This week’s episode was surprisingly more toned down than I initially anticipated. Being locked in the N-Field, I thought Shinku and Jun would have to battle their way out, but Jun just wakes up instead. The only thing that came out of his “dream” was a completed Shinku (eyes, hair and shoes included) and as I stated last episode, he would have to wind her up. Shinku’s entrance was a lot less dramatic than the first series I watched – she was always kind of bossy and lady-like but also very outspoken. This time around, I find that Shinku has a lost a lot of her liveliness and life that made her so attractive to me in the prior seasons. I’m not sure if that’s intention or not, but she lacks a lot of the qualities that made her so cute and loveable. Instead, we see her walking around a lot. She’s curious and she still loves her tea, but she’s also not in a hurry to jump back into the Alice game. It’s weird because I’ve always imagined Shinku to be a strong character (which makes her a good candidate to become Alice), but this episode almost made me pity her. She carried around this sad look in her eyes all the time and that’s likely because she knows what’s happening in the other dimension and she’s powerless to help. She makes references to the past and reiterates what’s happening in the N-Field, but I’m not sure if that’s because she remembers, or if Holly is just telling her everything that’s happened.
Speaking of Holly and the N-Field – there’s a lot of talk about time and alternative dimensions in this episode. The only thing that pops into my mind is Steins;Gate and I’m constantly reminded of it because of the texts. Rozen Maiden may have more than 2 timelines, but for the time being, I’m glad that it’s only stuck to two – the world which Rozen Maiden dolls exist and one which they don’t. Who would’ve thought that at the ripe age of 13, Jun would’ve already decided the fate of the world? He’s changed history and created a universe for himself which doesn’t include the Rozen Maiden dolls, yet somehow they find a way to him. I would have to give my props to the Would-Jun (which is what I’m going to call him now) because of his ability to even fathom the different timelines to send Holly after his parallel self. The Unwound-Jun needs to give himself a little more credit. Just as I predicted though, Holly was the key to reviving Shinku because she had her Rosa Mystica all along.
Shinku gives a brief summary of what happened between episode 1 and 2… Hinaichigo and Souseiseki have already been eliminated, whereas Suiseiseki and Suigintou are stuck in the N-Field along with Shinku’s real self. Kirakishou has basically trapped her competition in the N-Field with her, except for Jun and Kanaria who are probably somewhere still in Wound-Jun’s timeline. Unwound-Jun’s Shinku doll also can’t maintain her form for more than a week and as she’s talking to Holly at the end, she’s aware that she has to go back into the N-Field. Unwound-Jun created this “artificial” body for her for the purpose of saving her sisters – perhaps that’s why Shinku feels so down and unlively? Shinku’s probably facing a lot of innter turmoil and her lack of a “contract” with the Unwound-Jun makes it harder for her to use any form of magic. We also see her sister watching over her at the end… the cliffhangers don’t surprise me anymore, but the sudden change of atmosphere in the episodes make my skin crawl. If there’s one thing for sure, I have to applaud the show for being able to evoke all these different emotions out of me in the span of a couple of minutes. It’s why I started watching Rozen Maiden in the first place.
My last comment would be around the growing relationship between Saitou and the Unwound-Jun. I never thought there’d be any form of romance in this series (my other show – Blood Lad was a little more predictable) but I’m actually glad that there’s still that slice-of-life component to the show. The original Rozen Maiden series has a great deal of slice-of-life episodes (and even pure fillers) that made it less serious and more around how the dolls helped Jun grow. This “remake” definitely has less of that, but the interactions between Saitou and Jun show a more realistic and mature approach to how a relationship should develop – even Shinku’s taken notice. It’s a nice touch, although I’m expecting more to come out of Saitou’s character. Next week’s episode features the introduction of another loved doll – Suigintou. I’m more interested to see if she is also a “recreation” or if she’s escaped the N-Field. We also finally introduced to her medium – Megu (and I will say no more to avoid spoilers). The show is headed in a good direction right now although I’m surprised to see that they’d focus a whole episode on Suigintou. Not that she isn’t an important character, but given the limited amount of episodes and the rest of the story to be told, I thought it’d be more centered on Jun and Shinku. We’ll have to wait and see though, the previews can be so deceiving.