Rozen Maiden

June 2, 2007

 I never like playing with dolls. I still don’t. That is, not until I’ve watched Rozen Maiden. Okay, so maybe I still don’t actually play with such soft toys but if it’s a Rozen Maiden doll, I might give some second thoughts about it. Yes, those cute little midget-sized dolls garbed in goth-loli outfits. With each dolls having their own distinct personality, it makes them more interesting.
 
So besides being just cute looking dolls, what are Rozen Maidens really? Though there are some explanations throughout the series, let me just blog it all here one shot. There are 7 Rozen Maiden dolls created by some German doll maker guy called Rozen, hence the dolls are named after him. Somehow these dolls after their creation have been given a breath of life as they call their maker Father. However, because of Rozen’s infatuation to create the most perfect doll and he’s unable to do so, the fate and destiny of the Rozen Maidens are tied to this Alice Game.
 
It’s a game whereby the dolls have to duke it out between themselves whereby the last standing doll is declared the winner and is promised to meet Father. Throughout the series I find this Rozen guy a bit sadistic to pit his ‘daughters’ against each other. Uh-huh. Not that I really understand why except that Rozen perceives this Alice to be the most perfect and beautiful thing. So by winning the Alice game, that Rozen Maiden could become that perfect Alice. Which mean to say that those dolls are ‘imperfect’, right? Right. In a way.
 
But this entire 12 episode series doesn’t just concentrate on the dolls trying to outdo each other. It focuses more on the drama and interaction between the characters. Coupled in with some comedy, supernatural elements and terminologies of their own, it makes the series quite enjoyable to watch. Yes, there are some fighting with energy projections. But it’s not the main focusing point of the series. Besides, some viewers say that some of the background art and drawing are drop dead gorgeous. Well, to me, they seem pretty okay. Not that it made my jaw dropped several inches.
 
So we got this kid, Jun Sakurada, who’s a hikikomori as seen in episode 1. That’s a recluse case for those of you who don’t know. Just like Satou’s case in NHK Ni Youkoso. But instead of all those conspiracies, Jun’s reason why he’s one is because of some mental traumatic experiences he had when he was in school. Therefore, he locks himself up in his room and doesn’t go to school. So his poor but patient and understanding sister, Nori, has to do the chores around the house and tolerate his strange behaviour. Such a nice girl who loves her little brother very much. She even tries to help him but that stubborn kid just ignores her.
 
Because of his hikikomori-ness, Jun has this weird infatuation of ordering supernatural goods through the internet and then returned them once he has had enough fun of it just before the trial period ends. All’s well until he receives a letter saying that he’d won some prize. And after following the instructions on the letter, Nori comes in bringing some huge luggage. Upon opening and examining the luggage, Jun finds a doll in red goth-loli dress. He winds it up and the doll starts to gradually move on her own. Unexpectedly, she slaps Jun in the face for handling a lady indelicately. She introduces herself as Shinku, the 5th Rozen Maiden doll. Because of Jun’s stubbornness and Shinku’s bossy attitude, these 2 are like loggerheads and will always be in some sort of argument. Unfortunately for Jun, he always loses to the doll.
 
What could be worse than a talking doll? Well, another clown-like doll crashes into Jun’s room from the window and is gonna kill him! Shinku tells him that he’s gonna die and that the only way to stay alive is to make a contract with her by kissing her ring. Jun of course doesn’t really believe it all until that clown doll is really serious into attacking him. Shinku’s just sitting there not doing anything. No choice, Jun then agrees and kisses Shinku’s ring. With that, a ring appears on Jun’s finger symbolizing a bond has been created and Shinku goes into battle mode, easily disposing it off.
 
Later, Shinku explains that by kissing her ring, Jun hereby agrees to be her servant. Uh-huh. The master is a doll. Plus, Jun is also Shinku’s medium. Meaning, a power source used in battles. And everytime Shinku uses a medium’s power, Jun’s ring will start to glow and the ring will feel a little warm. Is Jun gonna accept it all? Well, he can’t really do much. Since he can’t even take off the ring from his finger, he reluctantly agrees to do Shinku’s bidding. But as I’ve mentioned earlier on. Jun and Shinku will get into arguments in which the latter will do something like kicking his shin or hitting his face with her ponytails to stop his ranting. Funny. Yeah, Jun’s more like her ‘slave’ than ‘medium’ if you look at it in a way.
 
In episode 2, another Rozen Maiden doll is introduced, the naive and child-like Hina Ichigo. Because she’s quite scared of being left alone due to her previous owner, her current master and medium, Tomoe Kashiwaba, tries her best to be with her. But one day because of Tomoe’s busy school schedules caused her to be come home late one evening (actually she’s at Jun’s house handing over some notes to Nori. Yup, Tomoe’s Jun’s classmate) and that’s when Hina Ichigo gets into one of her fits. Thus, she decides to drag Tomoe into another realm, N-Field so that they could play together forever. An N-Field is a realm whereby it’s supposedly the Rozen Maiden’s domain. And each N-Field reflects the characteristics of each Rozen Maiden and can be accessed via reflecting objects like mirrors and computer screens. Also an N-Field of a particular Rozen Maiden gives her a ‘home advantage’ but to offset that, a medium is used.
 
So Shinku decides to start the Alice Game by entering some large mirror in Jun’s storeroom and into Hina Ichigo’s N-Field. Yup, it’s Shinku vs Hina Ichigo. To cut things short, Shinku won because Hina Ichigo used up too much of Tomoe’s powers. Because Hina Ichigo lost, by right she would lose her Rosa Mystica, a vital ‘soul’ which gives the Rozen Maiden’s life. Without it, a Rozen Maiden is just an ordinary doll, unable to move or talk. But Shinku instead of taking Hina Ichigo’s Rosa Mystica, decides to make Hina Ichigo her servant as Hina Ichigo releases Tomoe from her contract. Oh boy, that’s what Jun really needs. Another doll living in his house. It’s gonna get ‘livelier’.
 
