As you might have noticed from the blog’s background, side panel pictures, and the Anime lesson divider icon, I am a fan of the anime series, King of Bandit: Jing. Some years back, if I told anyone this, they would be like, “What is that?” but then the OVA Seventh Heaven came out, and the show made its comeback. It is awesomely random and feels like a surrealist painting set in a Halloween town.
“The King of Bandits steals stars from the sky…” That is how Jing is remembered by those in the show, but no one actually knows who he is. He isn’t a king like a ruler of a country, but the best of the best, even though everyone is always surprised that he is only a kid. His companion is a perverted, talking bird named Kir, who can shoot a large ball of energy from his mouth if Jing wishes him to in an attack called “Kir Royale.” Jing is the brains, but he doesn’t always tell Kir what is going on.
The only other recurring character is a motorcycle-riding mailman named Postino who runs into Jing and Kir while delievering his mail around the world, and is always ready to give Jing a passing word.
The greatest thing about Jing is nothing is as it seems. It is one of those shows that always has a lesson at the end (but not those cheesy Barney ones about we are all friends and we should all get along).
Wikipedia noted that: “Each storyline arc features at least one person who is named after an alcoholic beverage, usually the “Jing Girl” (somewhat like a Bond Girl). In addition, each town or city is named after a cocktail.” I don’t drink, so I never noticed that, except “Mimosa” was rather obvious (I always wondered about the name “Russian.” Why was he the only one named after a country and why was he with Mimosa? When I told my sister about the alcoholic references, she asked if someone was named “White Russian.” Now it makes sense. Well his name makes sense, not so much on the connection between a “Mimosa” and a “White Russian”).
It is ironic that someone who hates alcohol, like me, would love a show completely based around alcohol. It all makes sense now. (I am guessing “shot” which is used to refer to the episodes may be referring to a shot of alcohol or something like that; I just thought it had to do with being a thief and being shot at or something more James Bond-like). So in honor of New Years, here are the Jing episodes with the alcohols for drinking inspiration for welcoming the New Year; please drink responsibly.
1st Shot “The Capital of Thieves”
Jing and Kir (” French cocktail made with a measure of crème de cassis (blackcurrant liqueur) topped up with white wine“; Kir Royale is made with champagne) enter the Capital of Thieves ruled by Lord Cognac (French brandy), to steal the mayor’s prized possession: one of the Double Mermaids. Jing gets the help of old veteran bandit Vodka (“distillation of fermented substances such as grains,potatoes, or sometimes fruits and/or Sugar“) and an old hag to accomplish his goal. The episode’s Jing girl is named Cidre (French cider = “a fermented alcoholic beverage made from apple juice”).
Postino’s Riddle: Have you heard? There is a rumor going around that the Double Mermaids have an even more valuable treasure sleeping inside of them.
Jing Quote: There can be tears of sadness… and there can be tears of joy…but they are far from the same.
2nd Shot “The Ghost Ship of Blue Hawaii”
A gambling ghost ship appears around Blue Hawaii (“rum, pineapple juice, blue Curacao, sweet and sour mix, and sometimes vodka as well“) and Officer Rose (Rosé= “a type of wine that has some of the color typical of a red wine, but only enough to turn it pink“) must keep the peace and an eye on the Bandit King. The ghost ship is actually the Monte Carlo Gambling House, managed by Grappa (“an alcoholic beverage, a fragrant, grape-based pomace brandy of Italian origin that contains 35%–60% alcohol by volume (70 to 120 US proof)“).
Postino’s Riddle: Jing, have you heard? It seems that the ghost ship is powered by greed and desire. (Just something to think about).
Jing: That I would like to steal: the wants and desires that lie in our hearts. What you said makes some sense. Humans are greedy by nature, I guess, but some of us can resist our desires and not succumb to temptation.
3rd-4th Shot “The Adonis Capital of Time Part 1 -2”
Jing and Kir visits Adonis (Adonis Cocktail = “fino sherry, sweet vermouth and orange bitters, the drink is stirred over ice and then served ‘straight up’ with an orange twist“), a town protected by the Demon of Time that forces all residents to be on time, to find the legendary Grapes of Time. Mirabelle (Mirabelle Plum Brandy eau-de-vie de mirabelle) is saved by Jing and Kir from her execution which is her “punishment for the crime of tardiness.” In the sewers of the city, the dead live in Neverland lead by Captian, who has only one hand. The town is controlled by Master Gear and his animal companion Sherry who can hear hears and also shoot energy from her mouth.
Postino: I should tell you not to approach the hourglass. In that area, the flow of time is incredibly fast.
5th Shot “The Little Girl from the Technicolor Town”
In the Technicolor Town of Pompeii, Kir and Jing save Fino (” the driest and palest of the traditional varieties of sherry“), a living piece of art created by her father, Van Kuot, whose last piece was the unfinished and mysterious “The Painter’s Self,” from Mr. Drambuie(“a sweet, golden colored 80-proof liqueur made from malt whisky, honey, herbs, and spices“), an art collector and paint manufacturer, and his henchman, Rum (“a distilled alcoholic beverage made from sugarcane by-products such as molasses, or directly from sugarcanejuice, by a process of fermentation and distillation“).
Postino: The key to his last masterpiece lives inside her memory. Jing: Beyond this threshold is either a paradise of treasures or an empty, frozen hell? Only the angels know for sure.
