ローゼンメイデン/Rozen Maiden, episodes 1–4

[Screenshot]If you watch enough series, you start to recognize “types”. There seems to be a standard plot, which I’ll call the “Stray Cat” type, where a teenage boy, either at a crossroads in life or in a rut, meets and becomes the host to a clueless and smitten girl who is physically weak, small, or otherwise incapable. This basic setup describes, say, Chobits, Midori Days, and, with a little bit of tweaking, Yamato Nadeshiko Shichi Henge. Rozen Maiden kinda flips this on its head, since the little companion taken in (and her entire cohort!) is far more capable, powerful, and all around on-top-of-things than her host is, and very much not smitten: all of the dolls we’ve been introduced to so far seem to positively detest Jun, for different reasons. This not only makes the series more interesting and fresher, but also shifts the genre: instead of the more common light comedy, Rozen Maiden is a drama with heavy fantasy notes. It’s a pretty busy series, and even though it has notes of comedy, it clearly takes itself seriously and wants the viewer to take it seriously. So far I have no problems doing so, because we have some interesting, well-drawn characters who suggest their three-dimensionality and backstories which suggest the plot has somewhere useful to go. Ultimately, though, it’s always up in the air as to whether the series as a whole lives up to its initial promise, but Rozen Maiden at least gives me hope.

See also: IMDB, Wikipedia, Anime News Network, AniDB.

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About Jake
I'm a mathematics professor at the University of Louisville, and a geek.

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