Episode 3 introduces yet another Rozen Maiden. This time it’s Suigin Tou, the main villain of this series and she harbours a deep hatred for Shinku. She’s also the one who sent that clown doll back then. By the way, Suigin Tou’s one of my favourite Rozen Maiden dolls because of her ‘pretty’ goth-loli dressing and her devilish giggles. Yup, her giggles sounds cute yet so… eerie. Besides Shinku and Suigin Tou having a short battle and the latter retreats after nearly claiming victory, we see how Hina Ichigo adjusts to life in Jun’s house. She’s still so child-like. And more of that drama with Jun and Tomoe.
 
Another Rozen Maiden comes crashing into Jun’s room through his window in episode 4. This time it’s the temperament and short-fused Suisei Seki. I guess without her, the whole series won’t be that lively or funny. Well, she’s not really a joker of the series, but somehow she doesn’t click with Jun and Hina Ichigo and always teases and mocks them. And because Jun’s relatively small in terms of body size for his age, Suisei Seki calls him ‘chibi ningen’ while Jun calls her back ‘wicked doll’. It’s really getting livelier. Like they say, the more the merrier. And Suisei Seki’s not even living with them. She’s just ‘visiting’. If you happen to notice her different eye colours, don’t think it’s a mistake made by the producers. It’s intentional. That’s because her other twin sister too has different opposite eye colours.
 
Here, Shinku asks Suisei Seki to use her powers to enter Jun’s Dream World, a place where it mirrors one’s personality, characteristics and memories. And it seems Jun’s one is a computer junkyard. As the series progresses, you’ll find out Jun’s fears and such and why he becomes a hikikomori (is scoring all eggs that bad?). But in Jun’s Dream World, it isn’t all hopeless as there’s a small green plant that just wouldn’t grow. Though Suisei Seki uses her Amethyst Dream (looks like a water can alright) to help it grow but it still wasn’t enough. As they’re heading back to reality, Jun manages to save Suisei Seki from falling and when they’re back in the real world, Suisei Seki has a more favourable view of Jun, though she still teases and mocks him at times. Hmm… I find it funny to see the Rozen Maidens sleeping in their luggage box. Is it comfortable? Yeah, and it seems that luggage can fly too. Really.
 
Episode 5 is my favourite episode because it’s really a funny one. We find out that Shinku loves to watch that Detective Kun Kun show, a puppet detective dog show. And she’s really into it with all those analyzing and stuffs so much so she thinks it’s real. Besides that, Suisei Seki steals some strawberry cake from Hina Ichigo and the latter accuses her of doing so but the former denies. Because of that, Hina Ichigo locks herself in Jun’s room. Nori wants them all to get along by the time she gets back or else. So we see Jun and Hina Ichigo teaming up to try and make Suisei Seki confess and apologize to Hina Ichigo and some hilarious battle ensue at the stairways. Jun and Hina Ichigo manage to make Suisei Seki confess but Suisei Seki isn’t giving up yet. We see Suisei Seki trying to tempt Hina Ichigo as she ‘hijacks’ the fridge teasingly slowly eats all her favourite snacks. Hina Ichigo hang in there. Yeah, all in chibi form too.
 
Initially Shinku didn’t want to get involve but Jun uses and impersonates the voice of Detective Kun Kun doll which he has, to say how Shinku’s bad to do such a thing. Then Shinku like an innocent and naive doll quickly says that it’s all Suisei Seki’s fault, pointing her finger towards a surprised Suisei Seki. Hehehe. Pandemonium ensues and the whole stairways is bloody messy with things being thrown from both sides. When Nori comes home, she blows her top when she finds out the place is in a total mess. We don’t really get to see Nori’s true demon side but it manage to make Suisei Seki say "Now I have renewed respect for this human". But in the end, everyone calms down and Nori cooks them their favourite flower-topped hamburger meal.
 
More of those Detective Kun Kun shows in episode 6. Because Shinku and Suisei Seki watched the horror special, they got scared by it and Shinku decides to ‘follow’ Jun while Suisei Seki with Hina Ichigo. In Jun’s room, Jun noticed how Shinku looks more human than a doll and Shinku trying to get through Jun’s heart by they both ended up quarrelling. Soon they heard Suisei Seki’s screams from the storeroom and rushed there. To their horror, they find Suisei Seki unconscious and Suigin Tou’s taking Hina Ichigo as hostage. Suigin Tou wants to challenge Shinku to the Alice Game and disappears back through the mirror. With no choice, Shinku along with Jun and several other dolls (including that clown one) head into the mirror to face Suigin Tou.
 
It seems Suigin Tou’s N-Field is quite dark, gloomy, cold and desolated with lots of broken dolls. By the way, Shinku seems to like pissing off Suigin Tou by calling her a junk. And Suigin Tou always rebuffs with anger that she’s not one. During the battle, Suigin Tou manages to have Shinku in her grasp and is going in for the killing blow when Jun remembers the time he spent with the dolls which activates some protective barrier around Shinku through his ring. Suigin Tou is shocked at this and wonders why such a medium posses superb powers and retreats. The rest of them then head back to Jun’s storeroom. There, Jun uses his sewing skills and repaired that damaged clown doll who was ripped during the fight. His skills impresses Shinku and everyone else as the clown doll comes back to life. After complementing Jun and as they’re leaving Shinku suddenly falls over like as though she has no more life.
 
The gang try various method to wake Shinku up in episode 7 but to no avail. She doesn’t even respond to her beloved Detective Kun Kun. Or even when her medium’s in danger (yeah, Suisei Seki trying to purposely drop some painful things on Jun). Suisei Seki explains something about some eternal dream, a fate worse than death as she has to relive painful memories again and again from the time of their creation. By the way, I want to mention that there’s this guy, Yamamoto, who’s supposed to be Nori’s classmate, always wanting to try and confess to her. Unfortunately, his plans are always being thwarted by an unsuspecting Rozen Maiden like the luggage box hitting his head. In the end, Nori never really knew of his intentions and Yamamoto has to back out because he doesn’t know what’s going on. Poor guy.
 