Vermouth (“Grape wine base with additional alcohol and a mixture of dry ingredients, consisting of aromatic herbs, roots, and barks“) persuades Jing and Kir to join her on a quest. They are followed by Pernod and China Lilet (Kina Lillet).
Jing: You know, Kir, I almost forgot about what’s important in life…Shining brightly even for a split second is far better than living a dull gray life in eternity.
8th Shot “Don’t Drop the Por Vora”
The only way to enter the town of Sangria (wine punch) is to deliver the explosive little creatures called Por Vora; Jing and a protesting Kir agree to deliver a wagonfull of Por Voras to the town’s mayor Goblet, so they can steal the last stones of the Systema Solari: Sun and Jupiter. Izarra (“a sweet liqueur made in Bayonne in the French Basque Country“) wants revenge on Goblet.
9th Shot “The Musical Island of Coco Oco”
In the town of Coco Oco Island (there is Coco-Loco, which is a dark rum but supposedly “Coco Oco means empty coconut in their native tongue”) where “anyone who really loves music must visit at least once in their life,” Jing decides to take a break and enjoy his visit to Kir’s dismay. Storming off, Kir takes to the beach, but is greatly disappointed by the lack of bikini-clad girls. After almost drowning, Kir is saved by a castanet-maker’s apprentice, Mimosa (“one part champagne (or other sparkling wine) and one part thoroughly chilled citrus fruitjuice, namely orange juice“) who can only seem to get into arguments with the one she loves, Russian (White Russian = “vodka, coffee liqueurs, and cream served with ice in an Old Fashioned glass“). There is a rumor on the island of the Ocarina of the Moon: “any couple who hears the music of that flute will stay in love forever and never separate.”; it is also called the legendary Treasure of the Trembling Heart.
10th Shot “Lullaby of the Por Vora”
While traveling to Zaza, Jing and Kir ended up on the wrong train! They become lost and find more Por Voras in a forest; the creatures are protected by Elixir (“clear, sweet-flavored liquid used for medicinal purposes, to be taken orally and intended to cure one’s ills“). Sweet & Bitter, and Mama Stout (“dark beer made using roasted malt or barley, hops, water and yeast“).
My favorite story is the three-part finale with a character named Stir (when they call her Miss Stir, it sounds like Mister in the English dub, but her name must have been “Shaken, not Stirred” in relation to alcohol?). Jing and Kir mistakenly enter the Masquerade Ball of Zaza, thinking masks and dancing but ending up in the “Mas Corrida,” (Corrida bull fight) which is really more like gladiator battles to decide who will take over the kingdom after Madame DuBonnet, who hides behind a mask as the only way to show her emotions. Years before, a war raged and when it neared the end, Duke DuBonnet was killed. Soon after their only son Lemon, Stir’s younger brother, was murdered by their uncle who wanted the throne. To take revenge, Madame DuBonnet would forever force everyone to fight. Stir desperately wants to help her country go back to how it was in the old days, while Jing attempts to steal the Vintage Smile mask.
The servants include Angostura Sr. and Jr. (Angostura Bitters). The first person Jing goes against is Maltick Danda; he also befriends Ginjou (ginjou-shu = premium sake). The D’Ice Brothers– Baffle, Crash, Cube– are the ones presumed to win until the appearance of Jing and the mysterious Rising Son.
Jing: Hey, Postino, you’re not going to wear a carnival mask?
Postino: I can’t Jing. It is my job to not discriminate and deliver letters to everyone equally, regardeless of whether they have a mask or not.
OVA “Lost in Heaven,” “Dream in Heaven,” and “Awake in Heaven”
Jing and Kir end up in jail! But Seventh Heaven is not just any jail. Warden Maraschino (“a bittersweet, clear liqueur flavored with Marasca cherries“) warns Jing that juveniles don’t get any special treatment.
Jing informs Kir that the jail has a treasure: “Dreams gathered from all over the world.” The inmate and magician Campari (“aperitif obtained from the infusion ofherbs and fruit (including chinotto) in alcohol and water”) created the crystallized dreams known as Dream Orbs and sold the collected dreams to the highest bidders.
The OVA was a disappointment; there were more random scenes in the OVA and the creatures are even weirder than before, since it is more dream-like than the drunken stories of the series; the art appears to be darker/richer and more detailed are CGI, which was not used in the series. The story is far to deep into the character of Capari and Jing’s history is actually shown in the second episode. I liked how Jing really wasn’t the main character in the series; he was the main character but he was more of a guide character in the Jing Girl’s hero’s journey, which in the end of the OVA, he is for Campari.
Many animes are very deep, but this deep and is more cartoonish than most; perhaps kid-friendly would be better (girls in skimpy clothing but no sex nor violence). It is funny but it always contains a deep message. Besides alcoholic references, there are many other references, usually city names, that go with the episode’s theme and final messages.
Since Jing is supposed to be a kid, it makes sense that the Japanese voices sound young (or as far as I can tell), but the English voices sound a lot older. I find it more appropriate to have the older voices, because the young characters in the show have all had to grow up before their time.
Also I am not an emotional person, but Crystal Note, which is played on a piano during sad moments, makes me want to cry; I love that song, which contrasts greatly with the opening “Shout It Loud,” which is another favorite of mine.
So why use Jing as my background? Besides being my all-time favorite anime, Jing emphasizes that things are not always what they look like.
At first glance, Kir thought this old hag was a beautiful woman by her hair, but realized she was not what he expected, or was she?
Jing: Haven’t you heard that women, like wine, just get better with age?
Kir: Wine is one thing, but sour grapes, Jing!