All I have is praise for this ep. Not only do we finally get to see the return of shinku, but we get a better understanding of what trauma Jun experienced to remain a shut-in for years. For a series mainly known for cute dolls fighting in living rooms and lands of sweets, it’s quite clear that this one has taken a turn that is somewhat frightening. And it fits oh so well.
After seeing that the packages are not coming due to attacks from the 7th doll, Jun(old) starts to take heed in Jun’s(young) texts. With no way to find the parts, he is instead told to start off with Shinku’s clothing so as not to enrage her when she awakens. Sewing the clothes takes several days off of work, but what’s more painful is what sewing has done to his past. Eventually, the 7th doll does find him, trapping him in what’s called an N-world(the territory of a rozen maiden doll). To avoid being killed, he searches for two remaining doll parts in a pile of fake ones. He succeeds, with the return of Shinku’s infamous slap.
What makes this ep so compelling wasn’t really the alternate universe like last time. What keeps it so interesting is directly involved with the time link between both Juns, as this is essentially an ep focused on them. Every text message between the two brings a mix of nostalgia and bewilderment, giving the sense that these are both the same person with different developments, and i love the stark contrast between the two.
Jun(young) has grown through his experience with the rozen maidens, taking responsibility and command of a situation he can hardly control. On the other hand, Jun(old) has very little motivation other than shrowded fear and boredom. It’s clear that he’s experienced more about life, but he hasn’t matured in the inside at all. He still has doubts, struggles to communicate, and nearly gives in when he’s stuck in the world of Fake doll parts.
Of course, none of this would be so effective if we didn’t know how he became such a mess in both timelines, and this ep finally addresses that issue. From when he started as a kid to going to middle school, we see Jun’s growing talent in design and sewing. As a child, he often drew designs of girl’s dresses and even sewed his sister a doll.
But as he got to middle school, his peers did not think so highly of his talent. Calling him a pervert or crossdresser, they slandered his talent to the point he desperately tried to keep it a secret. But when a school beauty contest came up with the requirement of making their own princess dress, he scribbled a design in his notebook out of curiosity.
He forgot to erase it though, and it ended up being posted on the school board and eventually announced with praise by the school. Despite them being amazed at his talent, it was also clear that they envied it, leading them to slander Jun(or at least in his head) to the point where he threw up. It may not be severe in our cases, as we all have our embarrassing moments. But the way it’s portrayed here is both tense and downright mean-spirited that such a simple case is believable as a scarring memory.
With Shinku now awakened and both Juns now taking part in their fate, the Alice Games will begin again. I hope we see more characters next week to put some more energy in the picture. So far it’s made up for a rushed recap, so let’s hope it doesn’t falter from here.