First Impressions – Rozen Maiden

Wind? Do not wind? Rewind?

When I heard that Rozen Maiden was a ‘readaptation’ of a show that already had had a few seasons, I thought that it might be a good opportunity to take a look at the show, without having to go back and catch up on a lot of stuff. So how was it for a complete newbie to this ficton?
So apparently this season is called Rozen Maiden Zurückspulen (a google search tells me that this is German for ‘rewind’), but I don’t even know how to begin pronouncing that and I will never be able to remember spelling. So for the purposes of my posts, I’ll just be calling this Rozen Maiden. …And for your sakes, I’ll keep my “hnnng Suigintou is mai waifu” outbursts to a minimum.

What the heck was that? 


spring13-highwI had heard the name Rozen Maiden before, but never really looked into it because there’s just so much other stuff to watch. But with a new series is new opportunity, so I took a look at the first episode. And while I like exposition heavy shows, I didn’t think this one really overdid it. After learning about the existence of the Rozen Maidens, I thought it would take a couple episodes to introduce them all, but they really got on with it and they were not bad as far as introductions go. I also didn’t expect two of them to ‘die’ in the first episode, but it did a good job to help highlight the ‘good’ and ‘bad’ sides of the fight from the viewer’s perspective. I’m going to guess that Shinku is not all ‘good’, but Suigintou definitely seems all bad, and Kirakishou seems all crazy.

The fighting sequences were pretty short, and not really a focus of this first episode for me, especially Souseiseki and Suiseiseki’s, which seemed like Souseiseki just gave up immediately. The fight between Shinku and Suigintou was a little more outlandish, with rose petals not really seeming like an effective fighting implement versus the feather daggers that Suigintou was throwing out. I do hope that they get more into the presence of Jun, because aside from his quick decision making at the beginning, he didn’t really do much. And I don’t know who that other girl in the show is, but I’m hoping they give her more of an introduction soon. I also thought the look of the show was really good. I especially like the bearing that Shinku has, with the very upright way she walks, her personal teacup, and oujo-sama style. Kanaria has the comic relief covered so far, and Suiseiseki has whininess covered (certainly not my favorite character).

 A re-adaptation indeed


spring13-highwI make fun of DEEN. A lot. However, the stylistic choices in this first episode were really nice in my opinion! The filters or whatever they had going on made the atmosphere really nice (and totally reminded me of Dantalian no Shoka, so points for that). There wasn’t anything overly sophisticated about the action scenes and this was just a lot of dialogue with fancy looking imagery, but really, that’s pretty much what Rozen Maiden was, so that works perfectly. The dolls look closer to their manga designs as well.

So, DEEN’s Rozen Maiden doesn’t look half bad. Hello, infodump episode. For anyone who’s read the manga, this should be a nice refresher. …For anyone else who’s just starting the series, …uh, good luck. Even those people who followed the anime only might be kind of lost since this totally rushed through the 8 volumes of the manga without taking a break. Even season of the anime 2 kind of only got around to the events around the middle of the manga. Or maybe this was okay as an introduction, since everything was short and sweet. If Highway is any indication, it doesn’t seem too bad.


However, they touched on most of the parts that will be important to the second half of the story anyways, so you shouldn’t be too lost starting the next episode. This goes for even if you’re new, since the story picks up in a completely different place. Think of this episode as an alternate reality (because thats what it is).  Really, all that was missing this episode was Jun’s hikkikomori angsting over the fact that he’s good at making women’s clothing (which was a pain to deal with in the storyline anyways) and the dolls all interacting more. …And by interacting, I mean acting like useless moeblobs in between battles that I can’t even remember why they were fighting half the time. Oh and I guess there was a part about Jun having some sort of magical doll repair skill, but even in the first series of the manga, they mentioned it once and then completely forgot about it.

Hopefully you got the gist of the characters at least, since I assume that’s what they were going for (ie Shinku is a bit of a snob and has issues with Suigintou, Hina Ichigo and Kanaria embody almost every trait of childishness I despise, Suiseiseki and Souseiseki have some kind of twin angst going on, Kirakishou has issues, etc.) Long story short, personally, this first episode took every plot point I liked about the manga and animated it (mostly skimming over the annoying ones), so I’m not complaining. As for what actually went on, I don’t know if we’re supposed to assume that this all happened in the span of like, 72 hours or what.

I thought this first episode of Rozen Maiden was enjoyable to watch, and really wasn’t put off by the amount of information that they put in to catch people up to the story (which I appreciated). I think it gave a good amount of background to something that could have been really opaque if they hadn’t, but they didn’t let lots of talking dominate the show. I also thought the animation by DEEN was pretty good, especially Shinku, and enjoyed the slight haughtiness to her character. I’ll definitely be continuing with this show, and hope it keeps up this amount of entertainment.

