Kiss of the Rose Princess is a nine volume manga series written by Aya Shouoto. The series was published in North America by VIZ Media’s shojo manga imprint, Shojo Beat.
Kiss of the Rose Princess
Written by: Aya Shouoto
Publisher: Kadokawa Corporation
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Dates: November 4, 2014-March 1, 2016
The protagonist of the series is Anise Yamamoto, a high school student who wears a rose choker given to her by her father; Anise was warned that if she ever removed it, she would receive a terrible punishment. At school, the reader is introduced to Anise’s classmate, Kaede Higa; student council president Mitsuru Tenjo; a sickly student named Seiran Asagi; and a scary-looking boy named Mitsuki Kurama. It’s made clear during Mitsuru’s introduction that Anise has a crush on him.
One day, while Anise and Kaede are cleaning at school, Anise is attacked by a bat-like creature; her choker disappears, and a card appears in her hand. Thinking the creature has the choker, Anise chases it and falls into a hole. She finds a faculty member and learns that she is the Rose Princess, and that needs to kiss the card to summon one of the Rose Knights. When she does, Kaede (the Red Rose Knight) appears. Later, Anise acquires three more cards, and discovers that Mitsuru (the Black Rose Knight), Seiran (the Blue Rose Knight), and Mitsuki (the White Rose Knight) are the other knights. These “bishonen” knights have personalities just as different as their respective colors. The knights operate on the strength of Anise’s blood. I just have to add here that I had read the teaser on the back of the first volume before I actually read the book, so as these four characters were introduced, I easily figured out that these four would have to be the Rose Knights. In that respect, this element was a little predictable since I already had that knowledge going into the story.
At first, Anise uses the knights’ powers for the purpose of helping her find her rose choker before her father finds out it’s missing. Through these missions, Anise develops close relationships with each of the Rose Knights. But when an old friend of Anise’s returns and is revealed to be a former knight with the title of the Yellow Rose Knight, more information is revealed about the true purpose of the Rose Princess and her knights, and the story starts to progress. Along the way, a fake Rose Princess enters the scene, along with her fake Rose Knights, which adds to the chaos of the story as well as adding the potential for obstacles as Anise tries to fulfill her duty as the Rose Princess.
Kiss of the Rose Princess starts off with a rather simplistic premise, but it does progress into something more complicated. Unfortunately, it takes a bit of time time for the story to progress. And because of the slower buildup, the ending does feel a but rushed. While this isn’t necessarily a bad manga series, I do think it would have been stronger if the overall plot could have progressed a little earlier in the series’ run, and that a little more time could have been invested to make the ending feel less rushed.
When it comes to the drawing style, there’s no mistaking that Kiss of the Rose Princess is a shojo manga. Every male character that’s introduced in this volume, whether a teenager or an adult, has a “bishonen” look to them. In fact, as I read this, I couldn’t help but think that Mitsuru and Seiran were based off of a couple of characters in Revolutionary Girl Utena (Touga and Miki, respectively). In fact, the focus on roses in this series also made me think of Revolutionary Girl Utena and I started wondering if perhaps that anime potentially served as some kind of inspiration for Kiss of the Rose Princess.
While Kiss of the Rose Princess may not be a manga title that I will personally be in a hurry to read again, I think it could appeal to shojo manga readers who enjoy magical or supernatural elements in the manga stories that they read.