Soon Hina Ichigo too becomes lifeless because her powers are drawn from Shinku. This prompts Jun to slightly overcome his hikikomori as he sneaks out of the house and to his school library to find some clues. Tomoe spots him but instead of saying "Hah! I thought you’re a hikikomori and look what you’re doing out of your shell!", she decides to help him in his situation. It must be tough trying to translate each and every sentences in German using a Japanese dictionary but they manage to pull through. It seems the answer is to summon some artificial spirit. Yeah, that little light that seems to be flying around her. And Shinku’s one is called Hollie (likewise, Suisei Seki’s Amethyst Dream). With that, Hollie enters the wind hole from Shinku’s back and extracts a black feather, supposedly left from Suigin Tou (but I’m still wondering how it got there). Shinku soon comes to life but instead of thanking Jun, she slaps him and says that he took too long. Perhaps that’s her way of saying thank you. Hina Ichigo soon follow suit. At least the whole gangs back.
 
In episodes 8-9, we learn that Suisei Seki’s twin sister, Sousei Seki is some sort of a ‘replacement child’ for their master-cum-medium, an old watchmaker who lost his son Kazuki in an accident and his wife’s in a coma. It seems Suisei Seki doesn’t like how Sousei Seki’s an obedient ‘dog’ trying to satisfy her masters wishes and in the first place why Suisei Seki leaves the house and her master for Jun’s. Probably she loves mocking Jun. This old guy’s pretty scary when he’s senile. So Sousei Seki spends most of her time trying to find Kazuki in the Dream World, which is nothing but pure white. A lot of drama here and there.
 
Of course Suigin Tou has to come stir some trouble by showing Suisei Seki how her twin’s sleeping on the floor instead of her luggage. I guess it’s detrimental to a Rozen Maiden’s health if she doesn’t sleep in one. This made Suisei Seki unable to stand the sight and tries to take Sousei Seki away forcefully. They engaged in battle but Suisei Seki ran away in tears after coming to a conclusion that her twin loves her master more than her sis. So odd to see Suisei Seki like this. Then Suigin Tou tells the old man a way to forever be with his Kazuki, and that is to trap her in his Dream World.
 
As Sousei Seki falls into the trap, Suisei Seki’s relieved to find that Shinku and her servants (you know who) decide to help her out. Inside the Dream World, they encounter Suigin Tou. Soon the door to the Dream World will close and will lock them all inside. While Shinku and Hina Ichigo battles Suigin Tou, Jun and the twins are trying to find some big tree which connects to all dreams, to the old man’s wife’s Dream World. They manage to do so and find out that the reason why the old man’s wife wants to stay in this world is because Kazuki’s here as well. They want to stay here forever without having to experience the pain and sorrow of reality. Jun then knock some sense into them about accompanying that lonely old husband of hers. She soon realizes it and agrees.
 
As the trio rushes back to reality, they find Suigin Tou launching an attack against them. It seems Suigin Tou who has gotten Sousei Seki’s artificial spirit, Renpika (some giant scissors) earlier on, now wants Suisei Seki’s Amethyst Dream. Jun is shielding the dolls from Suigin Tou’s relentless attack which made Suisei Seki no choice but to give hers up to save him. Meanwhile, Shinku and Hina Ichigo manage to find Kazuki and the latter sets them free and asks them to tell his parents not to worry. When the 2 are back in the real world, Suigin Tou has already fled. But good thing is the old man’s wife has come out of her coma and the old man himself has overcome his denial of Kazuki’s death and admits Sousei Seki isn’t his son.
 
In episode 10, Suigin Tou enters Shinku’s dream to challenge her to the Alice Game which the latter agrees. Besides that, Nori requests the dolls to help her practice with her Snow White play. It seems Suisei Seki’s quite fitting of playing the evil witch while the dwarves are Sousei Seki and Hina Ichigo, Shinku as the Snow White princess while Jun as the prince. Also, Jun gets embarrassed to see the dolls in their undergarments when their outfits are being washed and happened to notice that joints as it reminds Jun that they have forgotten that they’re dolls and not humans. Besides some moments between Shinku and Nori, more insights of the Rozen Maiden and Alice Game are explained from Shinku. Though Sousei Seki notices that Shinku may be hiding something because she’s acting weird, that night when everyone’s asleep, Shinku prepares herself to go face Suigin Tou gives Jun a kiss before leaving via the mirror in the storeroom.
 
The battle finally begins in episode 11 but Shinku realizes that it’s a trap from Suigin Tou. In order to ensure Shinku has little powers during the battle, she uses a doll to stall her while she herself goes to Jun’s room and enters his Dream World. After which, Suigin Tou returns to her N-Field and starts a black feather-rose petal battle with Shinku. It seems Jun now is facing up to his fearful past in his dream. It seems that Jun was once a smart kid but failed an important exam one day resulting him being ridiculed by everyone, the reason why he shut himself out. Also, Jun was devastated and angry when Nori called their parents and told them how she couldn’t tolerate Jun anymore, another reason why he has been quite cold to his sister. Jun can’t take it anymore, he’s losing his self confidence and breaking down. With that, Shinku loses her concentration and could only hope that Jun won’t be fooled by his dreams. But Suigin Tou has Shinku in her grasp now and demands her to give up her Rosa Mystica.
 
The other dolls noticed that Jun’s Dream World has been opened but can’t do anything because their artificial spirits are taken away by Suigin Tou. They decide to seek Nori’s help in which she agrees. So how do they enter the Dream World? Suisei Seki knocks Nori out cold! That doll is really wicked. In the N-Field, Hina Ichigo manages to distract Suigin Tou to free Shinku and allow her to escape to Jun’s Dream World but Suigin Tou gave chase. Meanwhile the twins and Nori are at Jun’s Dream World and notices his tree is dying. The twins cover Nori from Suigin Tou’s attack to allow Nori to try and talk to him to bring him to his senses. After a lot of emotional talk of realization, they reconciled. Jun then saw the battle of the other dolls with Suigin Tou. To his horror, Suigin Tou rips off Shinku’s right arm. Jun with his regained confidence, steps in to protect Shinku and faces off with Suigin Tou.
 
