In the floating continent of Neo Verona, the Montague family seized control and murdered every member of the Capulet family with the exception of Capulet's daughter, Juliet Fiammata Asto Capulet. 14 years later, Juliet and the remnants of Capulet's retainers live hidden from the iron fist of the Montague family. Juliet has long forgotten the murder of her family or her identity, and cross dresses as Odin and the town's hero of justice, "Red Whirlwind." A sudden escape in her daily escapades leads her to meet Romeo Candorebanto Montague, the kind son of the tyrannical Montague. Destiny has been set as these two individuals soon to be "star-crossed lovers" are cruelly toyed with by fate in the midst of war. Loosely based on the play by William Shakespeare.
What can we expect from a title that says Romeo x Juliet? Probably a cheesy and draggy remade version of the original story that has no dept whatsoever.
But I was utterly wrong. Simply bear in mind that this is the Anime Version of Romeo and Juliet, and expect what you'll expect from most anime for eg, fantasy. I'm no fan of Shakespear's work but I do know the general outline of the story and the important scenes such as the balcony which audience will get to enjoy during the course of the series (although I'm guilty of laughing at that part).
Story wise -
Firstly, I'm very impressed by the various climax and exciting moments in this series. The first 10 episodes or so will keep you on your toes while tugging your emotions along with the sweet and tragic moments of our main characters. Following episodes then mellow down, and just when I thought it's gonna get boring here forth the story picks up again and you just have to keep watching. ie. damn high priority. However, you may find yourself with a big "huh?!" at the last few eps. Yes there's where the Fantasy kicks in although if you have watched enough anime, you'll know that this is a typical storyline and thus befitting for this series as well. In general, the story was well remade for an anime indeed.
Art - The style may be a little hard to stomach for some but fret not, you'll get used to it in 1 or 2 episodes' time. The background was beautiful in some scenes especially the extensive flower beds. In fact, during the course of watching this series, I actually felt that it's well drawn because the characters doesn't have oversized eyes (or boobs) or overly skinny limbs, unlike some other animes.
Sound - Needless to say, the opening is one where you'll keep listening to even after completing the series. Images from the anime will then naturally float into your mind. Yes that's how influential Lena Park's version of You Raise Me Up is.
Character - For this portion, I'll really have to give the director a big hug. Setting the side characters aside, the mental development of both our hero and heroine was well-balanced and developed. The romance between the 2 was nicely presented while slowly telling the audience how they fell in love. This part was absolutely perfect because a plain love-at-first-sight thing would cause the story to lose its meaning and turn me off quickly.
Despite it being a great anime, I've gotta admit the presence of my fan-girling moments during the exceptionally sweet and touching moments which were strewed here and there. So fellow babes, watch this to ignite the shoujo heart in you!
Going into this series, I admit that I had braced myself for more of a tragedy than this. Having acted in the original play, I know just how depressing and plain ol' emo it can be. But this is truly something different.
Story: First off, the story is much more moving and uplifting than I was expecting. There were times when I was actually moved to tears by the responses of characters to each other. The story just barely follows Shakespeare's original story. Basically put, if you're looking for an anime rendition of his story, you're looking in the wrong
place. This is not to say that the story is bad in any sense of the word. Rather, I think that Shakespeare would be proud of this expansion to his original story.
Art: I'd have to say that the art section is the most disappointing of all. Thankfully, this isn't saying too much. The art from front to back is very well done. Some of the townsfolk felt a little bit cheapened but I would count this as making sure the story is focused on who it should be.
Sound: I have to admit, I'm extremely impressed with the sound from this anime. From the musical compositions to the sound effects to the voice acting to one of the better renditions of "You Raise Me Up" (performed by Lena Park). As far as audio goes, darn impressive.
Characters: Only a couple of characters weren't all that impressive. However, all of the key players are very well developed. All of the seiyuu who performed did an excellent job indeed. This really helped to bring out the characters personalities and brought life.
Overall I believed it was a very good story. It goes along the basic storyline of the Shakespeare version, but I thought that the twists and extra pieces really made it unique and likeable.
