Just got back from a screening of Episodes 1-4 of Rozen Maiden Zurückspulen at Alamo Drafthouse Mason Park in Katy, Texas. The last word in the title means "Rewind" in German, as in to rewind a videotape or reel-to-reel film or audio cassette. Or more figuratively it signifies that this is a "reboot" of the original, basically. I know I saw the original Rozen Maiden dub ages ago but it was so "meh" that it barely left much impression. I think Johnny Yong Bosch was in that dub, and maybe it was a Bandai(?) release? All I remember was it involved creepy dolls that talked that the main character was obsessed with, and he eventually went crazy, the end. It was dark, and creepy, and I really don't remember much beyond that. It was entirely forgettable.
Rozen Maiden Zurückspulen is by contrast at least a coherent narrative, where there's actual struggle, and stuff actually happens. The plot seems to be going somewhere. Sure, it's still creepy and Loli as fuck, but it's loads more entertaining than the original. I wonder if if this was ever a dating sim back in Japan, as this anime adaptation separates the protagonist, Jun Sakurada (桜田 ジュン Sakurada Jun?), along two parallel fates in space-time. One in which he chooses to activate the red doll named Shinku (真紅?, Reiner Rubin, Crimson), while he is still in Elementary School and one in which he does not until much later, when he's first started college. These lines of fate interweave and cross over, which is kind of interesting and lends an almost Steins;Gate feel to the series. Shinku is voiced by the incomparable Luci Christian, and many of the Sentai Filmworks regulars round out the rest of the voices of the other dolls, including Hilary Haag (happy to see her still active in the biz), Brittney Karbowski, and Monica Rial, among others.
Rozen Maiden is actually faux German...proper German would be Rosenmädchen. You wouldn't use the "Z" to get a "Zee" sound; the S makes that sound in that position in German. The German word for Maiden is Madel (Maid) or diminuitive Mädchen (Girl). Anyway, that's nit picking, I know.
I'd probably watch more of Rozen Maiden Zurückspulen as it definitely piqued my interest. The animation is really nice, and the story is sufficiently engaging that I care about the main character(s). Shinku is definitely a pint-sized Tsundere. Saito, Jun's co-worker, is an aspiring young theater student and seems like a really sweet person who likes Jun. Definite future girlfriend prospect, even Shinku can see that, even if Jun can't.
The original Rozen Maiden was just kind of a snooze fest; really, new viewers could just jump right in here and not miss a thing. This is NOT the kind of show where a knowledge of the original show is strictly necessary. It's not a priority purchase for me, but I'd definitely watch it for rental streaming on Netflix someday, or on rental DVD.