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 4 of the series! (For my review of previous volumes, click here.)
The events of Volume 3 finally give the Rose Knights something to do that falls into the fate-of-the-world-depends-on-it category. However, their first step to sealing the Demon Lord seems more of an excuse to show off the Rose Knights’ good looks and make Anise cross-dress. Their flippant attitudes toward the idol contest despite its supposedly vital prize makes it difficult to take any of it seriously.
When Rhodecia pop onto the stage and reveal themselves as Roses Lime and Orange, the story looks like it might rev up into battle mode, but the fight devolves into more bishounen strutting and posing. Not surprisingly, big bad daddy Schwartz, who’s strangely absent despite his new school position, is behind the idol pair, and their target is Anise. And like the Yellow Rose, Lime and Orange’s first head on confrontation with the Rose Knights appears to be their last.
Supposedly, Anise has twenty-two more Arcana cards to retrieve, and considering adversaries Lime, Orange, and Yellow have been such a short-lived challenges, I anticipated the process of collecting the remaining cards to be encounters with a rainbow spectrum of bishounen roses. As such, I was surprised to discover their next enemy is female. Although the amusement park setting for their showdown is almost as cheesy as the idol contest, Mikage Hiragi exudes a much more sinister aura than Rhodecia. That plus the Black Rose’s reawakening memories give this arc a much darker tone than the idol contest airhead silliness. Still, Shouoto-sensei has a way to go in balancing the comic and dramatic elements of this series.
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.
The fate of the world depends on… an idol contest? Anise and company have to keep evil from overtaking the world, but you can’t really tell from their attitudes or the opponents they face. Most scenes don’t seem to have much point other than showing off how hot the guys around Anise are. Meanwhile, it remains unclear why Dad/Schwartz is playing the part of Anise’s nemesis in all of this. If all you want are illustrations of a variety of 2-D bishounen, Kiss of the Rose Princess delivers. However, if you want an understandable plot, look elsewhere.
First published at The Fandom Post.