“The second cour of Requiem of the Rose King is significantly grimmer and grittier as Richard begins his twisted rise to power. It is filled with betrayals, plotting and deaths.”

Requiem of the Rose King is back for a second cour. Just like for the first one, we decided to review it every six episodes. Thus, we are now halfway through this second part of the series. So how is it holding up now that the War of the Roses is over?

10 YEARS LATER

The second cour picks up ten years later. Obviously, the situation for the characters is vastly different. Indeed, the war is over and the York family rules over England. Moreover, new characters are introduced including Edward’s children and Richard’s son. As for the surviving characters, they have been redesigned to look older.

You may think that everything is doing well without the war. Except, it is not. Edward IV is a decadent king, George is an alcoholic. And as for Richard, he is married with Anne and has a son whom he barely notices. This is the perfect ground for troubles. And troubles do come. In fact, we witness loads of betrayals, plots and deaths.

The first cour went darker with every episode. But, this second cour goes even darker. When you adapt King Richard, it needs to be dark and gloomy. Because there is no way to sugarcoat this story. Even though, it is an anime and it changes elements from Shakespeare’s play, there is one thing they cannot change – it is the tone. The series fully embraces this gothic feel and the crescendo of darkness. But at the same time, it is never gory. The way the deaths and fights are filmed make it watchable for everyone. You can create grim stories without them being visually visceral.

RISE TO POWER

With Richard killing the one man who was his light at the end of the first cour, he is left in a desperate situation. So now that Henry is gone, nothing and no one can bring Richard back from hell.

Actually, when you think about it Henry and Catesby are the only two characters who are good people in this series. And they are the two characters who gravitate around him. However, Catesby is never able to keep Richard in the light. Instead, he is his loyal follower. Thus, Catesby is aware that Richard is going downhill but all he can do is follow him. It is quite tragic. In fact, you do see more of this relation in the second cour. And I do feel sorry for Catesby. Because you can tell he wants to help Richard but he cannot. So, he is ready to go that same dark path just to protect him.

If the first cour was Richard’s descent into hell. The second cour is Richard’s rise to power. And he uses every tool available to do so. He does not hold back anymore. The way I see it, a part of him died the moment he killed Henry. He just does not care anymore. Indeed, he is ready to kill his own family to get more power. Moreover, he uses sex as a tool to get Buckingham to help him be king.

Although, you could feel pity towards Richard in the first cour because there was still some good inside him. Now, it is more difficult to see the good in him. He fully embraces his demon self.

However, one question remains throughout this second cour, is Henry really dead? Episode 18 will make you doubt more than ever. I am saying this as someone who has not read the manga.

RICHARD AND BUCKINGHAM

Despite all the bad he inflicts into his world and himself, he still has a heart. The second cour develops Richard and Buckingham’s relationship. Which first appears as a relationship of mutual benefits. Indeed, like I said above, Richard uses Buckingham for power and Buckingham uses Richard to satisfy his desires. However, their relationship evolves and both end up having feelings for each other.

However, it is a completely different relationship than what Richard had with Henry. That relationship was born out of love and it was pulling Richard to the light. This new relationship is born out of lust for power and it actually pulls Richard further into the darkness. And yet, it is his new light because in the end he still needs to be loved.

It is quite compelling to see Richard’s journey and evolution. There is a lot of layers to this character. Not everything is good or bad, there is a lot of in-between. So this is why as the audience we still root for him.

OPENING AND END CREDITS

It is the second cour thus we get new opening and end credits. Once again, Makoto Furukawa sings the opening, the song is called “Rose Briar Rondo.” While, Nowlu sings the ending “Rasen.” Both credits have a significantly grimmer feel which sets the tone for the second cour. Honestly, I prefer these two songs from this cour because they stay in my head. They are definitely more memorable.

VERDICT

The second cour of Requiem of the Rose King is significantly grimmer and grittier as Richard begins his twisted rise to power. It is filled with betrayals, plotting and deaths.

Requiem of the Rose King is now streaming on Crunchyroll.

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