28 Jan 07
Jun Sakurada has a dangerous habit. He orders mail order items and returns them just before the grace period ends. If he leaves it too late he can’t get his money back and is stuck with whatever junk he’s bought. Jun lives at home with his sister Nori who tries her best to get on with Jun, but he keeps pushing her away. Jun refuses to go to school and with his parents out of town there’s no one to force it on him.
In the mail Jun receives a strange doll. A very realistic and beautifully crafted doll with a wind up key. When Jun turns the key it comes to life. The doll, named Shinku, is a very rare doll called a Rozen Maiden who also holds many powers, including being able to bring other toys to life. Shinku quickly takes charge of the household and her new ‘manservant’ and his sister.
Aesthetically, Rozen Maiden is a very well crafted piece of art. It ranges in drawing style between Chibi and fantastically detailed drawings, with the occaisional super-deformed moment. The transitions between these styles work well and add a little comedy to an otherwise dramatic graphic novel. When you turn certain pages, don’t be surprised if you have to take a step back as some of the facial features drawn on characters are incredibly shocking and can freak you out a little bit.
The storyline of Rozen Maiden is very calmly paced. It doesn’t try to squeeze in as much as it possibly can which leaves time to explore the characters and their relationships between each other. New characters are introduced on a ‘need to know’ basis, and this doesn’t overload the reader with too much information. The story has a tendancy to follow an ‘Alice in Wonderland’ vibe, going down a rabbit hole without knowing just where you’re going to turn next, and the final page leaves a lot to viewer perception and participation
Rozen Maiden will be taking pride of place upon my bookshelf, and I can’t wait to see how this story turns out. It’s a fantastic tale of personal loneliness, arrogance, and mail order shopping; three features most of us can recognise.