Set in a world embroiled in a complex war (ca. 1930), Taki Reizen, the heir to an aristocratic family especially favoured by the Emperor, leads his countrymen against the encroaching threat from both their enemies and their volatile allies. However, his position as messiah to his people and his authority in the military are now being undermined, primarily by his acceptance of a knight from an enemy country, Klaus von Wolfstadt, who is something of a loose cannon. He is also Taki's lover.Despite the story being about a relationship between two men, it is notable for the sheer scope of the political and military backdrop that spur on much of the plot, and the series' author Inariya Fusanosuke has embedded such rich imagery and symbolism into the mythos it truly stands out in its genre. At its most basic, Maiden Rose poignantly examines the pressures of duty and social expectation as they clash with the complexities of human desire and emotion.Not to be confused with Rozen Maiden.
Anachronic Order: The manga shows the main characters' childhood (mostly Klaus'), their time in the Military Academy, and the present day; the storyline jumps back and forth quite a lot.
Armchair Military: There in every administration that we see. In Volume 2 the brass from Taki's country are particularly obstructive and serve as a contrast to the type of frontline leader Taki is.
Art Shift: It's easy to see that the manga and the omake are drawn by the same mangaka, but the style is different.
Artistic License Sex Ed: Simply put, there's way too much semen in many of the sex scenes for one person (usually Taki) to produce. And it's painfully averted at one point, when Klaus is way too rough and Taki actually requires a doctor.
A Taste of the Lash: Hasebe canesnote or whips, in the OVA Klaus while he is tied to a chair during interrogation for treason.
Back-to-Back Badasses: During a suprise nighttime training exercise, Taki and Klaus end up the only students still not defeated. The moment they decide they to take on all the attackers together they pull out their knives and stand back-to-back, laying the foundation for their future Battle Couple status.
Big Entrance: Hasebe is about to kill Klaus when suddenly his sword is shattered. Following this is a two page spread of an ill Taki standing in the doorway, sporting a Death Glare, katana drawn, wearing a Badass Longcoat as a Coat Cape blowing in the Dramatic Wind against a stream of white light, with some flower petals floating around for good measure. The shocked looks from the others are pretty well warranted at that point.
Bishōnen: Averted with Klaus. Taki is a straight example.
Black and Grey Morality: The protagonists are the heroes by virtue of being the protagonists and ultimately sympathetic in spite of their glaring flaws, but their enemies lack the sympathetic point-of-view and seem heartless by comparison.
Blue Blood: Taki, Klaus, Theodora and Katsuragi to start with.
Bodyguard Crush: Klaus' relationship with Taki can be seen as this. Klaus often bows down to Taki, and has expressed his desire to protect and defend the country with him.
Bottled Heroic Resolve: Klaus, when he goes on the raid. Less effective than expected, probably because that wasn't the first time he used drugs.
Cast Full of Pretty Boys: Justified because of the military setting. There are female characters: Duchess Theodora, Claudia, Taki's and Klaus' mothers in flashbacks, the nameless nurses, etc., but the cast is predominantly male.
Chekhov's Gun: The book Taki once wrote "danke schön" into. It seemed to be only a reminder of the days when the relationship between Klaus and Taki was happier. It actually saved Klaus' life when Berkut shot him and the book subdued the force of the bullets.
Child Soldiers: The children of the military officers, but they don't really fight.
Conflicting Loyalty: Klaus has to give up his country, his family, all his privilege to be Taki's knight. Taki wishes to be the beloved and respected leader of his division and he also wants Klaus.
Counting Bullets: Klaus manages to call Berkut's bluff because he knows he's used all his bullets. Unfortunately for Klaus, Berkut has a second gun.
Cue the Sun: Although things are about to go from bad to worse, volume 2 manages to end on a somewhat hopeful note with a scene of the young cadets walking towards the wreckage as the sky lightens.
Culture Clash: There are some not so irrelevant things in Taki's country that Klaus doesn't know about. Taki also got into trouble in the Military Academy because he didn't know the customs there.
Cultured Warrior: Several members of the cast, given how many of them are also Blue Blooded. Katsuragi is the one who really flaunts it but he's also more of a Desk Jockey these days than a fighter.
Curb-Stomp Battle: Taki almost killed Berkut after he mocked Klaus' defeat. His beating up all of his would-be hazers with their own cleaning supplies is an even more extreme (if less serious) example.
Cutlass Between the Teeth: Klaus does this with his knife during the nighttime training exercise, presumably to free up his hands for something else.
Death By Transceiver: Subverted. By the time Klaus and Yamamoto get ahold of the Murakumo crew, Yamamoto is panicking and yelling about how the captain is hurt until suddenly there are several gunshots and Yamamoto's screams. After a prolonged static-y silence Taki (on the receiving side) begins to freak out himself before Klaus comes on the line and says everything's under control and they're heading their way.
