But of course I had to see what happened with my own two eyes.
So now you are Mina, the hunter. You aren’t a witch, though you are descended from one. Your sister is sick, and if you find out who is stealing villagers and taking them away to the deep dark forest, you’ll get reward money that’ll buy your sister some medicine. You are accompanied by Bear, your loyal wolf-dog and protector.
While wandering the forest in search of a legendary demon castle, you meet Edgar. After a bit of a scuffle with a demon, Edgar tells you he’s a vampire, and he’s heading to the castle — actually a hotel — in question, and she’s pretty enough to accompany him. I believe the line was something like “Your looks pass” (I stupidly forgot to screenshot such a classic jerky line)
They arrive at the hotel and — oh no — humans aren’t actually allowed at the hotel. So Mina moonlights as a werewolf and she is engaged to Edgar. Oh what will come of our heroine and her forbidden love?
Okay, so the bad part about me starting this review at chapter six instead of writing it as I went is that the beginning of the story is a little fuzzy in my head. I am trying to think of Edgar’s motives and I’m having trouble coming up with one. I can’t really think why he goes so far to help Mina, especially considering the danger she ends up in, plus, mind you, her horrible attitude at that. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s start with the basics.
Blood in Roses 2.0
This is the same backgrounds, the same character sprites for the few returning characters — in this game we see bits of Raymond, have a brief conversation with Alfred and Daniel, and hear about our favorite chef. No Spade, Dominick, Humphrey, or Cedric. We also get a brief cameo from one of my favorite side characters in the first universe… and, well, uhh…. I was SHOCKED AND APPALLED at the sight of their new design.
The universe in this one lacks the tragic story of the first. Tatiana and Harold lived a happy life together and Tatiana died of old age. Harold left the hotel in Raymond’s hands and travels, but Raymond is able to contact him at any given time. Rosapast and Alfred are good friends and Rosapast is strong as ever. I suppose in this universe Rupert also travels the world at his whims, though, if Rupert was not trapped in the hotel as he was in the first universe, would he still have that wanderlust?
Anyway, I truly would have rather this set in the far future with Mina’s descendants with us getting to see what happened to the hotel after the happily ever after. Instead we get new character designs and a new universe but it’s not half as interesting as the old because there’s no mystery aside from “What’s different now?” The lack of tragedy also makes it less interesting in my eyes. Instead of this rich world of a strained love trying to triumph in a prejudiced world we get, well, happy people living happy lives with an unseen boogeyman in the shadows. They don’t start focusing on this baddie until chapter 8.
I am not a fan of the new character designs. The old art style had a unique look to it in terms of coloring with the block black shadows. The narrow, round, eyes and two-toned hair also set it apart. The new designs are what I call “typical anime”. It looks like every other anime game out there. There’s nothing unique about it that makes it stand out. And then, to make it worse, they didn’t redo the returning character sprites. So now you have two clashing art styles and it just plain doesn’t look good.
The Artist formally known as Mina is a downgrade who needs to go back to being called
Prince Mina. They’ve removed a big part of her personal agency — her herbalist talent — and replaced it with being a hunter… but the demons they fight end up being so powerful she can only be a damsel. She even acknowledges this at one point, noting that her “meager bow and arrow won’t do much to stop them”.
I like the sentiment, but in actuality she can’t do much. It’s understandable, she’s human, after all.
Why even bother making her have a “talent” that point? I would have kept her being a herbalist, given her the sick sister, but she can’t figure out how to cure it, thus she wants to go to the castle which is said to have ancient knowledge and discover how to cure the illness. It’s a more intimate form of conflict rather than “I need money”. We also don’t see her sister outside of two lines in the prologue, so there’s not much to say about their relationship and I really don’t care if her sister lives or dies. It’s inconsequential to the plot.
She is so rude to Edgar in the beginning. I guess they were trying to make her tsun or stubborn, but she comes across as being rude, especially when Edgar is giving her a bone and she throws it back into his face. I am all for STRONG INDEPENDENT WOMAN but geez man, don’t be rude! Rudeness is never cool!
