Manga Review: Requiem of the Rose King Volume Two

Requiem of the Rose King Volume 2 is based on William Shakespeare’s Henry VI and Richard III. Specifically, the manga follows the two families during the Wars of the Roses.

Requiem of the Rose King Volume 2
Written by: Aya Kanno
Publisher: Akita Publishing Co., Ltd.
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: September 8, 2015

Volume 2 sees some major events take place in the Wars of the Roses. The first is the capture and killing of Richard’s father, which includes taunting and torture by Henry’s wife, Margaret. As a reader, the scene where Richard’s father is murdered really made me dislike Margaret. Not only does she look haughty, but she also acts that way as well. I found myself feeling a little sorry for Henry because he has to deal with a wife like her.

Meanwhile, Richard finds a surprising ally and is freed from captivity. But after learning of the death of his father, Richard becomes consumed with vengeance and wants to spill as much Lancaster blood as possible. While we see this in full display in Volume 2, I expect that we will likely see more of Richard’s quest for vengeance in future volumes of the series.

Unfortunately for the Lancasters, the people of London are backing the House of York for the monarchy. While the Lancasters are forced to flee, Edward York becomes the new king of England. But we see the Lancasters have vowed revenge, so the story of this war is far from over.

Near the end of Volume 2, Edward meets Elizabeth Woodville and becomes smitten with her. Elizabeth’s husband was killed during the fighting, and she’s out for revenge. But her plan isn’t hatched during this volume, so I expect that will be a focus of Volume 3. And knowing that Shakespeare is known for writing tragedies, I expect that things will not end well for Edward.

By the end of Volume 2, Kanno has introduced three more women into the cast. What I liked about these new additions is that they come across as being more relatable and natural, unlike the wives of Richard and Henry. The two wives just came across and stuck up and haughty. It appears that Elizabeth may not be likable, since she’s plotting to harm Edward, but at least the character design she received doesn’t make her look like a snooty noblewoman.

Richard received much more of the focus in Requiem of the Rose King Volume 2 than Henry did. But considering the story that’s being told here, this isn’t terribly surprising. I’m sure that at some point, Henry will be back in the forefront again.

Requiem of the Rose King Volume 2 has an intriguing story, and is most likely to be appreciated by manga readers who enjoy historical fiction.

The reviewer checked out a copy of this item through the King County Library System

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