Rozen Maiden was a gothic fantasy anime series that ran in two seasons in 2004 and 2005. I rather liked it–a strange but compelling story about dolls who came to life to fight each other for the soul of a young man and the chance to become “Alice, the perfect girl.”
So when I heard that a remake was to be broadcast (Rozen Maiden – Zurückspulen on Crunchyroll) I had to check it out.
My initial concern was that it would look awful. The new version is from Studio DEEN, which is notorious for cutting corners on animation. It turned out to be not as bad as I feared. The new artwork is mediocre, certainly not as good as the original artwork from Nomad, but I’ve seen worse.
Anyway I’ve always maintained that the quality of the animation is less important than the quality of the writing and acting. Most of the original cast are back for the new series, so we can probably assume that the acting will be comparable. What about the writing?
Unfortunately, so far it is dreadful. The plan seems to be to pack the entire story into 12 episodes. The result is a mad rush that would probably be incomprehensible if I hadn’t seen the original series. In the process all of the atmosphere and dramatic power of the original series are lost.
The original series took its time to introduce the characters and set up the story in an entertaining way. Most of the dolls got their own introductory episodes.
The new series introduces all 7 dolls in the first episode, gives each of them a couple of lines, and manages to kill off 2 of them before the episode is over. Instead of the well-paced character development of the original series we get
“Hello, I’m X, the N’th Rozen Maiden doll. I have personality quirk Y. Whoops, I just got killed!”
My advice is: find the DVDs for the original series.