Kiss of the Rose Princess is a zany reverse harem (a girl with a stable of cute boys) featuring a young girl (the Rose Princess) and the knights that are honor bound to protect her. All of the elements of one of my favorite manga, Pretear, are here (knights, princess, conflict with the bold one, humor), and certainly the strong willed lead heroine is in the vein of Arina Tanemura’s very popular magical girls. Sure, it’s a silly manga, but that’s kind of the point.
Story: Anise is a normal schoolgirl with a father who travels often. He has one rule for Anise: never remove the rose choker around her neck or she will be ‘punished.’ When the choker mysteriously comes off one day, she finds a supernatural creature, Ninufa, who gives her cards. With a kiss, the cards (blue rose, white rose, red rose, black rose) summon a knight, boys in her school, who will protect her. But what does she need protecting from, exactly? And the knights aren’t too happy to have spirited but dimwitted Anise as their princess.
The artwork here is lovely, if a bit crowded (it can be hard to understand what’s going on at times). The four harem boys have different characters but yes, rather cliche: warrior, magician, scientist, shadow wielder (outgoing and bold, romantic school president, shy rich boy, dark and mysterious). But they are drawn lovely enough to keep you coming back. Ninufa reminds me a lot of a mascot from a CLAMP manga – cute and fuzzy but can transform into something bigger and scarier.
Most of the first book is Anise discovering the knights and getting to know their personalities. Her father is returning and she is trying to find the choker before he comes back and ‘punishes’ her. There is a dire warning at the end that her father may not be the nice and sweet person of her memories, though….
In all, cute, fun, silly, inane, and just plain fun. Reviewed from an ARC.