Rozen Maiden (ローゼンメイデン Rōzen Meiden) is a manga series created by the art-duo Peach-Pit. The manga is comprised of two serializations bearing the same name.
The story centers on Jun Sakurada, a young hikikomori boy that forms a bond with Shinku, a living doll of the "Rozen Maiden" series, who was created by the mysterious dollmaker Rozen hundreds of years ago. The series examines the living habits and personality of each of the Rozen Maidens whom Jun encounters, as well as their quest to become the perfect girl, named "Alice".
Rozen Maiden was originally serialized in Comic Birz Monthly Comic Birz from 2002 to 2007 and in English by Tokyopop from 2006 to 2008. The continuation manga series started in April 2008, now in Young Jump Weekly Young Jump, and ended January 2014.
The plot revolves around Jun Sakurada, a middle school student who refuses to go to school after being traumatized by an embarrassing experience. Since then, he avoids leaving his house and spends the day ordering goods online and returning them before the grace period ends. When Jun receives a letter asking "yes or no", he becomes skeptical, but circles "yes". Soon after, the letter vanishes and a wood case appears in his room. Inside the box is a very realistic doll which, after being wound starts moving on its own and introduces herself as Shinku, the fifth doll of the Rozen Maiden series.
In the following, Jun becomes Shinku's "master", a human host that provides the doll with his own life energy, allowing her to walk and use magic. This bond is symbolized by a ring worn by both parties. Now, Jun and Shinku must participate in the "Alice Game", a competition between the Rozen Maiden dolls to capture each other's "Rosa Mystica", their primary life source. Once a doll is defeated in combat, she loses her Rosa Mystica to the opponent, and becomes an inanimate doll. The last doll who remains standing wins the Alice Game, will become a girl of utmost beauty and purity named "Alice", just as their creator Rozen wanted.
The chapters of the manga series Rozen Maiden (ローゼンメイデン Rōzen Meiden) were written and drawn by Peach-Pit. The first chapter premiered in the September 2002 issue of Comic Birz where it was serialized monthly until it came to an abrupt halt in the June 2007 issue, due to the author's hospitalization. The series then re-started in April 2008, this time appearing in Weekly Young Jump, where it was being serialized monthly. The series follows Jun Sakurada, a hikikomori who spends most of his time locked in the safety of his room and ordering items from the internet. However, through a strange order form, he finds himself in possession of an enchanted doll that calls herself "Shinku, the fifth Rozen Maiden doll".
The Rozen Maiden manga, produced by Peach-Pit, has been serialized in two different magazines: Monthly Comic Birz from 2002 to 2007, and Weekly Young Jump from April 2008 onwards. After March 2007, publication of Rozen Maiden in Comic Birz stopped for three months. Some speculated that the editorial department lost Peach-Pit's draft, while others said there was some kind of disagreement between Peach-Pit and the editorial department. The finale of Rozen Maiden was serialized in the July 2007 issue, with Peach-Pit apologizing to the readers for the abrupt ending, essentially a deus ex machina.
In March 2008, a one-shot manga titled Shōjo no Tsukurikata (少女のつくり方?, lit. How to Make a Girl) appeared in Shueisha's Weekly Young Jump magazine, briefly telling the story of the making of Shinku. Soon afterward, Peach-Pit announced that Rozen Maiden would start a new serialization in in Weekly Young Jump magazine in the April 17, 2008 issue.
The second manga series began in Weekly Young Jump and released monthly. Individual chapters are referred to as "Tales" instead of "Phases". In this manga, Jun Sakurada is a university student who finds himself in possession of a magazine titled "How to Make a Girl", which comes with a box containing doll parts. He decides to put together the doll from the parts and after receiving mysterious communications from someone claiming to be a past version of him, is soon able to awaken Shinku. The series follows Jun's struggles to deal with his new life with Shinku, and elucidates many of the mysteries brought about by the sudden ending of the previous manga series. This series is an alternate reality where the middle-school Jun initially received the letter telling him he had won a prize, but did not follow the instructions to reclaim it.
In accordance with starting the serialization of the second series, Young Jump announced the production of a remodeled edition (新装版) of the original manga series. Young Jump promised to publish the remodeled edition on a monthly basis, with a total of 7 books. The new books are adorned with golden covers and new cover art, featuring each of the Rozen Maiden dolls in order of their creation. Each book contains a promotional colored post-card, and new color pages were said to be added.
- Japan's former Prime Minister, Taro Aso, gained the nickname "Rozen Aso" after being seen reading volume one of the Birz manga in public, allegedly while waiting at Tokyo International Airport. Aso remarked about the manga, "Although it looked girlish, I was impressed that its story was so deep."
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