ANIME & MANGA - Review
15:00 - 21st November 2015, by NEO Staff

Rozen Maiden: Zurückspulen

Middle school shut-in Jun Sakurada is the recipient of a cosmically delivered letter. After circling the more intriguing of two options – wind or do not wind – he’s soon the baffled owner of a ball joint doll, decked in lolita threads with blonde whirligig curls. After winding the doll into life, she introduces herself as Shinku, the fifth Rozen Maiden.

In a parallel universe, Jun has grown into a withdrawn college student working a dead-end job after choosing the other option. But his decision comes back to haunt him after getting desperate text messages from his younger self. It’s the fourth in the series to adapt Peach-Pit’s mesmerising moé tinged manga, and essentially hits the refresh button on what came before.

As far as first episodes go, Rozen Maiden – Zurückspulen falls flat with only a brief concession to context. By the second self-styled ‘tale’, it tempers the cuteness with Steins;Gate-like metaphysics, and nods to the works of Edogawa Rampo – AKA Tarō Hirai.
Veteran Studio Deen took the reins from Nomad, and it really shows. The backdrops are rendered like impressionist watercolours, but it’s in the minor details where it comes to life. Making a cup of tea, for instance, or the careful tailoring of a dress demonstrate the flair and pensiveness director Omata Shinichi – as Mamoru Hatakeyama – picked up helming episode four of Puella Magi Madoka Magica.

Under its façade, it’s a series about a wounded boy whose humiliation and yearning branch out into twin universes. Jun oozes pathos, conforming to some character tropes while smashing others altogether.

If you liked the ideas in Steins;Gate, and can forgive the moé in abundance, then Rozen Maiden is a great next step.
SCORE: 3/5
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