Romeo X Juliet: anime review

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Title: Romeo X Juliet
Genre: fantasy, romance, drama
Released date: April 4, 2007 – September 26, 2007
Episode: 24
Director: Fumitoshi Oizaki
Animated by: GONZO Studio
Comment: In the aerial city of Neo Verona, Juliet is the sole survivor of the massacre of The Capulet Family by Lord Montague. Lord Montague becomes the king and rules the kingdom with cruelty. Juliet becomes a vigilante named The Crimson Whirlwind trying to save the commoners from the Tyranny Lord Montague. She accidentally meets Romeo, the crown prince of Neo Verona, and falls in love with him. When she turns sixteen, Juliet learns the truth about her past and the plan the overthrown Lord Montague begins.

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Romeo X Juliet borrows the names of people and places from Shakespeare’s play but nothing else. The anime tries too hard to be different from the original that it ends up being utterly another story. It is a derivative of dozens of famous stories; the abusive king of secret humble origin, the exile princess trying to regain her name, the bastard of the powerful king seeking revenge, the masked hero fighting for the poor or the floating city with large trees at its core (sounds like Laputa!). Even its ending is totally different. Yes, the two protagonists die but their deaths are not tragic as they should be. Instead, their deaths are rather heroic. If the anime omitted the names of characters and places, replace them with new names, no one would recognize this anime as Romeo and Juliet adaptation.

The story of Romeo X Juliet is linear, very predictable and sometimes downright foolish. For example, Francisco and Curio plan to rescue Juliet by riding winged horses straight into the castle with only little information from a crudely hand drawn map and they miraculously succeeds because, curiously, Lord Montague places merely a dozen soldiers and about two winged horses to guard his most important prisoner. The story about Escalus, the sacred tree, and its seed within Juliet is totally out of place. This theme emerges in the last few episodes and the anime changes abruptly to a different direction. This ending not only deviates from the original source but also from the anime’s own storyline. With this ending, like Juliet in the original story, the anime literally kills itself. The characters are all one dimensional and they lack development. The good guys are flawless and perfect while the bad guys are purely evil.

Despite all these weaknesses, Romeo X Juliet is quite action-packed and may be entertaining enough if the viewers do not give it too much thought. The animation and art direction are pretty to look at. The original score is nice but it is awkward to hear the song ‘You Raise Me Up’ in romantic scenes because the English lyrics are not compatible with what’s on the screen. Conclusion: derivative, predictable and one dimensional, Romeo X Juliet is boring and forgettable.
Rating: C

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