Phantom Thief Jeanne 3
July 21, 2015
Arina Tanemura – Viz – 2014 – 7 volumes
this is a 5-volume edition
I don’t know… I mean, I’ll read the rest of the series, but I’m pretty sure this volume clenched the title for Favorite Tanemura Series. I wasn’t wrong all these years.
Part of it is that it’s a fairly simple story. Maron is a magical girl, the love interest is her rival, and she’s got some side characters and friends to interact with. She’s got a great best friend character (in my mind, Miyako is second only to Tomoyo Daidouji as a best friend), and I especially love the fact that she and Chiaki fall in love with each other early. So the rest of the series isn’t really about that. They have the same types of misunderstandings, awkward encounters, et cetera that you find in other shoujo romance manga. And their rival status keeps them apart. But the relationship feels a bit more mature because of that, which is something you might not expect in this series.
I would say neither one has a very serious rival, but Chiaki had a fiancee blip for a story, and Claude Noin shows up in this volume. He’s not really serious competition either, but he complicates things, and seems to be sticking around. He’s also really evil, and things get very nearly ugly in one part, something else you might not expect from Jeanne, or a Ribon series.
There are a few moments of sublime beauty in this volume. At one point, Finn tells Maron the three things that God does for humans. This is followed by a one-page illustration of the kamikaze wind answering Maron’s question. It’s beautiful, one of my favorite moments in the series. There are a few more moments like this. A minor character shares his feelings with Maron, and it’s beautiful. There’s a similar series of pages later in the volume where Maron and Chiaki go on a date, and for a minute, they’re just a couple in love. This volume is full of little moments like this that are touching and beautifully illustrated, and the snapshot moment like this strikes me more in this series, possibly because of its simplicity.
There’s also a story that takes up a chapter or three in this volume. Maron has to save a sick punk-ish kid named Zen from a demon. The story gets way more complicated than the usual painting capture, and the moral implications of what Maron and Chiaki do and do not do get more complicated and ugly the more the story goes on. And it takes an uglier turn later when Claude Noin shows his true colors. Again, something you might not expect in a magical girl story like this.
And… oh, the twist. It starts in the last few pages of this volume. What a cliffhanger. Finn is one of my favorite Tanemura characters, and I’m excited to re-read this part.
Ahh. Even after all these years, I still love KKJ. I’m so happy to have picked it back up!