I don’t know about you, but I find it pretty difficult to relax with the glassy eyes of a creepy doll seemingly following me around the room. Well take that inherent creepiness and couple it to what could only be described as an Asian-gothic back story and you’ve got yourself Rozen Maiden: Traumend; another of a long list of titles that would be forever lost to the sands of time when the proverbial Geneon ship sank a few years back. Thanks to Funimation, Rozen is back in style.
Released across 3 discs in a double-sized clamshell case, Rozen Maiden: Traumend the complete Second Season (despite being labeled the Complete Set) will hit shelves on July 21 and come in at a runtime of 300 minutes.
The show wears an appropriate 13 & up rating with no real violence, nudity, or rough language to report.
Language options are pretty thorough with original Japanese dialog and English dub presented in Dolby Digital with English subtitles available under either (dialog translation or signs only option). Bonus material is limited only to textless opening and closing themes and a few trailers.
The story here continues on the trials and tribulations of a young lad named Jun who, in effort to find meaning in what can only be described as a strange life, locks himself away from the outside world among a collection of living dolls.
Like a sort of bizarre retelling of Pinocchio, this is essentially the tale of a highly functioning living doll who’s only wish is to become a real human girl; a gift Jun can grant her if they can establish trust in one another. Sound strange to you? Oh rest assured, it is but I suppose that’s to be expected in a series that has been described as a mix between oddball comedy and supernatural drama.
These particular episodes center on an elimination death match tournament known as the Alice Game. Souseiseki has already jumped into the tussle despite the fact that she hasn’t the strength or ability to hold her own. To further complicate things, Hina Ichigo, who has been running on borrowed power, starts to take note of the fact that her energy-reserves are getting dangerously low. With only Shinku, Suiseiseki and Kanaria still at full health, can they stand up to the destructive powers of Suigintou and Bara-suishou, who are intent on winning the Alice Game at all costs? A long and bitter fight awaits them, but the greatest blow will be dealt when the doll maker Rozen himself makes a surprise appearance.
The set up works pretty well, if not dangerously close to falling into the shonen genre, but pretty much drops the ball at the grand finale. Along the way the pacing bounces around from kinda creepy, to outrageously silly, to fairly amusing. I hate spoilers in reviews and do my best to avoid integrating them into my reviews but since the truth is that most people interested in this dvd collection are likely hoping to witness the dramatic conclusion to the ongoing prose. However and be forewarned, the ending is bit of a letdown, especially so to those who like to feel vindicated by a “happily ever after” scenario. So long as you go into the show expecting a bummer of a conclusion, the remaining material will pass pretty smoothly.
Common for Funimation (but often hit or miss with Geneon), the English dub doesn’t take the backseat to the Japanese dialog track and in fact the US took a cue from the Japanese and wisely had a female actor play the role of lead male character, Jun.
In all it’s difficult to put a definitive rating on this series. As has been the case of late, the packaging and presentation is spot on. The source material is a bit goofy and unfocused (with a terrible ending to look forward to), and the premise is equal parts mystical and ridiculous. However the dub is pretty strong, the visuals clean and polished, and the pacing nice and swift. Fans of the show will undoubtedly be impressed with the 3 disc, 300 minute attention given to the second season. Everyone else will remember the “Child’s Play” series of films as being the superior attempt at the whole living dolls concept.
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The second season of Rozen Maiden, subtitled träumend (トロイメント, toroimento?) has a slightly darker tone. Träumend is German for "dreaming." The episodes are more plot-driven and deal with topics such as "Father" — the Rozen Maiden's creator — and the inevitable conclusion to the "Alice Game." Jun does not yet attend school (he has much work to make up before he can go back), but studies at home and at the local library. He is much more willing and eager to go outside the house, and seems to have even grown fond of the ever-present dolls. Shinku has also been changed, thanks to the events of the previous season, but she is generally as aristocratic as ever, lecturing and punishing Jun at every opportunity. Several new non-doll characters are introduced, including a riddle-spouting, tuxedo-attired anthropomorphic rabbit and two mysterious men who operate a doll shop. The final group of dolls also appear this season: Kanaria, the second doll, Barasuishou, who introduces herself as the seventh doll, and Kirakishou, the true seventh doll (though not by name).
Rozen Maiden: Träumend consists of twelve episodes that began airing on October 20, 2005 and ended on January 26, 2006. Only the first volume of DVDs—including the first four episodes—is currently available in North America, after Geneon canceled its North American releases in September 2007. On July 3, 2008, Geneon Entertainment and Funimation ...