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Manga / Kaitou Saint Tail

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"Dear Lord, forgive our deception. One, two... three~!"

Kaitou Saint Tail, translated as Phantom Thief Saint Tail, Mysterious Thief Saint Tail, Saint Tail or, as known by Tokyopop, Sweet Tales of Saint Tail, is a Magical Girl manga by Megumi Tachikawa that was originally published in Nakayoshi from October 1995 to December 1996. An anime adaptation aired from October 12, 1995 to September 12, 1996, for a total of 43 episodes.

The titular thief is a 14-year-old Magical Girl named Meimi Haneoka, daughter of a Stage Magician and a Phantom Thief-turned-housewife, who goes to a Catholic school. One of her classmates, and her Secret-Keeper, is a trainee nun named Seira Mimori; on duty, she listens to the troubles of the people that visit her church. If someone's been the victim of larceny, Seira tells Meimi all the details, both from the testimony and from her own sneaking around. Meimi transforms into Saint Tail, uses a combination of her father's magic tricks and her mother's stealth, and steals the stuff back. Saint Tail is idolized as a hero by the girls at school, but the police have an obligation to catch her, even if all she's doing is returning things to their rightful owners. In comes Meimi's classmate, detective-in-training and on-off crush Asuka Jr., who becomes obsessed with catching Saint Tail.


Asuka begins to fall for both Meimi and Saint Tail, and Meimi becomes jealous of her own alter ego. A few other characters are introduced that have it in for Saint Tail, and Seira continues to remind her that even if she does have feelings for Asuka, she can't let her identity slip. Meanwhile, although Meimi's mother, who had far less altruistic motives than Meimi does, was never captured, her past as a phantom thief is catching up with her.

Compare and contrast Phantom Thief Jeanne.


This program provides examples of:

