Rozen Maiden

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

"I am Shinku -- the fifth doll of the Rozen Maiden."

"Desu, desu, desu, desu, desu, desu, desu, desu, desu, desu, desu, desu, desu, desu, desu, desu!"
The Internet on Rozen Maiden

Sakurada Jun is a boy with a trauma in his past and a strange hobby: He collects supposedly cursed items in the hope that one of them will actually turn out to be cursed. One day, he receives a letter which simply says, "Will you wind? Yes / No". Responding in the affirmative, he sticks the letter in his desk drawer and thinks nothing more of it until an ornate case arrives with a beautiful clockwork doll inside. True to his word, Jun does wind, which causes the doll to become animated.

Shinku, the doll, immediately sets about correcting Jun's mannerisms, trying to convert him into her servant by default -- an attempt cut short by the appearance of a stuffed clown with a pair of menacing-looking knives. Jun, fearing for his life, agrees to become Shinku's medium (her supply of power so that she can fight), and is drawn from there into the strange world of the Rozen Maiden dolls and the Alice game.

The series continued into an anime-origina, second season, called Rozen Maiden: Träumend. Season one's Big Bad, Suigintou, is supplanted by a new doll named Barasuishou, and it seems as if the mysterious Rozen, father of the Rozen Maiden, has finally appeared. The OVA, Rozen Maiden Ouverture, focuses on Suigintou's Backstory, and shows that Shinku wasn't as good a sister as she'd like to think.

Sadly, it was never finished because of a dispute between the producers and publishers of the manga. The anime Overtook the Manga and went to its own conclusion while the manga went on hiatus for months until it was finally Cut Short with a Deus Ex Machina (and an apology for doing so).

A new manga series is currently being published under the name Rozen Maiden Tale. It's a For Want of a Nail story starring a much older Jun Sakurada, which follows what would have happened if Jun had responded "do not wind" to the initial letter, and crosses over with the original universe. After a few chapters, the story then shifts back to the original Jun via a bridge-arc and the plot resumes where the original Manga ended, making Tales, despite what it initially looked like, an actual continuation instead of an Alternate Universe spin-off.

Studio DEEN adapted the new manga into a new anime with noticeably worse production values than its predecessors and callet it Rozen Maiden: Zurückspulen. It failed.

Zurückspulen continues from a backstory similar but not identical to the first Rozen Maiden anime and after alienating and/or confusing most of the audience with a very rushed Recap Episode as the first episode, concentrates on the older, alternate-universe Jun. As Träumend never happened, the villainous seventh doll is not Barasuishou but a new doll called Kirakishou. The parts of the plot that have to do with the Rozen Maiden dolls and alternate universes are hard to follow and feel very random even to viewers familiar with the earlier animes and are likely more or less incomprehensible to people new to the franchise.

Tropes used in Rozen Maiden include:

  • Alice Allusion: The Alice Game and the general idea of becoming Alice, the perfect girl.
  • All Men Are Perverts: At first, Nori mistook Shinku for a robotic sex doll.
  • Artificial Human: The Rozen Maiden dolls, even when their joints are showing.
    • Enju tries to replicate this, as shown when he brings a small doll to life, when Jun is visiting his shop even though he has already done this with Barasuishou.
  • Anti-Villain: Suigintou in Ouverture.
  • Back from the Dead: Poor Suigintou dies the most Tear Jerker way possible in all three parts of the anime, only to be brought back every time by Rozen (one can only wonder whether this fact decays her self-preservation). In Träumend, all Rozen Maiden got a bit farther than Near-Death Experience. Also, the animated normal doll (clown) in one of the scenes that prompted dolls to take Jun more seriously.
  • Battle Butler: Inverted.
  • Battle in the Center of the Mind
  • Big Bad: Suigintou in the first season/portion of the manga, followed later by Barasuishou in the anime and Kirakishou in the manga.
  • Berserk Button: In the first season, Suigintou does NOT take the word 'Junk' lightly, especially if it's directed to her.
  • Beta Baddie: Suigintou.
  • Bokukko: Souseiseki, who's commonly called Boku by fans.
  • Break the Cutie: Suigintou in Ouverture.
  • Brother-Sister Incest: Nori fantasizes about her brother in her sleep and wonders why he hasn't taken an interest in stealing her underwear.
  • Butt Monkey: The boy that keeps trying to ask Nori out. In a series all about having the courage to step forward and try he is the glaring exception that no matter how many times he gathers his courage to ask something always gets in his way; poor boy.
  • Catch Phrase: Lightly used. Things repeated many times during the series: Shinku's 'Jun, make tea!' and Suigintou's 'I'm NOT junk!'.
  • Cats Are Mean: Shinku does not like cats and thinks they're the enemy of all Rozen Maidens, supposedly because one nearly swallowed the key needed to wind her.
    • Also subverted, at least in the manga, when Hinaichigo slips out of the house to try mailing a letter. She falls onto a very large, scary-looking cat ... who leads her to the mailbox (was he somehow able to understand what she wanted?) and actually lets her ride him at one point.
  • Cheerful Child: Hina Ichigo, as well as Suigintou as she appeared in Ouverture.
  • The Chew Toy: Kanaria, who screws up every time without anyone noticing.
  • Clockwork Creature: Granted, they're magical constructs, but it's still "Will you wind?" and they shut down when clockwork is blocked.
  • Costume Porn
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Jun was a sulking, thankless pile of rather childish fears and grievances, not whining only because he was too self-absorbed for it. Soon, he shocks dolls by demonstrating talents worthy of a potential apprentice to Rozen, and powers three fighting Rozen Maiden at once without looking pale and swooning, while in all three parts of the anime we see some other mediums - one of whom was obviously more healthy - drained to within a hair's breadth of death by supporting only one.
  • Cute Shotaro Boy: Jun
  • Death Seeker: Megu, who has been sick, almost terminally so, for her whole life.
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: Arguably, Suigintou after meeting Megu.
  • Different As Night and Day: The -seiseki twins; their Mismatched Eyes are even on opposite sides.
  • Distaff Counterpart: Take Gash Bell. Switch demon children for cursed dolls. Switch Spellbook for Rosa Mystica. Switch 'become king' for 'become Alice'. Switch 'teen genius' for 'teen loser'. Notice a pattern yet? Be ready for serious mamodo deja vu, if you plan on watching this. It is Better Than It Sounds, though.
  • Don't Say Such Stupid Things
  • The Door Slams You: Let's just say it was very in character for Kanaria, desu.
  • Elegant Gothic Lolita: Character designs; Suigintou is the only one who qualifies as both lolita and fitting the gothic subtype's palette, however. Souseiseki has the colors, but her clothing is more in keeping with the ouji/kodona style .
  • Enigmatic Minion: Laplace's demon.
  • Erotic Dream

Nori is in bed talking in her sleep.
Nori: Jun I can't, we're siblings!

... desu