Rozen Maiden – 13 [END]

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…The reunion came earlier than expected.

A big thank you to Karakuri for letting me tag onto the Rozen Maiden finale. I am really surprised at how captivating the show was while watching it, and how much I enjoyed the story of unwound Jun, so I’m glad to get a chance to talk about it here.
No, thank you Highway for joining me to talk about this. I’m just glad that this new anime managed to convert more people into fans of this show~. …The ending is totally unexpected for me though. I guess this is how things looked from unwound Jun’s perspective event-wise, but they just kind of threw the story into the middle of another arc and ended it there for some reason.
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spring13-highwIt really didn’t take long for Rozen Maiden to become my favorite show of the summer, and it’s never wavered from that spot. As good as the storytelling of Uchouten Kazoku is (and it’s truly excellent), it’s really the feel and atmosphere of Rozen Maiden that makes it unmatched. In fact, I really doubt I’ll go back and watch any of the earlier series, because while the story is interesting, it seems like this series was enough of a departure in style from the other ones to maybe have gained what I like about it, which would be missing in the earlier series. But who knows, maybe someday I won’t have a year’s worth of anime backlog.

From the time she appeared on screen, Shinku has been my favorite character, and when she reappeared in episode 4, she just got better. I really enjoyed the attitude, the haughtiness, her bearing, her harsh words that were always intended to push Jun in the direction he should go, and always the obvious care she had for Jun. The dynamic of Unwound Jun’s relationship with Shinku is interesting, since she knows so much about how he used to be, and knows that she wants a more fulfilling life for him, and really does guide him to that life, with the series finale really laying out all the choices that now lay in front of him, all alluring and interesting, and hopefully all fulfilling. Among the rest of the dolls, I think Kanaria may be my second favorite, with her sunny personality that was in this show, and Suigintou was ok, and got better, especially as we learned more about Megu. I really did like all of the dolls, none of them ever got overbearing in this show. Even Hinaichigo in her short scenes seemed nice.

One thing I keep coming back to also is the scale of the dolls. Everything I see about the other series makes them seem bigger, but here they had a perfect scale. It really gave them that bit of surrealism, that they were animate, yet so small. My two favorite parts of the show both really exemplified this scale. My favorite sequence of the entire show was in episode 4 with Shinku exploring Jun’s apartment, this small doll walking around, looking in the bathroom, on the desk, with just this air of mild disappointment that he isn’t doing better. And then in the penultimate episode, all the dolls standing around both Juns, That scale just gave everything that little twist.

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spring13-highwAs far as epilogues go, this was really satisfying to see. Unwound Jun went from a guy with seemingly no place in the world to a guy with a lot more options than he thought he had. The anime skipped over Jun finally making friends in college, but the idea that he has the choices of school, work, and theatre production came out nice and clear. Really, he could turn any of those opportunities into something bigger, and all he did was have to look for them. …Er, maybe not the opportunity that happened at work (and the play probably happened because of Shinku), but him finding a place a school was all his own doing. This really gave closure on how much Jun has matured and opened up, and just felt really good to watch, considering how many episodes this season spent on showing us how dull and monotonous his life was before.

I still don’t really know what they were going for with the overarching book narrative other than adding atmosphere, but that note the Shinku left Jun was really nice. Obviously, the dolls haven’t completely disappeared from Jun’s life. Shadows of their influence is physically there, like the teapot Shinku had Jun buy, and the fact that Jun helped with the play, which probably wouldn’t have happened without Shinku being there and telling Jun to go out shopping. Though they’re with Jun in spirit too, since he has the self confidence that they indirectly gave him through this whole ordeal. It really is a great place to end off on.

