Jing King of Bandits in Seventh Heaven OVA - 2 stars.
Well, I'll have to be blunt about this one: (a) I just couldn't get my head around the story; and (b) I had a hard time not yawning throughout the show. Maybe it was the fact I was watching it on a Sunday afternoon, but that shouldn't have stopped me from getting into it. To be (probably unfairly) blunt, the story was an incomprehensible shocker — for me, at least. Admittedly, I haven't had the benefit of seeing the original series. Had I seen the original, it may have helped my understanding and appreciation somewhat. Then again, seeing the original series' trailer in amongst the extras for this disc reinforced my decision to give Jing a miss. Basically, Master-thief steals stuff with aid of fire-breathing bird. Much hijinks to be had all round — it just didn't appeal.
The story starts off reasonably enough with Jing and Kir caught and transferred to the Seventh Heaven prison. This was a set-up, however, so they could try and steal some dream bauble from an inmate, Campari. What we end up getting are three stories almost involving a dream-state with Jing and Kir trying to find Campari; an origin story with what appeared to be a much younger Jing and how he met up with Kir; and a third one that tries to tidy things up when they meet up with Campari and try to understand his motivations. If you're into surreal settings with outlandish characters, this would probably suit you down to the ground. For me, this ended up being a surreal experience but not at all engaging. I felt like I was an observer who just didn't understand the characters and, by the end of it, was beyond caring. Jing appeared to be ambivalent about the whole situation; and Kir was just annoying, either moody or raucous with the girls. Campari, however, appeared to be slightly more interesting and, to my view, held a deep sadness or loss. He exuded arrogance and appeared to be very camp in a circus-like costume.
Visually, this was a mind-trip. Situations and settings were bizarre to say the least. Character designs were equally bizarre, such as the warden of the Seventh Heaven prison appearing rather vampire-like with his bats. Jing appeared cool and collected, while I could never get over how Kir managed to stay aloft without flapping his wings. You had a train-pulling dodo which was motivated by a baton-waving conductor leading three insanely barking dobermans. And that's just scratching the surface. While the visuals were definitely sit-up-and-take notice, the lack of any coherence just did not appeal to me. Maybe that has something to do with the whole dream-state thing, it isn't meant to make sense… Anyways, there was nothing to complain about the visuals — a nicely rendered 16:9 anamorphic widescreen presentation with good colours and no obvious technical issues with the transfer.
The audio tracks included a 5.1 Dolby Digital English dialogue and a 2.0 DD Japanese dialogue. My listening of the DVD was with the original Japanese track and I had no problems with the audio. There was good directionality across both left and right channels for dialogue and effects; and the character voices met expectations. Jing was, again, cool and collected; Kir was raucous and obnoxious; Campari oozed smoothness and control. The music used was also off the wall with an odd jazzy funky saxophone sound. Quite in keeping with the other zaniness of the show, so it worked in my view.
Bottom line: Probably one only for real fans of the Jing: King of Bandits franchise. Anyone else — you'd probably want to avoid this one lest your brain goes into meltdown. I think mine was a sorry puddle by the end of the OVA and I was quite glad to have finished it. Top-end of two stars for a bizarre plot; uninteresting characters; only barely mitigated by some surreal and sit-up-and-take-notice visuals.
Too hot for eBay!
As I was sorting through items for listing on eBay, I came across some adult product which I couldn't put there. Here is a list of those anime products. Please be aware that you must be over 18 years of age to order any of these items from me! I only have one of each of these. They are available now for immediate delivery.
Blu-ray anime DVDs
For those of you into the latest and greatest technology, here's a list of anime available on Blu-ray in the US and Australia. I will be updating this list about every two months to try to keep it current (last updated May 26, 2011).
Oz anime permanent price reductions!
The good folks at Madman have announced some permanent price reductions on selected Australian anime titles. Sure, these ones have been around for a while, but saving some money is a good thing, right