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Welcome to the shining night!
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Kaitou Joker, or JOKER as it is known to some, follows the adventures of the Phantom Thief Joker and his apprentice Hachi. Using various tricks and skills, the two match wits with the hapless police department of Tokyo, whose anti-Phantom Thief division is led by Inspector Oniyama, along with his assistants Ginko and Momo. Along the way they also cross paths with rival Phantom Thieves Spade and Queen and the villainous Professor Clover. The series follows Joker and Hachi on their attempts to steal priceless artifacts and other goods with the trying-their-hardest police force at their heels at each turn around the world.

Kaitou Joker premiered as a manga with story and art by Hideyasu Takahashi in 2007; it is serialized in the magazine Coro Coro Comic. It currently has 20 volumes published. An anime adaptation by Asatsu DK began airing in the fall of 2014.

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Crunchyroll is currently streaming the anime worldwide excluding Asia. It can be viewed here.


This series provides examples of:

  • Absurdly Sharp Blade: Queen Diamond's sword. It's literally made out of diamonds.
  • Adaptational Early Appearance: In the manga, Ginko and Momo don't appear until Chapter 20. In the TV show, they're present from the very first episode.
  • Adult Fear: Having your enemies target your children for stuff you did in the past.
  • Action Girl: Queen Diamond and 'Dark Ai'. Ginko and Momo are also shown to be this in Season 2. The manga also has Rei Dragon, a detective/Hong Kong action star.
  • Anime Hair: Almost all the main and relatively major characters have this, but the extras look like normal people.
  • A Pirate 400 Years Too Late: Captain Blue and his crew are archetypal pirates, although Kaito Joker is presumably set in modern times.
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  • Artistic License – Physics: This can be found in most episodes, and ranges from anywhere to mild (Joker moving a giant anchor underwater, bending the wires on a steel cage) to extreme (fighting on the wing of a jet airplane, Joker getting fried in a deep-fryer and surviving unscathed.)
  • Badass Creed: "I am the shadow that paints the light black! Shadow Joker"
  • Battle Butler: Hachi and Dark Eye play this role for Joker and Spade, respectively, cooking their meals and doing the housekeeping on their airships while also assisting them on their phantom thief missions.
  • Balloon Belly: Not just their belly but Queen Diamond and Roko get their whole body like this after the chef takes them prisoner. They had to work off the weight down after they were freed.
  • Bare Your Midriff: Spade and Joker as the JJ brothers.
  • Big Eater: Joker is, which is why Hachi enjoys cooking for him.
  • Bishōnen: Spade, as well as Silver Heart when he was younger.
  • Black and Gray Morality: The main kaitous don't seem to find anything wrong with stealing, so long as they give an advance notice and not use violent methods (though given Spade, Joker and Diamond have been raised up as it's ok).. However, their actions seem pale compared to some of the antagonists, like the Clover Faction. It appears that the main characters do nothing with their treasure other than keep it in collections.
  • Blinded by the Light: Joker's 'Straight Flash'
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: Silver Heart does this in almost every episode. Spade even joins in on the fun on one occasion.
  • Butt-Monkey: Oniyama and Hachi.
  • Calling Your Attacks: ALL of the Phantom Thieves do this. Gingko, one of the cops, has done this as well.
  • Cats Are Mean: Doubt, Professor Clover's assistant, can assume the form of a cat. This is most notable in "The Beast that Howls at the Moon".
  • Chromatic Arrangement: The Shuffle Sisters dress in red/pink, green and blue, and their clothes match their hair and eyes.
    • Also, Joker, Hachi and Hosshi's main colors (red, blue and green respectively.)
  • *Click* Hello: How Spade greets Joker in episode 7, though just did it to scare him. Does it again when they get surrounded by the enemy
  • Cloud Cuckoo Lander: The entire security force from episode one. They do get better as the series continues though. Momo seems to have shades of this.
  • Coat, Hat, Mask: Both Joker and Shadow in their kaitou garb.
  • Conveniently an Orphan: Joker and Queen, which led to both of them being raised by Silver Heart. The audience knows that Professor Clover killed Queen's parents, and it's implied that he killed Joker's also.
  • Cool Car: The Road Joker. It doubles as a duckboat, and is able to move across water.
  • Cool Old Guy: Silver Heart is this.
  • Compressed Hair: Spade, in his disguises, manages to tuck in his hair such that it looks like a bob cut.
  • Crazy Memory: Played for laughs in "The Island of the Evil Scarlet God" with General Manbou and Hachi. Joker lampshades it in both instances.