…And then the plot jumps like, 30 chapters to the part I was talking about where the dolls all contact unwound Jun again. Yeah. A lot more happened in between those two events than just Jun getting hurt by the roof. That whole ending makes things terribly inconclusive, but hopefully this means that there might be another new season in the future? The next arc isn’t quite as subtle as this one was (and especially not if they’re going to blaze past the whole thing with Jun finally going back to school), but I’d still like to see them make it. …I just hope that if they do, they go back and fully show exactly what happened with Jun at school, since there was a lot of self-struggle with that (not to mention the introduction of two extremely important characters from the arc). Playing the angle with leaving the viewer in the dark about the mysterious laughter might be interesting. However, for a series that just spent more than half of the season looking at unwound Jun’s life, it seems weird that they would favour the mysterious supernatural fight stuff over wound Jun’s personal issues now. Not to mention that it’s been so faithful to the manga so far, and then the last half of this episode took a lot of liberties. Even the first episode’s extreme abridging was more faithful than this. I can see why they’d maybe include flashes of these events, as a “this story continues on” type of message, but this felt as if they were trying to start a new story or something, but forgot that this was the end of the anime and had to squeeze everything in 10 minutes. Maybe if this starts up again, they can go back and flesh out the story a bit… Or completely retell it from the beginning of this arc. Or something. Anything.

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…I don’t even know what I’m doing worrying about this at this point. The anime is over.


I’m really glad I tried Rozen Maiden at the beginning of the summer, and have looked forward to it capping off my Fridaynight of anime watching for the last dozen weeks. I think once again Studio Deen has far surpassed their old reputation, making an anime that was pensive, atmospheric, stylish, and quietly powerful. I hope that if the story is continued, it’s in this same vein as much as possible, and I’ll look forward to it if it is. It’s hard to think of a story about a shut-in and some dolls being so interesting, but it’s not necessarily the parts, but the setting and the story itself that makes the interest. Thanks again, Kara.

Despite this anime being way different from the original anime (which was my original gateway into the series), I actually vastly prefer this one. Maybe the slowness wasn’t for everyone, but this story telling with the focus on Jun’s life was just so much deeper and fulfilling than having the dolls have a constant battle royal in between petty household fights, while Jun angsted his way through life and generally played the punchline to the jokes. Combined with DEEN’s animation choices, everything felt way more mysterious/ambiguous (or really, any of the word choices Highway used above) as well. As for the plot, things stayed on track up until the second half of this episode (really? did they really have to end it in the middle of a completely different arc after skipping over half of it?), and overall, this was my favourite of the summer as well. It started as bias and then I fell in love with the brilliant execution. …I never thought I’d say this, but if they make another season of this, I hope it’s the exact same studio and casting as it was here. I actually want DEEN to animate one of my favourite series. Plus if there is a new season of Rozen Maiden, I’d be more worried about the status of the plot as opposed to how DEEN would animate it. Hell must be freezing over.

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13 Responses to “Rozen Maiden – 13 [END]”

  1. Highway says:

    Heh, I didn’t even realize that that was so far out in the future. It seemed like they did skip over some stuff, but I thought it fit in with *this* show, which was about Unwound Jun. I really can’t give them much grief about that, because I found it easy to just assume “Well, time has passed for Wound Jun, and stuff happened, but now he’s in trouble, and the Maidens turn to someone that has helped them in the past: Unwound Jun.” And if there’s a story arc following this, I think it would be a fine sequel to this one, no matter how far in the future it was. I mean, this story was nowhere near the beginning of the story, but I thought it was a well-chosen slice of the content to animate.

    The sales for this aren’t that great, apparently, with the first volume selling just over 2000 in two weeks. But there are a lot of shows like this that I wonder if they really think they’re going to sell that well. I don’t know how big the previous series sold, so I don’t know if this is a huge dropoff for the Rozen Maiden franchise, which would be a shame, but given the apparent shift in style, not unexpected.

    • Karakuri says:

      There was more of a time gap between unwound Jun saying goodbye, and the saying hello again. I think they just chose to animate this one because the other anime covered the first half of the manga basically (with a lot of artistic licence). It was convenient to pick the story up here, but it did work well. I wouldn’t say it’s too far into the future. Basically, wound Jun goes home, decides to go to school for a bit, gets over some of his issues, meets a transfer student (and someone else) and then everything goes horribly wrong when Jun falls into a coma.

      Ah, that’s too bad. I really would have liked this to have sold well. …I have absolutely no idea how well the other series sold, but it’s been quite a few years since the series came out, so I think the time gap between the anime might be part of that too.

  2. BlackBriar says:

    What an open ended finale. I guess this means there might be another season to continue where this left off. It would be bad form if it was left as it is.

