Since Overture expanded on her past, Suigin Tou has become one of the most complex, if not the most complex character in Rozen Maiden. The events are presented very well in Overture, however to fully appreciate the depth of her character you also have to consider the presentation of the characters in both the first season and Traumend, and also analyse characters beyond Suigin Tou and Shinku. That is what I intend to do here, character by character.
It makes sense to start at the beginning, and in this case the beginning is Rozen's creation of Suigin Tou. At this point Rozen's motivation behind the creation the dolls, especially the first of the series, remains somewhat mysterious. Furthermore it has not been revealed exactly why Suigin Tou was not completed. This forces us to start a little later, when she first gained sentience while Rozen was working on the other dolls.
The important thing to keep in mind at this point in time is that dolls are not supposed to be able to move until explicitly given life by their creator, in the case of the Rozen Maidens this is done by giving them a Rosa Mystica. Rozen continued to work on the other dolls unaware of Suigin Tou literally reaching out to him, as her being awake should not have been possible. It was only allowed by the intensity of her love for Rozen. It is possible that this was actually Rozen's intention, that he intentionally made her with her stronger emotions and left her incomplete to see how she faired. That seems unlikely considering that she was the first doll however, since she was the first it is far more likely that he considered her a genuine failure. It seems unkind that he simply left her there when he was finished his work, but as far as he knew she was an inanimate as the other dolls on the shelf with her. It was only when he left that Suigin Tou built up the will to move, 'pull herself together', and start traversing the N-fields.
Now one may question why Rozen didn't help her, by giving her a Rosa Mystica, as soon as she managed to come to life by herself, and instead waited until a later point. To explain this we need to look to Rozen's general habits and motivations. Ostensibly the purpose of the dolls is to fight each other until a victor emerges and becomes Alice. However, Rozen states at the end of Traumend that that is not the only way to become Alice. The fact that he would even tell one of the dolls this means he does not just want them to fight, although fighting is a valid option (as demonstrated by his not returning the Rosa Mysticas won by legitimate competitors). Despite having power enough to step in and restore everything after the events of Traumend, before this he never involves himself in order to influence or speed up the Alice game. He chooses instead to sit back and watch how things progress naturally, even if most of the dolls' time is spent living normal lives, not pursuing the Alice game at all. So, he must have an interest in the natural progression of the dolls' lives, as well as the pursuit of Alice. Further support for his interest in their natural progression is given in that he steps in when Bara Suishou shows herself not to be a valid competitor in the Alice game (by being destroyed by the Rosa Mysticas). As I already pointed out, he considers the Alice game a possible natural progression of their lives, and will not step in to stop or accelerate it. However, when the Alice game was influenced by what proved to be an artificial external force, a doll who fought but who could not become Alice, he stepped in to remove the effect of the fake doll, while leaving the consequences of the real dolls' actions intact (by not returning some of the Rosa Mysticas). This all shows that, for whatever reason, Rozen's real interest is in the dolls' progression through life. Thus, when Suigin Tou comes to life by herself, it is consistent with his behaviour towards the dolls to not immediately step in and help her.
Another interesting aspect of this inaction is that had he given her the Rosa Mystica as soon as he realised she came to life, he would have been doing exactly what Shinku did - treating her as something inferior. What Shinku eventually came to realise and what Rozen likely realised immediately is that being incomplete was not really a defect in Suigin Tou - it was part of what made her her. It was through the strength of her love and will to find her father that she overcame her physical shortcomings, and to then undo them would not be to 'fix' her, it would be to change her into someone else. It would, as with Shinku's actions, have been an act of kindness to do so of course, but one with undertones suggesting inadequacy in her original state. This is also likely why he didn't finish her torso any time after she came to life. She was fine without it, and lacking a complete body paradoxically became an intrinsic part of who she was. An important point in Rozen Maiden is that everyone has their own imperfections they have to deal with, and this does not make the person/doll 'defective', it is simply something they have to overcome during the course of their life. The only difference with Suigin Tou is that part of her imperfection was physical, and the dolls were all seeking physical perfection, hence both her and Shinku's unfavorable reactions to her incomplete body.
