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Rozen Maiden: Träumend – Complete Set (a J!-ENT Anime DVD Review)

July 20, 2009 by  



“The second season of ‘Rozen Maiden’ continues the lighthearted, fun atmosphere of the first season but it also contains a more darker, action-paced storyline.  I really enjoyed every episode!  Overall, another wonderful season of ‘Rozen Maiden’ worth checking out!”

 

Images courts © Peach-Pit/Rozen Maiden Project.  All Rights Reserved.

DVD TITLE: Rozen Maiden: Träumend – Complete Set

DURATION: 12 episodes (300 minutes)

DVD INFORMATION: English (Dolby Digital) and Japanese (Stereo), Two English subtitle screens (Dialogue translation and signs only translation)

COMPANY: FUNimation Entertainment

RATED: Suggested 13 Up (Adventure and Action)

Originally created by Peach-Pit

Directed by Kou Matsuo

Series Composition by Jukki Hanada

Script by Jukki Hanada, Mari Okada, Tsuyoshi Tamai

Music by Shinkichi Mitsumune

Character Design by Kumi Ishii

Art Director: Chikako Shibata

Sound Director: Yota Tsuruoka

Featuring the following voice talent:

Asami Sanada as Jun Sakurada

Miyuki Sawashiro as Shinku

Natsuko Kuwatani as Suiseiseki

Rika Morinaga as Souseiseki

Sakura Nogawa as Hinaichigo

Yumi Shimura as Kanaria

Rie Tanaka as Suigintou

Saori Goto as Barasuishou

Daisuke Ono as Enju

Takahiro Sakura as Shirosaki

Kyousei Tsukui as Laplace’s Demon

Jun struggles to find meaning in his life, as he adapts to his new reality among a collection of living dolls.

This is the story of a young boy who locked himself away from his classmates, finding security in solitude.  This is the tale of an exquisite doll, her only wish to one day become a normal human girl.  The mortality she covets will be her reward if the boy and the doll can create a trust between them.

Real life will begin for each if they survive the perilous Alice game.

Finally, the long awaited complete set of “Rozen Maiden: Träumend” is here!

A 12-episode animated television series created by PEACH-PIT who are known for anime and manga such as “DearS”, “Di Gi Charat”, “Shugo Chara!” and “Zombie-Loan”.

The animated series is directed by Kou Matsuo (known for his storyboard work for anime such as “Sola”, “Witch Hunter Robin”, “Mobile Suit Gundam 00” and “Cardcaptor Sakura”) and character designs are by Kumi Ishii (known for work on “Naruto”, “Heat Guy J”, “Ichigo 100%” and “Cardcaptor Sakura: The Movie”).

With the first season, we were introduced to the character of Jun Sakurada, who is the perfect definition of “hikkimori”, a term in Japanese who lock themselves in their home and are somewhat anti-social.  Things change as he becomes the owner of an enchanted doll named Shinku and literally becomes her servant.

Shinku is joined by other dolls such as Hinaichigo, Suiseiseki, Souseiseki.  But these dolls must be careful as their other sister Suigintou wants them all dead.

The first season ended with the defeat and destruction of Suigintou and all seems fine with all dolls for now.  But with the second season of “Rozen Maiden: Träumend”, all seems happy until another sister arrives.  And if you thought Suigintou is bad, Barasuishou is much, much worse.  This time, the “Alice Game” must take place.  The game was supposedly the plan of their father and that is for all dolls to fight to the death and the victor (who takes control of each of the doll’s Rozen Mystica) would essentially become “Alice”, the prized doll of their father.

“Rozen Maiden: Träumend” revolves around the following characters:

Jun Sakurada – The main human character from the first season.  He has since abandoned his “hikkimori” ways,  now has friends but is still a shy guy who tries to comprehend Shinku and the other dolls.  But these dolls have been nothing but beneficial to him as a person.

Shinku – Bonded with Jun and looked as the more serious-minded of the dolls and likes drinking tea, reading and always trying to fix all destruction caused by her sisters.  Meanwhile, Shinku has been having bad dreams and realizes that the “Alice” game may have to begin.  Shinku is addicted to a puppet show on TV known as “Detective Kunkun”.

Hinaichigo – The bubble-headed doll who is always hungry (or thinking of food) and getting in some sort of trouble through her clumsiness.

Suiseiseki – The oldest of the twins and wears a dress.  Always getting into some conflict with Jun and the others but in reality, she does care for them.  She just has a way  of expressing her emotions.

Souseiseki – The youngest of the twins and sports a hat.  Always trying to fix up Suiseiseki’s mess-ups but also more inclined to fight and a big supporter of the “Alice Games” and doing whatever their father wants of them.

Kanaria – A new sister who wants to become Alice and always trying to find ways to defeat her other sisters.  The problem is that Kanaria is not very smart when it comes to fighting and shares more in common with her sister Hinaichigo.

Barasuishou – A cold, powerful maiden who wants nothing but the defeat of all Rozen Maidens.

Suigintou – Although a villain in the first season, she was brought back to life to take part in the “Alice Games” and her hatred towards Shinku is as strong as ever.