I loved the music, it really went well with the anime and the mood of the story. I also loved the opening and ending music.
Each episode was a sort of cliffhanger, which made me want to watch the rest of them in a row (but couldn't). When I did, I felt kind of sad that it wasn't long enough.
Some of the characters that have more similar roles in both this anime
and the Shakespeare story were excellent. Oveall the characters were well thought out and drawn (animated).
If you haven't watched it, I recommend watching it with an open mind. Don't limit yourself to thinking it will just be like the Shakespeare play, and I'm sure you'll be surprised, pleased and love most, if not all, moments in this anime laid out before you.
Manga, Anime: Romeo x Juliet does have a manga spinoff, with art done by COM and story still done by Gonzo and Sky Perfect Wellthink, that began running in Kadokawa Shoten's Monthly Asuka on March 24th, 2007. It is still running at this point in time, and has yet to be licensed Stateside.
Romeo x Juliet is a twenty-four episode anime that was produced by Gonzo (famous for their work on Gankutsuou and Saikano) and directed by Fumitoshi Oisaki (this was his first major work as a director). It ran from April 4th to September 26th, 2007 on Japanese TV, and,
contrary to Funimation's giving subbers a cease and desist (which was on supposedly on behalf of Gonzo's requests for them to enforce Japanese copyright laws), the anime has NOT been licensed Stateside.
Story: Fourteen years ago, on the floating continent of Neo-Verona, the Montagues led a coup against the Capulets, and slaughtered the entire family, except for a young girl and her servant. The girl, in the meantime, has been bought up as a boy, Odin, and kept in hiding, occasionally going out as the masked vigilante the Red whirlwind. On the day of her sixteenth birthday, the day when her true identity is to be revealed, she meets Romeo, the son of the Montagues...
As you can tell, this is an EXTREMELY loose adaptation of the story. And, honestly, it had the chance to be good. However, the story has issues, and lots of them. And to cover them requires some SPOILERS, so read ahead at your own risk
First of all centers in the adaptation of the story. It's absolutely bare-bones: two star-crossed lover from rival families who die. It isn't even double suicide because of a misunderstanding; Romeo dies because he's trying to save Juliet from giving her life to save Neo-Verona, which ends up happening anyways upon his death, which makes most of the last two episodes or so pointless in the extreme. I'm not a Shakespeare purist at all, but dear GOD, they fucked this up. They can't decide when to use Shakespearean dialogue or when to adapt it, or when to keep scenes from the original play in just to remind people that yes, this is an adaptation. And for the recored, they fucked up the balcony scene in the extreme. I'm sorry, but you have to be really trying with a vengance to mess it up.
Another major problem in this is the characters. Gonzo might have been able to pull this off if they'd kept the original personalities from Shakespeare. Instead, Romeo becomes a naive whiny little brat who waxes philosophically (and unconvincingly) about justice and freedom and peace once he is sent to work in the mines by his father (Maoist China, plz?), Juliet can't decide whether she wants to be a shoujo heroine destined to lead a revolution and avenge her parents or a whiny little Mary-Sue moping over her angsty past and her TRU WUV with Romeo, not to mention that she's supposedly uber-skilled with a sword, but makes incredibly stupid beginners mistakes at several critical times, and Tybalt, probably my favorite out of the whole lot, is dark and brooding and actually doesn't coddle Juliet, unlike most of the cast. Other characters from other Shakespeare plays are thrown in haphazardly, but don't hold your breath waiting for them to be like in other plays; they're all butchered versions of their former selves (like most everyone else from the original Romeo and Juliet), most of whom are fawning over and coddling either Romeo or Juliet or both. Background stories for some major characters (such as Tybalt and the generic evil tyrant Montague) don't come until later in the series, and when they do, it's just more WTF (Montague is a son of the Capulets and got adopted into the Montagues and backstabbed his way to the top in order to get his revenge on the Capulets for mistreating his mother, who was, in fact, a whore; and Tybalt is apparently the son of Montague and a Capulet woman - again, WTF?!) The biggest issue with characters is the fact that NONE of them get any development; they're all one-note personalities running around in circles for most of the series.