  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: Meimi and Asuka Jr constantly bicker and fight, and are always jealous when someone gets the other's attention.
  • Black Blood: Blood in the anime is always luminescent pink.
  • Calling Card: Saint Tail's use of stage magic is one. Also, Saint Tail has the habit of sending Asuka Jr. warnings of where and when she'll commit a caper on his request (he dared her, and she accepted), warnings that look suspiciously like spectacular and very romantic requests for dates (not that Asuka Jr. noticed the latter until it was shoved on his face...).
  • Canon Foreigner: Mayor Morinaka and Asuka sr.: while known to exist since the start in the manga, they first appear in the very first anime episode, and when they finally appear in the manga it's with their anime looks and characterization.
  • Catholic School Girls Rule: In spite of all characters going to a catholic school, the one hit by this is Seira, whose good looks have been remarked upon by complete strangers and has a love interest who knows she's a nun-in-training. Too bad that Seira is not only not interested (to the point she's oblivious about a rather romantic tradition of the school that even the transfer student knows), but completely Oblivious to Love...
  • Christmas Episode: One caper involved a music box in a stuffed animal in a toystore around Christmas.
  • Christianity Is Catholic: The school chapel, its interior, and Seira's training all fit the Catholic segment of Christianity.
  • Clark Kenting: Subverted. The only differences between Meimi and Saint Tail are the clothes and Saint Tail's ponytail, but Saint Tail takes care to keep people from seeing her face. Meimi and Saint Tail also act differently (to the point that Saint Tail started showing off after putting herself in a situation where Meimi had nearly fainted out of shyness), and Meimi doesn't show how good an athlete and magician she is to avoid suspicion (and the one time she slipped and accidentally showed her agility, Rina added it to the list of hints that Meimi could be Saint Tail).
  • Clingy Jealous Girl: Rina's usually involve grabbing Asuka Jr and pulling him along.
  • Cuteness Proximity: Rosemary gets this in presence of both Meimi and Asuka Jr. She also mentions that Meimi was just as cute as her mother in the past.
  • Dating Catwoman: Starting with episode 41, Asuka Jr. starts dating Meimi without knowing that she is secretly the thief he's been chasing.
  • Determinator: Asuka Jr doesn't give up on catching Saint Tail for the whole series no matter how many times he fails.
  • Embarrassing First Name: Rosemary's true name is Kabako Sendo. Why is it embarrassing? Well, Kabako can be translated as "hippopotamus girl". For obvious reasons, calling her by name in public is her Berserk Button.
  • Evil Plan: There's a twist on this trope as Saint Tail intervenes after the criminal-of-the-week has succeeded in whatever scheme they used to steal the precious item. Their victim tells Seira about it so Saint Tail can reverse its success.
  • Flashed-Badge Hijack: Asuka jr. once did it to the bicycle of a police officer on patrol. He's in charge of the Saint Tail investigation, after all. It's pressing business.
  • Generation Xerox: Religious-themed phantom thief runs from chief detective Asuka, who dedicates his life to unmasking her. Now are we talking about Eimi and Asuka Sr. or Meimi and Asuka Jr.? There's one big exception, though: Meimi steals from thieves and gives to the rightful owners, but Eimi stole from the rich and gave to herself. Also, Religious-themed phantom thief retires from thievery and ultimately marries the reason she did so describes both Eimi with Genichiro as well as Meimi and Asuka Jr.
  • The Ghost: Mayor Morinaka and especially Asuka sr. in the manga: Morinaka doesn't show up in person until the two-parter of chapters 18 and, three quarters through the storyline (and promptly disappears again), while Asuka sr. appears only in the final panel of the prequel chapter published after the end of the manga.
  • Huge Schoolgirl: Rina is easily the tallest girl in the class, and the second tallest student period (only Sawatari is slightly taller), and she's rather shocked, and flustered, when the very short Asuka jr. hits his grown spurt and becomes taller than her.
  • Important Hair Cut: At the end of the manga series, after the skip forward in time, it is revealed that Meimi cut her hair. Symbolically, it points out that she is no longer Saint Tail.
  • Impossibly Awesome Magic Trick: The main character is the daughter of a former Phantom Thief and a Stage Magician. Of course this trope gets involved. Despite being a Magical Girl, her "magic" is explicitly all stage magic, but she routinely pulls off impossible feats, such as being carried off by just a a handful of balloons.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Once Meimi and Asuka Jr. gets together, Rina, previously the Clingy Jealous Girl of the series, starts supporting them, even helping Meimi to recover her courage when Asuka Jr. disappears.
  • Just Like Robin Hood: Saint Tail steals from thieves and gives the items back to their owners.
  • Karma Houdini: Rosemary kidnaps Asuka Jr., puts Meimi through hell, and threatens both of their lives. In the end, she simply walks away after seeing their love for one another and goes on to rob people in other towns.
  • Love Letter: As pointed out by Pandora, Saint Tail's 'burglary warnings' double as invitations to met her somewhere, sometimes in romantic settings, and spend time together.
  • Love Letter Lunacy: Saint Tail's love letters/warning notes took the forms of notes popping out from the strangest places (including a ball that had just hit Asuka jr. in the face), messages written on his face while he sleeps, written with food in a lunchbox she prepared for him, or his bath towel as he was taking a shower, and even an announcement made to the whole town with a blimp.