Divided We Fall: Eurote and some aristocrats from Taki's country are so determined to get rid of Taki because he's second-in-line to the throne that their in-fighting becomes a great asset to the Western Alliance who they are currently at war with.
Doujinshi: Inariya has made several, some purely for comedy or fanservice (the Hallowe'en specials) and some quasi-canon ones about events that couldn't fit in the storyline (In Their Room at Luckenwalde series)
Enemy Civil War: Inverted. The Western Alliance happily find themselves getting a breather while Eurote and certain elements from Taki's country focus on eliminating Taki, the one commanding the front against the Western Alliance. They note how monumentally stupid and fortunate this is for them, and launch a full strike.
Forgotten First Meeting: Klaus and Taki meet briefly in the middle of a forest by chance when they are young and make something of a Promise. Years later, they meet again and Klaus recalls but continually dismisses the memory, until their Relationship Upgrade, when he realizes from Taki's scent that it was him.
Functional Addict: Klaus exhibits the Descontructed form of this trope. He is implied to have been addicted to morphine in the past, so that once he is injured and needs it to help enhance his performance it's not very effective and he has to increase dosages. As one would expect, he doesn't stop using it after that and it's still up in the air whether he'll be able to curb the addiction again or not.
Gratuitous German: Klaus is a typical German name and "von Wolfstadt" means "of the town/city of wolves". The name of the Military Academy is Luckenwalde Armor School ("wald" meaning "forest") and the textbooks are written in German. In one instance Taki actually writes "Danke schön"note "Thank you" in Klaus' book.
Greater Need Than Mine: Azusa did this after he and Klaus was found at the riverbank. Probably because Klaus' wound was more serious (there is a difference between being shot on the leg and the chest), Klaus' rank is higher, he didn't abandon Azusa on the train and Azusa thinks his duty as a soldier is more important than his life anyway.
The Handler: Klaus has one in Taki's country. When he tells Klaus he's getting out soon and Klaus should too before he dies there, Klaus mocks him for getting too attached to him.
"Hell Yes" Moment: Klaus has one of these during the night exercise at Luckenwalde. Early on Taki is knocked unconcious and Klaus carries him away from the combat, his trauma from losing his former comrades surfacing as he just waits for Taki to wake up. When Taki finally comes to he acts cold and aloof as usual and they go over how bad their situation is, made worse when they hear the barking of dogs. Then Taki stands up, pulls out his knife, and the following conversation ensues:
Taki: "Klaus von Wolfstadt, I ask you to join me."
Klaus: "There we go."
High On Catnip: This gag appears in one of the bonus comics, where a chemical weapon attack against the cat side is actually bombing them with catnip, to great effect.
Horrible Judge of Character: Cadet Yamamoto adores Klaus-sama and wants to be like him when he grows up, and he told Klaus outside his doorstep that he will be stronger and more useful on the battlefield like Klaus and Taki, while inside the building Klaus was brutally raping Taki.
Improvised Weapon: When his classmates come armed with Broomstick Quarterstaffs to haze him, Taki promptly improvises with their improvised weapons, using the broom as a sword and tripping people over the buckets, other supplies, and their own comrades.
Inter-Class Romance: Zigzagged. Taki is second-in-line to the throne in his own country. When Taki and Klaus first meet Klaus is of the nobility. Eventually Klaus' family lose that status because the monarchy is dissolved when the country falls to the Western Alliance, placing him as a wealthy middle class. Later, when Klaus becomes Taki's knight, he has to renounce his country, his name and status and becomes the lowest of the low in Taki's country. Their romance has been developing through all of this, but really comes into force after Klaus has lost his upper-class status.
Lap Pillow: Klaus fell asleep on Taki's lap after being 'interrogated'.
Lens Flare Censor: Sometimes used during the sex scenes. Occasionally Barbie Doll Anatomy is also present, but for example in the 'sex on the train' chapter there isn't any censoring.
Love Hurts: This is a manga about a very troubled relationship.
Magical Realism: There is a definite spiritual element going on that is not fully explained but is acknowledged in-story as drawing all the characters together.
Meaningful Name: Taki's three subordinates are named after components of Shinto rituals, alluding to his status as The Messiah and their positions as his protectors. "Azusa" is written with the same character as "azusa-yumi", the traditional Japanese bow which protects the inner chamber of Ise Shrine (the most important Shinto shrine). "Moriya" is taken from "Mamori-ya", Shinto arrow talisman used for spiritual protection. "Date" is written with the characters of "exorcist shield". This is also Theme Naming.
