Rozen Maiden Träumend Complete Set: TBS Animation, FUNimation Anime Based on Peach-Pit Manga
Rozen Maiden is yet another title that got caught in the fall-out from Geneon’s near collapse in September of 2007. Despite the anime’s acclaim (TV Asahi ranked Rozen Maiden 9th in its “Top 100” list), Geneon only released the first four episodes of its 2nd season, subtitled Träumend (German for “Dreaming”).
Now FUNimation has brought the second season of Rozen MaidenTräumend to DVD. It’s darker than the previous season, dealing with themes of conflict and loss. The story of a depressed boy named Jun who finds himself the unwilling servant/medium for an imperious living doll named Shinku, it combines beautiful artwork and a compelling storyline. However, a few flaws prevent it from being a complete success.
Geneon/TBS/FUNimation Produce and Distribute Rozen Maiden Träumend Complete Set DVD
Rozen Maiden Träumend deals with the mysterious “Alice Game” that Rozen, the dolls’ creator, has apparently inflicted upon them. According to the rules, each doll must duel each other, using their mystical powers. The loser not only dies, but also relinquishes their “Rosa Mystica” the force
that gives them life, which makes the winner even stronger. The last doll standing not only
becomes “Alice,” a living girl of supreme beauty and perfection, but also gets to finally meet her creator.
The difficulty lies in the fact that several of the dolls don’t want to fight each other (especially twin sisters Suiseiseki and Souseiskei) and at least one, the baby Hinaichigo, renounced her contract with her medium.
There are also two new antagonists: a riddle-spouting trickster who appears as a tuxedo-clad white rabbit, and a one-eyed doll named Barasuishou, who proclaims herself the 7th gladiator in the Alice Game.
First off, this anime looks great, and the characters are well-rounded. The writers devoted a great deal of time developing each character’s arc, and showing their questions and conflicts in playing the Alice Game. Even the characters who could have become the most annoying – Jun and Hinaichigo – are developed enough that the viewer doesn’t entertain thoughts of drop-kicking them through a window.
Unfortunately, the final episode (“Alice”) appears extremely rushed, as if the writers found themselves short on time and realized they had to wrap this sucker up in a hurry. And the less said about the “what a tweest!” and deus ex machina wrap-up, the better.
In addition the score gets too blatant at times. Certainly the music should evoke the emotion in a scene that the dialogue and the actors can’t, but it feels as if the composer’s belting you with a club saying, “You must feel sad now! Do it! Now!”
Other than the 300 minutes of Rozen Maiden episodes, there are the text-less openings and closings.
The Final Analysis
Rozen Maiden Träumend looks great, it features some of the best animation in the genre. The conflicts are smartly conceived, and you care about the characters. If the ending had been better thought out, and the score a little less obviously manipulative, this anime would be flawless.