Before going into this finale, I was expecting some sort of long epilogue that talked about how much Jun’s grown since meeting his younger half. I thought there’d be some reminiscing and probably some sparks between Saitou and Jun. And guess what… the first half of the episode was just that. There’s the aftermath of the play with lots of celebrations in the air, Saitou & Jun go back to work and Jun even goes back to school. Jun finally caught a lucky break as well when the Store Owner took notice of all the work that he’s been putting into the sales tracker and all the slack he’s been picking up for the Store Manager. That’s what I would call being at the right place at the right time. Things are finally looking up for him and although he’s still a student, I’d definitely take up the opportunity for an advancement if I were Jun. He also gets the girl (somewhat)! I was hoping for more progression in their relationship, but there’s probably more on Jun’s mind right now than getting a girlfriend. If there was ever a second season, there’s plenty of plot development here – but for now, I’m satisfied.
The second half was what I was pleasantly surprised about. I wasn’t expecting to see any more of Wound-Jun, but there we have it – a cliffhanger! The dolls return as well and Shinku is as cute as a button! The connection that she has with Unwound and Wound-Jun is so heartwarming and I love seeing those moments of mutual understanding between the two. Whether Wound-Jun is going back to school or when Unwound-Jun flips through the book he purchased her, Shinku literally steals my attention away every time she’s on screen. Still my favorite doll! Period. Of course, it’s adorable seeing Kanaria, Souseiseki and Suiseiseki gather together to save Jun. Kirakishou coming back to life doesn’t surprise me and now… she finally has a “body”. Did she just get a little creepier with those eyes? I wonder who made that body for her…?
This finale episode pretty much threw more questions at me than answers. I was not expecting so many reoccurring characters to come into play as well. Kanaria’s master (Mitsu), and Hinainchigo’s master (Tomoe) were both sucked into the Alice Game with the former being a victim to Kirakishou. I’m not so sure why Tomoe has to be involved anymore if Hinaichigo is “gone”. There’s no doubt in my mind that Jun was also “captured” by Kirakishou and his spirit is probably held up in the N-Field. What bothers me is why the dolls feel that Unwound-Jun is the only way that they can save Wound-Jun. Not to say that I don’t like Unwound-Jun, but I feel as though his chapter in this story could’ve tied up nicely if they left him alone. If Shinku and the others can easily access the N-Field themselves, there has to be a reason that Unwound-Jun is called back into the game. With this kind of ending, they must create a second season to answer all these questions. I’ll be eagerly waiting…
TL;DR – @RCCherrie: Creepy dolls be creepy… Oh my god, that cliffhanger! What are you doing to me Rozen Maiden?! #season2please
I will reiterate that I am a fan of the original Rozen Maiden and when I saw that it was getting another season, I literally facerolled all over my keyboard. I would’ve been so thrilled just to sit and watch it – getting the chance to blog it and share my love for this series is probably the biggest milestone I’ve had at RC (despite what anyone else has to say). I want to note that I have not read the manga and although I know more about this series than I’d care to admit, I still came into this series with no spoilers and probably a very biased opinion. That being said, I obviously had issues with the new series because of how much it varied from the previous one. For old viewers, it’d be best to come into the series with an open mind because the dolls and Jun are not the same as they once were… and for new viewers, definitely stick around after the first episode please!
What I loved and hated about this series is what it’s straight out of the second manga series (which is the original source material). The first episode is a “recap” of what’s happened in the first series manga and the second episode continues from the second manga series onwards. I know that the first episode is whack and it’s literally just a dump of events that might not make sense nor give you a sense of who each character is. Rest assured though, the second episode onwards proves to be very consistent in pacing and timing of events. It’s not all about the Alice Game this time around and I think people are often thrown off at first about the focus on Unwound-Jun. This is a story about him, not the dolls. This is the biggest complaint I had because the original anime was all about the dolls and I’ve learned to love the series because of that. This new anime cannot be viewed assuming you’ll get the same type of enjoyment as its processor (not to say you can’t enjoy both). Whereas the first and second seasons were more about the everyday activities of the dolls living under Jun’s roof, this remake is more about how the dolls help Jun grow and develop as an adult in a life without the Alice Game. Do not confuse the two!
Now that I’ve explained the differences between the two in terms of plot, there’s huge plus factors in the other changes the show has made. This includes the animation studio and character designs. Personally, I loved the old design of the dolls with its crisp colors and outlines. The new dolls are much softer and water colored – they’re also much smaller in size compared to a human being. Studio Deen does a great job in animating the motions of the dolls and the different camera angles to emphasis certain expressions and thoughts (I love zooming in on faces!). There’s also the use of its OST and silence in this anime which may come across as odd, but I find that when the pauses are used correctly, it implies the right tone in the story. The story is not all happy-go-lucky (or moe fun) as the original anime intended it to be; this remake has more dark/gothic tones that tie in the mystery of the Alice Game. This is why I also think the opening and ending sequences (especially the ED) tie together very well.
So if you’re still wondering if you should give Rozen Maiden a shot, or is this a remake or a sequel… I will explain that all for you now. As a new viewer, it’s definitely a remake. It’s an anime based on the original manga (mainly the second series) and you can probably watch it as it is as a standalone show without any prior background or research. Watching it with no expectations may really help develop your own opinion of what the new Rozen Maiden series is about. It has new character designs, great OST (the original anime did too) and a solid setting and plot development. Just please get past the initial first episode! For old viewers (like myself), I would still consider this a remake and let me explain why. Despite loving the first two original seasons, this anime does not bridge or branch off from that. This series tries to “fix” that by giving us a recap episode of what should’ve transpired. I think it’s great to have that context for the dolls’ personalities and I have a greater appreciation for Shinku, Hinaichigo and Suigintou etc… but that does not take away from this new anime as it is. Like I said, this is a show about Jun, not the dolls. Regardless if you liked/disliked the original anime series, this can be seen as a completely different series so I urge you not to get into it with the same expectations… and who knows, maybe you’ll love it as much as I do.