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Rozen Maiden (ローゼンメイデン Rōzen Meiden?) is a manga series created by the manga author duo, Peach-Pit. The story centers on Sakurada Jun, a young hikikomori boy that finds himself indebted to a living doll by the name of Shinku, a doll of the Rozen Maiden series, who was created by a mysterious but extremely talented dollmaker. The series examines the living habits and personality of each doll that is living with Jun and his sister Nori, as well as the sibling rivalry that they commence to name one doll as "Alice" in order to meet the maker who created them. Jun's sometimes comedic, sometimes dramatic experiences with Shinku—as well as the other six dolls of the Rozen Maiden series—slowly bring him out of his depression and back into the world that he had abandoned. Rozen Maiden has been serialized in two different magazines, with the original series running in Monthly Comic Birz from 2002 to 2007, at 43 chapters long. The second series, currently at 29 chapters long, has been running in Weekly Young Jump since April 2008.

The manga's first series was released in English by Tokyopop from 2006 to 2008, in 8 volumes. The manga has been also released in various other countries as well.

In TV Asahi's "Top 100 Anime Ranking" polled in 2006, Rozen Maiden was ranked 9th on the list.[1]

Plot

Jun Sakurada is a Junior High School student who refuses to go to school after being traumatized by an embarrassing experience there (see Hikikomori). He has taken to locking himself in his room, never leaving the house, and spends the day ordering goods online and returning them before the date in which he has to pay. His older sister, Nori Sakurada, does everything she can to brighten Jun's dreary existence, but is unable to change his situation.

One day, Jun receives a letter claiming he has won a prize. The letter asks him to choose "wind?" or "Don't wind?". It states that after he has made his decision, he must place the letter in the second drawer of his desk, and Holie will take it to the spirit world. Despite his skepticism, he follows these instructions, and discovers soon after that the envelope has vanished. Moments later, he realizes that a richly detailed wood case has materialized within his room. The box contains a strange realistic doll dressed in French aristocratic attire. Jun examines the doll from every angle before seeing the key and winding up the doll. The doll creaks, stands up on its own, then proceeds to slap him for handling her as crudely as he had. She introduces herself as, "...Shinku, the fifth doll of the Rozen Maiden."

Shinku is a doll from the unique "Rozen Maiden" collection, and before Jun can fully comprehend the weight of his new situation, a stuffed clown (bear in the manga) plush doll attacks. Shinku promises that she will save Jun's life, but only if he will vow to serve her. Thus, Jun becomes entrusted with the responsibility of protecting Shinku's "Rosa Mystica" whilst she is engaged in a centuries old fight with the other Rozen Maiden dolls for the title of "Alice."

Characters

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The "Rozen Maidens" are a collection of dolls created by a craftsman named Rozen, whom the dolls refer to as "Father". Their primary source of power is a human host (referred to as a "medium") who wears a ring to symbolize his bond with the doll, although certain dolls have been shown to act without a medium. According to Shinku, she can only be at full power when her medium is present. Each Rozen Maiden has her own distinct personality and guardian spirit.

Media

Manga

Script error The Rozen Maiden manga, produced by Peach-Pit, has been serialized in two different magazines: Monthly Comic Birz from 2002 to 2007, and Weekly Young Jump from April 2008 onwards. It has garnered quite a few followers, including Japan's former Prime Minister, Taro Aso, who gained the nickname "Rozen Aso" after being seen reading volume one of the Birz manga in public, allegedly while waiting at Tokyo International Airport. Aso remarked about the manga, "Although it looked girlish, I was impressed that its story was so deep."[1]

First series (Comic Birz)

Rozen Maiden was serialized in Comic Birz from September 2002 to July 2007. Individual chapters were referred to as "phases", of which around 43 were published. After March 2007, publication stopped for several months. Some speculated that the editorial department lost Peach-Pit's draft, while others said there was some kind of disagreement between Peach-Pit and the editorial department.[2] The finale of Rozen Maiden was serialized in the July issue of Birz, with Peach-Pit apologizing to their readers for the abrupt ending—amounting as it did to a deus ex machina.[3] The manga, which had been collected into seven volumes thus far, ended with an abridged volume that stopped at Phase 43. At only 90 pages, Volume 8 was noticeably thinner than the previous seven, compared to about 175 for each of the others.

