Phantom Thief Jeanne Volume One is a manga by Arina Tanemura, and it was published by Viz Media’s Shojo Beat imprint in 2014. The series is rated “T” for teens; after reading this volume, I would agree with this rating,
The main character of Phantom Thief Jeanne is a 16-year-old high school rhythmic gymnast named Maron Kusakabe. It turns out that Maron is the reincarnation of Jeanne D’Arc; because she is this reincarnation, she is the only one who can hunt down the demons that hide in works of art and try to stop God from gathering human hearts to prevent His death. She is accompanied by a semi-angel named Finn Fish.
With Finn’s help, Maron transforms into Jeanne and goes to seal the demons in various artwork. Unfortunately, when Maron does this as Jeanne, it appears that the artwork has been stolen; this causes Jeanne to gain a reputation as a phantom thief.
Maron’s best friend is Miyako Todaiji, and they have been friends since childhood. Miyako’s father is a police detective and he is in charge of the Jeanne case. Miyako aspires to be a detective like her father, and often accompanies him when they are trying to apprehend Jeanne. Miyako is a stubborn girl with a fierce temper.
Chiaki Nagoya is a high school student who moves into the apartment building that Maron and Miyako live in, and he transfers into their class. Maron dislikes Chiaki at first, because she believes he’s a womanizer. Meanwhile, Miyako develops a crush on Chiaki.
It turns out that Chiaki is also a phantom thief named Sinbad, and he is already aware of Maron;s secret. Without letting on that he is Sinbad, Chiaki tries to get close to Maron to try to stop her from collecting the demons. A rivalry develops between Jeanne and Sinbad as to who will get the demons from the artwork.
In true shojo style, Maron comes to develop feelings for Chiaki as the volume progresses, which creates a love triangle and forces Maron and Miyako to become rivals in love. Later in the volume, Jeanne is kissed by Sinbad, and shortly afterward, Maron figures out who Sinbad really is. And if a triangle between Chiaki, Maron, and Miyako wasn’t enough, a new love interest for Chiaki is introduced near the end of Volume One, which begins creating a more complicated character web. And then Maron, as Jeanne, has to deal with Sinbad’s feelings for her; and when she figures out Sinbad’s true identity, this issue becomes even worse for her than it had previously.
As you look at this volume, it’s fascinating how Tanemura was able to find some symbolic ways to show that Jeanne and Sinbad are rivals. When they capture the demons from the art, they turn into chess pieces; Jeanne’s pieces are white, while Sinbad’s pieces are black. Also, it’s interesting to note that Maron’s alter ego is that of someone who had actually lived, while Chiaki’s alter ego is that of a fictional character.
As I read this volume, I couldn’t help but find myself thinking that the art style felt like it was inspired by Sailor Moon. There were also some elements in the series, such as Jeanne’s catchphrase when she arrives to get a demon from an artwork, also felt like they were inspired by Sailor Moon. Considering that Phantom Thief Jeanne originally came out in Japan in the late 1990s, Tanemura could very well have gotten some inspiration from Takeuchi’s manga series.
Phantom Thief Jeanne takes typical elements and tropes from shojo manga series st in high school, such as best friends ending up in a love triangle when they fall for the same guy, and adds a magical girl twist to the story. By combining these elements together, Tanemura is able to create a story that is able to stand out in comparison to what would typically be considered a “traditional shojo series.” There’s also a good mixture of drama and humor, and the characters are compelling enough to make the reader interested in following what happens to them and want to read the next volume of the series in order to find out.
I found Phantom Thief Jeanne to be an enjoyable read, and I would highly recommend this series to fans of shojo manga. And if these shojo readers also enjoy magical girl stories, then that would be a plus.
I wrote this review after reading a review copy of Phantom Thief Jeanne Volume One that was provided to me by Viz Media.