Jan 13, 2021
Surprised to find that no one has already written a review for this manga. Before I go into some more depth of why I enjoy and recommend this series, here's the short version. It is an episodic style, bombastic and cartoony action series that I find has it's greatest strength in the sheer inventiveness it constantly shows. For anyone looking for a relatively short series with an art style similar to something out of a square enix ps1 game, give this a go, I think it deserves more attention.
I'll go into a little bit of spoiler here but again, it's pretty episodic and not really
"spoileable", but if you want to go in blind, stop here
The manga follows Jing: The King of Bandits and his partner/weapon bird, Kir. He can supposedly steal anything, and the author takes this to some pretty creative places when coming up with amazing treasures to steal. There's one arc with a giant cloud sculpture, another with a painting that uses every imaginable color, the secret to immortality and many more like this. There is no tight or overarching narrative to speak of in this series, it is pretty strictly "treasure of the week", but I feel that this plays to a great strength of this mangaka's which is again, his creativity. Right from the get go, this world is introduced as incredibly unique and kind of crazy. The character designs range from kingdom hearts characters to crash bandicoot. It immediately makes want to explore the world as much as possible, and that's what we get to do. If anything took me out of this, it's that it sometimes has a strange sense of pacing, to the point of me wondering if I just skipped a page. Sometimes, plot points go by so fast that you can miss them. Ultimately the trade off is a fast paced adventure that feels all the more thrilling. There's even a tournament arc, and it's great, so I'm sure people will love that. The story here just aims to be a fun time, adventuring with a pirate and I think that tone is pretty solid.
I've been kind of talking about the art before getting to this part but to sum it up, it shows great amounts of creativity. There's one scene early on, for example, where the cast finds this ghost pirate ship and they realize that the anchor of the ship is alive and is the guard, so they have to fight it, and it looks really cool. Like some kind of new gen ghost pokemon. Later they find a hidden casino, and they fight a monster who is made out of money and once again it looks like some great monster design out of an old video game. It's really the best comparison I can make for this guy's art, so if that's up your alley, don't sleep on this, you'll have a great time.
The series has a lot of characters who only appear for one arc and then disappear, but Jing and Kir are always around and are pretty entertaining. If anything, I would describe them as "what they need to be and a tiny bit more". Jing himself is a thrill seeking, adventure loving kid with a surprising element of maturity to him as well as some clear moral code despite being a world renowned bandit. It the first chapter some pick pocketer tries to steal all his shit and get dumped on by him, but then he lets him take everything but one of his precious treasures (that connects to his dead mother somehow). He's a pretty "shonen" protagonist and is good for the series for that reason. I think he could have been made to be a lot more of a jerk and I'm glad that isn't the case. He also cannot stop doing one liners and puns, he is that kind of mc. Sometimes they're great though. Kir is his bird/arm canon weapon (again this guy and his video game shit) who is a huge perverted womanizer, and obviously cares deeply for Jing despite almost always sharing witty banter with him. He may be a womanizer but the series is little on actual fanservice. Kir just likes women, they don't make a meal out of it necessarily, and it's in good fun. They make a good pair, though as far as this author's creativity goes, they aren't character types you haven't seen before. But if it ain't broke don't fix it.
So once again, the main appeal of this series is all the cool shit you get to see. The fight scenes can occasionally be cluttered (though I blame these tokyopop volumes, give this a collectors edition or something) and the pacing is sometimes too break neck for it's own good. I'm never particularly invested in any one side character's arc but this guy is an author with lots of really cool ideas and he just wanted to show them off, which he did very well. There is a sequel series, which I have not yet read. Form what I can tell it's more of the same, which is welcome. I believe it's on indefinite hiatus, meaning this series probably never gets a real "ending" but again, it's nature makes it pretty unnecessary. Overall, it's a one of a kind, fun pirate story that is relatively short. If any of this intrigues you, I recommend you give it a read.
What did you think of this review?