In accordance with starting the serialization of the second series of Rozen Maiden manga, Young Jump has announced the production of a new edition (新装版; "remodeled edition") of the original manga series. Young Jump also promised to publish the new edition's books on a monthly basis, and will publish (via the Shueisha company) a total of 7 books. The new books are adorned with golden covers and new cover art, featuring each of the Rozen Maiden dolls in order of their creation by Rozen. Each book contains a promotional colored post-card. In addition, new color pages were said to be added.[4]

Second series (Weekly Young Jump)

In March 2008, a one-shot manga titled Shōjo no Tsukuri-kata ("How to Make a Girl") appeared in Japan's Weekly Young Jump magazine, briefly telling the story of the making of Shinku.[5] Soon afterwards, Peach-Pit announced that Rozen Maiden would once again be serialized, this time in Weekly Young Jump magazine[6], a fact which was confirmed in the April 17, 2008 issue.

The second manga series—with individual chapters referred to as "tales"—began serialization in issue 20 of Weekly Young Jump. Despite appearing in a weekly magazine, the manga continues to be released in monthly installments, as the original did in Birz. The manga is again titled "Rozen Maiden", and stars an older Jun, now a university student. Jun's workaday life is disrupted when he suddenly finds himself in possession of a weekly magazine titled "How to Make a Girl", which comes with a box containing doll parts. He decides to put together the doll from the parts he has received, and, after receiving mysterious communications from someone claiming to be a past version of him, is soon able to awaken Shinku. The series continues, following Jun's struggles to deal with his new life with Shinku, and elucidating many of the mysteries brought about by the sudden ending of the previous manga series. This series is a continuation of Rozen Maiden but features a different Jun. This Jun lives in an alternate world where, when he received the letter from Hollie, with the choices "wind" or "don't wind", Jun did not choose anything, and put the letter in the desk drawer. Both "wind" Jun and "don't wind" Jun exist in the same universe and do interact at some point in the series.

4 tankōbon volumes have currently been published in Japan[7][8][9], with no word as yet on whether the second series will be published in English.

TV manga

A series of manga based on the anime have also been released. It uses the anime storyline, and is in full color with screenshots fitted into manga format.

Anime

Rozen Maiden

The first season of Rozen Maiden focuses primarily on the psychological rehabilitation of Jun Sakurada. He is a hikikomori, and spends most of his time locked in the safety of his room and ordering items from the internet. However, through a strange order form, he finds himself in possession of an enchanted doll that calls herself "Shinku, the fifth Rozen Maiden doll". Much to Jun's displeasure, Shinku calls on him to create a strange bond with her, and the socially disinclined boy winds up being her "servant". The series follows the two of them as they encounter more Rozen Maidens, dolls that for the most part seem to want nothing more than to drink tea, destroy windows, and draw on his floor with crayons. In this season, five dolls are introduced: Shinku, Hinaichigo, Suigintou, Suiseiseki, and Souseiseki. Suigintou is the primary villain.

Rozen Maiden's first season consists of twelve episodes that began airing on October 7, 2004 and ended on December 23, 2004.

Rozen Maiden: Träumend

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. After releasing the first volume of DVDs (including the first four episodes), Geneon Entertainment canceled its North American releases in September 2007[10]. On July 3, 2008, Geneon and Funimation Entertainment announced an agreement to distribute select titles in North America. While Geneon Entertainment retained the license, Funimation Entertainment assumed exclusive rights to the manufacturing, marketing, sales and distribution of select titles, including Rozen Maiden and Rozen Maiden Traumend[11]. Volume 2 was officially released in North America on October 28, 2008[12], with the third volume following on December 9[13].