The final episode 12 sees Jun and the dolls teaming up against Suigin Tou. During the battle, the twins manage to get their artificial spirits back. While the dolls hold Suigin Tou off, Jun whisks Shinku away. Now the roles are opposite. It seems Shinku’s lost her self confidence and seems shaky because she fears she can’t be Alice now. After some words of reassurance like how he’ll always protect her, Shinku felt a little better as Jun left to find Shinku’s torn arm. He spots it across a river. Because Suigin Tou has easily defeated the other dolls, she spots what Jun’s doing and is playing psychology with him about his fears. But because of Jun’s strong desire to protect Shinku and his gratitude towards her that allowed him to free himself from his traumatic experience, Jun’s sudden power destroys Suigin Tou’s barrier, shocking her. With more words of encouragement from Shinku, he crosses the river and retrieves her arm.
 
Then like out of convenience, some magical force appears to sew Shinku’s arm perfectly like it was never been ripped before. So it’s Shinku vs Suigin Tou round 2. Suigin Tou’s deeply swallowed by her hatred for Shinku so much so that she decides to burn her using some blue flame. But Jun’s will to protect is much stronger and in the end, Suigin Tou got burned by her own flames. Her secret is now revealed as Suigin Tou cries in despair. It seems she was the first doll created by Rozen but was left unfinished, like a junk. But her love for Father was genuine and still wants to meet him. And somehow she manage to move without a medium probably it was her determination to prove that she’s a complete doll. So sad to see Suigin Tou like this. But it seems Shinku didn’t take away her Rosa Mystica.
 
Meanwhile, Nori notices how Jun’s tree is growing albeit still small. His Dream World now isn’t dark and gloomy but bright and colourful. Though the twins want to tend to it but Nori requests them not to and wants Jun to do it with his own power. While Jun and Shinku shares a tender moment, Shinku then said a few last words before wishing him goodbye. Jun wakes up to find that the ring on his finger is gone. Looks like Jun’s cured of his hikikomori as he and Nori takes a step outside the house. He’s not afraid anymore. But looks like he has one fear left. Yeah, when he comes back, to his surprise he saw all the dolls there. Why? It seems that Jun used up too much power causing the dolls to temporarily disappear and because Jun has grown up, the powers return (and that ring too) along with the dolls. Jun’s glad that Shinku’s back and we see Jun’s school uniform hanging outside his closet. Looks like he’s ready to go to school.
 
But it’s not over yet. There’s a second season of another 12 episodes called Rozen Maiden Traumend which continues where the 1st season ends. I felt that the 1st season’s more on Jun as he overcome his fears and his interaction with the dolls. Whereas in the 2nd season, the Alice Game truly begins and it focuses more on the dolls. To save time, I’ll blog the 2nd season as well.
 
So the first episode shows the usual noisy dolls at Jun’s house. Uh-huh. Suisei Seki and Sousei Seki comes crashing in through Jun’s window and wants to see Hina Ichigo because she drew some doodles all over their artificial spirits. More hilarious antics between Suisei Seki and Hina Ichigo. Also, Jun’s back in school doing lots of catching up work. Luckily Tomoe’s there to assist him. Sorry, no chemistry between those 2. Meanwhile Shinku’s feeling depressed over the loss of Suigin’s Tou and has a little chat with Jun. In this season I felt, Shinku is less ‘aggressive’ and is more indecisive and shaky because of that last incident. Then Shinku spots Mei Mei, Suigin Tou’s artificial spirit and decides to follow it with Jun tagging along despite his objections. Mei Mei leads them to Suigin Tou’s N-Field. There they met a rabbit in a tuxedo, Laplace Demon. I think this guy’s a baddie from the look of things. Shinku tells Jun to ignore him after some talk. Eventually the duo ends up in a place filled with crystals and are suddenly attacked. Shinku asks her attacker to show herself, which she did. She introduces herself as Bara Suishou, the 7th Rozen Maiden doll, a doll with an eyepatch. Shinku seems surprised because this is the first time she has seen the 7th doll.
 
So episode 2 starts off with Shinku and Bara Suishou in a heated battle. Bara Suishou knows Shinku is mentally incapable of fighting because of that Suigin Tou incident. Looks like Bara Suishou’s gonna be the main villain this season after Suigin Tou’s demise. But before Bara Suishou can land the killing blow, Laplace uses some barrier to save those 2. This rabbit guy talks in riddles because I don’t understand what he’s saying most of the time. Back at home, a lot of talking between Shinku and Jun with the former explaining that with Bara Suishou’s appearance, the real Alice Game has begun. Because of that Shinku tells Jun not to tell the others about Bara Suishou because she doesn’t want them worried. But sharp Sousei Seki notices that Shinku isn’t acting like herself. Also, Tomoe takes Jun to a doll shop called Enju Doll and they meet a storekeeper, Shirosaki, who tells Jun not to be shy about liking dolls and that the doll maker Enju is currently busy making a new doll at the moment and invites them to come whenever they want. This episode though has some comical moments, but lots of spacing out and pondering as well.
 
