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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  • Raggers
    (Friday, Mar 27. 2015 05:48 AM)
    @Emma: which moment is that?
  • Emma
    (Friday, Mar 27. 2015 05:26 AM)
    @Raggers : And in one moment, a rather disturbing development.
  • Emma
    (Friday, Mar 27. 2015 05:24 AM)
    @Raggers: Actually, thinking it over you’ve got a point there, As I had said I’ve been marathoning re and come to think of it, it is more enjoyable to do so that way.
  • Raggers
    (Friday, Mar 27. 2015 05:24 AM)
    Oh, the priest? Yeah, definitely an awesome touch. Wonder how he feels about Amon’s death…
    Juuzou? I’d complain about Arima more, the guy is hax beyond belief. Juuzou was just a nutcase who was skilled with knives – and has pretty good development in the manga.
  • Raggers
    (Friday, Mar 27. 2015 05:21 AM)
    @Emma: I think the pacing thing isn’t a problem if read as a whole – that’s a bit like complaining about slow chapters in books if you read them week-by-week. For a story like Tokyo Ghoul week-by-week just isn’t a good way to read it, I don’t think.
  • Emma
    (Friday, Mar 27. 2015 04:21 AM)
    Gah, Juuzou is one of those irksome shounen-esque characters that never sat all that well with me.
  • Emma
    (Friday, Mar 27. 2015 04:17 AM)
    @Raggers: The part with that locked up ghoul who Amon went to meet up with who he had history with, that was a great moment for Amon’s character and it had a kind of silence of the lambs feel to it.
  • Emma
    (Friday, Mar 27. 2015 04:14 AM)
    @Raggers: I found it generally unevenly paced.
  • Emma
    (Friday, Mar 27. 2015 04:14 AM)
    @Raggers: The whole thing had its ups and downs for me, I loved the first four volumes,after the stuff with gourmet and mado was done with I found myself tiring of it but then got into it again after Kaneki broke down and snapped, then somewhere after the kanou reveal it started losing me again and the ending threw me off.
  • Raggers
    (Friday, Mar 27. 2015 03:31 AM)
    Out of interest, where do you feel the first manga went wrong? I may have missed its flaws since I marathoned it in ~8 hours.

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