This, in turn, is compounded by the issue that, for most of the series, THERE IS NO PLOT. It's either Juliet running around with Romeo in puppy love, angsting, or attempting to lead a revolution but failing at swordfighting when she's supposedly amazing at it, while Romeo either runs around with Juliet, tries to kindly let down his arranged fiancee, or starts to realize just what a douche his father is. Gonzo tries to build the series on Romeo and Juliet's TRU WUV, but the most that it is is puppy love, as they never meet for anything more than six minutes, yet this is enough for them to decide to run away together about halfway through the series and marry each other and set up house in a pastoral village out in the middle of nowhere. (...Then again, it was kind of like this in the original play, so they got that aspect down, to some degree.) They get captured, though, and Romeo goes off to the mines to have a slight development arc that makes him even more annoying at the end of it, and Juliet goes off to finally lead that revolution (which is instigated by something so fucking EASY that it's a wonder they didn't try this years ago, let alone the other five times that the revolution failed in this series!). And when the revolution comes about, it's glossed over to make room for the random tree that apparently keeps Neo Verona in the sky and that is dying because of the Montagues, and apparently Juliet is the next sacrifice to keep it alive. This brings about the situation in the last two episodes that I bought up back in the third paragraph. To say the least, this thing is a fucking MESS.
In short, the whole story is made of FAIL. There are bits of redemption that come through in Tybalt here and there, but all in all, this was just made of suck. And you wonder where it comes from, because on the one hand, you've got stuff like Saikano, and Bokurano, and Gankutsuou (which was an EXCELLENT adaptation), and then on the other, you've got THIS.
Art: Neo-Verona is absolutely beautiful. Gonzo really tried to emulate classical Italian Renaissance architecture in its construction, and they did it well. The winged horses that show up here and there in the series are pretty neatly designed and executed as well.
The character designs could've been done better, I think. Most everyone in this show looks pretty generic -- well-animated, for the most part, but fairly generic. And there are times when it was pretty obvious that they were trying to save budget with pan shots, still frames, and glossing over fight scenes. The animation quality dropped every once in a while, too.
Music: The background music for this was a study in extremes: it was either melodramatic or overdramatic string orchestra, to match the "epic" fight scenes and "dramatic" revelations, or soft and gentle string and piano numbers, to match the "tender" moments and the angst. All in all, it took the suckiness to whole new places.
The two versions of the OP and its instrumental, a cover of Josh Groban's "You Raise Me Up" by Lena Park, were used at several points in the series, and even if I didn't really like where it was used, I liked the songs themselves. The first ED, "Cyclone" by 12012, was a pretty nice rock piece as well. I didn't like the second ED all that much, as it was another female emo ballad, which we kind of already had in the OP.
Seiyuu: Overall, the seiyuu for this did a good job in portraying their characters, even if I hated their characters' guts. Props especially to Tybalt and Montague's seiyuu, who pitched their voices so that they matched, something I didn't recognize till I saw them in scenes that happened one right after the other, which was a hint to a major (if slightly WTF-ish) plot point.
Length: Honestly? I think this series shouldn't have even been able to get off the ground -- whoever greenlighted this should probably get fired.
But, in the long run, this was just way too long. I was starting to get sick of this around episode 13. If they went and retooled the whole damn thing (and maybe took care of the issues with the plot and the characters), they should've been able to wrap this up in about sixteen to twenty episodes, and had a chance of it being decent, too.
Overall: A pretty, well-acted series that, unfortunately, is an EXTREMELY loose adaptation of the original has nothing resembling a plot for most of its entirety, and when it does get a plot, it's quite WTF-ish, one-note characters that, for the most part, you will HATE with a passion by the third episode (except maybe for Tybalt) and music (save for the OP and the first ED) that doesn't help its case.
We all get in the mood for some fun, excitement and a good love story. And we all love to watch anime with our significant others...so that we can witness what our favorite characters are doing with their significant others. It's time to check out some top-notch action romance anime!