I really like Romeo x Juliet. It doesn’t radiate sheer awesomeness like Lucky Star, neither does it produce the level of stylistic impact that Claymore delivers. It can be quite accurately described as fluff and honestly speaking it contains almost zero suspense, unpredictability and excitement. But I can’t help but watch on.
So why do I like it? I can’t really say for sure, but it’s entirely possible that maybe I’m just a huge idiot sentimentalist. That’s medical jargon for a type of fatal heart disease.
Romeo x Juliet is Gonzo‘s latest attempt at making famous dead people spin in their graves. Similar to Gankutsuou, it is an adaptation of a classic story reinvented with an anime twist. Or in other words, Gonzo is saving money on story writers again. Good thing William Shakespeare forgot to renew his copyright.
The story is about Romeo and… Juliet. Surprise! What an unexpected twist. Anyway, Romeo is the successor in line of the Montague family, a house that rules over the city of Neo Verona, an aerial city that defies physics. Juliet is the sole survivor of the Capulet bloodline, the previous rulers of Neo Verona who were murdered by Romeo’s father in a bloody coup.
Under the protection of Capulet loyalists, Juliet was kept in the dark about her terrible past. She was made to dressed like a boy in order to hide from the soldiers of Montague. One day, she met Romeo by chance, resulting in much homoerotic tensions due to her disguise, and eventually the two of them fell in love (no, like duh), blissfully oblivious to their families’ entwined history. And they lived happily ever after. Not.
On her sixteenth birthday, Juliet’s past was finally revealed to her and she found herself torn between lust love and revenge. Sweet ironies of life. Teenage angst ensues.
Frankly, the entire courtship was quite undeveloped. They more or less fell in love at first sight. While I’m sure no one is expecting anything otherwise, it wouldn’t have hurt for Gonzo to at least make a little more effort. And while it is campy and clichéd, I do like the use of iris flowers as a plot device that links Romeo to Juliet.
Perhaps the best part of the entire series has got to be the opening theme. “Inori ~You Raise Me Up~” by Lena Park is a Japanese recording of the inspirational piece “You Raise Me Up“. A sample clip is on her website. It’s a very soothing song and Lena’s voice has a rough edge that makes it really beautiful and sincere. In episode 7, she also sang it with the original English lyrics as an insert song. Brilliant. I’m getting the single off Amazon.
One funny thing to note is that for the first few episodes, the opening credits misspelled Shakespeare’s name as “Whilliam”.
There’s also a supporting character called William in the story. He’s a budding playwright and mostly fills in as comedic relief. (Do you hear that? It’s the sound of a coffin spinning at 400 revolutions a sound.)
So anyway, if you are looking for an interesting plot, excitement or profound philosophical themes, go elsewhere. But if mushy shoujo romance is your can of mushroom soup, then look no further than Romeo x Juliet.
P.S. Almost forgot to mention. There are flying horses in Neo Verona! ZOMG!