May 16, 2015
Arina Tanemura – Viz – 2014 – 7 volumes
this is a 5-volume omnibus edition
I love this series so much! I’m torn, because I’ve held this one in my mind as my favorite Tanemura series for so long. Her later work is more complex, but there’s something about the simplicity, and the easy-to-like characters, that make this one very addictive.
The story moves along here according to shoujo script. Conflicts that come up include the fallout of Maron finding out that Chiaki is lying to her, Maron dealing with the fact that her parents may love her in their own way (which reads pretty thin to me, since they never visit, call, or write letters), Chiaki and Maron falling slowly in love, and, most heartbreaking, a story at the end where Miyako approaches Jeanne to help save her brother, and Jeanne finds out Miyako wants to catch Jeanne to prove that Maron is no thief.
That’s a simple idea, but Tanemura writes a convincing and adorable friendship, so it hurts quite a bit when we find out that’s the reason. Similarly, Maron has to wrestle with the fact that both she and Miyako may like Chiaki. Miyako comes right out and says that Maron is more important to her, but the two have yet to have the conversation. It’s fairly clear by the end of the volume who Chiaki prefers, though.
I still love all the little jokes slipped in here, too. I missed the oddball sense of humor, as Gentlemen’s Alliance and Sakura Hime were both a little more serious. During the Valentine’s Day story, Miyako gives Chiaki a chocolate sculpture of herself in a bikini. While looking at the school newspaper, the headline, crammed into the bottom of a panel, says something like “Jeanne Anime Announced 2 days before deadline – Honestly I didn’t want Jeanne animated but I like Toei so I said okay.” There’s lots of cute funny crammed in here.
Gasp! We also get the first hints that not all is well! Chiaki seems puzzled by a comment Maron makes about how the demon servants use cross pendants as well.
Is Jeanne still the best? So far, it’s pretty close! I’m going to hold off judgement until I finish it, though.
April 12, 2015
Arina Tanemura – Viz – 2014 – 7 volumes
(this is volume 1 of a 5-volume omnibus edition)
I’ve already reviewed this entire series on this site, as it was released by CMX more years ago than I like to admit. However, I love Arina Tanemura to pieces, and can’t resist the re-read and the nice omnibus edition. And more press for her never hurts, as it seems there’s been a delay in announcing a localization for one of her new series (note: I wrote this in December, and a new one was announced recently. I cried real tears of joy). I hope little girls still buy her series!
The first thing I noticed here is that all of Tanemura’s commentaries are missing. I had wondered about this. They’ve gotten much better over the years, and the most recent ones do add to the story. These early ones are… hm. Not very good. At one time, her author commentaries were my least favorite to read in shoujo manga. Part of me is relieved I don’t have to read them again. I went back to the CMX version, and can confirm that we are not missing out on much. But I wonder if it was Tanemura’s decision or Viz’s to leave them out.
The second thing is that her art has gotten so much better over the years! This is a huge compliment, because I liked it plenty when I first started reading her series. But comparing Sakura Hime to Kamikaze Kaitou Jeanne makes it obvious she’s improved so much. There’s so much more detail, the hairstyles are better, the backgrounds are prettier… again, the artwork in Jeanne is good, but I’m blown away by the difference.
The story is still cute. Maron is a magical girl, the titular Phantom Thief Jeanne. It runs along the rails through this volume… Maron hides her identity from her best friend, goes out at night to steal paintings, has her rival that is also her main love interest, et cetera. It’s cute, there’s a lot of funny jokes, and I enjoy reading it even as simple as this volume is. It gets better, though. I love the Finn/Access moments later in the series, as well as the wicked twist.
I also like that Tanemura works so well with the limited number of characters here. The main trio of Maron, Chiaki, and Miyako, which is supplemented later with the class president. Chiaki and Maron both have cute helpers in Access Time and Finn Fish. Miyako’s dad recurs occasionally. And… that’s about it. It works well with just a few people, and I love that Miyako stays strong as a best friend/police rival/unconvincing rival in love throughout the series.
Can’t wait to read more! I have to dig the rest out of my stacks.
March 11, 2007
Two things: the very first chapter, where we get a big scene with Finn and Access, made me cry. I’m sorry, it just did. Even with the obvious sacrifice that happened at the end of this chapter, I still shed big girly tears for true love. Shut up. The second thing was the beautiful face-off between God’s Jeanne and the Devil’s Jeanne. You thought this was gonna be some big epic fight? No! The Ribon magic works in mysterious ways, and a hug is just as powerful as any punch or slight. Oh man, that one had me cracking up out of sheer corniness.