Mexican Standoff: Klaus and Berkut have a brief moment when Berkut's sword is at Klaus' neck while Klaus' gun is pointed at Berkut's head. Unfortunately for Klaus Berkut notices immediately that the gun is jammed, but luckily Azusa starts firing from behind before Berkut can do anything about it.
Military Academy: Luckenwalde, where Taki went to study and met Klaus for the second time.
Nasty Party: Princess Theodora's introduction has her eating a nice dinner with her cabinet ministers on their private train. Or rather, she's eating, and they're are lying dead on the table after ingesting a little too much poison.
Nice Hat: The emperor and Taki both have interesting ceremonial headgear. Taki also had a bowler hat in one scene, and he looked quite adorable.
No One Gets Left Behind: Azusa wanted Klaus to leave him because of his injured leg, but Klaus refused to forsake him.
'No way. I won't give those guys a single one of you. Not this land. It's people. You. You're all my master's pride. We're going back. Taki's waiting.'
Oblivious Sister: Claudia does know that Klaus 'wants Taki so much that he'll throw away everything', she seems to understand this and wishes the best for her brother, but she probably isn't aware of how exactly Klaus' and Taki's relationship works.
Pre-Asskicking One-Liner: Given how much asskicking there is in the manga these show up fairly often. One of the more memorable ones is after Berkut recovers from the train being derailed by two antitank missiles and comments that Taki must be insane to have done that. Cue Taki standing on top of the wreckage with his katana replying, "and yet, I still haven't managed to finish you off, have I?"
Scars Are Forever: Berkut's scar. Averted with Klaus, who often has bandages on his face and torso, but his scars are temporary.
Sensible Heroes, Skimpy Villains: There isn't any significant difference in how the male characters dress, but this trope is used with the two more important women. Claudia's clothes aren't revealing, she doesn't wear make up and she is kind, understanding, one of the very few genuinely pure characters. Duchess Theodora has skimpy clothes, high heels, she uses lipstick, and she is a cruel and dangerous antagonist.
Shadow Archetype: Katsuragi seems to shape up to be this for Taki. Like Taki, he is of royalty and used to have a "knight" (who is implied to be very close to him). Unlike Taki, he has an It Amused Me attitude about the war and more tellingly, Second Lieutenant Surugi calls him the traitor that caused the tragedy in No Man's Land.
Shirtless Scene: Klaus likes to wander around wearing only bandages on his torso.
Shrouded in Myth: As mythical as the relationship between Taki and Klaus can seem at times, things get even more vague when you start working outward from them (ie. Taki's mother, Klaus' ancestors, the wolfman and the founders of Reizen). It also occurs within the story to Klaus in examples like the nature of the Reizen sacred ground, which is incredibly important to Taki and his countrymen and yet no one can adequately explain to Klaus.
Snooping Little Kid: While everyone is in a fluster about the train about to invade the territory, cadet Yamamoto notices a suspicious guy and convinces his friends to follow him. The discover the man is a spy passing information to Eurote, and the boys' efforts end up revealing that there are in fact a lot of spies in their ranks adding to the chaos.
Tarot Motifs: Appear in the Wheel Of Fortune doujinshis, naturally.
Theme Naming: All the regiments on Taki's side are named after flowers. Appropriately, Taki's Rose Commander.
There Is No Kill Like Overkill: Why you don't force your way into Taki's...land.[[note]]Taki uses a Ferdinand, a tank used to destroy other tanks, for firing on the train of Duchess Theodora. Berkut even commented on how insane it was.]]
To Absent Friends: In "Wheel of Fortune" Taki and Klaus go out into town to "mourn like soldiers" after the death of four of their comrades, although the focus is concentrated on Taki's reaction to the deaths rather than the fallen themselves.
Train-Station Goodbye: Averted against all expectation by taking out the 'goodbye' bit, and essentially starting the story.
Traintop Battle: After jumping on top of the train Azusa asks why they are going in through the last car and fighting their way to the engine room rather then running across the top straight there. Klaus lampshades the impracticality of this tactic as their footsteps would give away their location and they'd just be target practice.
Unresolved Sexual Tension: For an Official Couple who have already gotten together, Taki and Klaus have loads of this, especially after Klaus swears to never touch him again, thinking that's what Taki wants. It leads to things like 40-panel-long hugs.
Unwitting Pawn: By launching an offensive against a train invading his country without orders Taki ends up playing right into Theodora's hands, and is placed under house arrest.
What Beautiful Eyes: Klaus has said before that Taki has "such beautiful eyes". Taki thinks the same about Klaus' gold eyes.
Wouldn't Hit A Woman: Subverted. At first Taki commented on how chivalrous Berkut was because he asked his associate to take care of Duchess Theodora while he fights with Taki, but then Taki attacked her without any qualms and probably would have killed her if he was not stopped by his own soldiers.