Anime A to Z – R: Rozen Maiden (S1)

It’s been a month since I’ve advanced with the Anime A to Z challenge!
I have actually now finished both S1 and S2 of Rozen Maiden, but I am going to write about S2 in a seperate post. I also plan on watching the third season / alternate 2013 version.

I wanted to pick something longer to watch, considering the last two anime I covered were 1 and 2 episodes long.

Still, I’m a bit surprised myself that it’s taken me a month to watch 24 episodes!
It’s not Rozen Maiden‘s fault though – I’ll take the blame for this one.

shinku rozen maiden.jpg

I’ve been watching other content in the evenings lately.
Some things that have eaten into my anime time:

  • Hockey (Toronto Maple Leafs fan here)
  • Hirigana & now katakana videos, learning how to read Japanese. Slowly, but hey, 15 – 30 min per night and it’s made quite a difference considering I’ve got a good grasp on hirigana now, and I’m about halfway through learning katakana.
  • ASL S7 (Competitive Korean Starcraft: Brood War)

ASL S7 should be wrapped up within the next few weeks though.

The other big change coming soon will be the start of the 2019 MLB season (Toronto Blue Jays fan here). With games on almost every night, I’ll have to figure something out when it comes to actually watching anime!

Of course, the other solution is to just write about what I’m watching more frequently, in smaller blocks. I’m thinking that this is what I’m going to try for anime in general in the future – but when it comes to the A to Z challenge I like having a single post that encapsulates at least an entire season.

I was actually going to write about all three seasons of Rozen Maiden in one post, but thinking about it now, it would just be too much to cover. This intro is too long as it is!

Ok. Great blog post.
I suppose I should write something about Rozen Maiden S1 now!

rozen maiden dolls.jpg

Rozen Maiden

You know, it’s funny that I ended up choosing this anime after it was a reference on Pastel Memories episode 3. I believe it’s now fair for me to say now that Pastel Memories didn’t do Rozen Maiden justice, considering the low production quality of Pastel Memories.

I saw Rozen Maiden as an interesting choice for anime R.
An anime regarding a shut-in boy who ends up getting involved with a magical doll. It may sound unique, but in the end it is a play on a fairly standard anime situation in which a supernatural element forces the protagonist to change / grow / come out of his shell. Rozen Maiden has pretty good ratings on MAL though, so I decided it’s probably a decent anime.

That may be the best word to describe Rozen Maiden: decent.
The dolls are cute, and it’s fun to watch them live with our protagonist (Jun Sakurada) and his sister (Nori Sakurada). There’s action every few episodes, but the anime actually ends up playing out mostly as a slice of life with some added drama, which was unexpected. The overarching story is definitely not that of a slice of life, as there is an evil doll, Suigin Tou, who wishes to turn the other dolls into junk in order to take their magical powers and ascend to becoming a real girl.

Yeah, that’s sort of the main theme of Rozen Maiden. There are seven dolls, and each of them possesses a Rosa Mystica, which gives them life as a doll. If one of them collects all 7 Rosa Mystica, they can become Alice – who I believe is supposed to be a human girl? Maybe it’s just a perfect doll. Either way, we have a fairly clear tie to Pinocchio in this anime.

sakurada jun.jpg

However, as I mentioned, the plot has been slow to advance on that front. Our main focus in Rozen Maiden S1 is on Jun Sakurada and his insecurities. Jun comes across as a very rash and easily irritated person – an unpleasant person, to put it lightly. I didn’t like him right away, and I don’t think the anime wanted me to like him. The thing is, the more you learn about him and his fears of going back to school, facing other students, you really start to sympathize with him.

I know what it’s like to retreat to your room (or apartment in my case) and not come out for days at a time, hiding from the world. I know how much it can take to break out of that state, and face the world once again. He is fortunate to have a very loving sister who is willing to do whatever she can to help him, and of course she is very concerned – but change begins with the individual.

Jun Sakurada is a character that I can relate to in that sense, and I’ve really grown to like him. His situation is just very well done, and it’s encouraging to watch him do his best to change as the anime progresses. It’s not something he can overcome overnight, but the season does a good job at pacing his effort.

This type of anime can be really encouraging in cases like this, where the protagonist’s issues feel real and genuine.

jun sakurada bed.jpg

Unfortunately, while the characters are well done and fun to follow, the anime just felt slow at moments. I feel as if the anime’s balance of comedy, action, and drama, was a bit off. The anime doesn’t hesitate to switch from an action episode, to a comedy episode, to a drama episode. While it works over the course of 12 episodes, I would have liked to see some more variety in this formula, with drama, action, and comedy all more present in individual episodes – separated by good transitions, or used in ways that can compliment the scene.

Still, it’s not everyday you get the chance to watch an anime that features little dolls as main characters. It really is a pleasure to watch them walk around the house and perform regular tasks, like watching television.

watching tv.jpg

Overall, Rozen Maiden S1 was a good watch.
Some slow moments, but the anime as a complete package has all of the makings of an enjoyable anime. I particularly enjoyed Jun as a character, and the dolls, which all have different individual personalities.

If you enjoy the “supernatural event / character disrupts the protagonist’s life and introduces change” type of anime, Rozen Maiden would be a great choice.
In fact, I’d recommend the anime regardless – it’s one of those anime that is a sure thing in my books. It might not blow your mind, but it’ll almost definitely provide some enjoyment.

Normally in my typical review fashion I’d give Rozen Maiden an award right about now, but I’ll wait until I’ve wrapped up the entire series to do that. It’s only fair this way.

And so this wraps up my review of Rozen Maiden S1.
Up next will be Rozen Maiden S2!

Until next time.
Thanks for reading!

10 thoughts on “Anime A to Z – R: Rozen Maiden (S1)

  1. I really enjoyed this one, especially with the OVA’s and second season. Moving to the third, some of it will feel iterative since it simultaneously assumes you have and haven’t seen the original show. That one has bumped production and the story is also great, it just needs to continue… please T.T

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I started the third season last night, was hooked almost right away, aside from the first “recap” episode. Ended up watching 4 episodes though – I’m really liking the faster pace compared to previous seasons.

      And as you say, the production quality is amazing too, nice to see all the characters get what feels like an HD update!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for the review! Rozen Maiden is one of those I’ve been curious about for a while but never found the time to watch. The original manga was by the Peach-Pit duo, and I’ve generally liked their other stuff I’ve tried like Shugo Chara. Seems like they haven’t been very active the last few years, but they were really popular for a while in the 00’s between this series and SC and Zombie-Loan.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for reading!
      It’s definitely worth a watch – just be ready for some parts to slow down a bit. I normally watch 2-4 episodes of anime a night, but even when I had the opportunity I found myself usually just watching a single episode of Rozen Maiden and calling it a night.

      It all comes together in the end though, with S2. S3 is also great so far.


  3. Pingback: Rozen Maiden S2 Review | Umai Yomu Anime Blog

  4. Pingback: Rozen Maiden (2013) Review | Umai Yomu Anime Blog

  5. Pingback: The Anime A to Z Awards! | Umai Yomu Anime Blog

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