Kiss of the Rose Princess Volume 5 by Aya Shouto
I find myself enjoying this series more and more, mostly because with each new volume my suspension of disbelief grows, and I just kick back and enjoy the ridiculousness of this reverse harem fantasy manga. This volume did a good job balancing out which knights were featured, with a bit more attention given to Tenjo the White Rose Knight. As ever, Kaede the Red Rose Knight lurks around and smolders in a few panels for each chapter.
The first part of this volume picks up at an area that is fraught with terror in most shoujo manga – an amusement park. Meek classmate Mikage with her overwhelming crush on Kaede has been hiding an even worse secret. Even more fake Rose Knights appear, leading to an excess of flower avatar people everywhere! Anise powers up a bit, triggering an awakening in Tenjo the White Rose that allows him to deal with their enemies easily. This throws off the balance of power and changes the dynamics in the group a little bit.
The fake rose idols Rhodecia make a brief appearance again, and there’s an extended comedy bit when Anise, Kaede, and Seiran dress as servants in an attempt to infiltrate Tenjo’s mansion to check up on him. There are plenty of gags involving both maid costumes and the odd decorating habits of the rich. One of the things I enjoy about the series is the way it switches back and forth between more lighthearted scenes and hints of upcoming ominous events. Shouoto’s dramatic art has plenty of flourishes that suit the dramatic and silly situations the protagonists find themselves in. Even though evil fake roses keep popping up, the mystery around Anise’s diabolical father is still touched on briefly with each volume, hinting at larger issues Anise is going to confront eventually. With the Black Rose Mutsuki seeming to take center stage at the end of this volume and I’m assuming the start of the next, it looks like there’s going to be more grim vampirific backstory to look forward to.