King castle

Episode 3 – Requiem of the Pink King

After the old-school three-episode test, I think it’s safe to say that Requiem of the Pink King does not live up to its artistic ambitions. There are absolutely moments that work – I love the psychedelic touch when Joan of Arc shows up, and the snowfall of red rose petals during Richard’s rampage is equally effective. But there’s also a serious over-reliance on static shots backed by faceless mobs, and these drive that away visually. It’s disappointing on several levels: the manga is beautiful and the transformation of a rose-filled figure into Margaret should worked as a symbol of his ambition, but no less in part due to the fact that much of it is visually dull.

It also flies through the manga, although it’s worth noting for those of you reading at home that this week’s episode opens with Act 2, Scene 1 of Henry VI, part three. Because I’m still hopeful, it may indicate that the series is more interested in following Shakespeare than Aya Kanno, but that is an admittedly outlandish suggestion. Anyway, it’s an interesting moment if only because it’s a very close paraphrase of several very long speeches between Edward and Warwick in this scene, and even though I dream of a translation more Elizabethan, the fact that she is still recognizable is a nice touch. There’s more of an old-school sensibility to subtitles overall this week, and it really works for this show, both as a work of historical fiction and as an adaptation of (an adaptation of) Shakespeare.

That doesn’t stop things from being a combination of story and fantasy, of course. Most notable this week (aside from Joan) is that the Neville sisters’ ages seem to have been reversed. In real life, Anne was Isabel’s younger sister, but here Isabel can be heard addressing Anne as if she were the older sister. It doesn’t really matter in the scheme of things, but it jumped out at me. Other elements are nicely foreshadowed to us, like when Edward promises Warwick, his kingmaker, that he’ll do anything he says…and moments later he sneaks off on a date with Elizabeth Woodville, John Grey’s wife. Richard killed last week.

So far, the women are much more intriguing than the men in this story. Margaret, despite her distaste for her husband Henry, is determined to do whatever it takes to reclaim the throne, while Elizabeth doesn’t just reconcile with (or with) Edward because he’s hot. No, she blames him entirely for the death of her first husband, and she has decided that seduction is the way to get revenge. It’s not a terrible take on how Edward went against his advisers to marry her in the story, and most accounts say Elizabeth was both beautiful and intelligent, so it’s not is not completely out of the realm of possibility either. The fact that Edward is clearly depicted as a womanizer before Elizabeth enters the scene certainly helps too – before the battle where he takes the throne we see him talking to a dark haired woman before telling Warwick that he wanted to see his beloved. Of course, two years passed between that moment and when Elizabeth stormed the castle, but given Edward’s decree to George and Richard that they choose partners for the evening, it’s obvious that maybe he hasn’t changed that much.

The theme of love is, so far, almost more prevalent than that of war or power, although love can be a motif for both. Richard’s conversation with Joan goes to this: Richard tells him that he cannot fall in love, but Joan retorts by reminding him that he is both man and woman, both and neither. other at the same time. A love for his father was safe for Richard, as he had no sexual or romantic expectations; it was partly for this reason that he bore York’s defeat so hard. But Joan seems to suggest that at some point Richard will have to choose between his two halves, especially if he desires love. Ultimatums like that, even if they come from a dead girl, could be the driving force that breaks Richard’s soul.


Requiem of the Pink King is currently streaming on Funimation.