Is Requiem of the Rose King’s Manga Better Than the Anime?

WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Requiem of the Rose King Episodes 2 and 3, now streaming on Funimation.

Whenever a preexisting series gets an anime adaptation, there is always a group of fans who insist the source material is better. They are often a minority who point out every minuscule detail that the anime changed, but this is usually drowned out by those enjoying the anime and the unique perspective it offers the story.

In Requiem of the Rose King's case, however, manga fans may be right. From Episode 1, readers have pointed out that the anime is speeding through content, but the differences between the source and the adaptation go farther than pacing. A bland color palette and rudimentary animation affect it visually, while condensed scenes and removed context hinder its writing, leaving some to drop the anime and turn to the manga instead. Here are a few significant differences between the manga and the anime.

Requiem of the Rose King's Beginning scenes

requiem of the rose king richard thorns

Both versions of Requiem of the Rose King begin with a flashback to set the scene and give the audience a grasp of the story. The anime opens with a short sequence where Richard III overhears his father and Warwick decide to fight the Lancastrians for the throne. Then, it jumps forward to Richard as a teenager as he rides a horse into the forest and recalls a traumatic day from his childhood. It’s implied that his mother left him in the forest after warning him that a witch lives inside, where he is then given the prophecy that his name and birth will be scorned because he is a demon child.

The anime is firmly set in Richard’s teenage years and cuts back to childhood frequently, which could confuse viewers. By contrast, the manga handles these scenes in a more chronological manner. It begins with the day Richard was abandoned in the forest, followed by him overhearing his father and Warwick. The next several pages were cut despite giving further context to the dynamics in Richard’s family, showing his desire for glory in battle, and establishing his hatred of Henry VI.

Richard III and Henry VI's First Meeting

Requiem of the Rose King Henry

Requiem of the Rose King's anime and manga both showcase Richard and Henry’s intimate meeting in the clearing, but the portrayal is very different. In the anime, Richard escapes from his prison cell and happens upon Henry, where they talk about shepherds, nightmares and God. Henry asks Richard to be his friend and stay with him forever, but Richard returns to his cell, bound to his duty to protect his mother.

In the manga, this rendezvous is actually two separate scenes. In the first, they have the same conversation but Richard refuses to give his name to someone he’ll never see again. Henry claims that he’ll learn it the next time they meet, and they part ways. The next night, after being beaten down by their respective families, the pair meet again in the clearing and exchange names. What drives Richard away isn’t a sense of duty to his family, but his disgust. He says Henry is “a name that is loathsome to even say” and leaves the clearing.

Richard III and Edward Lancaster's Confrontation

Requiem of the Rose King Edward Knife

The scene where Edward discovers Richard’s feminine anatomy is vastly different between the manga and anime. Perhaps due to censorship laws or something else, the scene is more graphic in the manga. While anime Edward attempts to cut away Richard’s clothes, he doesn’t succeed. Richard uses the shock of an explosion to steal Edward’s knife and fight back. Edward holds out his hands to protect himself from a strike, manages to feel Richard’s chest and comes to the conclusion that Richard is a girl.

This change lets Richard have slightly more dignity than he does in the manga, but it’s done at a cost. Manga Edward slashes Richard’s shirt down the middle and is interrupted by a servant. Richard takes the opportunity to fight back. Edward reaches to stop the attack, touches Richard's chest and sees the slightest indications of breasts as Richard leans over him. Edward saw and felt Richard’s body, giving more foundation to Edward's assumption that Richard is a girl.

Margaret Lancaster's Rushed Introduction in the Anime

Requiem of the Rose King Margaret Thorns

Margaret in particular is handled very differently between Requiem of the Rose King's anime and manga. She has a presence in the manga's story from Chapter 1. Appearing on the very last page, Margaret is established as a direct threat with her vow to “dye the white roses of York red with their blood” while her husband is knelt in prayer. She makes more appearances in the next few chapters, slowly but surely becoming fed up with King Henry’s weak spirit and taking control of his army herself.

In the anime, however, she doesn’t appear until Episode 2 and doesn’t have time to establish her character. Margaret shows up on the battlefield in place of her husband and then tortures Richard II before his death. With this choice, the complexity of her character is gone. This version of Margaret isn’t a woman fed up with her husband and determined to keep her power, but a heartless sociopath who takes advantage of Henry’s weakness to do what she wants.

Boruto, Sarada and kaito in the Boruto anime
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