REVIEW: ‘Rosen Blood,’ Volume 3

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Rosen Blood Volume 3 - but why tho

Rosen Blood is, well, vampire romance trash and I say that with love even with Volume 3. It’s a reverse haram with a damsel in distress and a group of brothers who want to make her theirs. Stella Violetta awakens in a Gothic mansion to find that her saviors are gorgeous young men. The manor’s residents let her stay as a maid, but Stella soon realizes that their allure hides a savage thirst. Last volume, Stella settled into her role in the mansion, confronted Levi’s past, oh and got drugged and taken advantage of by Friedrich—and then subjected to a violently jealous outburst from the man who is supposed to love her. Now in Rosen Blood Volume 3, Stella has just as much agency as the last time which is none.

Rosen Blood Volume 3 is written and illustrated by mangaka Kachiru Ishizue, published and localized in English by VIZ Media’s shojo/josei imprint Shojo Beat. The English translation is provided by JN Productions, and Ysabet Reinhardt MacFarlane makes the English adaptation. Additionally, the volume features touch-up art and lettering by Joanna Estep, design by Alice Lewis, and is edited by Jennifer Sherman.

In this volume, Gilbert reappears to warn Stella about sweet and friendly Yoel who overnight has become completely ravenous about making Stella his. But these warnings come with a catch, mainly, can she trust the man who attacked her? As Yoel’s aggressive posturing continues, juxtaposed against his androgynous and gentle aesthetic, Stella also fends off Friedrich’s advances. Because of course, he keeps advancing even after drugging her and assaulting her. That said, Stella is still lovesick and deadset on deepening her relationship with Levi who is very preoccupied with a woman in the basement.

Like the other two volumes before it, there is a lot going on in Rosen Blood Volume 3. There is romance and backstabbings and supernatural events. Individually, each one of these could work, but once pulled together in one narrative, it creates an erratic story that is more unfocused than edgy.

I deeply want to love Rosen Blood. I mean, the manga should be my vampire trash romance jam but at this point, Stella is too much of a wilting flower. She’s being passed around by the vampires and she just falls flat. Any resiliency or ingenuity is sidelined to constantly put her in a state of being preyed upon. And yes, I’m okay with problematic romances, but to have  Stella continually assaulted when her romance had just begun to build doesn’t sit well. It undercuts Stella as a character and makes me loathe the hot vampires I want to like.

The strongest part of Rosen Blood Volume 3 remains Ishizue’s art. It’s gothic and macabre while also managing to be whimsical and sensual when they need it to be. Their art is a standout that captures horror and romance in equal measure, I just wish there was a better story it was illustrating.

Rosen Blood Volume 3 is available wherever books are sold digitally and physically June 14, 2021. 


Rosen Blood Volume 3
2.5

TL;DR

The strongest part of Rosen Blood Volume 3 remains Ishizue’s art. It’s gothic and macabre while also managing to be whimsical and sensual when they need it to be. Their art is a standout that captures horror and romance in equal measure, I just wish there was a better story it was illustrating.

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