I disapproved in the sacrifice after the battle. I mean, come on, don’t punish her anymore. She’s suffered enough. It made me so mad, because she’s been used in really bad flips of the coin throughout the series. Was this really necessary? And of course we get the big cheesy ending tacked on. The ending wasn’t anything spectacular, but the last volume was. Hooray for that!
This was a great series. It was really girly, full of sincere characters, and had an awesome plot. The retelling of the creation story was actually quite different and enjoyable in this volume, and reading this series made me feel good in a way that very few shoujo stories can. While Full Moon’s ending would have made me swear off Tanemura had I not already been reading this one and been so fond of it… I liked the ending to this one so much that it restored my faith. Here’s hoping Gentleman’s Alliance is another Jeanne.
March 11, 2007
Despite the girly, shameful tears I wept over past volumes of this series, I had put off these last two because I was really not looking forward to the time travel story at the beginning of this volume. It wasn’t too bad, as interaction with Jeanne was minimal since she was in prison and mostly it was a trip for Noin and Maron, but it still felt a little… I don’t know, unnecessary. On the other hand, it was extremely necessary, as it gave Maron her powers back.
Maron resolves to do things if she makes it back to the present, and of course one of these things is to tell Chiaki how she feels about him. There are many cute cuddling scenes between Maron and Chiaki for a lot of the time, but well, one thing leads to another and then Miyako starts dating Chiaki. This is of course unnatural, so Maron has to find some BIG SHOCK that will snap Miyako out of her demonic posession. This part made me laugh, as they did work it out to be a big shock and it turned out to be… well, not.
This volume read like a lot of exposition and a bunch of weepy character moments (if Arina’s got a weakness, it’s that her characters talk too much about how they feel, but I guess it did run in Ribon), but this is necessary since the next volume is the epic conclusion.
September 29, 2006
ARGH! FINN FISH NO!
I can’t really say anything about this volume that wouldn’t spoil it, but that flashback blew my mind. I hated that… events had to occur in this volume that were not… what I had in mind. At all. It was so grossly out of character and just not in the spirit for the series. They’ve been hinting at dark things for awhile, but Jesus Christ, not that dark.
The story at the end was cute, though. I was kind of mad it took place afterwards, though I couldn’t think of a better place for it. Also, this is an example of a side story I do like. Most of the volume was dedicated to the most hardcore stroke-inducing plot development ever seen, then there’s about 15 pages at the end for a cute short story to lighten the mood. That’s what I like to see.
Rrg. Finn Fish. I’m so mad!
September 29, 2006
The volumes in this series are quite slender. But that’s okay, because Arina Tanemura packs every page full of awesome. There’s a dirty secret I have to admit to as well.
Otherwise, in this volume: Ugh, Noin Claude. I hate his purpose in the story… it seems like he’s not even necessary, and he makes me feel bad since I genuinely like the Chiaki/Maron pair. And maybe that’s my problem with all alternate love interests for pairings I like in stories that are well-established… I just hate having the boat rocked (see also: Marmalade Boy, Hot Gimmick). But I especially hate Noin Claude for some reason as a character. Maybe he’s just too smarmy for me.
Otherwise… CHIAKI/MARON! *squeals* It is very rare when a shoujo series evokes a pairing I like so well. They get immortalized with Sakura/Sayoran and George/Caroline as one of my favorites.
I really liked the Zen-kun story that ran throughout most of the volume, too. It did a good job of sort of reinforcing a lot of the things going on in the series, plus it was just a really good story that lasted a long time.
This is going to be so cheesy, and your opinion of me will drop when you read this, but I thought the part where Finn Fish tells them to call out to God and his answer is the wind was one of the most beautiful parts in any manga.
There, I said it.
August 16, 2006
Oh… I hate when new characters are introduced. This series didn’t need a new character. What the hell. He doesn’t really do anything except get inbetween Chiaki and Maron in this volume, but that’s enough to make me mad at him.
I didn’t really like the plot with Chiaki’s dad in the beginning. I kind of hate the trend towards “find the power within yourself” plots in magical girl series, but that’s because I’m a withered old hag. Plus, it turns a lot of my favorite characters against each other, which I don’t like, and I hate seeing Jeanne fail, so… nope. I did like the last couple pages though. Chiaki and Maron are turning out to be one of my preferred manga couples.
I kind of liked the requisite Valentine’s Day chapter, but only because of the Chiaki and Maron stuff, and also for the chocolate Miyako. And I also kind of liked the Miyako’s brother chapter, but only because Miyako finally reveals her intentions behind catching Jeanne. It was really sappy, and I love sappy stuff.
While I like magical girl series in kind of an empty sort of way, this one has a lot of substance and is turning out to be one of my preferred magical girl series OF ALL TIME. Hooray for that!