If you’ve counted only 6 Rozen Maiden dolls so far, then you’re right. Thus in episode 3, the final Rozen Maiden doll is introduced, Kanaria. At first I thought she’s gonna be a real threat as she claims herself to be the smartest one among the dolls. But when she idiotically slips off the roof (not once but twice!), I knew that she’s gonna be another goofy one. How true. Here we see Kanaria trying to penetrate into Jun’s house to get the other doll’s Rosa Mystica but because of her goofiness and ‘dumbness’, she fails. Even when Kanaria manages to enter and tries to do some investigation of her own, she has a hard time trying not to let the other dolls aware of her presence. Yeah, Shinku thinks there’s an intruder and becomes Detective Kun Kun to solve the mystery. A lot of near misses in this light hearted episode. The dolls finally meet when Kanaria made a mess in the kitchen with Shinku using her powers to restore the place. Meanwhile, Jun’s at Enju Doll watching Enju creating ‘life’ when his ring starts to get warm as he rushes back. Yeah, great. Just what he needs. Another doll. With that, Bara Suishou notes to herself the Alice Game will begin from here.
 
More of those Jun-Shinku moments in episode 4. Also the twins talk about the inevitable in the Alice Game and it seems Suisei Seki isn’t interested about becoming Alice but to be with her sis forever. Sousei Seki doesn’t thinks so as she still wants to meet Father. So this causes a little riff in their relationship. Plus, Suisei Seki doesn’t want that old man as her medium so when Sousei Seki suggests Jun. Reluctant at first, Suisei Seki tries to approach Jun but is unable to do so. As Kanaria again tries to invade Jun’s house, she spots Bara Suishou’s head popping out from the puddle. And when Kanaria frantically tries to tell the rest about this, Suisei Seki decides to test it by dropping Kanaria in it! That girl never change. With Kanaria completely vanishing they conclude it may be an N-Field as they enter it. They reach at some auditorium where Laplace announces whereby all the dolls have gathered. He proceeds to show them some puppet play whereby Shinku defeats the other dolls including Suigin Tou. This scene is disturbing Shinku very much as she pleads for him to stop. Before you know it, Bara Suishou destroys that puppet play and asks if they should start the Alice Game.
 
Bara Suishou seems to be quite powerful herself as Shinku’s paralysed, sitting there and spacing out as the battle rages on. Jun notices sad Suisei Seki is and asks her to make a contract with him. She agrees. With that, now Jun has become her medium and her Amethyst Dream is more powerful as she counters Bara Suishou. In the meantime, the rest used this opportunity to escape N-Field. In the end, though Suisei Seki’s sad that she has to live with Jun now, but Sousei Seki assures her that she’ll come by tomorrow. Funny part at the end as we see Kanaria with her butt stuck halfway from the puddle as she curses the other dolls and promise she’ll get her revenge. Doesn’t anybody notice her. Perhaps they just don’t bother with her.
 
But this doesn’t deter Kanaria as she tries her umpteenth time to penetrate the house in episode 5. Yeah, and that Yamamoto guy too is trying… and failing. This episode is quite light hearted in the sense that Suisei Seki and Hina Ichigo tries to impress Jun but aren’t doing too well. So they decide to write him a letter but that scheming Suisei Seki tricks her that she must post it in a mail box and further describes the mail box as something scary. And of course a naive Hina Ichigo believes her but still do it because she herself likes Jun. Plus, Suisei Seki saw what Hina Ichigo wrote (a thank you note) and decides to copy it and send her own letter to Jun first. You can really see those scheming star sparkling in those eyes. Hina Ichigo has to traverse various obstacles in the city on a stray cat and manages to do so. Also Tomoe spots her and comments on how happy she is to see Hina Ichigo has changed. Back at Jun’s house, Kanaria manage to enter through the toilet window and while coming out, bumps into Suisei Seki. Kanaria pulls out her gun and is gonna shoot her. Is this for real? Well nope. It’s just a water gun. Yeah, it wets Suisei Seki’s letter. Too bad. Divine punishment. And there’s more punishment for them both. Because they’re standing at the toilet door, Jun opens it and smashes them both against the wall. At the end, we get to see Kanaria’s medium, Mi-chan, who’s some doll cosplayer freak obsessed maniac. Kanaria’s reporting to her on the other dolls but since she saw Kanaria so kawaii, she proceeds to give her that cheek rubbing hug (yeow! Must be burning hot at that speed). Later Jun receives Hina Ichigo’s letter, he can’t read it because her handwriting’s ‘cakar ayam’.
 
Suigin Tou returns in episode 6. I guess the series isn’t the same and won’t be ‘complete’ without her. Before that, we see a terminally ill girl, Megu, lying in hospital. I’ve never knew a person who’s so enthusiastic to die. I mean, yeah, she fells like she’s a burden but she’s too weak to do it herself. But anyway, one night while walking into a nearby church, she saw a light coming out from a box and thought it was the angel of death here to take her away. Actually it’s Suigin Tou. Before you know it, she kisses her ring and Megu becomes her medium. Yay! Suigin Tou’s back. Since Shinku didn’t take her Rosa Mystica at the end of last season, I suppose the producer’s waiting for this chance to revive her. So some moments between the 2 as Megu finds out about the Alice Game and wonders if she’d use up all her powers for it. Megu’ll be glad if she does because it will end her life. The sooner the better. Megu even thinks of herself as imperfect and a junk and wants to be like Suigin Tou who seems perfect to her.
 
While flying through the night sky, Suigin Tou encounters Bara Suishou and the 2 battle. But Suigin Tou questions her existence after Bara Suishou brought back some memories from the previous season. As Bara Suishou says, perhaps Father has fixed her for the Alice Game. Real sadist. Suigin Tou decides to visit Shinku in her dream. But to Suigin Tou’s surprise, it seems that Shinku is more kinder and gentler and apologizes for calling her a junk. Yeah, they’re all sisters in a way. But Suigin Tou still isn’t too convinced and heads back to Megu’s side. Later we see Bara Suishou at Enju Doll and having some conversation with Shirosaki as she says everything is going as planned. Something fishy must be up with these 2.
 
