Manga: Kamikaze Kaitou Jeanne

"Strong and serious... Matchless and marvelous... Energetic and fearless! – Game Start!"
Jeanne's Transformation Catch Phrase

Kamikaze Kaitou Jeanne is a Magical Girl manga by Arina Tanemura, published in the Shoujo magazine Ribon from 1998 to 2000. It was adapted into a 44 episode anime by Toei Animation in 1999. It sets itself apart from most Magical Girl series by having a Broken Bird heroine, and being quite a Tear Jerker at times.

Maron Kusakabe may seem to be an Ordinary High-School Student, but secretly she's the reincarnation of Joan of Arc, Kaitou Jeanne! Maron is on a Mission from God to seal demons hiding in works of art, which possess and corrupt pure-hearted people who admire their beauty. Unfortunately, sealing the demon also causes the artwork it inhabits to disappear, making Jeanne seem to be nothing more than a petty thief to most. The police and Maron's best friend Miyako, who dreams of becoming a detective, are dedicated to catching her, but Jeanne has God's blessing and a number of divine tools at her disposal.

Because her divorced parents live and work overseas, Maron lives alone in her apartment with tiny angel Finn Fish. Across the hall live Miyako and her family, unaware of Maron's identity. One day, Chivalrous Pervert Chiaki Nagoya moves in next door. He gets on Maron's nerves, but Miyako instantly falls head-over-heels in love with him. Soon after, Kaitou Sinbad appears on the scene and starts competing with Jeanne to see who can seal the demons first. Finn and Maron wonder who he could be, as Maron was supposed to be the only kaitou. They soon conclude that Sinbad must be Jeanne's opposite – a kaitou working for the devil.

This series provides examples of:

