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Romeo x Juliet – Juliet Collection (A J!-Ent Anime DVD Review)

March 23, 2010 by  



“”Romeo x Juliet – Juliet Collection” brings an action-packed, fantastical re-imagining of a classic to an end. A beautiful piece of work that is a must-see!”

Image courtesy of © GONZO. All Rights Reserved.

DVD TITLE: Romeo x Juliet – Juliet Collection

DURATION: 290 Minutes

DVD INFORMATION: 16:9 WIDESCREEN, ENGLISH 5.1 DOLBY DIGITAL SURROUND SOUND, JAPANESE STEREO

COMPANY: GONZO/FUNimation Entertainment

RATED: TVPG

Release Date: August 11th, 2009

Based on the Play by William Shakespeare

Written by Reiko Yoshida

Directed by Fumitoshi Oizaki

Music by Hitoshi Sakimoto

Sound Direction by Tomohiro Yoshida

Art Direction by Masami Saito

Character Design by Hiroki Harada

Produced by Yoshihiro Iwasa(CBC)/Daisuke Gomi/Tsutomu Kojima

 

Featuring the following voice talent:

Takahiro Mizushima/ Chris Burnett as Romeo Montague

Fumie Mizusawa/ Brina Palencia as Juliet Capulet

Miyu Matsuki/ Colleen Clikenbeard as Cordelia

Hirofumi Nojima/ Eric Vale as Francisco

Kosuke Toriumi/ Robert McCollum as Curio

Katsuhisa Houki/ R. Bruce Elliott as Conrad

Ryo Hirohashi/ Maxey Whitehead as Antonio

Ryotaro Okiayu/ Mike McFarland as Tybalt

Shinnosuke Tachibana/ Sean Michael Teague as Benvolio

Kazuhiko Inoue/ J. Michael Tatum as William Shakespeare

Aya Hisakawa/ Dana Schultes as Lady Portia

Tetsuya Kakihara/ Christopher Bevins as Mercutio

Sayaka Ohara/ Carrie Savage as Hermione

Junko Iwao/ Jamie Marchi as Orphelia

Koji Ishii/ Sean Hennigan as Lord Montague

Romeo and Juliet share a romance not meant for this mortal coil. Their love has the power to alter the course of time – and change the world they must if there is to be any hope for a future. Together they will discover the burtal truths of both past and future while maintaining their devotion to a love once found only in fairy tales. All the while, villainous Duke Montague opposes their union and crushes Neo Verona with a boot at its throat. As their cherished city tumbles down around them, Romeo and Juliet have no choice but to face an otherworldly destiny that threatens to destroy them both.

“Romeo x Juliet -Juliet Collection” covers the second half of the series and the conclusion of the series. The anime “Romeo x Juliet” takes a completely different spin on the original Shakespearean play. Set in Neo Verona, years ago Prince Montague killed off the Capulets, who were at the time the rightful owners to the throne. He then took over Neo Verona and the city quickly changed into a society where the rich became even richer and the rest fell into poverty. The daughter of Prince Capulet, Juliet, had survived the attack that took place 14 years ago and has been living disguised as a boy. The few remaining servants to the House of Capulet took it upon themselves to raise her, hoping that one day she would be able to reclaim her rightful position to the throne.

Juliet grew up not remembering anything about the attack that took place 14 years prior or who she really is. She took on the name “Odin” as a boy and she also fights injustices as the hero of the city, the masked Red Whirlwind. One day she attends a masquerade ball, where she runs into Romeo, the son of Prince Montague. Unlike his father, Romeo is kind-hearted and cares a great deal for the people of Neo Verona and dislikes how his father runs things. They fall in love with each other at first sight, but just like the original story, they find out that their love will have a series of obstacles because their love is one that is not supposed to be…

Will Romeo and Juliet be able to escape their cruel fate that awaits them in this re-imagining?

 

“Romeo x Juliet” focuses on the following main characters:

 

Romeo Montague – Romeo Candore Van DiMontague is the son of Prince Montague. He is extremely kind-hearted and caring, completely opposite of his father. He believes that the nobles should use their power and wealth for the people and tries to persuade his father to do the so but it’s no use. One day he sees Juliet at a masquerade ball and falls in love with her at first sight. Soon after, he finds out who she is and his family’s connection to her’s and has slight doubts about them possibly getting together, but his feelings for her are much stronger. He does everything in his power to be with Juliet and also wants to change the fate of Neo Verona, even if it means defying his father. He is deeply in love with Juliet and will do anything for her.

Juliet Capulet – Juliet Fiammata Erss DiCapulet is the only remaining Capulet after Prince Montague slaughtered her family when she was two. She grew up in hiding with a few servants of the House of Capulet but for most of her life, she didn’t know her true lineage. So she would not be found by the guards, she had been dressed up as a boy and went by the name of “Odin”. Before she knew of her lineage, she would dress up as the vigilante “Red Whirlwind” and save the citizens of Neo Verona from the wrongs of the guards of Prince Montague. One day she attends a masquerade, as a girl, and sees Romeo and falls in love. Their first meeting is cut short but they keep running into each other. After she finds out about her true lineage, she soon finds out that her true love’s father is the one responsible for slaughtering her whole family. Despite that, she can’t change her love for him and he feels the same for her. She wants to be with him and restore peace to Neo Verona… but will their fate allow it?

