Requiem of the Rose King

Alt title: Baraou no Souretsu

TV (24 eps)
3.166 out of 5 from 734 votes
Rank #13,128

Richard’s father, the patriarch of the House of York, is poised to become king of medieval England during the bloody Wars of the Roses. But just as success is imminent, he is abruptly cut down. Plunged into despair, Richard acts out in revenge and must face a powerful and beautiful new enemy.

Source: Viz

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Story: [7.5/10] Requiem of the Rose King is set in medieval England and based on Henry V by Shakespeare, we follow two families, York and Lancaster, fighting over the throne of England. Our primary protagonist Richard has been raised by his ambitious father and taught that the crown is all that matters, and Richard will do anything to deliver that crown to his father, to whom he is utterly dedicated. But Richard is different from his brothers, his body is nonconventional and his mother hates him for it. A "demon" she calls him, something he now calls himself. Richard wants to make his father proud, to toss anyway anything superfluous to his mission, no matter how hard it gets.  I love this story and this anime, one that I'd never have watched had I noticed the shoujo tag, which I take as a warning sign telling me to steer clear. But Reqieum is unlike other shoujo I've watched, it is dark, complex and fascinating. Not only does it have a shoujo tag, but it's also got a love-triangle tag, another clear warning for me to stay away and yet luckily... thankfully... I did not see these tags before giving the show a try and now I love a show with two tags I'd promised myself to stay away from.  This is a character-driven story, it has a political setting but we're much more focused on the journeys and relationships of our characters. We're not soaring with our characters at their peaks, as we would be in a shounen, but despairing for them as they're dragged to their depths. It's not a story for the faint of heart, but I believe if you can love these characters then this anime will shine for you as it has for me. From the standpoint of the political aspect, the plot is nothing impressive, but drama and romance are well-done, I found the characters and their problems compelling, developments were satisfying and often unexpected, nothing much else to say, I'm really enjoying it but I recognise it's a niche.  Animation: [6/10] I like the look of the characters but the backgrounds are often only passable in quality, battles are barely animated at all and most side characters don't even have faces drawn. These are not things I actually care about that much but I know others do. The shoujo influence also shows itself a bit with the animation, for better or worse, I don't actually have an issue with it.  Sound: [8/10] I really love how Richard sounds and the voice acting overall is really good, I've enjoyed the OST a lot but it's hard to judge before the anime is finished. Also, I don't think this show really needs a great OST, I don't know if it can be much better than it is without becoming distracting, hard to say.  Characters: [8/10] I'm really struggling here, I would like to give a super high rating but I'm not sure I can justify it. I'm drawn to Richard as well as many other characters, I find Richard's problems and story so compelling, I'm really invested in what happens in this story. But I wonder how confident I should be that others would feel the same, would they sympathise with Richard and if they didn't, would the anime still be good? Richard is not exactly a likeable person, he's tragic, flawed and hardly innocent. We share many intimate moments with him, he is laid bare to us, if we accept him then everything falls into place, so much hinges on that.  You can say the same for many shounen and other types of anime but there's so much about those shows that exist to ensure you like the main character. They're kind, hardworking and virtuous, as are many characters in most shounen and seinen I watch. If not the main character then at least some of them. That doesn't really exist here, it's not so easy. But when you like a character despite their flaws, that's when their flaws shine, the character is complex and yet remains compelling.  Overall: [9/10] My reviews try to highlight some of the positive/negatives, and give a rating based on how I thought the overall product was. But I never give an anime a high score when I disliked it, or an anime a low score when I loved it. With Requiem of the Rose King, I don't think it deserves 9/10 but since I absolutely love this show I'm going to give it 9/10 anyway. I'm super invested in these characters, I can't necessarily justify my feelings, I can't expect others to feel the same but I'm giving it 9/10 because I am really enjoying it. But nonetheless, I couldn't exactly disagree with a 6-7/10 from someone else. This is a solid anime but it's highly niche, not only is it political but it's shoujo and focuses on LGBT issues, doesn't get more niche than this. You're probably going to have to step outside of your usual comfort zone to watch this show but hopefully you do, like I did, and find that you enjoy it. For that to happen, you need to enjoy psychological themes with a darker vibe. More than anything else, this show is heavily psychological, far more than it is political or romance focused. I'd be inclined to say if you liked Kaiji, Shion no Oh or Psycho-Pass or other psychological tag animes, then there's a good chance you'll like Requiem of the Rose King.

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