Here is a spoiler-less summary of “Rozen Maiden: Träumend” :

DISC 1:

1.  Rozenkristall – What are the Rozen Maid dolls up to since the events from the first season?

2.  Enju – We are introduced to a new Rozen Maiden sister named Barasuishou and an evil entity named Laplace.

3.  Kanarienvogel – We are introduced to another new Rozen Maidens sister named Kanaria.

4.  Vereinbarung – Suiseiseki wants Jun to be her master but doesn’t know how to go about letting him know.

DISC 2:

5.  Der Brief -Suiseiseki and Hinaichigo decide to cook for Jun.

6.  Engel – The return of Rozen Maiden Suigintou.

7.  Teegesellschaft – Kanaria takes on the Rozen Maidens.

8.  Puppenmacher – Jun becomes and apprentice for the puppetmaker Enju who seems to know quite a bit about the Rozen Maidens.

DISC 3:

9.  Der Tadel – Souseiseki makes his stance known of where he stands on the “Alice Games”.  Souseiseki takes on Sugintou while Shinku takes on Barasuishou.

10  Tomoc –   The first tragedy of the “Alice Games”.

11.  Rosengarten – Barasuishou takes on Suiseiseki and Kanaria.

12.  Alice – Shinku vs. Barasuishou and Suigintou.  The conclusion of “Rozen Maiden: Träumend”.

VIDEO & AUDIO:

“Rozen Maiden: Träumend – Complete Set” is an anime series that sports a lot of colors.  For the most part, this is a TV animated series and of course, television series in Japan are created in a short deadline and not as much detail.  But for the most part, the majority of the series takes place inside Jun’s home or total darkness, so background art is not as prominent but you do get scenes with lush, beautiful painted scenery and backgrounds.  If anything, more attention was put on the characters and the dolls in battle.

It’s also important to emphasize that this is a television series and not an OAV or film.  So, production quality is going to much lower.  But overall, I enjoyed the character designs for the animated series and the story of “Rozen Maiden: Träumend” made things much more enjoyable for me.

As for audio, the English dub is presented in English Dolby Digital and the Japanese language in Stereo.  The series is at the most part, all dialogue with some scenes sporting battles (this is more towards the later half of the series) between the Rozen Maiden dolls.  I listened to both audio soundtracks and both are well-done.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Rozen Maiden: Träumend – Complete Set” comes with the following special features:

DISC 1:

  • Textless OP theme and Geneon Trailers

DISC 2:

  • Textless Ending theme and Geneon Trailers

DISC 3:

  • Japanese TV CM’s  and Geneon Trailers

The final complete set for “Rozen Maiden: Träumend” (the second season) has arrived in the US and I’m quite thrilled that FUNimation has released the series as a complete set.

After the first two volumes were released in America through Geneon in 2007, due to Geneon’s corporate situation, “Rozen Maiden: Träumend” was among many titles that were canceled.

Fortunately, in 2008, Geneon and FUNimation Entertainment announced an agreement to distribute select titles in North America and while Geneon has the license, FUNimation Entertainment will have the exclusive rights for the sales and distribution for the titles which include “Rozen Maiden: Träumend”.

The concept of living dolls may seem a bit freaky for some people but in Japan, there is a large collector-based for “Volks” dolls.  As there are many guys who collect action figures and mecha machines in Japan (and also in the US), the Volks dolls are quite an accomplishment for collectors who need to build them and in the end result are quite beautiful.

Of course, in America, the thought of dolls coming alive are seen in horror films (“Chucky” anyone?) and I for one, have always thought of dolls coming alive to be horrifying (yes, as a youngster, I threw out my sister’s dolls because I thought they were possessed).  But overall, the concept of “Rozen Maiden” has never scared me or freaked me out and I have to admit, “Rozen Maiden: Träumend” was a much darker series than its predecessor and I have to admit that I enjoyed the overall storyline and this concept of how the dolls must fight to the death for the purpose of being “Alice”.

It’s hard to deny the cuteness of the series and their own character traits.  Where this series could have been cliche and annoying, overall their own personal quirks is what makes the series so fun. I really had fun watching this series.

With “Rozen Maiden: Träumend”, you get a good balance of lighthearted humor and action.  Whereas the first series focused on Jun and how the dolls have helped him overcome his “hikkimori”, this series features on character development of the dolls and how quickly they are put into a position that they don’t want to be.   They just want to be happy but because their creator has put together this “Alice Game”, they can’t bow out and resist.  They must fight.

In the end, I found “Rozen Maiden: Träumend” to be an enjoyable, cute and humorous anime series.  The lighthearted fun carries on for a little over half of the second series but it quickly becomes serious and more intense.  But for the most part, the whole series held my attention with each episode and I fount that very cool!

But now after watching this second season, I want more!  One can only hope that we get the two episode OAV “Rozen Maiden: Ouvertüre” released soon in the US (this OAV supposedly gives us a look back of why Suigintou and Shinku do not get along) and hopefully we see a new series to continue the adventures of the Rozen Maiden dolls.

“Rozen Maiden: Träumend” is definitely a series worth recommending!

 

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