By Arina Tanemura. Released in Japan as “Kamikaze Kaitou Jeanne” by Shueisha, serialized in the magazine Ribon. Released in North America by Viz.
When I reviewed the first volume of this Tanemura magical girl title, I noted that her parents splitting up and suddenly moving out of the country looked ‘suspicious’. Well, it turned out to be more prosaic, as in this volume Maron gets notice from her mother that they are indeed getting a divorce, something that sends her running away from everything for a while. I will admit, despite one of those “didn’t you see that they built this amusement part because they love you’ moments, these are still two parents who are not going to be winning awards anytime soon. They’re lucky that Maron has survived with only minor ‘screwed up’ tendencies. The rest of the volume continues to show off Jeanne’s skills as a phantom thief, as well as the author’s skill for giving a touch of darkness to the standard magical girl genre.
Speaking of families, this volume seems to focus on them quite a bit. First Chiaki’s father is possessed by one of the paintings, causing him to kidnap young women and store them in glass cages in his basement (something that really gives maximum creep factor, particularly as his father is such a weirdo to begin with). Then Miyako comes to Jeanne for help, despite their rivalry, and asks her to steal a painting that has corrupted her scientist brother, who is now turning to mad science (complete with “they laughed at me at the academy” overtones). This is all done with maximum threats of peril and also allows Jeanne to show off her skills at being clever, particularly in the first part where she uses the realistic android-like ‘dolls’ to her advantage to pull a switch.
Miyako also gets a side chapter going further into her motivation for chasing Jeanne. I have to say that she’s probably my favorite character in the series, and most of the time she seems to understands how Maron thinks better than she does. There is the small matter of her being unable to connect Maron to Jeanne, but that’s a standard trope of this genre, so I’m inclined to let it slide. (Honestly, given how things are playing out, I would not be surprised if Miyako had figured it out at some point and is just going along with it by now. Particularly when Jeanne is being far too knowledgeable about her brother.)
There is a lot less of the heaven vs. hell aspect in this particular book, with the exception of the final chapter, where Jeanne finds herself in a deathtrap without her transformation abilities or her familiar and has to power up through sheer force of will. This is referred to as “Holy Power”, and seems to delight Finn (who we see far less of this time around, which pleases me as she’s annoying). There is one line that really struck me, however, and I suspect it will be followed up on in the next volume. She’s thanking Chiaki for helping her as Sinbad, and notes “I didn’t know followers of the demon lord used a cross as well.” As she toddles off, Chiaki stares and goes “what is she talking about?” To me this suggests that we’re not looking at a simple battle between heaven and hell. I can’t wait to see more with the next volume.