  • Magical Girl: Saint Tail is a more mundane example crossed with the Phantom Thief trope, as her magic is explicitly stated to be stage magic (not that you'd notice...), but she still fulfills other aspects of the trope such as the transformation sequence, wearing a costume that does nothing to hide her face, and using her "magic" to help others.
  • Market-Based Title: The first release of the anime and manga, from Tokyopop, called it Sweet Tales of Saint Tail, because the phantom thief genre on its own wouldn't attract young girls.
  • Megaton Punch: Rina is rather prone to dish them out when annoyed, having sent flying even a couple cops.
  • Mission from God: It's never outwardly stated, but Meimi seems to have been given her powers from God. Her In the Name of the Moon speech indicates that at least she thinks so.
  • Mysterious Parent: Mysterious to us; Meimi knew all along that her mother used to be a thief, and it's strongly hinted from the beginning.
  • Naughty Nun: Played with: Seira keeps her vow of chastity, but ends up as Sawatari's love interest (and, when she finally realizes his feelings, there are hints she may reciprocate them, even if she'll keep them strictly platonic), and her good looks are remarked multiple times, especially when wearing her nun garb.
  • Nuns Are Mikos: Tachikawa Megumi freely admits that she assumed things about Catholic nuns when creating Seira that are only true of the Shinto miko.
  • Nun Too Holy: Seira has lied and violated the confessional secret multiple times, is in cahoot with a thief, and, in the manga, even committed one theft herself (the key of a confessional she 'reserved' for private talks with Meimi). True, she doesn't exactly like any of that (she justifies it as having to do it to redress wrongs, and even gave herself a What the Hell, Hero? in one occasion), but she still did, and even was the one to come up with the idea to send Meimi around as Saint Tail (and coined the name) to steal stolen things and give them back to their legitimate owners... And the Distant Finale implies she never stopped violating the confessional secret, only now she does it to point Asuka Jr. at the wrongs to redress.
  • Oblivious to Love:
    • Asuka Jr. is this about not only Meimi's feelings, but also the much more evident ones of Rina and Meimi as Saint Tail (whose 'burglary warnings' look suspiciously like love letters, with some being impossible to mistake for anything else). This is lampshaded by Pandora when Asuka Jr. receives as promised the warning Saint Tail would steal him and calls it a burglary warning and she corrects him as it's an obvious love letter.
    • Also, Seira: near the end of the manga Sawatari falls for her, yet she doesn't realize his feelings (which are just as evident as Rina's and Saint Tail for Asuka) until he makes her a barely-veiled declaration.
  • Only Six Faces: As with all Tachikawa works, even now though her drawing style has changed over the years.
  • Phantom Thief: Meimi/Saint Tail is a supremely talented thief who announces her targets ahead of time and performs her heists with flare.
  • The Rival:
    • Rina is a love rival to Meimi for Asuka's affections.
    • Rosemary to Eimi/Kaito Lucifer in the past; both of them state that the other would target things that the other wanted for no other reason than that.
  • Roof Hopping: Jumping from building to building is often used by Saint Tail to reach her target. It shows off how athletic she is.
  • School Newspaper News Hound: Count on Sawatari' appearances in episodes to include him yelling "Scoop!" or searching for one.
  • Secret-Keeper:
    • In the anime, Eimi is implied to know that her daughter is Saint Tail, and actually covered her once.
    • Asuka jr., in the end, agrees not to tell anyone that Meimi is Saint Tail (Seira doesn't count because she's an accomplice).
  • Sure, Let's Go with That: The manga reveals Saint Tail got started this way: after what was supposed to be Saint Tail's only outing (and even before the name was coined) to recover a stolen key, the school journal published a bad picture of her taken by Asuka Jr. and dubbed her a Phantom Thief, and Seira, in her nun garb, told Meimi she would be one with the name of Saint Tail. Meimi, not thinking about it as a Mission from God yet, was less than amused.
  • Sympathetic Inspector Antagonist:
    • Asuka Jr. is charged with arresting a thief, which Saint Tail freely admits that she is. There's nothing wrong there.
    • Asuka Sr., who in his youth chased Meimi's mother when she was the phantom thief Lucifer and is shown being the one chasing Saint Tail before Asuka Jr. nearly catches her, getting the mayor to make him take over. He's still the one who arrests the crooks exposed by Saint Tail.
  • Transformation Sequence: Meimi's stage magic means she's just switching from her day clothes into her magician costume, but the anime includes a sequence that has a more magical-themed switch.
  • Unknowingly in Love: Asuka jr. didn't notice his feelings for Meimi for two years in-universe.
  • Where the Hell Is Springfield?: The setting is vaguely Japanese, with places like New Tokyo Airport being mentioned, and all the characters have Japanese names. However, the architecture that makes up the different settings varies between Japanese, Italian, French, German, and British (with Japanese architecture actually being the least common of the styles, and French and Italian being the most common), and famous locations from other countries often show up in the scenery. It doesn't help that the only other countries they mention are all fictional (besides America), implying this story occurs in a different world than our own—likely one in which Japan had far earlier and more extensive contact with Western culture.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Meimi is absolutely terrified by lizards. Hilarity Ensued when a pet Saint Tail was supposed to steal happened to be a particularly large one.