Rozen Maiden anime review

Rozen Maiden anime review
Due to a deep trauma at school Sakurada Jun has refused to return. He spends his time in his room, surfing the web and ordering anything that takes his fancy, only to return the items just before payment is due. One day, he finds a web site that tells him to put his order in a drawer of his desk. He does so thinking it to be a joke, only to find that the letter disappears and a strange package arrives soon afterwards. It contains an exquisite doll, that, when wound, comes to life. She treats him as a servant of little worth, but over time helps him come to grips with his fears and in the life-or-death fights that soon follow her arrival.

Rozen Maiden is another one of those shows I've been avoiding for the longest time. I'm not entirely sure why. Maybe the thing with the dolls would be a reason. Maybe it was because the show looked a tad ... well, creepy for the wrong reasons instead of the right ones, looking from a horror genre perspective.

I eventually gave in, though, and watched an episode. And then another. And then.... well, you can see where this is going, I assume?

Rozen Maiden's charm is that it plays out like a good, old-fashioned somewhat gothic horror, though with some action elements thrown in for good measure. As the show progresses, the viewers are presented to a lot of different characters and it uses various alternate worlds, some of them made up of human beings' inner psyches to give said worlds their frameworks. It all lends the show much of its atmosphere.

Still, it took at least two episodes for me to get into it. I guess one of the main characters and his general attitude is the reason for that. When the show started and the initial mysterious footage was done, I was presented with a girl who had to turn down an invitation to go play sports because she had to take care of her brother, who wasn't "feeling well", according to her. So, I figured, he was frail or sickly or something, right?

WRONG!

The first we get to see of Jun, he's sitting in front of his computer, browsing online stores and auctions for various stuff, intending to return it just before the payment's due. You know, just because that's the thing he does. When his sister returns, he wastes no time in ordering her around, including, but not limited to, carrying all the stuff he bought to the post office to be returned. And when she makes an overly polite request of him returning to school, or at the very least coming down and having dinner with her, he loses his temper.

So, Shinku, when she first appears, earns some brownie points from me by slapping him and really letting him know what she thinks of his attitude. Starting out with the rough way she's handled while being wound up, she continues to provide the smackdowns as she first assesses his room and his collection, and later his general attitude towards his sister. Things turn even better shortly after the awakening, when Jun's life is threatened by an assailant and he has to prostrate himself at Shinku's feet after a quick, one second showing of bravado.

And that was only the beginning of the show. As the show progresses, we are invited to what is referred to as the "Alice game", which apparently is a grand fighting tournament among a set number of dolls. Most of these dolls are introduced as the show progresses, including the main antagonist of the show, the gothic project gone wrong; Suigintou. Suigintou on her part seems to play out her role as a female Sephiroth quite well, being very powerful and certifiably insane.

Now, while the show does predictably culminate in a huge battle amongst the dolls, the show itself isn't as much about fighting as it is about different people's personalities and psychological situations. Not only are we being taken on a tour of Jun's own pandemonium of a mind, but some of the other dolls are also taken in by masters with personal baggage of their own. This is the part of the show where metaphors are taken in use, though it never gets as heavy-handed (or ham-handed, for that matter) as some other shows I could mention. *coughAquarioncough*

Even if you have no interest in dolls, this is a show worth watching. Even if you think the whole gothic style is stupid, this is a show worth spending time on. The show is inventive enough in its settings to make it interesting, and the whole plot invites to suspenseful moments inbetween the drama. Well worth a watch.

Better than review, is a Trailer video of: Rozen Maiden. Watch it now:
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