Requiem of the Rose King Vol. 1 (Story & Art by Aya Kanno) (a J!-ENT Manga Review)

April 5, 2015 by  


While I won’t give a full recommendation for the series just yet, I will say for the first volume alone…I’m hooked.
I look forward to reading the second volume but for now, “Requiem of the Rose King Vol. 1” is recommended!

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Image courtesy of © 2014 Aya Kanno. All Rights Reserved.

MANGA TITLE: Requiem of the Rose King Vol. 1

STORY & ART BY: Aya Kanno



RATED: T for Older Teen

Available on March 10, 2015

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.

Manga artist Aya Kanno has come a long way since her 2001 debut with “Soul Rescue”.

Her manga works such as the two-volume “Blank Slate” (2005-2006) and the popular “Otomen” (2006-2012) have been released in the United States.

And now she is working on her latest manga series “Requiem of the Rose King”, which will be released in the United States courtesy of Viz Media.

While only three graphic novels have been released in Japan at this time, for those who enjoy the story of “Henry VI” and “Richard III” will enjoy Kanno’s version of the storyline in this latest manga series.

“Requiem of the Rose King” begins with an introduction of the House of York’s princess explaining to Edward the story of Joan of Arc and how she was a devil that was punished for the sin of dressing as a man.

We are then taken to a time when a young Richard was left in the middle of the forest by his mother, who has cursed him and thought of him as a demon child.

We learn from Richard II that his father was executed by the House of Lancaster for treason and now Richard II is determined to be king.

Each time Richard II and his son Edward go to fight in war, his son Richard III is left behind.

He lived all his life with his mother telling him about his horrible body and that has made Richard III to focus on his fighting and one day to be the son that his father would be most proud of.  But right now, he feels that he is an outsider.  And so to prove to his father, he desires only one thing…to kill King Henry VI.

With Joan of Arc burned at the stake, the religious King Henry of Lancaster who is tired of the warring between England and France wants a reconciliation which upsets Richard II from the House of Y0rk.  But behind the scenes, his wife Queen Margaret is sick of her husband’s peacefulness and wants the blood of York.

Richard III, George and his mother are imprisoned because of Richard the II’s actions but Richard the III finds an opening in the room to a tunnel that leads out.

He meets a shepherd that is religious and enjoying the peacefulness of the outdoors.  But because Richard has never stepped outside of his own living grounds, he is shocked to find this shepherd, who enjoys his life and is tired of tragedy and desire and his deep belief in God.

But as Henry can not wait until God accepts him on Earth, for Richard, he does not feel the same because he feels he is the son of a demon, but also because his own mother doesn’t love him.

But as these two have these innocent talks, neither knows the true identity of each other.

For those who enjoy William Shakespeare’s story of Henry VI and Richard III, one may find the storyline of “Requiem of the Rose King” quite fascinating as Aya Kanno adds her spin on both stories and adds a twist.

As the original Richard III had references of him being a hunchback, for Kanno’s story, Richard has a body that is disapproved of.  But why is this body so hideous?  We receive a teaser that correlates to the first story that Richard III’s mother was telling a young Edward about Joan of Arc.

Meanwhile, there is a fascinating story between the two warring families, the House of Lancaster (which King Henry VI presides over) and the House of York.   As England has been in war against France, humanitarian and religious man, Henry VI has had enough of war and wants to put an end to it.

Upset at the King, considering how many men have been killed fighting the war for England, Richard II will start a coup against the King and become the new King in the land.

But we see the juxtaposition between the two characters, Richard III and Henry VI.  Richard III has been called a demon child and withhold from battle from his mother for the assumption by others because he is young, but in truth, his mother keeps him away because she considers him a demon that will lead to her husband and her eldest son’s death.

Meanwhile, Henry VI just wants to end the war but also has mother issues and even worse, a wife who is more intent in going to war and could care less about her husband’s love for God.

So, there are a lot of things going on in this first volume of “Requiem of the Rose King”.  Characters are established rather well and we get to learn more about the House of Lancaster and the House of York.  Kanno’s character designs are well-done and she manages to capture character interactions and emotion rather well.

While I won’t give a full recommendation for the series just yet, I will say for the first volume alone…I’m hooked.

I look forward to reading the second volume but for now, “Requiem of the Rose King Vol. 1” is recommended!

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