For being a remake of the only show for which an Ali Project opening isn’t an abomination, Rozen Maiden:Schnitzelspielen was surprisingly good—barring the spectacularly awful first episode, of course. I wouldn’t exactly call it one of the best series of the year, since there was still a noticeable clunk between Jun and Alice Game-centric scenes, but it more than surpassed my meager expectations. Of course it could have basically choked on its own vomit after jamming a cinderblock onto its uvula and still surpassed my meager expectations, but there were genuinely profound moments that are the sign of far better writing than the first series’ bog standard fare.
Most of what I liked was the humanization of the more villainous dolls, Suigintou and Kirakishou, to the extent that both mirrored Jun’s deepest insecurities and his own worst habits. I actually liked their personalities and sympathized with their struggles, compared to the designated villain role that they filled in the previous iteration. Behind their callous disregard for the lives of their sisters is now tangible emotion, fed by the knowledge that they’re both utterly broken things. Literally, in Kirakishou’s case.
Suigintou eventually takes a step toward redemption by growing attached to a terminally-ill girl in a hospital, leaving Kirakishou alone as the one totally inhuman doll of the bunch. She may be more pitiable than relatable, but there’s still a definite sadness behind her malicious actions. Every moment that Kirakishou’s on screen is memorable and genuinely creepy. She’s somebody who can only express her desire for love by causing harm to others, for fear that otherwise her existence might be ignored. I make it sound dumb and pretentious because I can barely string two thoughts together at the moment, but Rozen Maiden did a great job at making formerly shitty villains actually memorable, and it deserves praise for its efforts.