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Anime / Rozen Maiden

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"I am Shinku — the fifth doll of the Rozen Maiden."
"Know that when we meet again, I will turn you into junk! I'll rip you into so many pieces, you'll never be able to return!"
Suigintou, towards Shinku.

Jun Sakurada 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.

The original anime series continued into a 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.

This page covers Studio NOMAD's take on the original manga. For tropes on Studio DEEN's anime see Manga.Rozen Maiden.

This anime provides examples of:

  • The Ace: Deconstructed by Jun, once you learn his backstory... when he was in school, he excelled academically as well as being good at sports and crafts, and was highly popular with the other students. Then the sheer pressure of it all caused him to mentally collapse and turn into a Hikikomori.
  • Adaptational Backstory Change: Multiple characters.
    • Jun's reason for leaving school was changed from being made fun of for liking to sew to having failed an important test.
    • Suigintou and Shinku have a totally different past with each other. In the manga their dislike of each other is due to conflicting ideologies from years of conflict mostly surrounding the Alice Game and how it played. In this anime their dislike is stronger on Suigintou's end because she felt betrayed and weak that due to her missing torso, Shinku thought it was in Suigintou's better interest to have a happy life with Sarah. Suigintou does not lack a torso in the manga and these events and Sarah do not exist in it either. Shinku also had a broach given to her by Rozen that Suigintou envied, which did not exist in the manga.
    • Suiseiseki and Souseiseki. While their overarching conflict is mostly the same idea, the execution is totally different. For this anime, Souseiseki's master was completely replaced and given additional family which did not exist in the manga. The conflict itself is from Suiseiseki being upset that Souseiseki would not leave her master, deciding to stay with him so she could help wake up his wife. This is different in the manga, where Souseiseki's master wanted Suiseiseki to help him and Souseiseki in finding the soultree of his brother's lover so they could cut and rot it to kill it and her.
  • Adaptational Heroism: Souseiseki. In the manga she is initially introduced as an antagonist working for her master and later Suigintou until both her and her master have a Heel Realization, but this is not the case here. She appears in the anime without hostility (mostly due to Adaptational Backstory Change) and quickly becomes a regular resident of the Sakurada household joining the group in their shenanigans. It isn't until season two where she briefly assumes something akin to her manga counterpart's role before being defeated by Suigintou.
  • Alas, Poor Villain: Suigintou, twice.note . Another is Barasuishou, although some call it a Karmic Death considering how she defeated Shinku.
  • 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.
  • Back from the Dead: Suigintou dies in 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 the dolls to take Jun more seriously.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Rozen appears at the end only to resurrect Shinku and most of the other dolls.
  • 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.
  • 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, 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.
  • Clockwork Creature: Granted, they're magical constructs, but it's still "Will you wind?" and they shut down when clockwork is blocked.
  • Dies Wide Open: Shinku we see her lifeless body with eyes open although they are close later even though no one close them.
  • Epiphany Therapy: When Jun attempts to convince Kadzuki to let his mother wake from her coma, he realizes the similarities between the mother's safe, empty dream and his own life as a Hikikomori.
    Jun Sakurada: Shut yourself... in a safe world...
  • Erotic Dream
    Nori is in bed talking in her sleep.
    Nori: Jun, I can't, we're siblings!
  • Gecko Ending: This first anime series. The story begins to divert away from the original manga several episodes in, and by the time the first season gets into full swing it's on a totally different plot than the manga. Differences were so great that the producers had to get Peach-Pit to write them an outline for the second season. This second season has a totally different arc than the manga and the villain, Barasuishou, is not canon to the manga at all. The anime leaves off with Shinku being told that there is another way to become Alice, which is a plotpoint never brought up in the manga.
  • Hidden Eyes: Jun's glasses occasionally fog up to create this effect.
  • Idiot Crows: In episode 5, a thieving crow invokes this.
  • If You Kill Him, You Will Be Just Like Him!: In episode 12 of the second season, Jun says this to Shinku when she's about to kill Barasuishou. Unfortunately, this ends up backfiring as Barasuishou then kills Shinku when her guard is done.
  • I Kiss Your Hand: The contracts come from kissing the ring in the doll's hands.
    • Ouverture reveals that the dolls can break their contracts by kissing the ring in the medium's hand, causing it to break.
  • Morality Pet: Megu for Suigintou. First, her master's problem is obviously similar to her own, second, it's someone she can love without any conflict with "Father"s requests - which, in light of Ouverture, may be a part of the trouble.
  • Muggle in Mage Custody: Inverted with doll masters in general, who are ordinary humans owning magical dolls. Played straight with Jun and Shinku though, since despite formally being Shinku's "master", Jun is de facto more of a slave to her (she often sends him for tea and slaps him when he disobeys her orders).
  • Mundane Made Awesome: Episode 5 of Träumend is full of these moments. A couple examples are when Kanaria holds a gun up to Suiseiseki's face and it turns out to be a water gun, and when Hina Ichigo tries to put her letter to Jun in the mailbox complete with Slow-Motion Fall.
  • Musicalis Interruptus: Happens in episode 11 of the first season, during the fight between Shinku and Suigintou.
  • Oddly Named Sequel: The Gratuitous German of Rozen Maiden: Träumend (Dreaming), Rozen Maiden: Ouvertüre ("Opening" or "Beginning").
  • The Hero Dies: Averted unlike the manga Shinku is revive by Rozen.
  • The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: Suigintou seems to believe she has sole rights to defeat anyone and everyone, particularly Shinku. She actually dies because of it in Träumend.
  • "On the Next Episode of..." Catch-Phrase: "Swear to me on this rose ring."
  • Parental Abandonment - Jun's parents are always away.
    • Rozen. He DOES appear personally at the end of Traumend however, if only for a brief few moments. In fact, he's nice enough to allow the dolls another way to become Alice, without the need for the Alice Game.
  • Perpetual Molt: Suigintou, to the point that her presence is usually signaled by a few loose feathers drifting onto the panel/frame.
  • Power Copying: Taking another Rosa Mystica grants the owner's power.
  • Replacement Goldfish: Souseiseki is this for her medium, whose son who died in a car accident.
  • Running Gag: Jun's bedroom windows getting smashed by the dolls (Especially Suiseiseki) entering his room.
  • School Play: Episode 10, "Snow White".
  • Sibling Rivalry: All the dolls are sisters and they fight against each other, trying to take the life source of the other. Subverted with Suiseiseki who loves her sister so much she refuse to fight them, unless to protect her most beloved twin sister.
  • Start of Darkness: Rozen Maiden: Ouverture, which details Suigintou's past.
  • Tsundere: Suiseiseki, Shinku, possibly Suigintou.
  • Verbal Tic: Every last one of the Maidens, though it's more prevalent in the original Japanese then the dubbed version. The "desu!" tic of Suiseiseki is totally nonpresent in the dubbed anime, for example, while the characters trying to figure out what Hinaichigo's "unyuu" actually is forms the plot point of an early episode.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Mix of abuse and affection in relationships between some dolls and their mediums. Also, see the first OP translation here.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: the eventual fate of Barasuishou and Enju, even if the former crumbled to death.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Suigintou. Just try watching Ouverture without feeling bad for her.
  • You Kill It, You Bought It: The sole mechanism of the Alice Game: The winner takes the loser's Roza Mystica and gains her powers, while the loser becomes a normal doll.