Manga Shelf: Requiem of the Rose King
Requiem of the Rose King, the story revolves around the “Demon child” Richard, son of the House of York during the War of the Roses. So right off the bat you have your history element but it also has the manga twist so don’t worry about it coming off too preachy and such. Thing is you’ve got iconic figures like Joanna of Ark in the form of a ghost haunting people and other strange things happening.
Richard is known for being the ambitious third son of the House of York. He believes that he is cursed and therefore damned from birth to eternal darkness. The big question becomes is it truly fate that sets him on the path to personal destruction? Or is it his own tormented longings?
The description says that it is based on an early draft of Shakespeare’s Richard III. The manga is proof that shojo as a whole can go into some rather dark places. Aya Kanno helms the artistry for this book and it is described as a dark fantasy that finds the man who could be king standing between worlds, between classes, and most of all between good and evil.
In contrast, Richard’s father, who is the patriarch of the House of York, is tailor-made to become the king of medieval England during the bloody War of the Roses. But just as his glorious moment is coming, he is cut down furiously. This plunges Richard into despair and he acts out in revenge. This revenge will lead him to a powerful but also beautiful new enemy.
It is hard to explain what goes on beyond that because it involves unraveling one of the coolest aspects of the story. Even this gives some of it away, but for the sake of this review, we have to at least reveal a little – the subgenre of gender bending plays into this plot and it’s awesome. The manga uses it as a catapult to change not only history’s idea of the war and such, but also the the ways in which we look at good and evil.
The other thing that we have to bring up because it’s different and also paying homage is the art style of the manga. The artwork is like 1980’s/1970’s manga but with a stylized update. This isn’t too shocking since the manga takes some obvious inspiration was previous gender bending shoujo manga like The Rose Versailles. This art and stories of that time period are Important over all to the development and continuity success of shoujo manga.
Requiem of the Rose King is an interesting manga, especially for those who have wanted something darker.