Kiss of the Rose Princess Volume 4 by Aya Shouto
This series continues to be a ridiculous fantasy reverse harem manga, and I enjoyed this volume mostly because it features evil idol singers.
The first half of this story delved more into the very Cardcaptor Sakura-like plot where Anise and her Rose Knights have to capture Arcana cards in order to reinforce the seal to the underworld and defeat the demon lord, as you do. Of course, the only way to do this is to enter an all boys idol competition at school, where Anise ends up cross-dressing as a boy, because the arcana card is second prize and their group is in danger of winning it all if the cutest Rose Knight Seiran enters the contest. In keeping with the long-cherished shoujo tradition of male models or idols being secretly evil, the duo Rhodecia are revealed to be artificial Rose Knights created by Anise’s evil (but HOW evil?) father. The battle for school supremacy involves magic tricks, even more cross dressing, and a horribly awkward comedy act.
While all of this is going on, the Black Rose Mutsuki is struggling with some dark emotions stirred up by a mysterious outside influence. Anise makes a new acquaintance at school named Mikage who asks Anise to set up a date between her and Kaede, which Anise does because she is an idiot who is absolutely unaware that Kaede is in love with her. The date ends up taking place at a Gothic carnival, where Anise and the other Rose Knights tag along in order to sleuth out the location of another arcana card.
Kiss of the Rose Princess is a super silly shoujo manga, but it is really just the thing if you happen to be in the mood for light entertainment. The art continues to be attractive, with all the cool poses one would expect from a reverse harem manga. I’m intrigued by the hints of psychological struggle that Mutsuki is starting to exhibit, which does create a bit more interest than the more typical “gotta catch them all” arcana card collecting plot that is currently developing.