Episode 7 is another light hearted one. Kanaria is really serious this time in facing off with the other dolls but is suspicious that they invited her over for tea and cookies. I like the funny part where Kanaria’s thinking the cookies may be poisoned so that they could knock her out and take her Rosa Mystica and before she knows it, Suisei Seki stuffs it all down her throat! Hahaha. Eventually Kanaria decides to leave because they’re all just pissing her off. But back at her home, Kanaria asks how would Mi-chan feel if she no longer moves. Mi-chan says she’ll be sad and all that, which prompts Kanaria to be even serious this time. The next day while Shinku and Sousei Seki are chatting, Kanaria arrives and attacks them with her artificial spirit, Pizzicato (a violin). Kanaria’s going for it this time as she’s causing havoc and damage. Sousei Seki decides to attack but before she could do it, Shinku calmly walks toward Kanaria and slaps her! She orders Kanaria to clean up the mess she made. Yeah, that scaredy cat Kanaria just did that. I wonder why she’s scared of her in the first place. Maybe it’s because of her ‘bossy’ appearance.
 
They find out why Kanaria’s attacking them is because it’s for Mi-chan’s sake as she wanted to play with the other dolls. Soon they all decide to pay Mi-chan a visit. And that Mi-chan got very excited to see all the Rozen Maidens and proceed to put on some cosplaying outfits on them. Looks like they’re having fun. Later Sousei Seki asks why Shinku didn’t fight back seriously and the latter replies that she doesn’t want to lose anymore than it is now. Sousei Seki feel a little upset and wonders if Shinku is abandoning the Alice Game.
 
It seems Kanaria has joined that gang in episode 8. What do you expect when high pitch squealing dolls like Kanaria, Hina Ichigo and Suisei Seki argue. Yeah, they can bring the house down. Besides that, we see Sousei Seki seriously thinking about fighting everyone in the Alice Game. Of course Suisei Seki doesn’t approve of it and Shinku has that ‘if that’s what you wish…’ attitude and doesn’t really stop her. The reason why Sousei Seki wants to do this is because she had a dream and saw father in pain. And the only way to take away his pain is to become Alice, which Sousei Seki intends fulfil Father’s wish. Also, more of Suigin Tou-Megu moments as we find out Megu’s been weak/junk while she’s young prompting Suigin Tou to remember her own case. At the same time, Jun decides to visit Enju and watch his doll making process. I didn’t get this part when Enju comes up to Jun, grabs and touches his cheek, before agreeing that he could stay and watch. What the? So Jun gets to know more about doll making and its existence. And to his surprise, Jun finds out dolls that are flawed are smashed by Enju with a hammer. Something about equal feelings and such.
 
While Jun, Nori and the other dolls have some ‘flowing noodles’ experience for lunch in episode 9, we see Sousei Seki encountering Bara Suishou and Suigin Tou in the Dream World. Sousei Seki explains that she’s neither joining forces with them nor Shinku’s as she’s doing this on her own. That night when Shinku has a dream about Suigin Tou again, she wakes up to find the world in a duo-chrome colour setting. The other dolls too notice this and thinks that they’re in Suigin Tou’s N-Field. To cut things short, a battle ensues. Shinku and Hina Ichigo take on Bara Suishou while Suisei Seki faces Suigin Tou. But as Suisei Seki’s staring at the face of defeat, Sousei Seki saves her in time and says not to interrupt her fight with Suigin Tou. Though Suisei Seki wants her sis to stop fighting, that stubborn twin of hers intends to go on. No amount of words could reach her heart. She’s already decided. But in the end, Sousei Seki lost to Suigin Tou. She acknowledges it as her Rosa Mystica soon appears as her body floats in mid-air.
 
Suigin Tou grows excited at the sight of Sousei Seki’s Rosa Mystica in episode 10 and outpaces Suisei Seki to retrieve it. This made Shinku mad but Suigin Tou seems to look forward to fighting and even turns on Bara Suishou. But Laplace appears and offers Shinku and co an escape portal in which they had no choice but to do so. So lots of emotional talk and drama from the dolls as their feelings began to waver about the inevitable. Sousei Seki’s just lying there motionless in her luggage. Meanwhile Suigin Tou heals Megu a little with her new Rosa Mystica, which made Megu feel a little warm and smiles. I guess Suigin Tou’s a little happy too. But soon Hina Ichigo too fell unconscious because she originally lost to Shinku back in the first season. A sign which means the Alice Game is now in play. Before Hina Ichigo goes, she spent her last moments with Tomoe and felt happy. Then her Rosa Mystica is absorbed by Shinku, confident that Hina Ichigo would return one day. Sad. Two dolls down. Then, Shinku along with Suisei Seki and Kanaria are transported inside Enju Doll shop and to their surprise to see Jun there. But what’s even more surprising is that Shirosaki is actually Laplace as his human face morphs into a rabbit’s one. I actually had a hunch Shirosaki would be that rabbit because of the voice but now it’s confirmed. Bara Suishou then appears and addresses her Father, which is Enju. Surprise surprise. Is he Rozen?
 
Well he seems to look like Father as the dolls think it’s him in episode 11. But Jun is suspicious as he thought Father would only want to meet Alice. Soon Enju, Laplace and Bara Suishou left and tell them to meet at the N-Field tomorrow for their battle. Later that night, Shinku and Suisei Seki told Kanaria not to get in their way because it’s serious stuff, but this made her feel offended. So the next day, eventually Kanaria decides to come along as the trio are transported to a rose garden N-Field. The battle starts with Shinku vs Bara Suishou while Suigin Tou vs Suisei Seki again. Kanaria feeling left out decides to help out Suisei Seki. Meanwhile Jun too has arrived in the N-Field as he rushes up to the mansion where Enju’s just sitting and watching the dolls battling each other. Jun tries to tell Enju to stop all this but Enju’s turning a deaf ear while Laplace stops him. While Shinku helps Suisei Seki, this left Bara Suishou to target Kanaria. Soon Suisei Seki decides to help a ‘useless’ Kanaria but their teamwork is angering Bara Suishou. As a result of Suisei Seki’s covering for Kanaria, the former got frozen in Bara Suishou’s attack and her Rosa Mystica appears. Kanaria grabs it before Bara Suishou could and vows to protect it with all her will. Kanaria unleashes her violin attack which rips Bara Suishou’s arms but the latter materializes a crystal sword and stabs Kanaria. Thus, Bara Suishou obtains both Suisei Seki and Kanaria’s Rosa Mystica. Shinku saw all this and became furious as she unleashes her petal roses in fury towards her remaining foes.
 