I don’t know about you guys, but I rather liked this first episode. I can totally see people complaining about the lightning speed pacing (seriously, they jammed 8 volumes of manga in here), but things should definitely slow down the next episode. …Probably almost to the point of it being kind of boring. Actually, this episode felt a lot like one of those OVA that come with manga volumes to me. It seemed to be geared towards the people who already are familiar with the source material (as one would be if you bought the manga), and it doubles as a piece of media to convince someone already interested to look deeper into the series to see what it’s all about. Think like what the first Mirai Nikki OVA was (aka everyone was confused and a bit disappointed because it was just flashes of events as opposed to forming a somewhat coherent plotline.) As a first episode to an actual anime series, this just felt really rushed. I really enjoyed what went on here, but I can totally see people complaining about this. Especially compared to how slow I imagine the next couple episodes should be. However, in order to fit the second half of the manga in here, I’d say that this crunch is going to pay off. …Probably.

So from what I’ve seen here, you can probably skip the other versions of the anime and jump right into this, provided that you got the gist of this first episode. Really, all the other anime does is provide (almost) the same story at a much slower pace. That, and they look a bit deeper into the characters and their interactions. Though there are some anime only parts that they threw in there (like Suigintou randomly dying at the end of the first anime and that Barasuishou character). I’m not entirely sure if the Ouvertüre OVAs should be considered canon or not either… But yeah, you should be okay just watching this anime alone. Hell, you might as well pretend that the other anime doesn’t even exist since this took absolutely nothing from it minus the voice actors.

However, I would suggest reading the manga. While they gave the gist of the plot here, they did miss a LOT.


Anyways, on to a slightly different Jun.


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31 Responses to “First Impressions – Rozen Maiden”

  1. Highway says:

    I know there are some other people who feel a little bit lost with the story, but I thought Kara’s explanation of the things that were ‘left out’ really made it seem like they chose good things to include. The things mentioned about Jun’s clothesmaking and the dolls interacting will come, I’d bet, but both sound like really dull things to put ahead of what happened in this episode. I really don’t mind the “Let’s give the framework of the whole thing at the beginning, and then fill in the rest of the details as you go” storytelling. As long as they don’t leave out critical trumps like “Oh yeah, you can’t do this one obvious thing” it’s ok.

    I did think the personalities of the dolls came through very well. I mentioned Shinku’s attitude, which I thought was great, and I might have Kanaria’s a little wrong, but it really seems to set up a 3-way battle between Shinku / Suigintou / Kirakishou. Getting right to that was a good choice, I thought.

    • Karakuri says:

      Oh, and there was a bit in the manga as to why Suigintou is so desperate to win this game. But yeah, all that was missed was a lot of angstangstangst and desudesudesu.

  2. BlackBriar says:

    I heard rumors about Rozen Maiden but never bothered to look more into it because of interest in other animes and that it aired a long time ago. Since there’s a re-adaption now, there’s no need to backtrack and I can start from scratch.

    The trouble with me enjoying this comes from a huge info dump and at the same time, a sluggish story pacing that almost had me wanting to skip some parts. Having most of the dolls presented in just the first episode was unnecessary and would have been better done over at least three of them. It’s not like everything was wrapping up now so a little breathing room could have done some good.

    The survival game aspect isn’t new but it gives the characters a motive. Suigintou shows she’s willing to do anything, by hook or crook, to get to the top which makes unstable and unpredictable. That charismatic nature of hers is something to be wary of because it looks easy for her to sweet talk anyone. I can’t say I’m a fan of Shinku. She comes off as pig headed, an attitude of one who thinks everyone owes her something and so she barks orders with no consideration, even calling Jun her servant when it should be the other way around.

    For a first episode, I was rather bored watching. The three episode rule has been put into effect but I’m trying not to drop this because of the positive word of mouth it has. So, hopefully it gets better as it has already turned into a bumpy ride for me.

    • Highway says:

      Heh, I thought Shinku was about perfect, with that super upright walk in particular. *march march march* *SMACK!*

      • BlackBriar says:

        I’ll re-adjust to her eventually but I felt she came on a little too strong right off the bat.

    • joojoobees says:

      Not sure how an episode can have “sluggish pacing” AND require more “breathing room”.

      • BlackBriar says:

        Sluggish as in the story and breathing room as in I thought they were presenting all the dolls too quickly and they should have saved some for the other episodes.

    • Karakuri says:

      …Yeah, I didn’t think this was slow at all. If anything, this was breakneck speed. And some of the dolls are pretty interconnected with their storylines, so limiting this to 3 dolls wouldn’t have accomplished a lot.

      My feelings about Suigintou are pretty positive. I like Shinku now a lot more than I did when I first watched this like, 5+ years ago. Her haughty personality annoyed me then, but she’s pretty entertaining now. Stuck up characters amuse me.

      • BlackBriar says:

        I’ll probably like Suigintou more than I would with Shinku. The villains, especially the females, always manage to have way more appeal than the good guys. Maybe it’s because they aren’t restricted by a bunch of complicated morals.

