Requiem of the Rose King Volume 13 Review

Warning: Contains spoilers to previous volumes of the manga.

Two things are worth pointing out as we cover this 13th volume: the first is that since we covered the previous volume, it was announced that Requiem of the Rose King would be adapted into a TV anime series. The second is that it would seem author Aya Kanno likes to spread the plot somewhat. Going into this book, I was expecting that we would finally learn how Kanno deals with the fate of the Princes in the Tower, but that is still to come. However, there is still plenty to deal with in this volume.

The first thing that features is Richard, Duke of Gloucester appearing before a crowd of the masses, dressed in white, declaring loyalty to the recently deposed Edward V, but the majority of the crowd want someone more stable to become king, someone like Richard. Thus, he agrees. Finally, in the 13th volume, we witness our lead character take on the name he is best known under. He finally becomes King Richard III of England.

After his coronation, in which Richard wears a horned crown that makes him look rather more demonic than his enemies describe, he attends a lavish party, where some actors annoy him when they put on a morality play that seems to attack the way he took the throne. Two of these actors are later found murdered by a man who sided with the Lancastrians. However, it is after the party that things become more interesting.

Richard and his queen, Anne, go to Richard’s bedroom to consummate their marriage, but Richard cannot bring himself to make love to his wife, partly because of his intersex body. Later on, however, Anne witnesses Richard embracing Buckingham, and starts to ask Catesby why her husband cannot bring himself to make love with her. Later still, Anne organises a lavish fancy dress party and decides the outfits that she and her husband will wear: crossdressing ones. Richard cannot refuse and indeed he looks very fitting in a dress. However, during the party he dances with Buckingham, dressed as the Devil. The two later sneak out and make their way to a secluded spot in the woods where Buckingham declares: “Richard, I want you”, and indeed, he gets his way.

While there is a fair amount of action in this volume as well as murder, it is the romance that is the main attraction. All the way through, it is made clear that Richard and Anne’s marriage is not a happy one, and that it is Buckingham who is seemingly able to fulfil Richard’s desires more than his wife. The scenes in which Richard and Buckingham make love are the most sexualised scenes so far shown in Requiem of the Rose King and also the most loving. One of the most significant moments in the story so far is when Richard calls Buckingham by his real name, Henry Stafford. At the same time, Anne is a rather tragic figure, resorting to making her husband crossdress in order to get a better understanding of her partner’s physical body.

In the previous volume, there was a “kabedon” scene in which Richard ends up pushing Anne against the wall. This time, Buckingham performs the kabedon on Richard. While Richard is in charge of the country, when it comes to who is in charge of love, it is hard to say who out of the three is gaining the most control.

One thing that deserves to be brought up is the coronation scene. Given the nature of the person, in both real life and in Shakespeare’s play upon which the manga is loosely based, it is perhaps only fitting that Richard III takes to the throne in the unlucky 13th volume. There is also the design of the crown which Richard wears in the coronation, which we also see on the front cover of this manga. This black, horned crown along with his heterochromic eyes all add to gothic, demonic vibe that adds to the tone of menace that is to come. Whether we witness how Kanno deals with the fate of the Princes in the Tower in the next volume or not is something that I am keen to find out.

9 / 10

Ian Wolf

Ian works as an anime and manga critic for Anime UK News, and was also the manga critic for MyM Magazine. His debut book, CLAMPdown, about the manga collective CLAMP, is available now. Outside of anime, he is data specialist for the British Comedy Guide, is QI's most pedantic viewer, has written questions for both The Wall and Richard Osman's House of Games, and has been a contestant on Mastermind.

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