  • Adaptational Heroism: Jeanne d'Arc herself, of all people. Both the manga and the anime have Maron meet the historical Jeanne d'Arc. In the anime she reminds Maron of her true purpose, motivates her and helps her get back on her feet. The same Jeanne d'Arc in the manga has given into her fate. It's Maron who convinces her that not all hope is lost.
  • Adaptational Modesty: Any references to Jeanne being "pure", Noin attempting to rape Maron, or Maron and Chiaki having sex are absent from the anime adaptation.
  • Adapted Out: Most of the angel-related backstory is only found in the manga. This includes Finn's and Access' backstory in heaven, angels Toki and Celcia, and the actual reason Finn started working for the Devil.
  • And Now For Something Completely Different: Chapter 17. Coming right after the Zen arc in the manga, it deals with Kagura and his feeling for Yashiro. While there's a Demonic Possession that ties it into the rest of the story, it only seems to be there to make the Love Dodecahedron even bigger.
  • Arc Words: Any reference to "wind". God can't interfere in human life beyond creating wind, several characters wish they could "fly away", Maron is described by several people as a gentle wind, and in the end Maron states that she wants to become a healing, challenging or supporting wind in people's lives. Chapter 23, in which Maron meets Jeanne d'Arc is titled "The Wind Is Born". The title of the story itself includes these arc words – "kami kaze" means "divine wind".
  • Ascended Extra: The police. Miyakos father is only depicted in chibi style in the manga, where both he and the police provide comic relief. In the anime, he and four of his policemen are distinguished characters who are very invested in capturing Jeanne.
  • Awful Truth: Maron is on a Mission from God. About halfway through the manga and towards the end oft he anime, she finds out that she's been working for Satan all along, her Mentor Mascot is a Fallen Angel who was in on the whole thing, and the two have been conspiring to break her. In the former's case, this has been happening since [[spoiler:she was an infant.
  • Beethoven Was an Alien Spy: The historical Jeanne d'Arc's military achievements were only a side thing – her real mission was to cleanse the worlds of demons.
  • Canon Immigrant: The policemen, who are an Ascended Extra in the anime, appear on manga splash panels, art books, and Arina Tanemura says she enjoys them very much and wishes she'd thought of them.
  • Cheap Costume: Brought about when a demon-possessed human gets their hands on Maron's Transformation Trinket.
  • Chess Motifs: The sealed demons turn into chess pieces, Jeanne seals them while calling "Checkmate", and the floor of the manga's Final Battle looks like a chessboard.
  • Coitus Ensues: Manga-only, chapter 29. Maron and Chiaki have sex in the night before the Final Battle. Two full-page spreads are dedicated to it.
  • Cooldown Hug: Used in the Final Battle in both adaptations. In the manga Maron uses it on her former self, in the anime on Dark Finn Fish.
  • Costumer: One episode is set in a recreation of an Edo period village.
  • Demonic Possession: The demons who hide in pieces of art possess their owners.
  • Everything's Better with Monkeys: The owner of one possessed object gives it to her pet monkey to confuse Jeanne and Sinbad.
  • Evil Plan: The Devil's plan throughout the series is not only to weaken God's power, but to break Maron's spirit. In the manga he does this to end Jeanne's cycle of reincarnation, in the anime this weakens her holy shield.
  • The Evils of Free Will: The trope is present, and the reason why God doesn't have a lot of power in the human world. The following quote is presented in a positive and hopeful way in the manga, sarcastically in the anime.
    Noin (anime), Finn (manga): "God can only do three things for humans. Firstly... He brings forth their souls. Secondly... He watches over those souls. And then... He can move the earth's air... "
  • Feminist Fantasy: Maron is the reincarnation of Joan of Arc, and on a Mission from God to use her holy powers to track down and seal various demons. Because the items these demons hide in vanish after being sealed, she's mistaken as a Phantom Thief and constantly on the run from the police. A skilled gymnast and acrobat, the majority of her attacks use feminine tools such as ribbons and flowers to fight the demons.
  • Ferris Wheel Date Moment: Zigzagged. Maron and Chiaki share a ride on a ferris wheel in chapter 3 of the manga or episode 15 of the anime. While it's not played as a romantic moment, it builds trust between Maron and Chiaki when she tells him about her parents' Meet Cute and her Parental Abandonment.
    Maron: "I... don't understand 'love' very well... No one taught me."
  • Filler: Easily done with adding yet another Monster of the Week demon who possesses yet another piece of art.
  • Filler Villain: Cute Monster Girl Myst who appears in the anime at the same time Noin does, and sends Monsters oft he Week after Jeanne.
  • Gecko Ending: The anime ends right after the Final Battle with Maron finally getting a letter from her parents. The manga gives more closure and outlooks on the characters' future.
  • God: The Christian God is real in this story. He gave Jeanne d'Arc her mission and her powers.
  • Good Wings, Evil Wings: The size and color of an angel's wings aren't simply decorative, but denote how much divine power they have stored. Full angels have large, pure-white wings, while Fallen Angels and the lowest rank of angels loyal to God, including Access Time, have pitch-black wings.
  • Haunted House: A possessed picture is hidden in a haunted house in an amusement park. Maron briefly breaks down when the demon starts taunting her abandonment issues and fear of the dark.
  • Historical Villain Upgrade: The Christian church who burned Jeanne d'Arc at the stake was a villain to begin with, but the whole of France including the bishops being possessed by demons invokes this trope.