    Overall, Rozen Maiden was an acceptible series in its own right but I wouldn’t say it was my favorite for Summer. Other animes like Kamisama no Inai Nichiyoubi, Fate/Kaleid Liner Prisma Illya and Genei wo Kakeru Taiyou would get that vote in the fantasy category.

    There were times the story just wasn’t appealing to me and felt slow. If anything, what saved it were the character personalities, each of them being different while bouncing off each other well. Shinku got on my nerves at first but she grew on me and I liked her sibling rivalry with Suigintou.

    • Karakuri says:

      …Yeah, I don’t know about this ending. I figured they’d leave it with something like the last episode did.

      I FINALLY finished KamiInai. …My knowledge of the show ran out near the end of the dead city arc. They skipped over a lot of smaller plot details, but the death of Ai’s father was just as great despite everything feeling like it was only half-told (even after it got to where I was in the manga, something felt like it was missing). I also really liked that ending arc.

      You’d probably like the next arc better, since there’s a lot of things happening other than Jun wandering his way through life. …There’s still a lot of that, but there are other subplots that happen as well.

      • BlackBriar says:

        I liked the Ortus arc of Kamisama no Inai Nichiyoubi. It was ominous while at the same time beautiful. It was hard to believe all the happy people walking the streets were already dead, that a whole city was built to house the dead. Most of all, that anyone who wants to “live” in Ortus must first die. Given the setting of series, morality is either blurred or practically non existant, especially where and death are concerned. Those that were killed had a sigh of relief.

        The final arc of the series “Class 3-4” was also gripping. I can’t imagine I’d stay sane if time kept reset every now and again as if your actions meant nothing at all. Mind boggling as well was that Alis migrated more than thirty thousand people into that world.

        • Highway says:

          KamiInai was a pretty good series, but had some issues that brought the whole thing lower. It was too fond of discarding the things that happened before, and had too many things seemingly happen just to have something to do. And it didn’t need to do that, because there was plenty to explain or go over in just the setup, but instead they kidnapped Ai, they visited a totally different dimension, and they had to chase down flakey post-partum Scar.

          And while the Class III-4 arc was good enough on its own, by following that storyline, the show kind of turned its back on the idea that God had washed his hands of the world. The whole thing there was that they had gotten a wish granted, which was kind of contra to the whole premise of the show. It felt like it would be more of a side story to the overarching theme, but instead it was made the centerpiece of the finale.

  3. Liza says:

    As soon as the last scene happened I just thought, “Not this again!” The ending reminded me so much of the ending of the first manga. >_> Only thankfully there’s the manga to find out what happens next.

    Overall, I enjoyed this show. It wasn’t one of my top shows for the season but it was nice to see the dolls again. I actually liked this arc much better than the previous one due to how much it focused on the struggles of unwound Jun.

    • Karakuri says:

      Yeah, that original ending was due to publishing complications with the magazine it was in (or something like that). Luckily, then this series came out~.

      Yeah, I feel the same. This felt like there was more to it, and with more direction. The first half of the story wasn’t conclusive at all.

  4. joojoobees says:

    I was pretty surprised by the ending. I think it would have been nicer to have a clean ending to the series (perhaps with Wound-Jun going to school), than to introduce the next arc. I’m guessing they are trying to drum up support for another season, but it feels a little cheap.

    • Karakuri says:

      You and me both. I really wish they had left it off without going too far into the next arc. Ending things on a relatively happy, conclusive note would have been way nicer than this one in the middle of the arc.

      • Highway says:

        I think I disagree. I prefer knowing that the story goes on and people continue to live their lives and deal with things. Maybe that’s why I always prefer an epilogue style ending to one where the final blow of the last boss battle is the last thing you see.

        Perhaps in this case it’s because I’m ignorant of exactly how far ahead it is, and how much else has changed. But for a time-travel story, I still think it’s acceptable (and this is a time-travel story, so a lot of time could pass for Wound Jun without any passing for Unwound Jun).

        • Karakuri says:

          Hmm, maybe it is due to how much less you know about this. They left so many things hanging with this. It’s rather frustrating too, since with what they cut out, rushed and changed, if this does get a second season, they’re going to have to redo this part of the story all over again. …Or else nothing important will make sense later on.

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