If you’re a fan of this series and absolutely cannot hear a negative word about it, I’m giving you a heads up. I did not like this manga that much.
Kamikaze Kaitou Jeanne follows Kusakabe Maron, Jeanne d’Arc’s reincarnation, who can transform into a magical phantom thief! However, she’s not here to steal diamonds, she’s here to steal the demons inhabiting beautiful works of art, corrupting its owner’s mind in the process.
The plot is not that special. This manga is old, so it follows a lot of shoujo tropes, but it’s entertaining. I’m pretty much used to anime or manga suddenly pulling god or the fate of the world into the story, so that bit about Adam/Eve didn’t really bother me. What was a bit weird was that it felt like the author made up the story as she went, so some things kind of happen out of nowhere and disappear into nowhere. That Adam/Eve bit with god was one of them.
KKJ is fast-paced, but it manages to characterize Maron quite well as a character. It delves into what being a phantom thief means to her as a person, which contributes to her final decision at the end. Nice touch for a magical girl manga. Also, Maron is the kind of cheerful protagonist I like. She’s not so cheerful to the point of being an airhead. She’s mentally strong and knows what she wants to do (most of the time, anyway), but has an emotional depth to her.
Chiaki is… whatever the plot demands of him. He’s a charming lad, but not the kind of love interest I like in a shoujo. He always keeps things from Maron and is constantly swinging on a scale of ‘I’m Sinbad you arch nemesis here to stop you brr’ and ‘I wuv u Maron kiss me chuchu’. The trigger for the swap is whatever is happening with Maron in that chapter and where the story is along the plot line. He is cute, but he gets annoying sometimes.
Thumbs up for Miyako, best friend ever. The lengths she is willing to go for Maron’s sake is very admirable, and I wished we get to see more of her and what she’s made of.
Neun is just straight up creepy. I’m just reading this PG series for kids, I’m planning to give the books to my cute nephew when she gets old enough to read comics, and suddenly – RAPE!!! Okay, it was not an actual on-screen scene but it was an attempted sexual assault, and that scene was so weird. Neun told Maron that the only way to make her lose powers is by losing her virginity. Say what? And then the next volume after Maron successfully kicked Neun away, Finn was like ‘you lost your powers because you threw it away yourself lol’, so what even was the point of the virginity stuff?
The overall message is okay for 2021; it’s basically that if your heart is pure then virginity has nothing to do with anything, but those scenes with Neun were just so… off. He attempted to rape Maron, then faced no consequences and somebody even asked Maron if she liked him, of which she hesitated to give an answer. And then Neun became comic relief. Wow, that was pretty dark. I guess this series stays with me for now. Either that or I’m donating it to a public library.
I’m not against having this kind of scenes in stories, as long as you have a valid reason. I made my case for Goblin Slayer before, but I don’t think KKJ handled it so well and had such a good reason to do so.
Speaking of Finn, she converted out of absolutely nowhere. Axes was supposed to know from the beginning, Chiaki was supposed to warn Maron, but he kept quiet for 4 volumes… so that he’s sure she was ready to trust him? No, she already said she trusted him, but if Chiaki was afraid that telling her the truth would ruin their relationship, there was no indication of that. There was also no foreshadow as to the fact that Axes knew all along that Finn was working for the Dark Lord.
Lastly, Jeanne d’Arc… it does not even matter if Maron is her reincarnation. This manga just borrowed Jeanne d’Arc’s name, with the history itself having very minimal impact on the plot. It could be any other fictional or historical figure and it would not make a difference. I think the author just thought there’s no way this manga will make it to France. Lo and behold. Jeanne de la Cambriole.
I like KKJ’s overall message that you don’t have to have magical powers to do awesome things, and that fighting is not always the answer. Even if you’re a magical girl, in the end, the strength is already within your heart. I just wish I could get over the things that made me go WHAT THE HELL about the story.