Rozen Maiden: Ouvertüre

This two-episode Rozen Maiden special was aired on December 22 and 23, 2006 on TBS in Japan. It is a brief prequel to the events of the TV series. Ouvertüre (オーベルテューレ ōberuchiyūre?), German for "overture", is set at some point during Träumend (most likely between episodes six and seven) and answers critical questions about Suigintou's past, particularly those pertaining to the rivalry she holds with Shinku. The majority of the two-episode special is told by Souseiseki and takes place as a flashback to the nineteenth century in London. Ali Project once again lends its talents for the opening song. As with the series, Kukui sings the ending theme.

Detective Kunkun – Duell Walzer OVA

Duell Walzer OVA is a 7 minute Detective Kunkun episode. The show is presented as an opera performance with curtains, showtime buzzer and stage. The story is about how Detective Kunkun foils the evil cat's plans to steal a beautiful gem from another character. This episode portrays watching Detective Kunkun's show from a Rozen Maiden doll's perspective.

"Duell Walzer OVA" consists of only one episode, and is found on the Rozen Maiden-Duellwalzer PlayStation 2 game disc.

Merchandising

CDs

Script error A variety of CDs have been released for Rozen Maiden, largely involving Drama CDs, or original soundtracks. Rozen Maiden OST and Rozen Maiden Drama CDs

DVDs

Geneon licensed Rozen Maiden,[1] and completely released the first season on DVD (first DVD containing 4 episodes was released on May 29, 2007, with officially dubbed English. The other 8 episodes were released on two other DVDs ('Maiden War' and 'War of the Rose'). The special edition DVD comes with a velveteen artbox. Geneon's Rozen Maiden license was announced through a unique "Guess The Geneon License" contest through Anime News Network. This contest was conducted through a scavenger hunt held in the form of a podcast. Listeners had to discover various clues that were littered throughout the podcast English logo for Little airplane.[citation needed]

The first DVD of the second season, 'Puppet Show', was released on October 23, 2007. The other two DVDs, 'Revival' and 'The Alice game' were supposed to come out in December of that year, but were delayed due to Geneon pulling out of North American DVD sales[2]. On July 3, 2008, Geneon Entertainment and Funimation Entertainment announced an agreement to distribute select titles in North America. While Geneon Entertainment will still retain the license, Funimation Entertainment will assume exclusive rights to the manufacturing, marketing, sales and distribution of select titles. Rozen Maiden and Rozen Maiden Traumend were two of several titles involved in the deal.[3]

Tokyopop Germany has completely released the first season on DVD, and the first Träumend DVD has originally been announced for March 2008, but due to increasing illegal downloads and DVD anime sales decreasing, it will not be released.[4]

Kaze, an anime publisher in France, has licensed the anime and has completely released the first, the second season and the OVA.

The Rozen Maiden Träumend box set, containing the whole second season was released on July 21, 2009.

Video games

Rozen Maiden: Duellwalzer (CERO Rating: A) is a visual novel game developed by Taito. It was released in Japan for Sony's PlayStation 2 console on 27 April 2006. Two versions were marketed for release: a "normal" one, which only included the game, and a special edition which also included a Rozen Maiden handwatch, similar to the one Shinku is seen using. There are currently no plans to release this game outside of Japan.

Rozen Maiden: Gebetgarten (CERO Rating: A) is the second official Rozen Maiden game which was released in March, 2007. It is a 3-D fighter made by Taito with cel-shaded graphics. It will also be for the PlayStation 2 console.

Rozen Maiden: ALiBAT is a free-ware, unofficial Rozen Maiden game. It is a high-speed 3D fighter for the PC.

Artbooks

There have been several Rozen Maiden artbooks published. The most notable are called Rozen Maiden Entr'acte, Rozen Maiden ERINNERUNG and well as two novels called Die Romane der Rozen Maiden - Schwarzer Wind and Die Romane der Rozen Maiden - Kalkgrun Augen.[5][6]

Dolls

Both Fashion doll companies Jun Planning and Volks have released a series of Rozen Maiden dolls. The Planning dolls are based on their Pullip and Dal Doll models.[7] Volks' Rozen Maiden-inspired designs are released as Super Dollfies.[8]

References

External links

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