  • Criminal Doppelgänger: Joker gets blamed for a number of crimes committed by Shadow Joker, who looks like him and uses many of the same tools.
  • Custom Uniform: Momo wears a pink variation on Ginko's more standard-looking uniform.
  • Cute Witch: Rose
  • Did I Just Say That Out Loud?: Played for Laughs with Captain Blue, who while panicking speaks aloud a (pathetic) plan to defeat Joker, and Joker hears every word of it.
  • Disguised Hostage Gambit: How Joker pulls off the heist in the first episode.
  • Disguised in Drag: Via Image Gum, Joker has impersonated Kaneko and Shadow Joker has impersonated Ginko.
  • Distress Ball: All the main characters are prone this, particularly Hachi and Queen.
  • Does Not Like Spam: Joker is averse to dipping sauce due to a prank played on him in childhood.
  • Do Not Try This at Home: Said nearly word for word by Silver Heart in Episode 15 in regards to how Joker survived falling into a Cooking Pot that was currently in use.
  • The Dragon: Doubt to Professor Clover.
  • End-of-Series Awareness: Inverted. In the first episode of season 3 many characters acknowledge that a new season has started.
  • Exotic Eye Designs:
    • Dark Eye has one enormous eye; the iris is green, while the pupil is oval-shaped and has a second, darker green ring around it. It's just a mask, though.
    • Akai/Phoenix has pink eyes with cross-shaped pupils.
    • Professor Clover has one solid red eye with no iris or pupil, while the other has a gold iris but otherwise looks normal. It’s unknown whether those are his real eyes or just part of his mask.
    • Queen has half-orange/half-yellow irises and diamond-shaped white pupils.
    • Silver Heart’s one visible eye has rings in different shades of blue, and the pupil is also blue.
    • Spade has pupils that are half-black/half-white and shaped like a spade, while the visible part of his irises are purple.
  • Every Scar Has a Story: Both Joker's and Shadow's scars are from the time where they got stuck by the electricity gun, trying to save Rose.
  • Eyes Always Shut: Momo.
  • Family-Unfriendly Death: In the final episode of the second season, Joker and Cyan kill Clover by melting him with sulfuric acid.
  • Family-Unfriendly Violence: While it isn't as frequent as, say, One Piece, this still pops up from time to time in the anime. One notable example is in Episode 27, where an invisible wire trap inflicts several bloody cuts on Joker's body, in addition to destroying part of his suit. There's also the loss of Silver Heart's left eye and Clover's right arm in Episode 24.
    • Even when characters don't visibly bleed, they still get seriously wounded sometimes. For example, Silver Heart gets cut in the back while protecting Joker from Queen in Episode 8 and Roko takes a shot to the chest from a security camera laser to protect Spade in Episode 26. They both got better, though.
  • For Want of a Nail: Invoked by Joker in episode 15. He tries to push tons of bad luck on Lucky Pyramid. By the Butterfly Effect, he ends up getting a satellite hurling into to them later freeing him and Hachi from the trap spoiler
  • Heroic Comedic Sociopath: Joker shows a few shades of this. For example, Joker gleefully laughs as he sets off bombs he planted in Lucky Pyramid's home to cause him misfortuneHe carries a full teeth grin as Lucky Pyramid screams in the background.
  • Gag Haircut: Both Queen and Spade have hair altered after they were temporarily turned to stone. Queen had her pigtails chopped off while Spade's crown got smaller.
  • Genius Bonus: Subverting this is the whole point of Silver Heart's Explanation Corner, explaining the trick of the episode in simpler terms for the sake of the younger viewers in the Aaudience. Considering not many children are likely to know how, for example, radio waves works, this isn't necessarily a bad thing either.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar:
    • In one episode, Joker says the word "kuso".
    • In the next episode, there's a scene where the Lucky Pyramid apparently nosebleeds while he gets hit by a card.
  • Half-Identical Twins: Cyan and Rose. Downplayed though, as while they look nothing a like, they act very similarly and have similar interests.
  • Idol Singer: The Shuffle Sisters. Hachi, Joker and Spade also tried to be one as the JJ Brothers.
  • Impossibly Delicious Food: The Rainbow Peacock Egg is said to be this.
  • Insane Troll Logic: Joker pulls this with Hachi in Episode 1. If you let the owner of what you want to steal know you're coming then it does not become theft, it becomes a showdown between you and the owner of your target. What's more is that Hachi follows along with Joker and finds that while that is very sketchy thinking, it does make sense.
