By Maria M. Rider
From the pages of the popular Ribbon manga anthology, Kamikaze Kaitou Jeanne (Kamikaze Thief Jeanne) graces the television with a holy aura about it. Tanemura Arina's wonderful story of a young girl named Kusakabe Maron who is the present day reincarnation of Jeanne D'Arc (St. Joan of Arc). Following in the similar footsteps of the widely popular Sailor Moon and the equally adorable Kaitou Saint Tail, Kamikaze Kaitou Jeanne proves to be yet another enjoyable magical girls series.
Maron is just an ordinary high school girl by day, but by night she does something quite different! With the help of Fin, a fairy and her confidant, Maron goes out into the night as the pretty Kaitou Jeanne. News reports tell of a mischievous vandalizer defacing the great paintings of Yamakawa. Unfortunately for Yamakawa, the devil has possessed not only a painting of his, but also Yamakawa himself.
Meanwhile, at the high school, Maron and her best friend Toudaiji Miyako who is always proper and prim squabbles a bit with Maron who likes to have things a bit more sporadic. They run into a handsome young man, Nagoya Chiaki, whom Miyako immediately fawns over, but Maron despises because he takes a gander at her panties.
Fin sees this as the devil's work and throws an "announcement card" announcing that Kaitou Jeanne will be back tonight to "steal" the painting for herself. This pushes the possessed Yamakawa to get a brigade of police officers and guards to protect the painting and not allowing it to fall into Kaitou Jeanne's hands! Maron, on the other hand, is not too keen on going on another "nightly run". Fin pleads to her that the devil is taking over the hearts and souls of good and beautiful people. If Maron does not do this, eventually humanity will no longer exist on the earth.
Her mind made up, Maron transforms into the beautiful Kaitou Jeanne and swings into action! She manages to make her way through the many obstacles thrown her way and finally gets to the goal. Miyako, who works with the police, does not like Kaitou Jeanne's actions and always vows to capture her with any chance she can get. With the words, "Checkmate!", Kaitou Jeanne seals up the evil spirit within the painting leaving the canvas blank. With her chess piece in hand, she leaves as quickly as she arrived having rid the world of the devil's evil influence yet again. Unfortunately for Miyako, as well as the police, Kaitou Jeanne escapes even with Miyako's cleverly hidden net trap.
The rest of the series does a lot of repetition of the same theme throughout, although in later episodes, a Tuxedo Kamen-like character, Kaitou Sinbad, leaps into the fray and starts collecting "chess pieces" (the sealed devil spirit) of his own.
The character designs for the show are up to par of your usual magical girls series. Kaitou Jeanne reminds this author a lot of Sailor Moon, although Maron and Kaitou Jeanne look completely different. The art is wonderful as very vibrant colors are used throughout. The animation is also very well done, with the usual "stock footage transformation" making its appearance at least once through the show.
The opening song, "Piece of Love" by Shanza, has a very catchy beat, not unlike your usual techno/dance type song. The ending song, "Haruka" by Pierrot, is about the same caliber, but a bit slower in pace, yet still catchy.
This author enjoyed Kamikaze Kaitou Jeanne, although further viewing is necessary to truly get into the story of the series which to this author is quite interesting. The use of a real-life saint as the basis for this series is definitely something completely different than from your usual magical girls series. This author could not help, but be constantly reminded of how Kaitou Saint Tail and Kamikaze Kaitou Jeanne are very similar, yet different enough to stand on their own. Also, Sailor Moon comes to mind when watching Kamikaze Kaitou Jeanne as Kaitou Jeanne sports long flowing blonde pigtails much like Sailor Moon/Usagi herself! Plus, it is very cute!
This is definitely a good series to watch if you are into the magical girls shows like Sailor Moon or Kaitou Saint Tail. It definitely has promise and is one to watch for as possibly being another new popular show!