Cordelia – Cordelia is one of the surviving servants to the House of Capulet and she is Juliet’s best friend. She is very much like an older sister to Juliet and cares for her very much.

Francisco – Another surviving member of the servants to the House of Capulet. He has long blond hair and is quite the ladies man. He is rather intelligent but just as skilled in fighting.

Curio – Another surviving member of the servants to the House of Capulet. He has a scar on his right eye and is sort of the strong man of the group. He is rather quiet and cool. He is very dedicated to protecting Juliet and cares for her very much.

Conrad – Conrad is the Captain of the Capulet Guards and he saves Juliet and Cordelia when the massacre happened on the House of Capulet. He raised Juliet and serves as the leader of the rebels. It is his ambition to restore the throne to Neo Verona to the rightful owner, Juliet.

Antonio – Antonio is Conrad’s grandson. He frequently accompanies Odin on his adventures into the city helping out the citizens of Neo Verona. He is like a little brother to Juliet.

Tybalt – Tybalt is the mysterious man who appears one day and saves Juliet’s life. He has a deep grudge against Prince Montague and has a connection with both Juliet and Romeo.

Benvolio – Benvolio is Romeo’s best friend and was once a noble. However due to his father disagreeing with the Prince, his family was stripped of their nobility and forced into hiding. Juliet and her followers helped out his family.

William Shakespeare – William or “Willy” is a playwright that hides Juliet and her followers in his playhouse. He is constantly trying to write the ultimate play and gets ideas from Juliet and her life story.

Lady Portia – Lady Portia is Romeo’s mother. She left the castle when Romeo was seven because she couldn’t deal with her husband’s evilness. Lady Portia is extremely kind and caring just like Romeo and hopes that one day Romeo can change Neo Verona for the better. She also supports Romeo and Juliet’s love and prays that their cruel fate can somehow be changed.

Mercutio – Mercutio is the son of another noble that wants very badly to impress the Prince. Dissatisfied with his own father, he envies Romeo for being the son of the Prince. However, he pretends to be friends with him to spy on him for the Prince.

Hermione – Hermione is a noble that is named as Romeo’s betrothed. She is very proper, appears to be very sweet, and cares very much for her betrothed despite him not feeling the same for her. However, she has a darker side to her… after all she is a woman in love with a rival.

Orphelia – Orphelia is the one who tends to the great tree, Escalus. She single handedly changes Juliet’s destiny…

Lord Leontes Montague – Prince Montague is the main antagonist throughout most of the series. He is the current Prince of Neo Verona and he is Romeo’s father. He is a ruthless, heartless tyrant that believes in ruling over Neo Verona using power and fear. He actually got his current position by using power: he killed off the rightful owner of the throne, Prince Capulet. He is the polar opposite of his son, Romeo. He has pretty much no compassion and truly believes that his way of rule is the only way to rule.

“Romeo x Juliet – Juliet Collection” features a total of 12 episodes on two DVDs. Here is a spoiler-less summary of each episode:

DISC 1:

  • ACT 13- PULSATION ~ GUIDED – Juliet is captured by Prince Montague and is set to be executed.
  • ACT 14- SOLEMN RESPONSIBILITIES ~ IN THE CIRCLE OF THESE ARMS – Romeo is banished to run the mines as his punishment for letting Juliet escape.
  • ACT 15- THE SELF ~ THE WAY FORWARD – Romeo’s days at the mines continue.
  • ACT 16- ONE PERSON ~ SO DEAR – Juliet and her group get to Lady Ariel’s mansion.
  • ACT 17- CRUEL TYRANT ~ DARKNESS, THE ORIGIN – We see into Leontes Montague’s past and Tybalt’s connection to him is revealed
  • ACT 18- ASPIRATIONS ~ IN EACH OF THEIR HEARTS – William finishes a play and has everyone act in it for the people of Mantua

DISC 2:

  • ACT 19- SUCCESSION ~ I AM NONE OTHER – Everyone acts out the play that William wrote… it seems to be a combination of a few stories we all know… Also the identity of the Red Whirlwind is revealed.
  • ACT 20- DUTY ~ UNWAVERING STEP – The rebellion begins.
  • ACT 21- THE COVENANT ~ THE GODDESS’S EMBRACE – Juliet prepares to take on her newly established destiny.
  • ACT 22- CURSE ~ RAGING FURY – The Capulet forces prepare for the final battle.
  • ACT 23- SEED BROUGHT TO LIFE ~ THE KISS OF DEATH – Prince Montague has fallen, but Escalus calls for Juliet.
  • ACT 24- PRAYER ~ IN THE SAME WORLD AS YOU – Can Romeo save Juliet from her fate and can they beat their fate and have a happy ending?