  • Invincible Hero: Averted. While Joker has all the trappings of an invincible hero, he doesn’t always get the treasure, and occasionally even finds himself outwitted by his Worthy Opponent for the week.
  • Long-Haired Pretty Boy: King Spade and Silver Heart (when he was younger).
  • MacGuffin: The usual plot is that Joker and Hachi are after something valuable and rare to steal and the supporting cast tries their hardest to get in the way, prevent its theft or take it for themselves.
  • Master of Disguise: Joker's Image Gum allows him to take on the appearance of anything he's seen before, including people and inanimate objects.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: It's never established if Joker's Image Gum and Balloon Gum is highly-advanced technology that isn't known to most people or if it's magical in some way.
  • Medusa: One of Kaito's theft was getting past her for her treasure. She had transformed the main characters into stone including Spade, Dark Eye, Roko and Queen. Her dying is what restored everyone back to life.
  • Meganekko: Ginko.
  • Monumental Theft: Professor Clover's goal is to steal time.
  • Morality Pet: Hachi is this for Joker, getting him to sideline heists when trouble arises for others (despite Joker's protests).
  • Mugged for Disguise: In "The Shadow Descends" this happens to both Gingko and Oniyama.
  • Neat Freak: Hachi.
  • Ninja Tropes: During their visits to Hachi's home, including:
  • Noodle Incident: The reason Joker does not like dipping sauce and the events of "that summer". However, its subverted in that the audience is left knowing what happened but Hachi, who was just as curious as the audience about it, is left in the dark.
  • Old Master: Silver Heart is this to the rivals Joker, Spade and Queen.
  • Pragmatic Adaptation: The anime adaptation differs a lot from the manga, though not in a bad way. The manga is more episodic with a new kaitou, detective and location each week and less focus on an overarching plot. The anime adaption focuses more on Joker and his dynamic, with the Card Suite Kaitous and Professor Clover's overarching plot.
  • Living MacGuffin: Haruka Oniyama, for one episode.
  • The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: Played for Laughs. When Oniyama finds out in episode 14 that Joker has voluntarily turned himself in and is now imprisoned, he gets so depressed he almost resigns from the police force. After Joker escapes he happily rips up his resignation letter and declares that he's going to arrest Joker.
  • Orphan's Plot Trinket: The emerald necklace that rightfully belongs to Queen, as proof of her heritage.
  • Out-of-Character Alert: This is how Oniyama suspects that Shadow Joker is not the real Joker.
  • Out-of-Context Eavesdropping: Exploited by Professor Clover. When Queen overhears Silver Heart mention during his graveside conversation with her parents that he stole her as a baby, Professor Clover takes advantage of her ignorance of what actually happened to convince her that Silver Heart also killed her parents in the process of taking her.
  • Phantom Thief: Joker, Queen and Spade were trained to for this by Silver Heart.
  • Pimp Duds: DJ Peacock.
  • The Prankster: In his childhood, Spade was this and this trickster nature has flowed into his style of theft.
  • Quivering Eyes: Happens frequently throughout the series with various characters, especially with Hachi.
  • Rapunzel Hair: Queen Diamond.
  • Really Royalty Reveal: Professor Clover reveals to Queen that her parents ruled the Duchy of Emerald before they died, and that she is the rightful queen of that land
  • Rose-Haired Girl: It's even in her name
  • The Rival: Spade to Joker, stemming from their childhood together.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Joker is red to Spade's blue.
  • Rule of Cool: Most of Joker's heists run on this.
  • Samus Is a Girl: Season 2 reveals that Dark Eye is actually a girl. And an Idol Singer, no less.
  • Running Joke:
    • Silver Heart's trick back.
    • Kaneari accidentally destroying his buildings with the detonator in his teddy bear.
    • People being surprised that Roko can talk.
    • Confusion between curry and "karei" (flounder fish).
  • Secret Secret-Keeper: Spade knew that Dark Eye was one of the Shuffle Sisters but didn't say anything as she didn't approach him either.
  • Shoot the Dog: In the climax episode of Season 2, Professor Clover leaves Doubt to die aboard his airship as it crashes into the ocean.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The third episode ("The Mermaid and the Ship of Fakes") has one to Titanic, with Kaneari's outspread arms at the nose of his ship, which is called Poseidon.
    • Demon's Heaven Prison is run by a sadistic warden named Jason. His clothes are a nod to M. Bison, and later on when he's stalking Joker and Hachi through the prison hallways, he puts on a hockey mask too.
