Romeo X Juliet is a fantastic take on the original story by William Shakespeare with very clever ideas that adds new depth into the classic tale.
Romeo and Juliet, the famous story of William Shakespeare about love, sex, tragedy and death received a lot of adaptations in the media through broadway shows, operas and a live action film directed by Moulin Rouge director Baz Lutherman. Now we have Romeo X Juliet, the anime series that was made by Gonzo (Last Exile, Afro Samurai) and was heavily divided by many Shakespearian fans with other fans saying that it's a solid adaptation to it's source material and the other fans saying that it's bombastic and nonsensical to it's original story. In truth. Romeo X Juliet is a fantastic take on the original story by William Shakespeare with very clever ideas that adds new depth into the classic tale.
In the original story of Romeo and Juliet, it's was basically about two star crossed lovers in which their deaths unite their families, who are both rivals, but in the anime series of Romeo X Juliet is the exception of the plot: The members of House Capulet, including Juliet's parents, are murdered by Prince Leontes Montague and cut to years later in Neo Verona, Juliet is now sixteen and dresses herself as a boy with the name Odin and she is also known as "The Red Whirlwind" as she fights off Montagues forces to protect the innocent people that suffer through Leontes rule. During the annual Rose Ball, both Romeo and Juliet meet in the fountain and they fall in love very quick. As both Romeo and Juliet try to be together, Capulet royalists like Francisco and Curio are planning a rebellion against Leontes and in the couse of the series, Romeo and Juliet's love get stronger and a secret in Neo Verona is waiting to be revealed.
Let's talk about the good things about Romeo X Juliet cause to be honest, there are tons of good things about the series. The animation by Gonzo is top-notch with beautiful art and creative setting that stays close to the setting of the original story while adding fantasy elements like the flying horses and the floating city of Neo Verona. The chemistry with Romeo and Juliet is great and while it does take a few moments for them to actually fall in love, it works and they share a pretty good chemistry like they fly on the horse together, they talk about their past lives, fight off a bunch of thugs together, they share food and even Romeo and Juliet make an oath on an abandoned sanctuary. The main villain Leontes Montegue is frightening cause deep down, the character has so much hatred and despair in his heart that you know why noblemen always fear him in the first place. Juliet as a stronger and independent character is a welcome change, allowing the character to be more heroic and confident than in the original story. Side characters like Francisco, William De Franese, Curio, Cordelia, Conrad, and Antonio are very good supporting characters and provide some decent moments that provide a nice change of tone.
The music by Final Fantasy 12 composer Hitoshi Sakimoto is gorgeous. This is one of the most underrated soundtracks ever made and it a damn shame cause it really brings a sense of love, passion and tragedy that fits perfectly well to the series. The English dub by Funimation is perfect. It's better than the Japanese dub and it delivers top-notch Shakespearian dialogue, while also referencing some quotes in other Shakespeare plays like Hamlet and The Tempest. The cast did a great job with their performances with each giving character roles. Brina Palencia was perfect for the role as Juliet, capturing both the weak feminine and the strong willed side of the character, while Chris Burnett performance as Romeo is less impressive in the first half of the series but his performance improves later on in the second half of the series when things go chaotic. Sean Hannigan's performance as the main villain Leontes is terrifying and every-time he speaks, it gives me chills through my spine.
Now the problem I have with Romeo X Juliet is that there's no rivalry between House Capulet and the Montague Nobles cause they basically killed everyone from House Capulet in this show and it's a shame since the family rivalry played a major role in the original Romeo and Juliet story. It also lead them to accept forgiveness and being united again after the tragic death of Romeo and Juliet. The side character villains are mediocre and there basically there to be evil bastards and side characters like Elizabeth and Emilia are completely forgettable and unneeded in the story. As for the ending of the series, I really like the ending in this series and it felt like a nice closure to the series. However, if you're a fan of the original story, be aware that the ending of THIS adaptation is completely changed from the original and if you don't like that change, then you might be pissed at it.
Romeo X Juliet is a great series that people can easily get into. Those who can accept the changes of the original play will find a series that adds new elements to make the story feel new again. If you're a fan of the original story then by all means, watch this series.