So the question becomes, if he didn't wish to 'fix' Suigin Tou as she wasn't really broken, why did he then give her a Rosa Mystica at all? This is because her death was another unnatural occurance, like Bara Suishou's interference. He gives her the Rosa Mystica after she is 'defeated' by Sousei Seki, and her 'death' is imminent. Normally he does not step in to prevent a doll's 'death', however Sousei Seki defeated her as part of the Alice Game and at the time Suigin Tou, much like Bara Suishou, was not a valid competitor in the Alice Game (as she did not have a Rosa Mystica). So, as at the end of Traumend, Rozen steps in to undo it, reversing her 'death' by giving her a Rosa Mystica. He also apparently tells her (as attested to by Suigin Tou herself in Traumend) that she is a true Rozen Maiden and able to become Alice despite being physically incomplete. It seems this message doesn't sink in fully however, details on this can be found in the section on Suigin Tou.
There is debate on what Shinku's true intentions towards Suigin Tou were. Did she really do what she did because she believed it was best for Sugin Tou, or did she harbor a disrespectful, almost mocking, attitude toward her?
For now lets put aside her somewhat indelicate words when they met after Suigin Tou got a Rosa Mystica, and instead focus on Shinku's actions. After initially being wary of Suigin Tou due to her erratic behaviour, Shinku eventually decided to help her. She taught her to walk, among other things, and generally looked after her. At the same time she lied to her, and told her she would be able to meet Father, and did not tell her about the Alice game. We later learn that the idea behind all this was that she was preparing Suigin Tou to live as a normal doll with Sara, as she would have no way of defending herself against the other dolls. While from a certain point of view, such a Suigin Tou's, this could be seen as an unkind thing to do, you have to take into account the circumstances. Due to not having been completed by Rozen, Suigin Tou's memories were lacking. She knew nothing about the Alice game, and did not know of any reason why she could not see Father. All she wanted to do was meet Father, it was her driving force. To take this away from her would have been cruel. She was also quite weak and innocent, she had no powers with which to defend herself, and perceived no threat from either Shinku or Sousei Seki until it was too late. Taking this into account, while Shinku's actions may or may not have been the right thing to do, it certainly wasn't a bad choice. On top of this we have to consider the general attitudes of the Rozen Maidens, in particular Sousei Seki, whose presence provides the main contrast for Shinku's actions. As far as they know the Alice game, the fight in which each doll attempts to defeat all the others, is their destiny, what they are 'supposed to do'. Shinku and Sousei Seki both firmly believe in it, far more at this point in time than they do in the 'present day' events. Sousei Seki's reaction on realising the weakling before her is a Rozen Maiden is to attack, going for the 'easy kill'. She also suggests to Shinku that it may have been kinder to tell the truth from the beginning, no matter how harsh it may be. This attitude also fits with how Suigin Tou believes she would have liked to have been treated, as an equal despite being weaker. It is for not reacting like this that Suigin Tou hates Shinku, for treating her differently due to her weakness. While Suigin Tou may have later disliked Shinku's actions, they did make her happy at the time, and the only other real option was Sousei Seki's approach. Shinku was dedicated to the Alice game, and would not have gone to this much trouble to help someone who should have been an enemy just to feel superior. There can be little doubt that Shinku really did want to do the best she could by Suigin Tou.
