Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Review: Kamikaze Kaitou Jeanne (1999-2000)

Kamikaze Kaitou Jeanne (2000-2001) is a fantasy Japanese anime series about a high-school girl who is the reincarnation of Joan of Arc. It takes place in contemporary Japan. It contains 44 episodes. In English, the TV series is called "Divine Wind Thief Joan."

Marron Kusakabe seems normal because she enjoys gymnastics, but she can transform into the reincarnation of the heroine, Joan of Arc (Jeanne d'Arc in French). She battles against demons, who hide in treasured pieces of art and possess the souls of their victims. Unfortunately, once a demon is defeated, the art work itself disappears leaving the police bewildered and suspicious. The senior police detective's daughter, Miyako (who is also Marron's classmate), suspects Joan of Arc is an art thief ("kaitou").

Meanwhile, Marron and Miyako cannot help but fall in love with their new classmate, Chiaki. He knows Marron's true identity so he follows her closely in school which, much to her dismay, annoys her. However, he quickly falls in love with her once he realizes how much he cares for her. Marron is confused by Chiaki's advances because she doesn't understand what "love" is since her parents abandoned her years ago. A new rival, Sinbad, emerges and seals demons. Marron must race against the police and Sinbad so that she can defeat the Devil from wreaking havoc on earth.

This show follows the magical girl genre that was very popular and successful during the 1990s with the Sailor Moon metaseries. The primary audience is children and young adults with some comic elements, although the plot becomes very serious later in the series.

This show is very good: excellent plot, smooth character development, lots of action. I thought the ending could have been better. What makes Marron so pleasing to fans is that she has an ultimate goal: her own self-worth and self-determination. She was abandoned by her parents when she was young, and she's gradually learning to accept love and her destiny. She also discovers she's in the middle of a major war between Heaven and Hell, and she must have the emotional and physical courage to overcome it all.

I really believed Kamikaze Kaitou Jeanne could have enjoyed the same international crossover success as Sailor Moon. However, the religious symbolism could have bought forth controversy among more conservative families. There are also many chess references throughout the series. It is so underrated that it's a shame because many female fans would love to watch this series on their local television screens.

If you enjoy shows such as Full Moon wo Sagashite, Blue Seed, Fushigi Yuugi, and Chrono Crusade, you will definitely enjoy Kamikaze Kaitou Jeanne.

You can watch the opening scene of the show below:



Opening Theme #1: "Piece of Love" by Shazna
Opening Theme #2: "Dive into Shine" by Lastier

Ending Theme #1: "ハルカ… (Haruka...)" by Pierrot
Ending Theme #2: "Till The End" by Hibiki


Note: There is no official DVD release because it is still currently unlicensed in North America. The manga is currently available for purchase on Amazon.com.

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