Rose Hip Rose, by Fujisawa Tohru (creator of GTO,) *should* be great. It has everything I like. So…why did it suck so bad?
Kasumi, aka “Rose Hip Rose,” is a full-time school girl, with a little light special operations on the side. She’s cool, she’s hot, she’s got a tattoo of a rose on her inner thigh and she packs a gazillion weapons. She has a run-in with a regular-guy schlub schoolmate on the train, which guarantees that we will never lose this character, that he will fall in love with her and accidentally find himself involved in nearly every chapter in some exceptionally annoying way. In the end, she’ll probably come to like him, because that’s the way these things go.
But that *wasn’t* why this manga sucked.
Kasumi is also part of an elite force of trained-from-childhood special-ops assassin-soldiers and, of course, they have been split up and many of them are assumed to be dead. As soon as Kasumi lets slip that she’s probably the only one left alive, another one pops up *immediately,* in the way of such things.
Uber-hip cool schoolgirl operative Natsuki (pictured above) is the most annoying lesbian to ever grace manga…ever.
Natsuki is in love with Kasumi and makes no bones about it. (Kasumi is, of course uninterested, saving herself as she is for the schlubby guy, no doubt.) In fact, Natsuki makes her appearance by saving Kasumi’s cute butt and weilding an extra-big gun. Nudge, nudge, wink, wink.
But, despite being the uber-competent hot lesbo with big gun, Natsuki insists on calling Kasumi “Kasumi-tan.” (You have probably run into this honorific with the ridiculously cute and highly pornographic “OS-tans”. If not, go search the term on Google.) “-tan” is meant to be an ootsy-cutesy version of “-chan” and I, and all people with sense, find it highly irritating. It would be like a high school girl calling a guy named Bill “Billy-willy” all the time. Can you feel your teeth clenching yet? Once or twice it would be irksome, but forgivable. As a habit, it is a hanging offense.
This appalling habit of speech, and the fact that Rose Hip Rose has essentially no plot (running around after a bad guy while he taunts you and kills people is NOT a plot,Tohru!) tanked the series utterly for me. And, of course, the fact that as a lesbian, Natsuki safely only shows interest in the one person she can never have. It may be realistic, but its boring as hell.
If you’re looking for a pointlessly violent and repetitive story, with a lesbian thrown in for service, Rose Hip Rose is your baby.
Art – 8
Story – 4
Character – 4
Overall – 4
Now, if you’re looking for *good* shounen trash, tune in tomorrow. :-)