As you know, I ended up really enjoying the original two seasons of Rozen Maiden.
Jumping right into the more recent 2013 rendition of Rozen Maiden was something else.
In a good way!
Going to write this with minimal spoilers, like I did with the last two.
If you STILL aren’t convinced on Rozen Maiden, then perhaps this final review will do something about that!
To start with is the obvious – the updated visuals!
The dolls, characters.. everything looks amazing. Whether you jumped right into this season from the originals, or come back to this season after a hiatus, seeing all of the beloved Rozen Maiden cast with an HD update is a real treat.
You really have to experience it for yourself though! Despite being the third season, Rozen Maiden (2013) feels so fresh. My favourite update from the originals is Suigintou. I liked her as a character, but visually, there weren’t many good shots of her in the originals. I tried to get a good screencap, but just couldn’t find one where she looked that great. Her shoulders were a bit too pointy, and she just didn’t look as doll-like compared to the others. But now, she looks amazing:
One other visual related topic I wanted to quickly touch upon was the … manga snippets? Not sure what to call them. It’s the equivalent of when you have short little clips containing chibi-versions of characters. The art style changes to something a little more basic, but the clips work great for comedic scenes.
I love it when comedies use styles like this. Switches up the visuals for a brief moment and also displays a short gag before getting back into things. This is actually something that Quiz Magic Academy did well too.
Aside from visuals is the plot itself.
As you can see in that chibi snippet above, we have a new protagonist: Jun Sakurada, only this Jun Sakurada is from an alternate world where he never got involved with the Rozen Maiden, and never met Shinku.
Jun managed to sort out his issues by himself, to a degree, and make it into a university, working part time to support himself while living in a small apartment. The only problem is, he still has issues interacting with others, and so he has sort of trapped himself into a routine (school, work, sleep). Still very alone.
And so the formula of “supernatural event forces protagonist to come out of his shell” begins anew. I won’t spoil the details, but as you’d imagine, this alternate Jun ends up encountering Shinku anyways.
The story itself is excellent.
I’d say that it’s sort of a combination of the first two seasons, in terms of design. In a single season Rozen Maiden (2013) both develops alternate Jun Sakurada’s character AND pushes forward with a great storyline involving the Rozen Maiden. As a result, this season felt MUCH faster paced than the originals, to the point where I watching 3-4 episodes per night. I just couldn’t stop!
I suppose the one aspect from the originals that is lacking here is the whole “dolls hanging around the house” thing, which was fun. To be honest though, we saw enough of that in the originals that we didn’t need any more of it here. This great pacing is much more preferable I think, even if we miss out on some potential funny doll scenes.
The anime also wraps up nicely.
Except, partway through the final episode, it then decides to unravel itself in order to setup for a sequel. I wouldn’t call this a mistake, but I didn’t think it was a good move for a few reasons.
First, the anime had a great ending. Everything was settled and done with. So it felt like a bit of a slap to the face for the anime to turn around and try to create some last minute drama.
Second, this is a third season that came out 7 years after the second season. I’m not saying that they can’t being back fans from the original seasons, but here’s the thing: Rozen Maiden (2013) is great for a “blast from the past” sort of feeling, but trying to drag it out further than that is probably a mistake. Part of the novelty, the enjoyment, of this season was that it took a classic anime and modernized it. That alone is enough to bring fans back for a single season. But is it enough to bring fans back for multiple seasons?
I’m not so sure.
And considering it’s been 6 more years since Rozen Maiden (2013), that seems to have been the case.
Personally, I’d watch another season of Rozen Maiden. It’s a good series, a sure thing for some enjoyment. But would I enjoy a fourth season more than I enjoyed the originals, or the third? Probably not.
And that’s why I think it would have been better to just end Rozen Maiden (2013) on a strong note like it did, prior to introducing the cliffhanger. Of course, that doesn’t mean it didn’t end on a good note anyways, if you just ignore the cliffhanger. the cliffhanger itself just felt out of place and unnecessary given the likelihood of a sequel.
Overall, Rozen Maiden (2013) is an amazing anime.
If you have already watched the original two seasons, it’s a must watch.
If you haven’t, then you really have to decide whether you want to devote the time to three seasons of Rozen Maiden, because you really should watch the originals before moving onto this one.
I’d like to give the Rozen Maiden series the Novel Concept award, for taking an idea that I didn’t expect to work well, and making it work perfectly. Who would have thought that dolls could be this entertaining?
This wraps up the Rozen Maiden reviews.
Until next time.
Thanks for reading!