What really set it off though, was the words she spoke when they met again. These words also seem unkind, as despite the fact that she was given a Rosa Mystica, Shinku cannot accept Suigin Tou as a Rozen Maiden, and still sees her as something inferior. At the same time however she protests that she did not mean it in an unkind way, that it is simply an unfortunate fact, as far as she is concerned. To analyse this we have to consider Shinku's overall personality. She is probably the proudest of the Rozen Maidens, almost regal in her attitude, and certain of being the victor in the dolls' pursuit of perfection. This is an important point - it is perfection they are after, and Shinku's proud attitide is her image of that perfection. When speaking to Sousei Seki, Shinku comments on her use of 'Boku' to refer to herself. It is exceptionally unladylike, and Shinku finds it ridiculous as it goes directly against her idea of the perfect girl. Then, placed before this narrow point of view, is a doll whose body is incomplete. It is incomprehensible to Shinku that a doll that isn't even finished could be a Rozen Maiden - a doll made seeking perfection. Initially she pities her because of it and tries to help her. But then something truly unexpected happens. Rozen intervenes and gives her a Rosa Mystica, validating her as a Rozen Maiden. Shinku, because of her limited view of what the dolls are supposed to be, does not even possess the capacity to process this event. It is impossible, as far as she in concerned, and yet it happened. This is the source of what she says. She simply cannot accept that Suigin Tou is a Rozen Maiden, it contradicts her understanding of their very existence, and so she says that Suigin Tou can't be a Rozen Maiden. It is not that she was being unkind, it is simply what she believed to be true. She could not see the truth of the situation any more than Suigin Tou could see the truth of Shinku's previous actions. They were both blinded by their own personalities, Shinku's pride and Suigin Tou's pain over her incomplete body.
After the events of Season 1 Shinku finally comes to understand what happened. Her proud attitude and expectation of perfection from a Rozen Maiden turn against herself when Suigin Tou turns her into 'junk'. Just as she once could not accept Suigin Tou as a Rozen Maiden due to her imperfection, after losing her arm Shinku could not accept herself as one any longer. She believed that she knew the meaning of her existence, and believed that meaning had been taken away. After seeing that she could be repaired and could win in the end, however, she came to realise that the loss of physical near-perfection did not matter. It was not that which defined who she was. Whatever it is that defines a Rozen Maiden, it is not how close to perfection they are. Even in her damaged state she was still a Rozen Maiden, still herself, and still worthy of becoming Alice, just like Suigin Tou.
This leads into an interesting aside regarding Bara Suishou. She was constructed with only the pursuit of perfection in mind, the same pursuit that Shinku believed she and the other Rozen Maidens were built for. But Bara Suishou was not worthy of becoming Alice and was destroyed. She lacked whatever it was that defined the Rozen Maidens (and I'm not talking about the Rosa Mystica). And she visibly lacked the other aspects of the Rozen Maidens. She had no personality, no desires or feelings outside of her love for her Father and desire to win the Alice game. While she was strong enough to win the Alice game, and came closer to becoming Alice than any of the Rozen Maidens, in the end she was the true 'junk'. But that's another story.
On Suigin Tou
Going back to the very beginning of Suigin Tou's story yields the most important aspect of her. She was never completed by Rozen, and never given a Rosa Mystica, never brought to life. And yet, she came to life anyway. According to Shinku it was her feelings for Rozen that allowed her to move at all, the strength of her love for him that let her will herself into life. Aside from being a rather epic beginning to her story, it has some important consequences throughout the rest of the overall story. First an aside, to point out that in physical terms this power never leaves Suigin Tou, and it keeps her one step ahead of all the other dolls in terms of strength. The other dolls need to be wound up in order to even move, whereas in Traumend when Suigin Tou is woken up by Megu she starts to move by herself, and her powers are already active. The other dolls need to have a contract with a medium to have any power in the real world, but Suigin Tou's powers work in the real world without a medium, running purely off her own strength. In the N-field, Suigin Tou is more powerful than Suisei Seki, Sousei Seki and Hina Ichigo combined, and even Shinku can only beat her when using the power of a medium. Also, Suigin Tou appears to be the only doll who can fly in the real world without her case. It is this same strength that allowed her to come to life that makes Suigin Tou such a threatening adversary throughout Rozen Maiden.
