Magical girls and reverse harems are standard fare in shoujo manga, and you can find both in Aya Shouoto’s Kiss of the Rose Princess. Read on for Volume 3 of the series! (For my review of previous volumes, click here.)
Back cover blurb
Seiran has been kidnapped, and the seal placed on the Demon Lord is breaking! Anise must make a True Contract with her knights in order to save Seiran and stop the Demon Lord from entering this world. But is Anise ready to accept the terms of this new contract with her knights?
Volume 2 left our heroes in a desperate situation. As such, they take desperate measures to rescue the Blue Rose Knight. The battle to thwart the Yellow Rose’s plot finally gives the guys a chance to act like real knights for once. Unfortunately, it ends all too quickly. I had thought the Yellow Rose would join the regular cast as a nemesis, but he’s pretty much done his job and exits by the middle of Volume 3.
Shouoto-sensei then begins the next arc by adding another layer of complexity to Anise’s contract with her knights. Apparently, the guys can “level up” in power, depending on their relationship with Anise. The whole arrangement has a distinctly videogame vibe, as does their new quest to collect Arcana Cards to keep the Demon Lord at bay. Add to that the knights’ new transformation sequences and uniforms (?), and Kiss of the Rose Princess really starts to look like a mishmash of tropes.
With this new card quest, I anticipated the story continuing in a more serious tone, but Shouoto-sensei instead returns to comedy. Anise’s dad, who’s been working in the shadows, abruptly shows up as Shobi Academy’s new doctor. He promptly imposes a schoolwide fitness exam as a means to gather data on the Rose Knights, but the exam mostly serves the purpose of reinforcing Anise’s impression that her knights are all weirdos. The volume closes with Anise forcing the guys to enter an idol contest to win an Arcana Card. Despite all Schwarz’ talk of punishment and despair, most of the Rose Knights’ efforts go into pretty superficial stuff.
Extras include the opening splash illustration and table of contents printed in color; character profiles and story thus far; a mini-manga about the mangaka and her editor; and bonus illustrations.
Kiss of the Rose Princess changes gears again. After a desperate battle to contain the Demon Lord and proclamations of self-sacrifice, the story shifts back to Anise’s embarrassing social life and a ridiculous school fitness check imposed by her dad. While the general thread of sealing away the Demon Lord continues, the plot’s a bit schizophrenic in its mood swings, which makes it especially difficult to take Schwartz seriously as an enemy.
First published at The Fandom Post.