Name: Requiem of the Rose King (Bara Ou no Souretsu)
Mangaka: Aya Kanno
Volumes: 17 (Complete)
Licensed: Viz (16 Volumes: Digital/Paperback) – (Complete)
Age Group: Older Teen/Mature
Richard, the ambitious third son of the House of York, believes he is cursed, damned from birth to eternal darkness. But is it truly fate that sets him on the path to personal destruction? Or his own tormented longings? Based on an early draft of Shakespeare’s Richard III, Aya Kanno’s dark fantasy finds the man who could be king standing between worlds, between classes, between good and evil.
Graphics Rating: 5/5
Plot Rating: 5/5
Opinion: I am utterly and thoroughly obsessed with this series. While I’ve never been a Shakespeare fan, I spent quite a few of my pre-teen years enamoured with King Henry the 8th and the dynamics of Mideival Dynasty.
To start, it should be known that this series is liberally inspired by the play Richard the 3rd by Shakespeare. The biggest change is also the heart and core of the entire series: the lead, Richard the 3rd, is born intersex. He is raised and self-identifies as a man.
The art is gorgeous and easily identifiable as Aya Kanno’s style. Sharp and detailed, she draws delicate and beautiful men alongside buxom and confident women. Her other licensed works include Blank Slate and, strangely enough, the fun and fluffy Otomen.
I don’t want to give away too much of the plot but most of the main plot points have been closely following the original play Richard the 3rd. Aya Kannos character work is impeccable and it’s hard not to empathize with the anti-hero as he descends into madness. It’s very interesting to see how his status as Intersex is treated by all the other characters. Even more captivating, is the influence on the heroes relationship to himself and his beliefs in terms of gender, sex, and station in society.
I love this series a ton and cannot wait for the anime. You will love this if you enjoy historical and psychological series. My one caution that threw me off in the first volume is the language used is very Olde English. While much easier to read than Shakespeare it took a volume or two for me to come to terms with. I’m so glad I pushed through.
Final Rating: 5/5
Extra: An Anime adaption was JUST announced (Summer 2021)