The next important part of Suigin Tou's life was her time spent with Shinku. At this point she did not have a Rosa Mystica, and it quickly becomes evident that her memories are fragmented because of this. She does not know about the Alice Game, and is searching for Rozen, who the rest of the dolls know cannot be found unless they become Alice. However, she actually forgets even more than this. When she initially arrives she 'attacks' Shinku, trying to get the brooch Rozen gave her. Then, at a later point, she wakes up from a 'dream' in which she saw Rozen and Shinku, and vaguely remembers the significance of the brooch. Shinku comments that her memories are returning, so she obviously lost what few memories she had had when she met Shinku, until she spent enough time recovering. The importance of this is that while Suigin Tou appears to be all sunshine and happiness (relatively) while in Shinku's care, this is a product of the memory loss. The only experiences in her mind at this time are the positive ones with Shinku, so she is innocent and childlike. The stark contrast between her behaviour here and the 'bad guy' she becomes is not only because of the experiences she goes through later on (though that is the primary factor), but also because the effect of the experiences she was already through have been temporarily removed. She is effectively a different person at this point, hence the sudden change when her memories do return. Before she recovers her old memories she gets a more negative addition to the memories of her time with Shinku. When she stumbles into Sousei Seki and Shinku's fight she is quickly 'defeated' by Sousei Seki. As Suigin Tou is disappearing from this N-field Shinku explains to both the truth of the situation. That everything she told Suigin Tou was a lie, that Suigin Tou was not really a Rozen Maiden, and so was 'already dead'. It was these final comments that Suigin Tou pondered as she sank to what would have been her final resting place. However, at that point she was rescued by Rozen and given a Rosa Mystica. The next time we see her is when Shinku arrives in her N-field.
Once Suigin Tou has recieved her Rosa Mystica she is finally complete. While still incomplete physically, her memories have all returned and she is no longer the innocent child she appeared to be when she was living with Shinku. Due to this, what we witness when she meets Shinku in her N-field is basically the first emergence of her complete personality, the same personality we see throughout the rest of Rozen Maiden. Obviously a lot can be derived from this first encounter about her character. The first thing to note is that the memories from when she was with Shinku, ignorant of the truth, and the memories of being 'abandoned' by Rozen and of Shinku's harsh words have now all combined in her mind. The form of her N-field hints at the result of this combination. The prominence of the broken dolls throughout the ruined city reflect the prominence of her incomplete body in her mind. Despite being acknowledged by Rozen as a Rozen Maiden, the events have contributed to what I have seen quite aptly described as a 'spectacular inferiority complex'. However, there is a further twist on top of this. Rozen has acknowledged her as a Rozen Maiden, and told her that she can become Alice even with her incomplete body. This was obviously not enough to break the subconcious obsession she has with this 'imperfection', as the broken dolls and her later obsession with 'junk' attests to. However, it has given her a way out. If she wins the Alice Game and becomes Alice, she'll become the perfect girl and she'll get to see Rozen, basically a perfect resolution to all her issues. And how does she win the Alice Game? By beating all the other dolls, the 'superior', 'real', Rozen Maidens. This is the perfect outlet for one possible response to an inferiority complex - overachievement. Thus, to complement her deep-seated pain over being 'inferior' is a fanatical determination and need to become Alice. All of the circumstances she finds herself in fit her complex perfectly; She went through unfortunate experiences, abadonment, apparent betrayal, and near death, all due to her incompleteness; Since it is an inferiority complex she will believe that the other Rozen Maidens look down on her - and Shinku accidentally fulfils this perfectly through being unable to comprehend that Suigin Tou really is a Rozen Maiden; Finally, massive overcompensation for her supposed inadequacy, which is her inevitable response for reasons I'll go into in a moment, has the potential to lead to the perfect resolution of everything that is wrong with her. It's like it was meant to be (which, of course, it was - it's fiction).
