As far as I know, every person in all parts of the world has heard of the Shakespeare story that is Romeo & Juliet, either through reading it while in high school, seen it been parodying a few times on TV, featured on the silver screen with the 1939 George Cukor film, the 1969 Franco Zeffirelli film, the 1996 Baz Luhrmann MTV-inspired film and other numerous amount of films and media that either have parallel situations too many to count (and yes, that does include Romeo Must Die or Gnomeo & Juliet). But what if anime had a turn with the play? Can it turn out to be good or like the Three Musketeers adaptation directed by Paul WS Anderson, it could go downhill from here?
Does that help out anything? If not, that was actually my voice. If so, then yes, that was my voice.
This is Romeo X Juliet.
The plot is still quite similar to the play with some major differences to the play. The Capulets and Montagues are still feuding adversies like in the play but unfortunately for the Capulets, they don’t have a lasting appearance even during the start of the series. Leontes Montague and his men led a bloody coup and murdered every member of the Capulet family, with the exception of one person and yes, it is Juliet Fiammatta Arst De Capulet also known as Odin, when she disguises herself as a boy with short hair. She also masquerades as a vigilante by the name of the Red Whirlwind, who swore to aid the people who suffer from the reign of Lord Montague and his men. However, here comes Romeo Candore De Montague, who is generally the polar opposite of his father. He is kind-hearted, obedient, and noble and as you may guess, he and Juliet start to fall for each other.
This is actually quite a change-up for the better. The gender roles here might be switched as the primary focus in the series is Juliet. In other adaptations and the original play, Juliet is mainly the shy and meek girl but in here, she’s a very strong, independent, and well-thought out character and is actually quite likable and also hot (by that, I mean the voice actress playing her, Brina Palencia, because I mistakenly forgot that the character of Juliet is 14. Just want to clear that out.) Romeo, on the other hand, is really not that interesting at first, but he does get to that point where everything starts to fall into place. Another change from the play, while Juliet is arranged to be married to Count Paris; in the anime, Romeo is the one to be arranged married with Hermione, a young noblewoman from the House of Borromeo, and yet she’s not really a character from the play. Most of their characters in the story are borrowed from other Shakespeare plays.
Other characters include Cordelia, Juliet’s best friend since childhood and also the representation of the unnamed nurse in the play; Conrad, captain of the Capulet Guards and the one who saved Juliet from the massacre; Francisco and Curio, a duo part of Juliet’s friends who fought alongside her; Tybalt, a mysterious warrior (also a vigilante) also has a deep-seated hatred for Lord Montague (and one of the reasons I can’t reveal to you. It is, after all, a spoiler); Antonio, Juliet’s sidekick; & William, a playwright whose works have not been well-received and also has allusions and pictured as a caricature to William Shakespeare; Benvolio, one of Romeo’s close friends; Mercutio, an sly noble who wants to become Montague’s heir due and soon become mostly like him, mainly because Titus, his father, is an degenerate alcoholic and Mercutio is often ashamed of him.
The only slight problem I had in the series is the villains, who are just insanely evil just to be insanely evil. They obviously don’t care that people are rebelling against them and the fact they are just being dicks. They have no motivation but just to do what they want to do and that’s it.
The music score is well-made and appropriately goes along with the series. The opening song, “Inori~You Raise Me Up〜” (祈り〜You Raise Me Up〜)?) by Lena Park, is a love ballad with some inspirational moments in there, overall, it’s a nice song. I did like the first ending song “Cyclone” (サイクロン)?) by 12012 and occasionally I did sort of sing the lyrics by myself…….horribly. The second ending song “Good Bye, Yesterday” by Mizrock is decent but I still like the other one better. I’m surprised GONZO did the animation to this series since I have only previously watched another GONZO-made series (Afro Samurai) and I loved that one. The animation looks impressive in the first half of the series while some quality drop, it still held its ground.
FINAL VERDICT: It may have gone through some changes in story, characters, and atmosphere; it did work out for the better and leaving only little and meaningless flaws. This is one of the romantic forms of media that doesn’t come off too cheesy, overrated and only alienates different audiences. I really did like this series for what it was. If Hollywood learns to do an adaptation with different elements thrown in and do it right, they should follow Romeo X Juliet’s example.
And this gets the final score of:
Tyrocasts Rating: FIRST CLASS
But I am not done yet.
Next time, I’m reviewing up an anime that I had recently stumbled upon and it’s from Mamoru Oshii and this was 10 YEARSbefore his well-known Ghost in The Shell……..and it’s…….
And until then, I’m MAK2.0 aka HybridMedia, Bringing all the elements in one format.
ROMEO X JULIET – distributed by FUNIMATION, animation by GONZO (w/SKY PERFECT WELL THINK)