“Requiem of the Rose King is a compelling and dark series revisiting the story of Richard III and Henry VI in an original way.”
Requiem of the Rose King is an adaptation of the popular manga of the same name. It’s based on William Shakespeare’s plays Richard III and Henry VI. It takes these plays as the basis and then tells its own story. Now that the first six episodes have aired, let’s see if it’s worth watching.
In this Japanese version of Richard III, Richard is intersex. That means he is neither a man or a woman. It’s an original take on the character and that makes quite the compelling story. Richard wasn’t born a monster, he became one. It’s because he is different that he is rejected by the other characters and that slowly leads him to becoming the monster his mother believes he is. At the beginning, he has his father who supports him but then it becomes more complicated. Henry VI loves him and I love the scenes they share together. They’re quite tender. However, Richard has a hard time accepting Henry’s love because he does see himself as a monster. Richard is such a complex character. I love where his story is going so far.
Richard seeks power while interestingly Henry VI is tired of being a king and he just wants to live his life with someone he loves. In many ways, they are opposite and yet they attract each other. These two are definitely my favorite characters of the series.
There are quite a few despicable characters in this story. But as the audience, we do feel sorry for Richard because there is humanity in him. Though at the same time, it’s going to be hard to feel sorry for him as the story goes and as he continues to head into the darkness.
Requiem of the Rose King is a dark anime. I think we can call it a tragedy. There’s a lot of betrayals, plots, what you basically expect from a story set in the Middle Ages with an anime twist to it. I love the atmosphere of this series. So far the first six episodes have set a captivating story. And each week, I’m excited to see what’s going to happen next.
People who have already watched anime from JC Staff are used to their background characters. Just like in Love Stage!!, they chose to draw blank faces for the characters in the background/unimportant characters. I don’t mind it but if it’s the first time you see this, it might throw you off at the beginning. It’s due to low budget. Though, the main characters are beautifully drawn. I love the designs they went with. For the costumes, you can see they tried to stay in the style of costumes from that era while still bringing their own style to them.
The scenery often feels like paintings, I think it’s absolutely gorgeous. And the color palette is often sober. Considering the tone of the story, I think it’s a great fit. Like Love Stage!!, the settings are sometimes not fully drawn on the sides. It’s also due to budget. It certainly gives an interesting style to the series and add to the painting/parchment feel it gives.
The tale of Richard III is a grim and gritty story. It’s a war so there are a lot of deaths. However, JC Staff have chosen a visual style that isn’t gory, I think this was a good choice. You understand what is happening but you’re not visually disgusted by all the violence. That’s for the best because there is a scene when Richard kisses the decapitated head of his father. I can think of some studios who would have made that scene so bloody and unwatchable.
OPENING AND END CREDITS
The opening and end credits capture the atmosphere of the series. They highlight the duality of Richard, the violence of the War of the Roses and the dark atmosphere of the series. I love the little introduction with the narrator before each opening credits, it reminds us of what the War of the Roses is about. The songs used are not the most memorable for me but they are a good fit for atmosphere they went with.
Requiem of the Rose King is a compelling and dark series revisiting the story of Richard III and Henry VI in an original way.
I’ll review the rest of the season after the finale of Cour 1 airs later this year.
Requiem of the Rose King is now streaming on Funimation.
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