I had actually picked up a copy of the Rozen Maiden manga ages ago, flipped through it, then dropped it like the evil thing it is. But when the anime came out, I found myself attracted to it in ways that make absolutely *no* sense to me whatsoever. For one thing, I hate dolls with a passion. They utterly creep me out. And the Goth-loli look is not a charm point for me. So, why then am I watching this with something approaching actual enjoyment?
Well, to be fair, the anime for Rozen Maiden is really well done, for one thing. The art is clean, the voice acting excellent and the opening and ending themes are done by Ali Project, those darlings of Bee Train anime and also the folks who gave life to Pastel Pure – the opening theme of Maria-sama ga Miteru.
The story is simple – creepy doll Shinku finds her way to the house of Jun, a boy who is a classic hikkikomori, in the sense that he is *so* socially retarded (and, we are led to believe, genuinely phobic) that he is terrified to leave the house. Jun’s sister Nori seems happy enough to take care of Jun even while she hopes that he will one day go back to school.
Shortly after Shinku’s arrival another doll (a clown…of course,) arrives to kill Jun. Shinku informs Jun that she can save him, but he must swear to be her servant. The word she uses has more of the implication of “slave” so, naturally, Jun is reluctant. However, he is more reluctant to die, so, he kisses her ring and now lives as indentured servant to a doll. A doll with impeccable manners, but still…
The next several episodes involves introducing many more dolls, some good, some bad, and one seriously annoying little girl doll who makes my teeth clench everytime she speaks. Each doll has her own issues and powers. At least one of the dolls is *evil* – you can tell, she’s all in black and leaves raven feathers everywhere she’s been…oh, and she says something about destroying Shinku somewhere in there too. See? Evil.
Okay, I admit it, I have no sense of tension, urgency or passion about this series – in fact, when questioned, I admit it’s stupid with a capital “stoo,” but I like it anyway. Where else but in anime can one see a creepy loser kid get the stuffing beaten out of him by a doll and still like the doll better than the human?
So, yeah, Yuri. Well…I don’t got my hopes up, but I’m willing to be wrong. I think the sister would make good crush fodder, but as has already been pointed out to me, she *does* have a serious brother complex, so maybe not. Yuri between the dolls somehow holds no appeal for me…but then, I hate dolls. If there is any, I’m betting we see akogare by at least one of the dolls for Shinku who is, honestly, quite cool if you like physically abusive goth-loli dolls. ^_^
Story – 7
Character – 8
Art – 8
Music – 8
Yuri – 0
Service – 7
Overall – A strong 6. I’m willing to give it time and see where it goes.
Watching Shinku beat the crap out of Jun makes me happy, what can I say? Apparently my admiration for women who aren’t above a little physical violence extends to dolls. Great.