st_owly Mar 14, 2016
The last volume of Kiss of the Rose Princess was published this month by Shojo Beat, so I finally sat down and binge read the whole series. I was trying to read as they were published, but I gave up at volume 4. The books tended to end with a cliffhanger, and after two months of lag I couldn’t remember wtf was going on. It was annoying to me, so I decided to just wait until they were all out and tackle the series at once.
I have to say my experience of the story was WAY better doing that. If I had had to wait to read volume 8 after the end of volume 7 I think I would have spiked the book against the wall! Kaede fans know what I’m talking about.
I did an initial first impression of Kiss of the Rose Princess vol. 1, and I still am on the same wavelength as that one, but maybe not as gung-ho as I was after the first volume. I’ll explain why later in the spoiler section. First let’s get the initial information about the series out of the way.
Barajou no Kiss was published in Asuka manga magazine from 2008 to 2012. The series is a total of 9 volumes. It was licensed by Viz Media and published under the Shojo Beat imprint as Kiss of the Rose Princess starting in November 2014. The last volume was printed March 2016.
The Gist: Anise Yamamoto has been told that if she ever removes the rose choker given to her by her father, a terrible punishment will befall her. Unfortunately she loses that choker when a bat-like being named Ninufa falls from the sky and hits her. Ninufa gives Anise four cards representing four knights whom she can summon with a kiss. Anise must figure out what her role as the Rose Princess requires of her and her knights, and must eventually decide if the powers of the Rose Princess are her destiny or not.
The Review: If you’re looking for a fantastic magical romance manga, then this series definitely fits the bill. It’s a reverse harem with a nice choice of bishonen characters. The kissing aspect is definitely fun as well as the magical fighting. I’m kind of surprised this doesn’t have an anime as the art leans towards becoming some rather awesome animation. The story-line seems a bit weak to me, as if it was not planned out from the beginning, but written as the story developed. There were quite a few deus ex machina moments that I felt kept the story from really becoming something grander.
Still, it’s a fun series to read and entertaining. Plenty of comedic moments as well as emotional scenes are included to keep pages flipping. There are many times I found myself wanting to squeal like a fangirl because of the posturing in this story. Pick any knight and you can find a scene drawn like the the one below.
The Art: If anything, the art makes this series a must read. It’s so gorgeous to look at! The boys are all eye candy and the costuming is divine. The color pieces in this series are very well balanced with a LOT of detail, and some are even themed for a whimsical feel. Then there are the tongue-in-cheek pieces that Shouoto draws of the characters at the end of every volume. Those are great comical boon. The panels in this series were a pleasure to read and easy to follow, too. There were plenty of two-page spreads that showcase Shouoto’s great sense of perspective and detail. Of course with all the knight summoning, there are plenty of kissing and up-close scenes to admire – my favorite aspects of shoujo manga.
My biggest gripe with the colored art is how it was not really handled well with the North American publishing. It’s obvious from this series that Shojo Beat is not used to publishing colored inserts. One of the pieces that was a pirate-themed insert is so badly obscured by the gutters that it takes away from the art. Made me sad for Shouoto-sama. The gutters, or folds of the book, need to be taken into consideration for future inserts.
[Edit: Shojo Beat explained to me on Twitter that the art was received that way from the original publisher, and it was not their mistake. The original art was not formatted correctly.]
Guess I was a little too gripey!
The Audience: This series is perfect for a younger audience. It’s never too smutty, and still has plenty of romantic interludes to satisfy romance fans. Viz has them rated T for Teen, but even a tween could enjoy this story with no worries about content. With the action elements, guys might find something to like as well.
The Media: Kiss of the Rose Princess is available in 9 volumes from Shojo Beat. The series also spawned a drama CD in Japan. And like I said earlier, why isn’t there an anime of this?
Tenjo I never found any love for. He is a masochistic pervert. Wasn’t all the stuff in his mansion wacko? He really is the comic relief of the group. The reveal at the end of the story of he and Anise being cousins was weird in my opinion. One of those deus ex machina things I was talking about – a reason why Anise won’t really marry Tenjo. It was a random solution to ending the engagement.
Then there was Kaede. He loves Anise, Anise loves him. Double Awakening all at once? If things continue won’t they eventually become involved? But by the end they were back to Anise acknowledging her affection due to Kaede being her Rose Knight. Even if it was more than that.
I’m kind of stumped at the ending as well. I thought that Anise would be the one to finally end the reign of the Rose Princess and Rose Knights. Deliver everyone else from that fate. Destroy the demon seal and the darkness once and for all. Instead, she takes on the role and leaves the boys in servitude as her knights. Whuh? Why? I can only think that Shouoto was leaving things open for a sequel, maybe? I just felt that there was a better story to tell than what happened, and the ending was to placate all the readers. That’s why I was somewhat disappointed with the series overall.
That leaves the romantic aspect of the Rose Knights open still as well. What happens when one of them hits engagement? The rest of them cease to become knights, right? So who will it be? I’m sure it left everyone satisfied that it was none of them at the end. Because everyone has their favorite knight. But I really wanted her to pick one! I mean if she’s going to grow older, then she would eventually want kids, right? But she’s got all her knights, so she can’t do that without picking one. I guess I’m just overthinking it. Hahaha. I like to think that the heroine of the story can grow up in love and procreate.