With volume 6, we come to the events of the Battle of Barnet. Kanno captures the chaos of the early morning foggy rout, the confusion and false cries of traitors, and how the Lancastrians often ended up killing their own soldiers. It should be unsurprising that this battle takes part across most of volume 6 since it was one of the pivotal battles in the War of the Roses and set up the Yorkist rule in England. Of course, since this is a shoujo manga, Richard plays a much more interesting part and still has to deal with the demons chasing him inside.
Story: Richard is caught between his affection for Henry and his own York loyalties. As Warwick the Kingmaker allies with the exiled Queen Margaret of Anjou, Richard’s brother George has a prophetic vision from his father: he must join up with Edward and bring the throne back under their family’s control. Finally allied, the brothers lead an army against Warwick and Margaret (Warwick by land, Margaret by sea). But a storm blows Margaret’s fleet of course and on a foggy early morning the Lancasters, including Warwick, are defeated by Edward and George. And on that fateful battlefield, Richard will be forced to confront his beloved and befuddled Henry at the end of his bloody sword.
Of course, this isn’t meant to be a history lesson and Kanno plays loose and fast with the historical facts. As with other historical shoujo like Rose of Versailles, we have an entertaining read on a fascinating period in history. I always recommend reading up on the time period to have an understanding of what’s going on or it can get very confusing. Certainly, Richard wasn’t intersex and only suffered from a scoliosis; and one can’t mistake Kanno’s beautiful bishounen characters from the actual images we have of the them. But Richard’s death at age 32 does mark the end of the medieval period in England and is a great story from which Kanno built Requiem of the Rose King. Historians may roll in their graves but this is a great way to visit the period without the heaviness of a history text or Shakespearean drama. Very entertaining and with all the melodrama and cackling evil women you’d want from a shoujo title. Reviewed from an advance reader copy provided by the publisher.