So the final episode 12 sees Shinku in her rage grabs Suigin Tou by her neck and lunges her down to the ground as she shows the aftermath of Suisei Seki and Kanaria. But Suigin Tou doesn’t give a damn about it and they both continue their fight inside the mansion. But Bara Suishou betrays Suigin Tou and stabs her with several crystals from the back. This allows Shinku to take Rosa Mysticas from Suigin Tou and has vision of her memories but Sousei Seki’s one drifted towards Bara Suishou. With that the last 2 Rozen Maidens began duelling and it seems they posses powers from the Rosa Mystica that they had obtained.
 
Soon Shinku overwhelms Bara Suishou and blames her for everything and is going to terminate her to end all this when Enju shows up with Jun. Jun yells at Shinku to step saying that if she does this, she’ll be no worse than Bara Suishou. In Shinku’s hesitation, Bara Suishou uses this opportunity to stab Shinku with her head accessory. I can’t believe Shinku lost! Her Rosa Mystica and those that Shinku had defeated, is absorbed by Bara Suishou. Bara Suishou has all the Rosa Mysticas now and is the winner. Enju then says how happy he is that his doll won. Jun is shocked to hear that Enju had created a doll more powerful from Rozen. Looks like this guy’s an apprentice of Rozen who wants to eclipse his master’s art. Yeah, he even slapped Jun and says he’s just a kid who became Shinku’s medium by accident. But then Bara Suishou soon feels hot and starts to crack and crumble. Enju’s wondering what’s wrong (so am I). In the end, both of them vanished. Then Laplace mentions something about deceit and all those stuff and looks like he knew it all along but just played along. Uh-huh. My guess is that since Bara Suishou isn’t an actual Rozen Maiden doll, she’s an impostor so thus nullifying the Alice Game. But I wonder why the Alice Game was proceeded in the first place.
 
With that, Laplace disappears into a portal and tells Jun to escape before the entire place crumbles. A frustrated Jun yells at Father to fix everything and soon he hears footsteps outside the door and a figure which look like Father. Then it’s like a dream as we see through Shinku’s point of view as Father fixes her up and the other dolls. When Shinku awakens, she finds Jun by her side and tells him that she had met Father. He tells Shinku to become Alice and that the Alice Game isn’t the only way of becoming Alice. Now he says. All the other Rozen Maiden’s Rosa Mystica returned to their respective dolls except Hina Ichigo and Sousei Seki because those 2 were legitimately defeated by a Rozen Maiden and not an imposter. So this little issue has been entrusted by Father to Shinku to get those 2 Rosa Mystica’s back. Finally we see Laplace with 2 Rosa Mystica (supposedly Sousei Seki and Hina Ichigo’s) in the N-Field along with… Bara Suishou?! I thought she crumbled? Jun with Shinku in his arm then walks through the portal and leaves the N-Field.
 
What the? That’s it?! Oh man, it’s quite an unsatisfying end in terms of how the way things ended. It made me feel that there’s gonna be a third season and with that twist in the Alice Game at the end, I guess most probably that’s what the new season is gonna be, trying to get Hina Ichigo and Sousei Seki back. And I thought at least that 2 episode OVA special would help answer some of that. Unfortunately it didn’t.
 
That OVA, Rozen Maiden Ouverture, is actually an insight of Suigin Tou’s past and how she came to hate Shinku. Taking place somewhere in the middle of the second season, it all started when Shinku orders Jun to repair her pink rose which fell out from her bow. Jun makes his trip to Enju Doll and bought some red threat and a brooch. Back home, Shinku becomes disturb upon seeing the brooch and gives whatever excuse to say that she doesn’t need it. This causes Jun to be angry as he walks out of the room. Sousei Seki notices this and decides to explain to Jun in the storeroom.
 
A flashback as we see Suigin Tou coming to life but was abandoned by Father. Her desperate cries for Father has been ignored as he goes away with the other dolls. Suigin Tou here seems and sounds very low self-esteemed, indecisive, emotional and vulnerable as she crawls and make her way to some dress sown by Father on a chair. And it seems that the scene is during those Victorian times with Shinku having a little girl named Sarah as her medium. Back then, Shinku and Sousei Seki weren’t on friendly terms as they’re seen fighting in the streets of London. Back at Sarah’s place, Shinku’s explaining the purpose of the Alice Game and such when Suigin Tou suddenly appears out from the mirror. She’s desperately asking for Father. Shinku is shocked at first and had to push her away because she’s very clingy and shaky. Shinku is even in further disbelief when Suigin Tou introduces herself as the first Rozen Maiden doll. Uh-huh. This is the first time Shinku has met her as Suigin Tou’s weeping uncontrollably on the floor.
 
It’s quite odd to see those 2 dolls like best pals as Shinku teaches Suigin Tou how to walk, giving her words of encouragement and such. Yeah, you could say a friendship is created there. So how did it all go wrong? Hey, back then, there’s even a Shirosaki and Enju look-a-like coming to Sarah’s house and asking if she has those exquisite dolls because they want to buy them. Of course Sarah denies it all and even when Shirosaki notices the ring on her finger or even asking permission to take a peek in her room. Later, Shinku has to leave for her battle with Sousei Seki and asks Sarah to take care of Suigin Tou while she’s gone. But during the battle, Suigin Tou appeared looking for Shinku. Sousei Seki asks for her name and it seems Suigin Tou’s quite enthusiastic about telling about herself. Once Sousei Seki knew that there’s another Rozen Maiden doll, she attacks Suigin Tou with Renpika, causing Suigin Tou to be torn into 2 parts, surprising Sousei Seki. Though Shinku felt sorry she didn’t help Suigin Tou’s cries for help to save her because she thought she’d be much happier with Sarah but she’s pretty dead by now as Suigin Tou gets drag into some portal.
 
