Well, it looks like there’s no need to worry about rushed pacing anymore. Because now we are taking a whole new look at the rozen maiden universe, with most of our previous characters now gone. It’s a much more grim experience than previous entries with small links to the past, and i’m excited to see where it goes.
We start off with two playbacks of the same event, where Jun is given the choice to circle either “wind” or “don’t wind”. Each playback has a different choice, but we know from previous stories that the universe we’re familiar with involved winding. After this, we find ourself in the shoes of a much older Jun Sakurada. Both have their fair share of melancholy, but this one is apparently a university student and lives alone.
They also have different issues with life outside. Unlike the first Jun who stayed a shut-in due to past trauma, this one is simply dissapointed with how dull life is. He still attends classes and even has a part-time job at a bookstore. But it’s clear from his monologues and lack of facial expressions that he does not see much value in his life. People regularly label him as a weirdo, which he responds with calling them ignorant.
That is until we get to the 2nd main difference to the original series. Instead of just receiving a case with the doll inside, Jun finds a book about to be thrown away at his workplace called “How to make a Girl”. He then starts receiving packages that each contain a part of the rozen maiden doll and how to build it volume by volume.
His tired state from building the doll every night worries his coworker, a female member of a local drama troupe. She walks with him on their way home and for once gets Jun to start talking with someone. Before she leaves, Jun notices a key that resembles a picture in his books before finally heading home. When he gets back though, there isn’t a package this time.
Things stay uneventful until we get our first clue that something is wrong. He gets an email from his middle school address that details what the Rozen Maidens are, the Alice game, and that they are currently on the losing side. While he brushes it off as just a prank, he suddenly receives a letter from that states the package deliveries are now cancelled. And then the ep ends.
One thing you’ll notice is that comedy seems to be void from this series. While previous Rozen Maidens have stayed light-hearted for the most part, this one seems to mostly focus on the mystery of the rozen maidens and the possible link to a different timeline. Along with the Alice game we’ll inevitably return too, the timeline connections brings another sense of complexity that makes the 7 year long wait worth it. This may be a continuation, but it’s clearly got some new stories to tell. And with pacing more balanced and the tone closer to the gothic themes than previous entries, this might be a triumphant return for this franchise.