March 2006

After talking all about computers, I realized one thing: I loved Suigintou, and I loved Rozen Maiden!

Rozen Maiden and its sequel, Rozen Maiden: Traumend are two series concentrating on magical dolls and their relationships with their masters and peers. Although it may sound gay and childish, believe me, Rozen Maiden is NOT for children, and definitely NOT only for girls. I am a guy; although I was biased towards these series before I decided to watch the first episode. Twenty-three episodes later, the two series having already ended I still wanted more~! Yes. More.

Guys are often turned off when it comes to dolls. I myself was that way before watching Rozen Maiden. As guys, we attach a symbol of femininity to dolls, and perhaps because of our social structure that attachment is only pertinent. It will all change, however, when you watch it yourself.

Not only is it an anime about dolls, it is also among the most well-crafted anime I've seen. Although the dolls act anthropomorphically, their human dimensions is what makes them extremely likable by the end of the series. You will laugh when they are happy; you will cry when shit will happen … believe me, as a guy, though I haven't cried in anime I have been saddened and deeply affected by Rozen Maiden, especially by Traumend.

Although the relationships between the dolls are of note and beautifully molded, the social connotations behind too much education and the reality of life in Japan are also reflected in Rozen Maiden. In Japan, because of the extremely high expectations parents have of their children, only a little stress can trigger these children to break down and literally 'lock themselves away' from society. They hermetically seal themselves even from their own family. Known as hikikomori in Japanese lingo, these children have been growing in number ever since.

Our hero, Jun Sakurada, suffers from this ailment and the first series of this two-part anime deals with his recovery because of the unflinching kindness and love of his sister and of the dolls that surround him. It is a very poignant story and can definitely stand alone without the second series.

However, after watching the first series you most definitely will not stop watching Rozen Maiden. By then you will have fallen into a deep pit of fanboyism or fangirlism, and different degrees apply to different people. (I've fallen into a very deep pit of fanboyism.)

The second series continues directly after the first series, and as much as I would like to spoil you I'm just going to tell you that the second series is more plot-driven than the first series, which was more character-driven. Your enjoyment will not be attenuated, believe me, as a bittersweet story lies waiting for your consummation.

All in all, let me tell you that YOU (t3h r3ad3r) must like Suigintou (t3h hotti3). This is a rule in fanboyism … there isn't really much boys in this series, but YOU can still be a fangirl! Yes, you! But don't worry, although every doll has different characteristics from one another, they are extremely likable. Just don't expect to like them immediately, though.

If you plan to watch this anime, definitely watch it. I did, and I've never regretted seeming to be gay … for watching a show about dolls. If you don't plan to watch this anime, definitely watch it, as you may change your mind on the whole about dolls – you may even get to like them.

Don't worry, us regulars of the Rozen Maiden thread in the Fansubs forum can attest to that.



I discovered this anime while surfing the AnimeSuki forums. Curious, I clicked on the thread and read about this anime. Although I did not learn much from the thread, I read about it on websites that were anime databases such as AniDB and AnimeNewsNetwork. From those sites I learnt about the anime, but the details were still hazy in my mind. I then decided, despite my unattraction to the anime, to watch it. (Perhaps I also watched it because of Ichihara Yuuko's t3h h0tn355)

I never really did expect anything from the anime. I almost was put off of it in the first five minutes because of how the characters were drawn: with disproportion. All characters were lean and lanky, with long arms and feet. Eventually, the style grew on me, and I watched on. What then unfolded was a sea of quirks, bizarre occurrences, and surreal phantasmagorias. Great.

Like the description from the databases, the movie (to be more specific) was hazy. It's not really a maze of metaphors like FLCL (as if I understood that!) but it was a maze to watch. We see Kiminoto Watanuki twist around the mansion (the movie's central setting) dealing with monsters and strange poltergeists. At the heart of all that weirdness, though, was a very striking meaning (at least for me). In addition, the relationship of Yuuko and Watanuki only added to its charm. It's something of a mother doting over a son dovetailed with a servant-master relationship, which suited the movie well. I, for one, am not against different-generation relationships as long as both man and woman are beautiful. Even if the man or woman is aged, as long as they look beautiful and are fit for each other, I won't hesitate from watching it ( hmm … this reminds me of Koi Kaze.) I myself wish for them to end up together eventually, and that will be answered in the coming TV series of xxxHOLiC that I'm definitely going to watch.

The moral or meaning to the movie isn't as strikingly poignant as Shingetsutan Tsukihime or Koi Kaze, but it's still poignant in its own way, I guess. To simply put, we sometimes forget what we truly live for. And that, is the movie in a sentence. Mix that meaning, however, with colorful characters, surrealism, phantasmoric art, and the beauty of Ichihara Yuuko, and you get xxxHOLiC.