ADVANCED REVIEW: ‘Rosen Blood,’ Volume 2

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Rosen Blood Volume 2 - But Why Tho

Rosen Blood Volume 2 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 the last volume, Stella Violetta was rescued from a tragic accident and woke up in a Gothic mansion surrounded by gorgeous young men. The manor’s residents let her stay as a maid, but as their hold on her became crushing, she realized that the handsome men aren’t humans after all, but vampires who feed on the tears, saliva, and blood of young maidens. But to preserve the young women, they become crystallized, frozen in time, and remnants of the vampires’ meals. No matter the danger, though, Stella found romance quickly with Levi. However, Stella’s love for Levi doesn’t shield her from Freidrich’s eyes in Rosen Blood Volume 2. 

In Rosen Blood Volume 2, Stella has found a groove in her mansion duties, including cutting copious amounts of onions to provide tears for the vampires in the house. However, despite locking lips with Levi every chance she gets, he is still starving and beginning to change into a shell of who he was, locked in his own mind. You see, while her saliva should have constituted as nourishment apparently through some vampire magic (I have to assume because it isn’t explained), the kisses only went one way, with Levi never taking Stella’s saliva in. So, to save her vampire boyfriend, Stella has to enter his mind and confront his dark and murderous past.

While in Levi’s mind, Stella gets the chance to confront his past and be his savior. Although astonishingly enough, love with the vampire who crashed your carriage to feed on you and turn you into crystal overpowers the sins of the past. And by sins of the past, I mean the storage rooms filled with crystallized bodies of dead young women and men turned to stone to feed the vampire family’s hunger. Ultimately, after this story beat in Rosen Blood Volume 2, the story’s focus is lost on me.

Instead of handling the darkness and guilt, Ishizue instead shifts the focus to Freidrich’s lust for Stella, both when it comes to sex and blood. Bewitched by him, we see Stella enter an overtly sexual situation coerced by Freidrich’s blood. The art is gorgeous and steamy for sure, but the context makes the moment and Levi’s acts of jealousy which cross Stella’s boundaries, uncomfortable to read. Instead of just progressing the narrative to lead to a sexual relationship between Stella and Levi, Ishizue chooses to insert sexual assault and coercion elements that don’t serve the story.

Rosen Blood Volume 2 is unfocused. The mystery and guilt of the past become muddled with an obsessive lust in the present, leading Stella to become a piece to be moved instead of a character with agency. However, even if you remove the problems with the content regarding Freidrich, the two halves of the volume don’t feel connected, leading to confusion. While I was a fan of the first volume, even the gorgeous ar of Rosen Blood 2 can’t keep me engaged. While I’ll pick up Volume 3 to see where the series goes, I can’t help but think that the series has crossed into the problematic territory of some vampire romances.

Rosen Blood Volume 2 is available wherever books are sold on March 1, 2022. 


Rosen Blood Volume 2
2.5

TL;DR

Rosen Blood Volume 2 is unfocused. The mystery and guilt of the past become muddled with an obsessive lust in the present, leading Stella to become a piece to be moved instead of a character with agency. While I was a fan of the first volume, even the gorgeous art of Rosen Blood 2 can’t keep me engaged. While I’ll pick up Volume 3 to see where the series goes, I can’t help but think that it has crossed into the problematic territory of some vampire romances.