Now, as for why overachievment is her response, I will return to the first point I made about Suigin Tou. She is far more powerful than the other dolls, she can do things which they are incapable of doing in similar circumstances. The source of this power is her exceptionally strong love for Rozen, which can be generalised as strong emotions. Due to feeling inferior she hates the other dolls, and the response to her feelings is either going to become depressed and hide away, or to overcompensate and rather than trying to be equal to the other dolls to actually try to better them, to prove to herself and them that she is not inferior after all. And, because she is so powerful, she is actually able to do this. She is capable of winning, and if she does so she will get everything she wants, so her intrinsic belief that she is inferior is countered in her mind by the belief that she will win, that she is superior to the other dolls. When Suigin Tou first appears in her N-field, she acts just like she did when she was living with Shinku. However, the state of her N-field give away that she is no longer that person. This is merely a test for Shinku, to confirm what Suigin Tou believes about her. Of course, she is wrong about Shinku, as I have already explained, but Shinku walks right into it due to her honest inability to accept what has happened. From Suigin Tou's perspective, Shinku's reaction confirms her twisted view of the events thus far. The result is that her calm demeanor rapidly erodes and she shows her true feelings - rage towards Shinku. At the same time as these intense feelings take over, her power manifests in the form of her wings. As I mentioned, the way out that she has been given - becoming Alice - has become a belief that she will become Alice, almost like a defense mechanism to avoid having to face her feelings of inadequacy. So when she attacks Shinku, she doesn't just attack in general, she goes after her link to Rozen - the brooch - in order to destroy the 'illusion' that Shinku is destined to become Alice. This sets Shinku off, and the conflict is now between two opposites; The personification of perfection, Shinku, who believes that she will inevitably become Alice because she embodies the perfect Rozen Maiden already. Apparently Rozen's favorite, but now with her one link to her Father destroyed. And the personification of imperfection, Suigin Tou, who believes she will become Alice simply because she must believe it in order to overcome her feelings of inferiority. Originally abandoned by Rozen, but then saved by him when she faced destruction. At this point Laplace's demon seperates them and so their animosity becomes part of the Alice game, which is still not finished.
Over time Suigin Tou becomes somewhat obsessed with the concepts of perfection and imperfection. Being called junk sets her off at the end of Ouverture and in Series 1, however in Series 1 she also comments that she is going to turn Shinku and the others into junk, because 'there is nothing as ugly as imperfection'. For her the Alice game is not just about winning and becoming Alice by collecting the Rosa Mysticas, it is also about the one doll who is worthy of becoming Alice showing that she is the best by utterly destroying all the others. Her view of the seven sisters is six dolls who are junk-waiting-to-happen and the one who will win. This contrasts with Shinku, who was at one point intent on winning the Alice game and did not hesitate to fight the other dolls, but held no real animosity towards them. Suigin Tou even classifies Megu as 'junk' at one point, though this point of view is later softened after speaking with Shinku.
Thus far I have only examined her personality when she comes into conflict with the other dolls, her anger. In Series 1 there doesn't seem to be that much more to her character, but what you must keep in mind is that in Series 1 she is almost exclusively seen in the presence of the other dolls. They, especially Shinku, bring her strong emotions to the surface. This usually manifests as the same sort of rage she displayed at the end of ouverture, however there are a number of occasions where she seems to be winning and her anger dissapates. Of course, in these cases she is still in conflict with the other dolls, and she is closer to achieving her goal, so these overwhelming emotions do not simply disappear. Instead, anger is simply replaced by other emotions, which are felt equally powerfully. Because of this, when she is around the other dolls (i.e. the entirity of Series 1) she always acts in an over the top manner, just like a cliched villain. The only hint to the greater depths of her character given in Series 1 is at the very end after she is finally defeated, but I'll go into that in a moment. In Traumend we finally see Suigin Tou on her own, with no external influences affecting her behaviour. Unsurprisingly she is much calmer and more controlled. She is not the same as she was in the beginning of Ouverture, she seems less happy and more mature. However, she is far closer to that nice personality than when she is interacting with the other dolls. And occasionally, when she is very taken aback by something, such as when she first remembers the events of Series 1 or when she realises she is unwittingly using Megu's power in the final battle, something of the lost, vulnerable person she was in Ouverture can be seen, as if all the hate and anger which define her fade away momentarily. Traumend shows us that there is still a relatively normal person behind the villain. On the topic of her old self showing through, there are two moments when this happens quite distinctly. Both times it is when Suigin Tou is finally defeated, once at the end of Series 1 and once at the end of Traumend. Her powers and her intense emotions are tied into each other, and each time as she is 'dying' both fade. On both occasions Shinku is present, and for a few moments their relationship seems to return to the way it was when they lived together in London to some extent. In Series 1 Suigin Tou is actually destroyed, and before 'dying' closely resembles her appearance right at the beginning of Ouverture when she was looking for Rozen.
