Adventures of a Rose (A shoujo review)

29 Aug
 

Pulling from our favourites once again folks, here’s something especially for the ladies! Barajou No Kiss (a.k.a. “Kiss of the Rose Princess”)!!
This is a shoujo that I absolutely loved for its uniqueness… OK, maybe not so unique since the story keeps reminding me of Card Captor Sakura now and then, but it’s still unique to a great extent never the less.
To begin with, the entire portrayal of the manga screams 19th century England, and yet, somehow it oozes the Japanese essence in the story as well as the art – the kind of blend that is hard to get and the mangaka has managed to capture the essence of both elements and mix them up perfectly. Anyway, so without further ado, let me dive straight into the details you’re all waiting to find out.

Plot: 
The story of Barajou No Kiss is a fantasy, action, adventure and romance story by Shouoto Aya that revolves around a high school girl (now that’s what I call a real surprise!), Anis Yamamoto, who is given this strange choker by her father that looks like a black neck-strap with a pretty rose at the center. Her father specifically warns her not to lose the choker and that if she does she will be punished severely! Now, now, its not because the choker is super rare or expensive. The choker has a long story of its own that will be revealed later – no, not in the review, I mean in the story. 

Anis of course is far from happy with the choker since it attracts a lot of attention and wearing something like that goes against the dress code, which is why she’s always being chased around by a disciplinarian teacher, threatening her to take it off.
The teacher’s wish comes true as the choker comes off her finally, but to her dismay, is immediately lost – more like taken away by a strange(-ly cute) creature. Anis is now terrified, wondering what her punishment might be and starts looking for it before her father finds out about it, leading her to a discovery that changes her life.
I’m not going to spoil the story for you by spilling out what happens after that but lets just say it turns her life upside down. (Oh my! I dunno how many of these surprises I can take!) The story might seem like old wine in a new bottle, but the new bottle is what makes it interesting!


Story: 
Since I have probably already dragged on enough, let me say what I think of it, briefly. The story is definitely good so far, though I’m not sure if guys would enjoy it as much. That depends on your tastes I suppose – if you happen to love gory stuff, you might find this a little boring. Now let me inform that the story is far from the usual magical-girl story and I definitely like it’s narration and pacing. It doesn’t drag on such that anything needs to be fast-forwarded and slows down and gives enough explanation where it’s needed. Also, since the main character is a mush-hater you don’t have to worry about her giving emotional speeches at random.

(click to enlarge!)

The story doesn’t really have a kawaii or moe feel to it and the girl does more than just waving her magical wand around. Wait, she doesn’t actually have one! Anyway, the feel of the story leans more towards Goth than moe, which is one of the reasons why I enjoy reading it.
The story does have a considerable amount of twists of its own and a lot of new characters popping up periodically, each more annoying than the other – but at some point it becomes kinda obvious where the story is leading. But that’s not the end. There’s still a lot of juice left in the fuel-tank in the form of some unanswered questions that you want to see answered and some new incidents that intensify the storyline. I’d give it a 6 on 10 for the originality of the story, since it reminded me of Card Captor Sakura, once it boiled down to its main plot.


Characters: 
The characters are definitely not of a new breed. The girl is a typical Tsundere, but what I loved about her is how strong she is as a person. She comes across a lot of shocking revelations about people close to her, but that doesn’t shake her. She continues to move ahead, never unnerved by any of the disastrous stuff that happens to her. She’s not the kind to cry when something goes wrong or run to help. Well, maybe she does, sometimes, but not in a way that makes her look like a typical damsel in distress.
So that’s it for the main character. Other characters, like her, are not entirely of a new breed either but have been defined well and shown to possess a very good sense of judgement and know what to prioritize at what moment.
Character design is beautiful. This manga is definitely not short of bishonen, as expected of a pro shojo mangaka. So considering all these elements, I’d give it 6 on 10 for character design including their personality.

Art: 
I could write an entire page describing the beautiful artwork in this manga, but I’ll sum it up for you in one word – GORGEOUS! 
If you happen to love the kind of art style you get to see in Kuroshitsuji a.k.a. Black Butler, you are going to love this. There is absolutely no flaw in the art style and as I mentioned earlier, it brings out that old English essence and yet manages to keep you reminded through its art that it’s still very Japanese. I also love how it maintains that goth-magical feel to it while still keeping a casual high school life atmosphere without making the two elements blatantly distinct. The mangaka definitely knows how to blend them, I’d give her that.
 So overall I’d rate it 10 on 10 for its perfect art and character design.

(click to enlarge!)

The story is a fun read if you are looking for a fantasy and shoujo story with a goth element in it. I’d rate this manga 7 on 10 for the overall enjoyment factor, no matter how much it reminds me of a certain CLAMP work. It’s still fun to read.
That’s all about Barajou No Kiss. See ya again next Monday with another review. If you have any particular review request, you can let me know in the comments.
Also let me know if you’d like me to cover some other aspects of the manga I review, so you can get the best of me.
Happy reading!


– By Seema Kakade
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One Response to “Adventures of a Rose (A shoujo review)”

  1. WWW.ChiCha.in September 12, 2011 at 4:18 pm #

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