits - Volume 1Another manga-to-anime conversion where I got the urge to check out the original manga - and Jing turns out to have lost surprisingly little in the conversion...

1 - In the City of Thieves
Jing & his sidekick (sidebird?) Kir pay a visit to the City of Thieves, in search of the legendary Double Mermaid. Mayor Cognac's not the type to share, however, and begins to prepare for Jing's inevitable visit. The King of Bandit seems to be taking a strange route to his target, though, having hooked up with washed-up pirate Vodka and his gang...

2 - Mystery of the Phantom Ship
The town of Blue Hawaii has a problem - there's a phantom ship off the shore of the town, and it's having strange effects on a number of its inhabitants. Jong arrives just as the town sheriff is recovering from his own encounter with the ship, and granddaughter Rose is determined to get to the bottom of the mystery. She's also determined to catch Jing in the act of some banditry once she finds out his occupation - so when Jing sets of for the phantom ship in search of something to steal, Rose tags along. Seems Jing may have hit jackpot when they discover the ship is really a floating casino...

3 - The King of Bandit's Test
The owner of the casino, Grappa, makes himself known to Jing & co - the first new visitors to his establishment in a very long time. It soon becomes apparent that there's more to tha casino than meets the eye, and that what's really in control is the power of the money changing hands...

4 - No Time for Adonis
Jing pays a visit to Adonis, the city of time - just in time to save young girl Mirabelle from the executioner's axe for the serious crime of tardiness. The man in charge in Adonis, Master Gear, runs a very tight operation time-wise, & won't tolerate anything that wastes time - so when Jing begins to disrupt the smooth operation of his town, he's not best pleased. Jing has other things on his mind, though - he's after Adonis' legendary Grapes of Time...

The only real difference between the anime and manga version of Jing is the addition of Postino in the anime - apart from that, the anime follows the original stories almost as faithfully as you could hope for. The artwork here is very clear & easy to follow (a nice bonus, particularly with 'unflipped' releases where the panel order isn't always as 'natural' as it is in normal US comics).

Storywise, if you've seen the anime you'll know what to expect - Jing, bandit extraordinaire, on a mission to steal the strange and obscure, with a little bit of a moral lesson buried in there somewhere. On the surface it's fairly basic stuff that's definitely been done before, but the humour & the nature of Jing's chosen targets tends to give the story that little something extra that makes it stand out from the crowd.

Overall, then, well worth picking up. Fans of the anime will enjoy seeing how the show began, and if you've never seen or read Jing before, this provides a cheap way of checking it out.

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