|A well told story, doesn't rush the main story, nice atmosphere||The first episode is horribly rushed, fight feel slow at times, sequel hook with no future season immediately in sight|
I’ll say upfront that overall Rozen Maiden Zurückspulen was a good series. However it did have one serious problem that hurt it. Some series start off great and only let you down as you stick with them. While some series actually start off so badly that no one is left to watch as the series picks itself off and ends well. Rozen Maiden managed to be the latter and suffered in some respect to get people to stick around long enough to find out what it was all about. Honestly I almost never say this, but everyone is better off skipping the first episode and jumping in from the second episdoe on. It doesn’t matter if you’ve never heard of Rozen Maiden or if you have seen all the anime and read every bit of manga. The first episode was just that poorly thought out that it probably did irreparable damage to the series’s chance to get people interested.
Rozen Maiden tried to start the series off with a recap which isn’t a bad idea considering it was jumping into the manga proper and not really following up at all to the original anime series that most people would be familiar with if they knew about the series at all. Getting people up to speed was a reasonable decision. What they did though was a recap that was like jumping into a race car and trying to read signs on the side of the road as you speed along. They jumped from scene to scene so hard it was difficult to know what was going on. They just tried to cram a massive recap into a short episode and hurt themselves.
Again I’ll just say that Rozen Maiden Zurückspulen was a better series than the first episode would lead you to believe. It was just a bit of a jarring shift when the first episode was giving information at mach 2 and the second episode onward moved to a very slow pace. This series was much more concerned on slowly building up the world and developing the main character. It worked out well and was a very nice story, but it probably surprised people at how slowly things were moving.
Another big surprise was that the Rozen Maidens took a long time to even appear and were still not really the main characters. The main character for this season was Jun. Even that Jun was actually different from the Jun people would be familiar with. The series focused on the Jun from an alternate world where he never encountered Rozen Maidens and never woke up Shinku. In that respect I found it was interesting to see just how this guy’s life had turned out without magical dolls or anything else. Let’s just say that Jun was left in a great position to develop as a person XD.
What might hurt is that the start of the series does focus a lot on Jun and just how sorry his life currently was. He was a pretty quiet guy who didn’t really have any friends, went to a low quality University and was full of regrets as to how his life had turned out. Not the most likable guy at the start, but someone you could also sympathize with. Jun was just a guy who hadn’t had the best time in his life. The series does a nice job developing him after he meets Shinku and has a chance to change. It’s quite a nicely told little story and it’s not over the top. Change doesn’t happen overnight and sometimes there are pitfalls when growing. By the end Jun is markedly different from how he started, but he’s not at the end of his development curve. You can see there is still room to grow like any person, but he’s made great progress.
The important thing to take away from the story is that it starts slow. It takes quite a long time to build up to any legitimate action, but it does pay off. They don’t try to speed through the story unlike the first episode. Sometimes it can feel like nothing really happened, but after taking a moment to think you can see the small growth or changes that took place. It’s not a fast paced series which may not appeal to everyone, but it is a solid story. You get to see the personalities of the Rozen Maidens get a bit more focus since things aren’t getting caught up in comedy or speeding too fast for you to take a good look at what kind of characters they are.
If people want to see a slowly built up story that pays off nicely at the end then this is one worth checking out. But it is going to take its time getting to any real action. The emotional payoff is good, but it takes time to get there. As to the characters overall it’s mostly Jun’s show with more focus as the series goes along to the Rozen Maidens. First Shinku and Suigintou with increasing attention given to the other dolls as they come into the picture. As to the humans the best character aside from Jun is the potential love interest in Saito who really helps as much as the dolls to trigger Jun’s change. It’s not a huge cast, but it does alright with the characters that it focuses on.
Visually the series is pretty solid. The artistic style they chose makes backgrounds almost look like a painting. It’s pretty suitable to a slower paced series. The character designs themselves are solid though nothing special. Not a series that will wow you with the best animation and visuals imaginable, but they chose a style that will make the series look rather attractive regardless. They do a nice job keeping the dolls to scale especially in comparison to the adult Jun. The dolls are pretty small and their interactions with the bigger world is pretty comical at times. Some dolls like Suigintou have some special effects to them and they look pretty good. They definitely stand out though in comparison to the graphical style of the rest of the series.
The music is definitely fitting with the previous Rozen Maiden series. The tunes have an older feel to them which fits in well. We are talking about ancient mystical dolls so that kind of thing works just fine. The songs work well for the quieter moments and when the series picks up and has some action.
Some might have had problems with the ending that does have a pretty big sequel hook in it. It is a cliffhanger ending that will leave you wanting to see another season to continue the story since it’s quite obvious that there is more story waiting for you. Now some might see that as a really bad thing, but I don’t mind it really. You were always going to know there was more story to be told and be tempted to read the manga or pray for another sequel. That first episode though might have done too much damage for Rozen Maiden Zurückspulen to actually get that sequel so maybe it wasn’t the best way to go about things…
Rozen Maiden Zurückspulen had a horrible start, a slowly paced middle, and a sequel hook ending. That doesn’t sound great, but when you watch the series itself it is still quite solid. The slow pacing allowed them to tell a good story about a guy who made a choice in the past that chnged his life and received another chance to change his present and future. Rozen Maiden Zurückspulen had some issues at the front and end, but the middle is a good series that is worth looking into. If you don’t know much about Rozen Maiden it is worth looking into other materials first so you can udnerstand the dolls better, but the story of Jun in this season stands up well on its own.
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