Posted by psgels on 20 July 2008 with categories: Anime Reviews


This review is about the first season of Rozen Maiden. I first came into contact with this franchise through a bit of a strange way: I never watched the first season, but when the second season (Rozen Maiden Traumend) aired, I decided to give it a whirl and watch it. If I recall correctly, I lasted five episode before dropping it, because it just didn’t seem to go anywhere, and the annoying characters weren’t helping much either. To give a small indication of the annoyingness of one of the characters… I think that this video says it all…

In any case, Solaris managed to talk me into giving the series a second chance, and I’m really glad that I did, because the first season made an entirely different impression on me. What I saw of the second season goofed off way too much, but the first season is actually a very focused character-study of a bunch of dolls that came to life, and the humans that they made contact with.

Right from the start, this series knows exactly how to use its limited time of 12 episodes. The story continues to develop, and there’s always something interesting going on. The different subplots flow very smoothly into each other and never feel rushed, and the series ends with good conclusion.

The results of this excellent storytelling can be seen in the characters. Characters that got incredibly on my nerves in Traumend turn into likable and adorable characters, right from the start. The Alice-games, which play a central role in this series, which cause the different dolls to fight each other are interpreted differently by each of the characters. Some become obsessed over perfection, others want to break out of that tradition, others want to win, no matter what and others don’t care about these games at all, and just want to play like a little kid. In the same way, each of the dolls has a different understanding of what the word “doll” means to them. My biggest surprise was that Hina-Ichigo turned out to be more than just an annoying little brat, and how she had a very clear purpose in this series.

Peach-Pit’s adaptations have often been plagued by strange production-decisions (Zombie Loan was good, but way too short, Shugo Chara had the potential, but turned out way too bloody long), but this first season of Rozen Maiden is pretty much without any major flaws. The graphics also look pleasing, and although I fully agree that the ALI project should stop making all these OPs and EDs that sound way too much like each other, I do admit that their work on Rozen Maiden’s OP is their best one. The rest of the soundtrack is also pretty much awesome, which all results in a really worthwhile series. Now, I hope that the second season is going to turn out better than what I remember of it.

Storytelling: 9/10
Characters: 9/10
Production-Values: 9/10
Setting: 8/10

13 Responses

  1. miden says:

    i also really didn’t feel like watching this seires droped aftrer 2nd episode but i guess ill give it a try since u gave such a fine review ^^)/

  2. HikkiZ says:

    If you enjoyed the first season then you have to finish the second as it turns out even better. Yes it starts off slow but that is just the quiet setup before the emotional sh*t storm kicks in. One particular scene later on in Traumend is the only time I ever cried over an anime. If you watch it you’ll know which one I mean.

  3. Jerry says:

    desu?

    Yeah, that youtube video you linked…oh god…

  4. BlueYoshi says:

    I’ve watched both seasons, and the OVA, but I can’t really get emotionally attached to those characters (except maybe for SuiginTou). My sister also loves the OP to bits, so hearing that song over and over again has made me dislike it now.

  5. miden says:

    omg well i just fnished marathoning the anime and its 2nd seasons + OVA and wow jsut gotta say, im amazed, though it starts out a bit slow, the 2nd season imho, is much better than the 1st! go watch it :)!!

  6. issa-sa says:

    Hina Ichigo’s role really became apparent to me in the second season, but yea, overall, the first season was a more solid series (at least it didn’t have that horrid Kanaria). Plus ALI Project’s songs for the franchise were GOOD imho, regardless of everything else they’ve done.

  7. These days we can see lots of animated stuff on television and most of the stuff is pretty good.But I think this is not just up to the mark.

  8. Solaris says:

    I’m really happy you reviewed Rozen Maiden. it was also quite fast. I didn’t expect it so early. Now go watch the second serie and enjoy it more ;). Keep in mind there is a major digression in that serie. The main plot is better explained in the manga, also if there’s a big problem with it: it just doesn’t end :(

  9. asuka says:

    yes the first episodes are boring like in most animes but the conclusion is worth watching because that is when you realise where the story meant to take you. ps.: some characters are annyoying the first doll that we meet after the main character i mean

  10. Yes it starts off slow but that is just the quiet setup before the emotional storm kicks in. I saw of the second season goofed off way too much, but the first season is actually a very focused character-study of a bunch of dolls that came to life, and the humans that they made contact with.

  11. mnscoaiy00understudies says:

    The last episode almost made me cry.

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  • Emma
    (Friday, Mar 6. 2015 03:47 AM)
    I remember that same guy, during end of eva, pausing it over and over during that scene where asuka dies with all of those fast moving clips too.
  • Emma
    (Friday, Mar 6. 2015 03:39 AM)
    I remember catching it also when I was young with a friend and we looked back on a fanservice scene with shinji and rei and he mentioned “You know if you think about it that scene is damn disturbing when you think she’s a clone of/modelled after you know who…”
  • Emma
    (Friday, Mar 6. 2015 03:36 AM)
    Before Eva, when I was 11 or so my image of a mech anime was Nadesico…then it was eva and then I was like…Whoah…whoah God halp! =O
  • Emma
    (Friday, Mar 6. 2015 03:34 AM)
    I suppose credit where I feel it due, the angel designs are excellent and I remember getting the shock of my life when shinji’s eva went nuts and then there was a bit with Bardiel infect Toji’s unit. I remember at least Masatos boyfriend being a likeable character.
  • Emma
    (Friday, Mar 6. 2015 03:31 AM)
    I don’t think anyone was prepared for Eva, whether they liked the show or not, at 11 I can remember being horrified by end of eva and the series original ending as well as having my first moment of “Feck…theres a first…an anime that did something that scrambled my mind, I actually feel kind of thick now, this show is smarter than I am”.
  • Bam
    (Friday, Mar 6. 2015 03:27 AM)
    It really wouldn’t have been that hard to put a satisfying ending to the original series, wrap up the threads nicely and put a pretty ribbon on the package to finish it off. But Anno and friends took a risk and went against the tide and end up becoming the trope-namer for the Gainax Endings. That took balls and made things unexpected and fresh, cuz god knows that ,good guys win the day ‘is tired and boring.
  • Emma
    (Friday, Mar 6. 2015 03:26 AM)
    Requiem for a dream. I remember the guy who recommended that film saying to me “Even someone such as yourself who finds it hard to find/has high standards an emotionally investing film will get something out of requiem for a dream”
  • Bam
    (Friday, Mar 6. 2015 03:17 AM)
    @Emma: leaving a bad taste is pretty much the point of Eva, just as getting bummed out by Requiem For a Dream is the naturally intended effect. I don’t mind that you don’t enjoy Eva all that much Emma, l actually appreciate it over dishonest admiration. Just keep in mind that Eva deserves it’s special place in anime.
  • Emma
    (Friday, Mar 6. 2015 01:32 AM)
    But Eva just left a bad taste in my mouth as a whole, I understand that Bam you are very passinette about it and thats fine, I wasn’t aiming to provoke. I just feel that its frustrating that like alot of certain anime, that I am not allowed to dislike it or have reason to.
  • Emma
    (Friday, Mar 6. 2015 01:32 AM)
    If anything at least I found Ikuhara’s symbolism while obvious at least in utena and straightforward was at least visually interesting to look at.
    I love every David Lynch film and again I thought Lain was exceptional.

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