Greetings everyone, and welcome to the next review! Today we will be covering Rozen Maiden: Traumend, aka Season 2 of the original Rozen Maiden. There will be a limited amount of comparison to the first season, as would be expected, though this deviates as to how we normally review. Nonetheless, beware of major SPOILERS!
Now, without further ado, let us begin the review.
Summary: As summer break arrives for the students, Jun Sakurada is busily studying on his own in the library, making up for time lost while he had confined himself to his home. Meanwhile, his Rozen Maiden doll, Shinku, has been having troubling dreams of late. The pain and sadness of defeating Suigintō was overwhelming, despite the inevitable battle they waged. After waking suddenly from a nightmare, she finds Suigintō’s companion spirit wandering; upon giving chase, she discovers that the seventh Doll—Barasuishou—has awakened. She now realizes that Suigintō’s fate may very well befall the other Dolls, for the appearance of the last Doll signals the beginning of the end of the Alice Games. -AnimeNewsNetwork
The plot for Rozen Maiden: Traumend is arguably better developed than the plot of the first season. The pacing is a bit better, story elements are more fleshed out, and the change in mood of the overall story develops alongside the plot, instead of there being an abrupt and sudden transition. This being said, the plot still suffers a fate similar to that of its predecessor, with the end of the anime being more plot development heavy than earlier on. Additionally, the plot is a bit circular, in that the resolution and falling action leave things more or less at the same point they were two-thirds of the way through the series, making these parts of the story redundant and inconsequential. Finally, there is a brief introduction of an extra plot element that receives very little explanation at the very endof the anime.
The original characters receive much needed additional development in Rozen Maiden: Traumend, which is greatly welcomed. This includes some considerable growth by both humans and dolls in personality, making them feel more realistic. There is a departure in driving force from the first season, from the story focusing on Jun the character and moving to the dolls’ to drive the story primarily. While this helps a bit with the story execution, it also creates not much room for new characters. These new additions to the cast are not especially developed, much like the original characters of the first season, and as a result, can leave the cast feeling a bit crowded.
The animation of Rozen Maiden: Traumend is about the same as the previous season, though perhaps a little worst in some people’s eyes. The exposure to more of the N-field’s unique visuals and such alleviate these pains though.
Rozen Maiden: Traumend main bragging point over the previous season is better use of its soundtrack. The anime itself takes on a more serious and dark tone, so the opening better fits. There is also a greater addition to the number of soundtracks, and while the originals make their return, they also are more accurately, rather than haphazardly, added to scenes.
The second season offers some extensions of the themes from the first season, as well as a more prominent focus on new ones. The identity crisis of the dolls continues to be present, and balloons into the debate of purpose verses personal desires. This debate continues to be visited by many characters throughout the season, and is developed quite nicely throughout the show. However, there is no real answer to the debate, only that there is another possible solution. It is only mentioned in passing, and not extensively worked on. The show also brings up loyalty, and in what priority that loyalty should be offered. Again, the show unfortunately fails to solve the debate, not clarifying where loyalty should lie. These various debates running throughout the show also creates multiple senses of perspective that subtly change how one interprets the themes. Themes in Rozen Maiden: Traumend are better in being expressed throughout the entire run time, instead of falling primarily late in the show. This gives the viewers time to process these themes themselves, and watch how the characters respond or represent these themes.
Final Score: 8.4/10
Final Grade: B
Rozen Maiden: Träumend did a lot of things better than the first season. This season really gave the characters some much needed depth. We got to see different sides of the characters that really helped them grow. Sadly most of the characters they added felt very bland and did not get to grow much if at all through the series. This time they were able to make the show darker which made the series fit better with the opening. The premise was pretty much the same and besides the addition to a few characters the plot did not change much, which is not a bad thing. This season was a lot easier to get into, but the end felt a bit like a copout leaving an unsatisfied feeling at the end. Out of 10 I would give this anime a 7. I would recommend this anime to anyone who watched the first season and liked it, because it was quite a bit better than the first. – B-Ro
So Rozen Maiden, I felt, was a flawed but awesome show that built an interesting world. I was looking forward to see if season 2 would improve things. Well it only took one episode for me to get my answer: absolutely! Rozen Maiden Träumend is a huge improvement. One of my main concerns with the first season was the way it did the soundtrack. They brought back a lot (if not all) of the original soundtrack, and it consistently works this time!! The emotional music actually plays during legitimately emotional moments! I feel it’s because the characters have grown on me enough now that I can feel the emotion more. They also added new tracks, all of them being welcome aditions (some more diverse instrumentation, making for some beautiful atmospheres). ALI PROJECT again performs the opening, and while I liked the first opening more, this one still does a great job. The closer, however, is extremely awesome!! Lots of emotion, and really memorable visuals. I can now confidently say that Rozen Maiden seasons 1 and 2 combined have an amazing soundtrack. Träumend gets a lot darker, which I was also hoping for. The tragedy and melancholy that was hinted in season 1 with the Alice Game fully surfaces here, and man does it get crazy. It’s interesting to see these characters develop and react to this situation (Shinku develops quite interestingly), especially when more characters are thrown in. We get a lot more side stories this time around, and it really adds to the plot as a whole. The new villian doll is quite interesting, and at times really unsettling. The rabbit character is also interesting/a little unsettling. It felt like there was less Jun this time around, which I initially wanted, but I realized that Jun really grew on me, and I wanted to see more of him and his relationship with Shinku (Jun doesn’t impact the plot as much here either). At the end of the season, I realized that I may have gotten a little too much of what I had wished for with the dark aspect. Without spoiling anything, the anime sometimes gets a little too dark or tragic for my taste, or rather they try to fit too much dark in a single episode or two. Despite the darkness, the anime still has its share of funny moments, which may break the pacing, but I always loved them. And of course, the visuals in the N field are really interesting and cool. Though there was too much of a good thing with the tragic feel, Rozen Maiden Träumend is an excellent improvement that I thoroughly enjoyed. Here’s hoping season 3 adds even more!
Final Comments: Rozen Maiden: Traumend improves heavily on the soundtrack and plot over the first season of Rozen Maiden. However, it still falls into similar traps, with a ending heavy plot and new characters being rather static.
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