What started as a semi-interesting premise, continued with an interesting twist and ended in mediocrity. This is how I simply describe this series in my mind. I didn’t know back when I originally watched it as a rookie but now that I do I can see why. It was made by Xebec, a studio notorious for it dull and unimpressive shows. It was also directed by Habara Nobuyoshi, a man whose works all feel interesting as premises but quickly turn lethargic (Fafner, Negima, Break Blade). If I knew better I wouldn’t expect something good out of this (as I did as a teenager).
The story follows that of a supernatural thief going after cursed objects. And since the time of Lupin the Third, every thief has his detective nemesis always going after him. Of course, the story is far more than just that. The lead boy is in the beginning a normal teenager who just happens to one day transform into this super thief, a trait inherited by his family, who is destined to gather cursed items. Sounds rather weak, doesn’t it? Well, it is. But wait, there is more. The kid has now two different personas working almost independently. One is meek, the other is cool, one is a somewhat loser, the other is a macho attracting all the attention of the world on him. And to make things even more far fetched, one is in love with a girl, while the other is in love with her twin sister. BOINK! Yes, it is too much.
Besides realism, the pace of the plot suffers big time as well. Most episodes are in fact stand alone missions where the thief goes to get a cursed item, escapes the police and his detective nemesis, fights the evil-spirit-of-the-week and then returns home where he gets in various romantic frustrations over whom gets to date whom. Actual story exists in the first episodes where the setting is set, in the middle where there is strong (albeit cheesy) romantic moment which brings a climax to the relationships and then in the final episode, which feels so bizarre and alien to the rest of the series you’d think it was made by a different team.
In general, the scenario begins in a simple way, recycles / wastes itself in stand alone episodes in the middle, and ends in a final battle of sorts that will probably make you go WTF with its weird twist. Thus, the main premise becomes nothing but an excuse to bring emotional conflict amongst the characters. You can easily forget the cursed items and the semi-serious messages each tries to pass to the viewer in favor of the constant pressure the lead boy feels around his romantic interests, his second rude persona and his chase by the detective nemesis. So, it is a character-driven story with the action and the curses being nothing more than flashy effects to break the monotony.
Which brings us to the cast itself, the focus of the story. The interactions amongst the four (indirectly five) main characters are interesting for a while but definitely didn’t worth so many episodes. Although they are colorized nicely and they do develop and change their initial opinions of one another, they still lose credit because of the dead time in the mid episodes and the bizarre change of pace in the conclusion. As well as the lack of realism in the story if that is an issue with you. Also, their personalities are not something you will remember as they pass for quite plain and/or generic if you happen to have watched many anime.
Beyond all that, the animation and sound are decent and above average for the time they were made. Without feeling exceptional and by overusing the pretty boys with wings and feathers trope, they are nice to keep looking and hearing. The setting is pretty generic stuff; typical school grounds and houses with museums and vaults to be the battlefields, while not forgetting to add a lot of other normal stuff like going shopping, cooking or camping on the mountains. It’s been many years since I watched the series and I still remember the looks of the characters, that really touching twist in the middle and the main music theme of the series but by no fat chance can I say the same about all those battles with cursed items (which would stand as very good in the pre-Naruto era) or slice of life routine business that took up most of the duration. That practically means that you are left with a vague memory of everything you have watched because of the generic presentation in a plot you can find in any other slice-of-life anime and the pointless battles that besides keeping you attracted while watching them, become forgettable as soon as they finish.
In all this is a mediocre title I would recommend only to newcomers in anime with low expectations who don’t consider boring anything older than two years. I still remember it had made quite the sensation back when it aired and it even had its own fan club in the forum I was in. Still, after all those years many more similar and better in overall came along and now DNAngel is nothing but a fond memory of the times me and many others were still new in the field. If you want me to mention if it excels in anything, I will have nothing to reply as, frankly, it doesn’t have anything you won’t find in many other series besides a few very good emotional moments scattered in episodes too far away from one another.
Kamikaze Kaitou Jeanne
And now for some excused scorings.
ART SECTION: 5/10
Analysis: General Artwork 1/2, Character Figures 1/2, Backgrounds 1/2, Animation 1/2, Visual Effects 1/2
SOUND SECTION: 6/10
Analysis: Voice Acting 2/3, Music Themes 2/4, Sound Effects 2/3
STORY SECTION: 4/10
Analysis: Premise 1/2, Pacing 1/2, Complexity 1/2, Plausibility 0/2, Conclusion 1/2
CHARACTER SECTION: 5/10
Analysis: Presence 1/2, Personality 1/2, Backdrop 1/2, Development 1/2, Catharsis 1/2
VALUE SECTION: 1/10
Analysis: Historical Value 0/3, Rewatchability 0/3, Memorability 1/4
ENJOYMENT SECTION: 1/10
Analysis: Art 0/1, Sound 0/2, Story 1/3, Characters 0/4