  3. skylion says:

    I’ve always dug the goth lolita look; even dressed up at a con about ten years ago. It brought the boys to the yard, much to their chagrin…

    But, like HWY, I always saw the back log as too much to catch up on, and this is a good opportunity to look into it.

    I think you two summed up everything rather well. But for me, the heart ache was the entire, yet thankfully short, pitiable existence of Hina Ichigo. She barely had half a life, and no one to care for her. I was almost crying a bit.

    I’m hoping for lots more action and intrigue to come.

    • Highway says:

      I kind of agree, although I don’t know how much I’d have liked Hinaichigo, that killing off 2/7 of your effective characters in the first episode seems a bit much. I did really like that they didn’t have a whole ‘Care and Feeding of Rozen Maidens’ bit, tho, that would have been too predictable and uninteresting. Plus it seems like these girls can take care of themselves.

    • Karakuri says:

      …I definitely don’t like Hina Ichigo as a character (she’s a pretty needy character) so I’m rather thankful that they kept her part short. …And now she’s been screwed over by Kirakishou, so she probably won’t get much more of a part until later.

      • skylion says:

        Yeah, as I said, “thankfully short” as I could detect the needyness in her voice. But still, cut short as it was, I was quite sad..

  4. PrimeHector says:

    Desu. I don’t remember the old artwork but I like the new artwork. Suiguitou wings were well done. She was one of my favorites from the first season.

    • Liza says:

      Her wings were done beautifully! *_* They looked so wispy and feather-like.

      • BlackBriar says:

        I agree about her wings and they go well with her personality. She can easily pass for a fallen angel.

        • Karakuri says:

          I’m pretty sure that’s the point. Suigintou has issues.

          • BlackBriar says:

            Yeah, if she had a past life, I’d assume she was a pure individual.

            • Karakuri says:

              I don’t know how much they’ll go into it, but Suigintou has self esteem issues of a sort+issues with the person who she has a contract with. Suigintou is pretty much the angst-ridden anti-hero (ish) of the series. …As opposed to Kirakishou, the one who makes things difficult for the hell of it (as far as I remember).

              …Though it’s been a few years since I read the second half of the manga (and I don’t even think it’s finished yet), so I could be wrong.

    • Karakuri says:

      You and me both~

  5. Liza says:

    This first episode helped out a lot. It’s been a while since I read Rozen Maiden so the refresher really did help me remember the events from the first series(although I think I’ll be going back and reading up on it anyway just to remember the stuff that happens in between).

    I actually did not know that the alternate world had a different main character. 0_0 By different I mean like a different age Jun. But yay! Really excited for this! 😀

    • Karakuri says:

      …Yeah, they missed a lot, but the gist is there.

      Yep! A new and slightly different Jun! …Though to be honest, I remember him annoying me even more than the younger Jun.

  6. joojoobees says:

    I seem to be one of the few that watched the first series. I think the “rewind” is attracting new fans, so that is probably a good thing.

    I’m looking forward to seeing where the alternate worlds story takes us, but there were many things I missed about the first season. One of them was Jun’s sister — I didn’t think they made her role very clear in the rewind. Another was Jun — I really liked the exploration of just how broken he was in the first season. Jun could really be an A-hole at times, which made his efforts on behalf of the Rozen Maiden more of a victory.

    • Karakuri says:

      Yeah, Nori didn’t have a very clear role at all. …And what they were going for with Jun here, I think they were just trying to get across the fact that he does more than the “Do not wind” Jun does. Original Jun might have had issues, but at the end of the day, he’s not quite as pathetic as his older version.

    • Highway says:

      Hmm, I’ve been giving latitude to the show about stuff we don’t know yet. You can’t explain the whole series in only one episode, because that just leaves mechanics for the rest. I think that it’s fine to not really have a handle on Jun’s sister and friend. And even Jun, I figure that either we’ll find out more about him, or we won’t. I just don’t quite know how it will go.

      And it seems like I’m actually pretty rare in that I wasn’t completely lost by this episode. Oh well.

      • skylion says:

        I’m with you on not being lost. I wonder if other’s were confused about how this was distilled from the rest of the elements?

  7. Moni Chan says:

    It’s been so long since the first season, At first I thought it was a remake.

    • Karakuri says:

      I guess this kind of is and kind of… isn’t.

      • BlackBriar says:

        I think this falls into the same category as that recent Hunter x Hunter series though I haven’t seen any of the versions.

        • Karakuri says:

          I’m pretty sure the Hunter X Hunter is a complete retelling from the beginning, since the first anime was cut short. If you haven’t seen the new(ish) anime, I suggest you do though. It’s pretty damn good.

          • BlackBriar says:

            But I’m so far behind and haven’t seen so much as the first episode. That’s a lot of backlog to cover. I did it with Naruto Shippuden starting back with episode 201 but it’s doubtful I’ll be willing to do something like that a second time.

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