Maron finds her place in the universe.
Story/Art: Arina Tanemura
Translation/Adaptation: Tetsuichiro Miyaki
What They Say
The Demon Lord takes Chiaki hostage and challenges Maron to a battle of life or death. But rather than fight her himself, the Demon Lord has selected another to be his champion. Can Maron find the strength to fight alone against her only remaining ally?
Content: (please note that content portions of this review will contain spoilers):
This final volume of Phantom Thief Jeanne is has not just one, but three epilogues and a flashback. But first we have to resolve the pressing issue of Chiaki suddenly declaring he was dating Miyako.
It’s not hard to guess there’s something else at play here, but I expected it to be one of Chiaki’s ploys. The trouble spot is actually Miyako herself, who has somehow never been a victim of the painting invading demons despite her connection to Jeanne finally falling prey to one. Jeanne ends up going on one last whirlwind emotional storm before freeing her friend and coming clean about her duel identities. Miyako claims she knew Maron was Jeanne, although I have to wonder if that is true.
Once that crisis is done with Chiaki is taken hostage by the demon lord. Maron is teleported to heaven to meet her maker, quite literally. We get the last bit of exposition and the Jeanne universe’s version of the creation story. It leaves Maron with one last choice to make that isn’t a choice at all, she is the only one who can save earth and more importantly her boyfriend.
The final battle is a very much a reflection of how Maron has grown and a symbolic victory that feels far more personal than a battle for the fate of mankind. It also feels far too easy even though one character makes the ultimate sacrifice to ensure that Maron is safe. The impact of which is almost immediately undone by the epilogue.
The ending which follows is just too sappy and perfect. Maron’s parents come back and get back together. Miyako and Minazuki hook up for reasons that feel like the author just wanted to pair everyone off and those two were the only ones left. Chiaki and Maron consummate their love with some getting lucky in heaven, because if your gonna play fast and loose with Judeo-Christian mythology might as well go all the way. And then… Tanemura takes it just one step too far.
Call if a matter of fate of destiny, but giving birth to a child who is the reincarnation your best friend… having two couples go through with that? Is this supposed to be cute, cause this is weird and terrifying! Not to mention that the way Tanemura draws her characters everyone still looks twelve even when their supposed to be in their late thirties by the third epilogue. Yes, third epilog, because she couldn’t leave the future up to the reader’s imagination, she had to draw the eventual twee hookups. Yikes. Even with all the loose ends tide up it feels like Noin was left hanging. Is he just going to be lurking eternally watching after Maron? Yikes again.
Phantom Thief Jeanne is a strange series. The more the reader looks past the cute hijinks and teenage angst the stranger it appears. The mish-mash of elements which make up this magical girl story at first gives it a goofy vibe that slowly turns sinister. Maron’s quest to adulthood is fraught with peril and manipulation, and the cute art just masks the emotional turmoil and questionable actions of it’s cast of characters. Maron’s group of friends are often an unlikable lot, especially her best friend who acts more like an enemy most of the time. The overly happy and sappy ending doesn’t feel like a logical outcome for all of the madness which previously took place. In fact it goes so far into happy ending territory that it loops back around to unsettling. Tanemura fans are sure to eat this up, but it left a sour taste in my mouth.
Content Grade: C
Art Grade: B
Packaging Grade: B +
Text/Translation Grade: A
Age Rating: 13+
Released By: Viz Media
Release Date: November 14th, 2014