She still has the future flashes, but they’re not as potent or frequent as the old Mina. At that point, it’s not a power so much as a contrived plot convenience. I liked that they made her spunky, though sometimes it borders on rudeness. I don’t like how they turned her into a normal “Oh my feelings???!!!” sort of girl. One of the nice things about old Mina was how she was quick to figure out her feelings and acknowledge that she likes (or wants) the bachelors. New Mina is more akin to a typical otome protagonist in this aspect. However, I will say as a whole, this new Mina is still a better protagonist than 70% of cell phone otoge out there.
She apparently looks exactly like Tatiana. I always pictured Tatiana looking more as Mina 1.0 so this always seemed odd every time I read it. My precious head-canon!
I don’t really have an opinion on him. He’s rather bland. As a result, their romance is tepid. I never found myself getting excited over him because he never really does much to stand out. He’s a vampire, but he used to be sickly as a child. This is one of his first ventures out into the world. So why, with all that new information and wonder around him, is he so flaccid? The artist, Lionel (OH GOD PLEASE USE ANOTHER LION NAME ALREADY) stands out. He’s kind and has a playful side to him. The other bachelor of note is Gordon, a hunter(?)/mercenary(?)/merchant(?)/tradesman(?). I’m not exactly sure what he’s about because we get very few scenes with him, but I hope he’s interesting. He seems multitalented, at least.
What I did like about Edgar was his quiet support. He wasn’t much to do things with pizzazz, but he was dependable and forthcoming with information when Mina asked for it. There are a precious few scenes where he sort of “lets loose” and plays around with Mina that were fun and sweet. And, of course, I liked how he wanted to have tea with Mina often. What can I say? I love tea and I love a man who also loves tea~
The love confession scene was rather cute. I enjoyed how his teasing side came out during it. I also liked the last scene of the Toccata ending.
Overall, however, Edgar has flashes of brilliance and great moments, but they’re too far and in between for my tastes.
The Plot (or lack thereof)
The plot… I want to say it started out like it was going somewhere… maybe. So Mina is looking for the person/demon/thing who is taking the villagers. She has no proof the villagers are alive, but I guess she believes it so the plot makes it so? It doesn’t make much sense to me. I would think the villagers would be dead more likely, especially if the only information I have going into it is that they’re missing from a forest. Her younger sister is sick (so important she gets no name and no sprite) and Mina needs the money to pay for the medicine.
The first half is spent solving the mystery of the villagers. That was okay, no real fun in the mystery there. They wander around, fight a few demons, get into some “Will they find out Mina isn’t a werewolf?” dilemmas…
(hint: everyone actually knows and says nothing)
The second half is where it falls apart.
First, you find the villagers alive.
This was actually a good scene, with Mina defending Edgar and forcing the villagers to confront their prejudices. I liked it. Too bad it’s one of the few highlights of the second half.
We learn of a conspiracy among demons to overthrow Harold as the leader of vampires (and thus, Underworld??) and take over the hotel, which is about to celebrate its 500th anniversary.
They even tease a grand finale against this “Great One”, who is behind the attempted coup.
But that fizzles to nothing.
We don’t learn who the Great One is. We don’t learn why.
In fact, in the last major battle, Edgar is like “Wait, let me take care of it” and diffuses the situation in the most anti-climatic way possible.
To say I was disappointed, especially after a few good action sequences leading up to this battle, is an understatement.
If this is how Season 2 is going to turn out, it’s not going to be well. The characters aren’t as good as Season One. Not to mention the subplots being subpar at best, utterly dull or nonexistent at worst.
I feel like removing the tragedy of Harold and Tatiana, and the subsequent struggle to keep the ideals of a decaying hotel alive ruin the setting of this. In this alternate universe, Harold and Tatiana are happy and Rosapast is alive and well/strong as ever. So we lose that entire underlying subplot and richness to the setting.
Hands down the best moment in the story goes to……
Old meets the new. I hate how they don’t compliment each other at all.
Lionel is one of the new bachelors. I like his cheerful attitude and the fact that he’s an artist. I hope his is released next.
That’s… that’s…. She’s this mysterious, mature, sexy woman. I guess. IDK. I just want my Bridgette adorableness back!
Edgar respects Mina a lot. I liked that about him.
Does every human/vampire romance invoke Harold and Tatiana?
But Mina wasn’t as prejudiced against vampires as Rosapast makes it seem… that would have been a far more interesting story, to say the least.
Sometimes Edgar breaks out of his princely persona and becomes deliciously teasing and assertive. I loved these moments!