    • Spade is also an mystery author under the name of "Spadon King." This could be a reference to either Stephen King, or the mystery author Jonathon King.
    • Rei Dragon, the detective from Hong Kong, looks a lot like Chun-Li.
  • Signature Laugh: Dark Eye’s nasally "kyehkyehkyehkyeh".
  • Something We Forgot: The manga chapter introducing Shadow Joker ends with Oniyama still bound and gagged in a bathroom stall while all the other cops go home. Averted in the anime adaptation, where he's discovered shortly after Ginko.
  • Stealth Hi/Bye: Dark Eye.
  • Signing-Off Catchphrase: Often Joker's (though not always) is "Welcome into the shining night!".
  • Sunglasses at Night: Lady Doubt never takes hers off.
  • Sympathetic Inspector Antagonist: Oniyama, to Joker. He even catches on to Shadow Joker’s Criminal Doppelgänger nature very quickly when he sees him doing things that the real Joker would not.
  • Talking Animal: Roko. Justified as he was an experiment that gave him his power.
  • Talking to the Dead: Silver Heart, when he visits the graves of Queen’s parents.
  • Theme Naming: Many characters follow spefifc naming patterns (though most of the characters' names are references to playing cards).
    • Playing Card Motifs: The mains kaitos are named either a face card (Joker / Jack), a Suit (Silver Heart, Professor Clover) or both (King Spade, Queen Diamond).
    • Numerical Theme Naming: Hachi (8) and Roko (6) have instead this (which still ties into the characters being named after cards). All of Hachi's siblings also follow this pattern (specifically stopping at 10).
    • Flower Motifs: Ginko and Momo are respectively gingko and peach.
    • Theme Twin Naming: Rose and Cyan.
    • Though minor characters, The Saffron Kingdom's palace attendants are named after spices. The princess is "Paprika" and the General is named "Basil"
  • Thick-Line Animation: Much like Attack on Titan, it's not of uniform thickness, giving the impression of a brush pen.
  • Time-Travel Episode: In episodes 19 and 23.
  • Trash of the Titans: Joker's homebase was in this state before Hachi cleaned it up.
  • Transformation Sequence: Downplayed as it's unknown whether there is any magic behind it but it's how we learn that Dark Eye is a Shuffle Sister.
  • Theme Twin Naming: Rose and Cyan, who are also Pink Girl, Blue Boy (in the anime, but not in the manga).
  • Twin Telepathy: Cyan and Rose. Justified as one of them has magic.
  • Two Guys and a Girl: The main trio: Joker, Spade and Queen.
  • Tsundere: Non-romantically example is Haruka for her dad.
  • Vague Age: The main character and his two rivals look and act like they're older than thirteen, but younger than twenty. The only characters who seem to avert this are Hachi, who acts like a teenager but looks like he's younger than ten, and Oniyama who is somewhere older than thirty but younger than fifty. Dark Eye also averts this but it's hard to tell since he keeps his face hidden and it's actually a subversion because she is about the same age as the others.
  • Vile Villain, Saccharine Show: Professor Clover is particularly evil considering the generally light-hearted and comedic nature of the show.
  • Villain Protagonist: Joker, arguably. He's a criminal, but he fights against Professor Clover, who does worse deeds. While Joker's thefts are mostly motivated by greed and self-interest, he will commit thefts to help his allies, like stealing back an amulet that was stolen from Silver Heart. Also, Joker has done some genuinely good things, such as working with Spade to save people stuck in a burning building and letting the people on the island in "The Island of the Evil Scarlet God" have their long-lost Scarlet Heart back.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Joker and Spade have this relationship.
  • Voice Changeling: Apparently Image Gum gives the user the voice of the person they're impersonating, as when Hachi impersonates Joker, he has no trouble speaking in Joker's voice, but what gives him away is his speech patterns.
  • Where Does He Get All Those Wonderful Toys?: Joker has his own airship, a duckboat, Image Gum, Balloon Gum and various other tools at his disposal. Spade also has his own airship.
  • Wingding Eyes: Hachi, Joker and Queen have used them, mostly Hachi.
  • Would Not Shoot a Civilian: Joker says in "The Island of the Evil Scarlet God" that "a phantom thief has no need of killing tools."
  • Worthy Opponent: Joker has this dynamic with both Oniyama and Spade.
  • You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Joker (white), Spade (purple and yellow), Gingko (lavender), Shadow Joker (blue-gray) amongst others.
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