There is development of Suigin Tou's character in Traumend aside from simply being seen away from the other dolls. As I pointed out in the section on Shinku, after the events of Season 1 Shinku came to realise that she had been wrong about the nature of the dolls' pursuit of perfection. By the time of Traumend, the memory of the sister she 'killed' haunts her dreams. When Suigin Tou returns and approaches Shinku in these same dreams, Shinku is given the chance to apologize. She apologizes for calling Suigin Tou junk, saying that she realises that none of the dolls is junk, because it is not physical perfection which defines the Rozen Maidens. Aside from being practically the exact opposite of what she said back when this all began, it also speaks to the core of Suigin Tou's issues, the fact that she is incomplete. At first this simply seems to leave Suigin Tou confused, however shortly afterwards we see that it has had an impact, as she tells Megu that no-one should be called junk. This all happens in the first episode she is seen in in Traumend. Aside from this, and the shock of regaining her memories of the events of series 1, she is not all that different from the way she was in Series 1. She is, as one would expect, quite dismissive of Megu, disappointed that she needed a medium at all, and seemingly more amused than anything else at this person who is looking forward to her death. However, in the following episodes she rapidly starts to care for Megu, and saving her becomes Suigin Tou's motivation in the Alice game. Her last words before 'dying' are an apology to Megu for failing her. This is a significant change in her character, as it would be hard to imagine the Suigin Tou in Series 1 caring about anyone to this extent. It shows that there may be hope for her in the future in overcoming her issues, just as some of the other dolls have to overcome theirs. There is just one problem with this. Not only are Suigin Tou's interactions with the dolls lagely unchanged from the way they were in the first season, but in her final conversaton with Shinku she says she still hates her, will always hate her. She even explicitly denounces the possibility of ever 'playing house' with the other dolls. While she has managed to move beyond her obsession with her own 'imperfection' enough to care for someone else, even Shinku's words which echoed Rozen's own affirmation of Suigin Tou's vailidity are not enough to break her ancient hatred for Shinku. These strong emotions of her's gave her life and made her one of the strongest, if not the strongest, Rozen Maiden, but unfortunately it seems that she is unable to move beyond them. Her life may well continue to be almost purely about winning the Alice Game.
While Suigin Tou is focused on personally most in her episode in Traumend and in Ouverture, her reactions to the other dolls are seen most clearly during season 1. In season 1 most of the elements of the series are designed to parallel with Jun's condition in some way, and Suigin Tou is no exception. In some ways the two characters actually have a lot in common. Their basic personalities are both essentially good, but they are both hidden behind barriers formed due to some trauma. Jun doesn't tend to react as violently as Suigin Tou, as his reaction is the opposite of hers; when pressed he tends to hide away from the world, while Suigin Tou's reaction is to lash out. If hiding away is not an option, however, there is a greater similarity, as Jun's feelings are hidden behind his abrasive attitude. Even when he cares about what is happening to others and wants to help, he tends to lash out, such as when Shinku is temporarily broken, and Jun claims not to care but then goes to the school to figure out how to fix her. He instinctively lashes out in uncomfortable situations, similar to Suigin Tou. However, Suigin Tou has become lost in her hatred for the other dolls and Shinku in particular, and cannot overcome them, whereas Jun largely overcomes his problems by the time of Traumend. They are both told the truth of their situations, both primarily by Shinku incidentally, but while Jun slowly responds, her words only give Suigin Tou brief pause before continuing on as she always has.
Written by Crumplecorn
Last Updated 03/04/2008