Thursday, March 19, 2015

Shojo A Go-Go: Phantom Thief Jeanne

Sorry about the delay,I'm a ditz some days,well most days but whatever. 

Arina Tanemura month is off to a rocky start with I.O.N and its' romance overtaking the more interesting aspects of the story. Maybe today will be better with the first volume of Phantom Thief Jeanne. I mean after all today is the greatest day of all. So by this logic this will be the greatest book if today is the greatest day. Though I could be wrong and this is the worst day ever and thus this the worst book ever. I'm not sure really anymore,so lets just start talking about this book and hope I remember which one it is.

Phantom Thief Jeanne was her first work after I.O.N and there is noticeable improvement in the short one year span. The man story is better interlaced with the romance. The love square we seem to be in actually works. Instead of relying on a ton of forgettable characters,she trims it down to three major characters and some hopefully developing supporting cast. Even the one off characters that appear during heist scenes are interesting enough.

The leads of our story are Maron a.k.a Phantom Thief Jeanne and her rival/love interest Chiaki a.k.a Phantom Thief Sinbad. Maron is the reincarnation of the historical figure Jeanne D'Arc and is tasked with exorcising demons from paintings which puts her at odds with Sinbad who is recapturing demons for the Demon Lord. Most of their core problems are laid out on the table over the course of the volume. We learn why these characters are acting the way they do and grow closer to them as a result. Maron's fears of loneliness and abandonment may hit close to home for some people,myself included. Her hesitation to trust Chiaki whose working through his own problems related to being his own person,feels natural. Especially given his devil may care attitude belying his genuine compassion. Their is the possibility that the romance can over take the main plot completely in later volumes but here it works as their tumultuous relationship adds to the plot instead of controlling it.

The rest of the main cast are not as well developed as they could be but given more time they have the potential. Maron's best friend Miyako is constantly trying to outwit and capture her Jeanne persona as an amateur police officer with her police chief father and is pursing Chiaki to no avail. The love square is rounded out by Minazuka,the student council president, who is trying to become a stronger person and maybe capture Maron's heart. Everyone plays off each other in different ways:ranging from playful to hostile to sweetly intimate etc. It also helps that the Maron and Chiaki actually have chemistry as romantic leads compared to the pieces of card board known as Ion and Mikado. Again the aforementioned playing well off themselves and their friends lends the romance some creditably. The only two characters we don't know much about are the angel helpers of Maron and Chiaki,Finn and Access respectively. This works out for the best though as going too deep into their histories may be playing some cards too early in terms of plot.

Speaking of the plot,it is stranded early magical girl plot with lack of a clear arc. The building blocks are there with a demon lord and God being background players and Sinbad in general. However the plots so far are mostly Jeanne finds demons hiding in paintings and Chiaki and Miyako try to stop her in their own ways because shes an honorable thief that announces her “ heists”. There is interconnection between stories via characters which works to develop them properly,so it's not really boring.

The one major element I'd like to touch on briefly in case I ever do a full review for the series is the concept of demons corrupting people via beautiful paintings. It brings with two possible connotation: that art is of the devil and that humanity is weak. The first one is semi dispelled by the fact that not every painting is evil. However Jeanne replaces the art with the picture of an angel once she takes the demon away. Implying that its the art itself that's demonic which is not a great message in general. Though it may be completely unintentional,as that would be a weird message to put in a book full of drawings.

Alternatively, the idea that humanity is inherently weak gains a little more credibility when realizing that it's the weakness in the human heart that invites the demon in. The obsession with the paintings and our own hang ups are what cause the problems. This is reflected in the main characters that are all hurting but at the same time hopeful that things will become better and they learn to grow. While this does paint humanity in a poor light it does offer hope in that if you can change then things will become better. Again this is more guessing than anything else based off of one volume.

Character development is the name of the game here,along with some fun plots. It does what a good introduction should do, build the characters and their world up. There isn't much in the way of an overarching plot,however there is so much potential for a great story with excellent characters that I can't help but adore it and want to read more. Well this turned out to be a good book so hopefully this correlates to the quality of the day. Hopefully this begins a plateau of better written martial for Arina Tanemura month. Next time Time Stranger Kyoko.

Till next time:Stay Positive

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