  • Immortality Inducer: God can give a human's soul the power to reincarnate. Demons can give humans the power to never die of old age.
    Noin: "A human whose heart has been possessed by a demon evolves into a stronger demon. [...] They don't die."
  • In Medias Res: When the story starts, Maron has been active as Jeanne for about a month already. Short enough for Finn to provide Maron and the audience with exposition about Jeanne and her mission. Long enough to spare the audience an origin story of her getting used to her new powers and to get to the action right away.
  • Living Shadow: Most demons lack shape or form, appear as shadows in the artwork they inhabit or as the shadow of the person they possess.
  • Love Dodecahedron: Played for Drama. Consisting of several love triangles, only two of which don't intersect, but Triang Relations really doesn't quite cover it anymore.
    • Both Maron and Miyako fall in love with Chiaki, who pretends to flirt with Maron but later actually falls in love with her. Both Zen and Yamato have an unreciprocated crush on Maron. Yamato later falls for Miyako, who eventually returns his affection. With Maron being the Reincarnation of Noin's love Jeanne d'Arc, Noin believes in a Reincarnation Romance with Maron, who's not interested at all. At least he's still adored by his demon pet dragon Silk. Another one of her previous incarnations, the biblical Eve, was loved by both Adam and God, but the latter seems to be over it by the time he appears in the story. The only person for whom Maron develops romantic feelings is indeed Chiaki. He, hoewever, is still loved by his former fiance Yashiro. At least until she starts dating her admirer Kagura, who didn't confess his love earlier because he's the Chiaki's family butler.
    • As for the angels, both Access and Toki love Finn. The latter loves Access but is seduced by the Devil after falling from heaven. Oh, and Satan himself? He's actually the loneliness God cast out of his body after banishing Adam and Eve from paradise. Remember how we said these two Dodecahedron's don't intersect? We lied.
  • Magic Hair: The angels' hair contains their power.
  • Meet Cute: Zigzagged in the case of Maron's parents. They met twice in front of the same carousel, years apart and by various coincidences, and fell in love. By the time of the story, they're working in different countries from each other and their daughter, and are planning a divorce. As it turns out, the Devil appears to have intervened to destroy their feelings of love for each other as part of an Evil Plan to break Maron's spirit. Only, that's not really the case: it's revealed that they would have broken up anyways, and no intervention was required. At the end of the series, her parents are shown meeting each other again in a third iteration of the same Meet Cute, implying that it really was the Devil's intervention that caused their differences.
  • Mythology Gag: Two characters from I-O-N make a cameo appearance, both possessed by demons: Miyako's older brother is the same Toudaiji who was a member of Mikado's research club, while Tagosaku appears briefly in a side story.
  • Only Six Faces: Arina Tanemura's characters look remarkably similar to each other, to the point where only their outfits, hairstyles and color schemes really tell them apart.
  • Our Angels Are Different: In the manga, angels are amnesiac reincarnations of pure humans on Earth who carry and collect God's power, and are separated into ranks based on how much divine power they have built up over the years. These ranks can be easily distinguished by their size and their wings – Finn, as a low-ranking angel, is small with white wings. Fallen Angels contain no power, and literally drain the power from angels they come into contact with, whether they wish to or not.
  • Power Dyes Your Hair: An angel's hair color can change after receiving a significant amount of power. Finn's hair becomes green this way.
  • Sadistic Choice: Noin sets up one of these as part of the process of breaking Maron. A demon as possessed a young boy's failing heart. Seal the demon, kill the child. Leave the demon, and it will eventually consume the child's soul. She decides that she’ll Take a Third Option, watch over the boy until he gets his upcoming heart surgery, and she’ll do her best to keep the demon at bay without fully exorcising it. And then Sinbad shows up and kills the demon himself, causing the boy to die, but he later becomes a kuro-tenshi.
  • Stable Time Loop: Maron and Noin's trip to fifteenth century Europe is present in both the manga and the anime, but only the manga plays this trope straight.
    • Most of France is possessed by demons. As it turns out, it wasn't the historical Jeanne who sealed them once and for all, but Maron. It's also Jeanne d'Arc in the past who gives Maron the power to transform without Finn's help in the present day.
    • Noin Claude was once possessed by a demon and eventually turned into one himself. The demon who possessed him was is own demonic future self in order to ensure that he would live long enough to meet his love Jeanne's reincarnation.
  • Sympathy for the Devil: One of the last chapters reveals that the Devil was born from God's loneliness and sorrow which he felt after banning Adam and Eve from paradise. All-Loving Heroine Maron certainly agrees with this trope.
  • Theme Tune Cameo: Maron hums the opening song in one episode.
  • Wham Episode: Episode 42.
  • Wham Line:
  • "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue: Used at the final chapter. The tankoubon edition added a new special with a story featuring Maron and Chiaki's daughter and Miyako and Minazuki's son.
  • White And Black Morality: It's a story of God versus the Devil, Good versus Evil. Somewhat deconstructed, presenting several cases of White and Grey Morality.