The Nihon Review - Anime Reviews & Editorials

Rozen Maiden: Träumend

Title: Rozen Maiden: Träumend
Genre: Action/Comedy
Company: Rozen Maiden Production Committee/TBS
Format: 12 episodes
Dates: 21 Oct 2005 – 27 Jan 2006

Synopsis: As Shinku comes to terms with the events of her last fight, Jun is slowly picking up the pieces of his life. However, when both are once again drawn into an N-field, they are introduced to a new doll, Barasuisho, whose presence reminds all dolls of the ever-looming issue of the “Alice” game.

The Highlights
Characters: Characters we’ve come to know receive much appreciated development.
Animation: Not at the level of quality of the first series.
Comedy: Gets in the way of the story.
Pacing: Too slow to begin, too fast at finish.
Ending: Inconclusive and difficult to interpret; screams “sequel.”

Rozen Maiden has what can only be described as a cult following. While I temporarily remove myself from this cult following for the sake of impartiality, I can admit that the dolls’ second outing does have some noticeable flaws and doesn’t live up to the potential it had created for itself at its outset. However, Rozen Maiden: Träumend still ends up being an entertaining experience.

From the first episode of the first series, Rozen Maiden’s highlight has always been its rich character personalities. Almost all the dolls have their own quirks, traits and flaws which are put together with purpose and theme to make them all complex and interesting characters. Admittedly, the majority of this work on creating these characters was done in the first season, but Träumend expands on this with some profound character development, most notably in Shinku and one of the other dolls. These interesting characters carry an equally interesting plot, loaded with twists. The music can be criticized for reusing a few too many tunes from the first season, but it also contains some great songs, particularly the ED theme, “Hikari no Rasenritsu”, from kukui.

Good characters and plot should generally be enough to define a good anime, but Träumend suffers from some serious execution problems. Animation goes through inconsistent cycles and never reaches the clean and crisp visual feast of the first series. The pacing is poor, with many early episodes wasted on (wanting) comedic filler. This results in too much happening too quickly in the final few episodes. Many of the more important plot points can be accused of resorting to rather blatant melodrama and at times suffer from a lack of proper build-up, which damages what could have been some of the more heart-wrenching moments in the story. Again, poor pacing can certainly be blamed for contributing to this. The ending itself suffers from an almost inevitable deus ex machina and can easily be accused of setting up a premise for yet another sequel – not something I approve of from any conclusion.

There’s no argument that Rozen Maiden: Träumend fails to live up to the standards set by the first series. However, its engrossing plot and rich characters make this sequel an enjoyable way to pass the time… provided you’re willing to pass through a few pointless episodes and weakly executed moments. Given Rozen Maiden’s unusual popularity and an ending which almost shouts “there will be another sequel,” I’d personally be very surprised if there wasn’t.

The Rating: 6
6/10

Reviewed by: Sorrow-kun

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