Shinku has always been my favorite doll – hands down. Since I started watching the original Rozen Maiden (way back when), I’ve always had a sweet spot for her. I know newer audiences probably don’t have a good gauge on her personality yet, but I adore her strong will and her insistence on being “a lady”. So far we’ve only seen her slap Jun around a few times, but she’s actually much more than that and I think we’ll get to see a lot more of her (and hopefully the other dolls too) now. Shinku appears to be pretty cold most of the time (especially towards Jun), but underneath all that, she has a huge heart and that’s why a lot of her sisters adore her as well (Hinaichigo for one and Suiseiseki for another). Not going to lie – there aren’t that many anime characters out there (especially girls) that I have a crush on, but Shinku is definitely one of them. I love her grand entrance at the end and it’s a shame that there weren’t any full-lengths where I could capture that beauty.
It was a genuinely nice surprise to see that flashback to Jun’s past this episode. I’m certain that this is new material because I don’t remember why Jun became a shut-in in the original anime, but it wasn’t because he was teased for designing dresses. I thought that was a nice touch because Jun is someone that was raised by his sister and that heavily influences you as a child growing up. It’s an amazing artistic skill to have when you’re young and able to stitch and draw. What’s sad is that kids don’t see it that way and middle school tends to be the time that most preteens suffer from bullying and teasing and the dreaded cliques. I was too so I can empathize with Jun. Unfortunately for him, that trauma has carried out throughout his life and he’s been unable to socialize much because of it. He doesn’t seem to care much for his sister anymore either from the tone he gave off texting to the “other” Jun. It’s a sad thought but it goes to show two things in my opinion: 1) Jun is destined to be Shinku’s owner (past or present) and 2) Jun was never meant to be a loner forever and the dolls will help him break out of that.
Now we can talk about the scary mountain of doll parts and the sudden change in music. I think Rozen Maiden is on a roll with these mood swings and cliffhangers at the end. It makes me feel like there’s a darker and deeper story than what’s on the surface – and I’m not just referring to the N-Field. I explained this before and will do it again – the N-Field is another world which Kirakishou (the 7th doll) exists in… Except it’s very much real when you’re in it. Kirakishou has no “physical” body to exist in the real world and therefore attempts to steal others to become a “real doll”. In the process, she’s become the main antagonist in the series because she seems to eliminate all her sisters in the process by stealing their Rosa Mysticas. Her weapon is in the form of vines and thorns and she’s also missing an eye which I always thought was creepy. I don’t think she’s going to be the only problem that Jun and Shinku have to face in the series, but it seems like she is the main issue at the moment. What’s weird is that Jun also said he’s “on the way to help” so I guess the N-Field allows time dimensions to overlap as well.
I’m very pleased with the progress that this series has made so far. Despite the first episode “recap”, the two episodes which are based on the second series of the manga has done a great job incorporating all the reasons why I love Rozen Maiden. There’s a bit of mystery, fantasy and slice-of-life but that’s all surrounded by a gothic tone that I don’t see a lot in recent anime. The artwork has gone on me a lot as well and it doesn’t seem like the production value has decreased – or maybe I’m biased. Shinku just looks so angelic in the last frame. I was expecting Jun to find a key to wind her up, but it seems like all he had to do was wake her up (her hair sudden appeared!). Maybe her Rosa Mystica wasn’t taken… but that’s a question that’s likely answered next week. I think the “younger” Jun pointed out that Holly would play a role in her return.