Then donno why as Suigin Tou’s lamenting her fate, Father appears and gives her a Rosa Mystica. Maybe he has acknowledge her finally? Meanwhile Suisei Seki decides to undo her contract with her medium so as not to endanger his health but Sousei Seki’s reluctant because she’s still locked in a battle with Shinku. But after hearing this, Shinku decides to undo hers with Sarah. Once done, Shinku exited through the mirror but finds herself in some unknown N-Field. There, Shinku’s surprised to see Suigin Tou intact and her Rosa Mystica. Shinku, in a gentle voice, still doesn’t believe that she’s a Rozen Maiden because she thinks Suigin Tou’s incomplete and that perfect crap thing. Wrong move girl. That’s all it takes. This caused Suigin Tou to snapped inside as she now thinks Shinku has been looking down on her all the while. Because of that, in her rage, Suigin Tou suddenly grew black wings from her back and started to attack Shinku, taking her by surprise. Fuelled by hatred, Suigin Tou grabs Shinku’s brooch and breaks it. Shinku’s horrified because that brooch was given to her by Father. With that, Shinku too becomes engulfed in rage as the 2 started fighting. I guess that’s how this junk name calling thing started.
 
Before they can finish, the clock strikes midnight and Laplace appears and says that the Alice Game for this era is over because the twins had gone back to sleep. Can he do that? I mean if it’s like that, then those dolls should’ve done the same thing too in the previous season. Maybe they love Jun too much and wanted to be together. Shinku and Suigin Tou then are sucked into a portal with Shinku clutching her broken brooch. Back in present time, Jun finally understands as he sews back the rose petal on Shinku’s bow with Shinku looking sad. And we see Suigin Tou on top of her the church roof with Mei Mei.
 
Overall, even with the unresolved issues at the end of the 2nd season, I still find this anime quite enjoyable to watch. In fact, I can consider this series to be one of my all time favourites. Of course, because of the unsatisfying end, I did some reading-cum-investigation of my own. To my surprise, I found out that it isn’t actually Bara Suishou with Laplace at the end of the 2nd season. She’s actually Kirakishou, the actual 7th Rozen Maiden doll who can only exist in the N-Field! The 2 sure look alike. See, that’s what happens when you don’t read the manga. So to say, Enju modelled Bara Suishou quite closely to Rozen’s Kirakishou. Why? Dunno.
 
Also, there are several differences between the anime and manga. For instance, characters like Bara Suishou, Shirosaki, Enju and Yamamoto doesn’t exist in the manga. In addition, Jun’s hikikomori in the manga is due to some humiliation when everybody in school finds out he likes to design girl clothing rather than scoring poor marks in a test. There are much more differences but I’ll just leave it here. Thus, if they ever make the next season (they’d better! Or else I’ll have to relive this unsatisfying ‘nightmare’ over and over again), I’m sure there’ll be some differences and surprises.
 
I like the voice acting of several dolls, especially Suigin Tou (Rie Tanaka), Suisei Seki (Natsuko Kuwatani) and Shinku (Miyuki Sawashiro). They sound quite unique and fits nicely and perfectly with the characters they play. The character development is also quite well done as you could see the characters grow over time. Probably because of the drawing and art of the dolls, maybe that’s why the animation looks good. Uh-huh. Good character designs too. I like it when the characters go into chibi mode. They’re quite funny themselves and they look cute.
 
Another thing I like about this series is the amazing background music and soundtrack. Yup, it boasts several nice tunes each fitting the theme and mood of the scene perfectly. From fast paced and exciting battle themes (eg- Battle Of Rose and Shukuteki are my favourites) to more solemn and slow pieces (eg- Atatakana Kokoro and Hyoukai), and even funky and ‘cute’ ones (eg- Komatta Shumi and Funny Dolls), or just plain eerie (eg- Kurayami Yori Kitaru Mono Kita and Nightmare). There’re quite a variety of them here using various sorts of instruments from violin strings to electric guitar, flutes to assortment of bells, piano solos and even the harpsichord to give that Victorian era feel.
 
And that’s just the original soundtrack. There are other albums ranging from the opening and ending singles, drama CD and even character image albums for the Rozen Maiden dolls. Speaking of opening and ending themes, I find that all the series openings, which is sung by Ali Project, to sound a little hyped up and ‘naughty/playful’. No, not as in the words or lyrics, but rather the tune of the song. Maybe it’s the way they sing it. Likewise, all the ending themes are sung by Kukui, though I don’t quite enjoy them as much even though they don’t sound that hyped up.
 
If you can’t get enough of Rozen Maidens, there’re several games of it released since 2006. But I’m guessing it’s gonna be a fighting game. Hey, it can’t be like those Barbie game for little girls whereby you choose what clothes to wear for your Barbie Doll, right? Another thing is, the titles of the episodes are in German as well as Japanese kanji. So without the help of the fansubs, I wouldn’t have known what they really mean. Okay, I could’ve guessed them since some German and English words are almost similar in spelling with some variations here and there.
 
So if you catch me playing with a Rozen Maiden doll (if I ever own one), don’t go saying "Hey, aren’t you way pass your age to be playing those?" because there’s a kid in all of us. Umm… Maybe that’s got nothing to do with it. Besides, I’m still thinking of which doll I prefer to become a medium with. Suigin Tou… Yeah, maybe but then… Perhaps it’s better not to make a contract with anyone of them. Hmm… Maybe there’s an 8th Rozen Maiden doll out there unknown to everyone. Now, swear to me on this rose ring.

One Response to “Rozen Maiden”

  1. Nicolette Says:

    Whaaa,, i didn’t find a rozen maiden doll,, (Tha real dolls)


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