VIDEO & AUDIO

“Romeo x Juliet” is presented in 16:9. GONZO once again doesn’t disappoint. The character designs and backgrounds are absolutely gorgeous. In this particular series though the amount of detail given to the architecture of Neo Verona and the other places is absolutely amazing. The atmosphere of Neo Verona takes a lot of influence from old European architecture and merging it with fantasy aspects. The animation quality is superb and doesn’t falter throughout the whole series.

For audio, you have the option of either Japanese or English. The Japanese cast has a handful of veteran seiyuu including Kazuhiko Inoue, Ryotaro Okiayu, and Aya Hisakawa lending their voices for some of the characters. Overall, every character’s voice seemed to fit their character and all the Japanese seiyuu do a fantastic job. As for the English dub, FUNimation does a wonderful job matching the original Japanese voices. I believe that FUNimation has some of the best English dubs, this one included. I always prefer the original Japanese over the English, but I enjoy FUNimation dubs including this one. I feel that the feeling of the original acting is not lost.

There are only English subtitles available.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

For the special features, there are textless songs, FUNimation trailers, and a commentary for ACT 24 on disc 2.

I will probably say this many times throughout my review: Despite sharing the name of the play written by Shakespeare, there is very little association with the original in this anime.

I believe that the audience will be pretty split on this series. Fans of the original play may or may not like the re-imagining of a classic. Some people may love it because of the new twist on a classic. However it’s pretty safe to say that the series is pretty much completely different than the original play other than the fact that there are people named Romeo and Juliet, their households are technically feuding (more so in this version, the Capulets have been killed off by Prince Montague), and their love was not meant to be of this world but they still try to make it work.

Here is my own opinion… When I first heard about there being an anime based on “Romeo and Juliet”, I was wondering how they were going to make more than 2 episodes of it. Of course when I finally saw it, I realized that it was pretty much “A story very loosely based on the play Romeo and Juliet”. The story is pretty much completely original. The setting of the world of this anime is very much a world of fantasy fused with what seems to be an old European city.

If you know anything about the original play and the original characters… you might want to disregard what you know of the characters at least. Pretty much none of the characters from the original play share their original persona. I didn’t mind most of the changes, but Mercutio is one of my favorite characters from the play and I didn’t enjoy the changes they made with him in the anime. Tybalt also had some interesting changes made to his character… or more so his connection to Romeo in this series. It’s sort of funny to think about considering how the original Tybalt felt about Romeo.

Those who know about other Shakespeare plays may enjoy the fact that a lot of the characters are named after various characters from his other works (Or at least they seem to be). In my opinion, it’s also those supporting characters that make this series entertaining.

There are moments that are right out of the play, the most famous lines like “O Romeo, Romeo! wherefore art thou Romeo?” and “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose, by any other word would smell as sweet.” Those are moments that I think that people who know the play will enjoy.

I think one of my biggest issues with the series is Romeo and his relationship with his father. I can’t seem to understand how Romeo for the most part is rather oblivious to his father being such a terrible tyrant (he’s not completely oblivious but he doesn’t seem to fully grasp how blatantly evil his father is). There is not a single moment in the series where Leontes even shows a bit of compassion.

I actually don’t even know how Romeo grew up to be so compassionate and caring considering his mother, who shares his demeanor, left the castle when he was seven. I mean it’s a wonderful thing that Romeo grew up to be the wonderful person that he is… but his father is so… evil.

I mean there’s a slight explanation on why he’s so evil, but it’s just weird to me that Romeo grew up not realizing how evil his father is. His father never even tried to hide how much of a tyrant he is… yet Romeo acted oblivious about the fact that his father really didn’t care about the people. His father only cares about power and well… more power.

Romeo somehow grew up to be a complete angel. Romeo seriously has no evil in him… at all. He really just wants to do what is right and just wants to love Juliet.

The other little thing that slightly irked me was the whole thing with Escalus. I mean I understand the moral of the story… by episode 20, the series takes a completely different turn than I think most people might expect this series to go… I guess I see how it ties in with Romeo and Juliet’s destiny. But overall it still left me with a big “huh?” until the end at least… by then I felt a little better after I thought back to the original play.

Overall, this series is entertaining. I’m still trying to figure out if it’s better to not know anything about Romeo and Juliet and watch it with a fresh mind, or if it’s better to watch it with prior knowledge to the original story. I mean there really was only two ways this story could ultimately go: either the anime would follow the original well known ending to the original play, or Romeo and Juliet would have a happy ending. Either way, people might be upset. To see which ending the series had, you’ll have to watch for yourself and even then… it could be interpreted in more than one way.

Despite the cons that I pointed out, I did enjoy the series. By the end of the series, the pros outweigh the cons for me. The art is wonderful and the cast is fantastic. There are some great characters (I mean William Shakespeare himself is in the series…) and it was interesting to see a Juliet that wasn’t the helpless young girl and had much more character. I can appreciate this series for what it is and I would recommend it.

Despite any conflicted feelings I had watching the series, by the absolute end of the series I thought it wrapped up nicely and I really did enjoy it. The ending made me smile and made up for any doubts I had through parts of the series.

I highly recommend this series for those that are fans of romance and or fantasy anime. I am a person who knows the original play, and I personally thought it was a great re-imagining on a wonderful classic.






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