Romeo × Juliet (ロミオ×ジュリエット Romio to Jurietto?) is a TV anime series, very loosely based on William Shakespeare's classic play, Romeo and Juliet, along with numerous references and characters from other Shakespearian plays. Though the anime borrows from Shakespeare's story, the manga adaptation differs slightly from the original. Romeo x Juliet was broadcast in Japan on Chubu-Nippon Broadcasting between April 4, 2007 and September 26, 2007. In 2009, Romeo x Juliet was dubbed into English and released by Funimation Entertainment.
In the fantastical aeropolis of Neo Verona, the noble house of Capulet had ruled peacefully for generations - until fourteen years ago, when the ancient grudge held by the rival house of Montague led to a mutiny, and the Capulets were deposed and all wiped out in a bloody coup. Now, as Neo Verona suffers under the thrall of its new masters, the fates of two star crossed lovers are about to become tragically entwined... As the citizens of the city suffer, the Capulet clan struggles to strike a blow against their enemies, and the Montagues tighten their grasp on power, an unlikely love blossoms between Romeo and Juliet - but in the face of such adversity, this ill-fated love may be doomed from the outset. Triumph or tragedy; only fate knows what awaits Romeo and Juliet...
A young girl, Juliet, is the only member of her family to escape the massacre of the Capulet family at the hands of Leontes Montague. Fourteen years later, Lord Montague rules the land of Neo-Verona with an iron-fist as Juliet helps the common folk in a Robin Hood-like fashion, and Romeo Montague protests his father's cruelty. Juliet and Romeo meet by coincidence at the Rose Ball and fall in love at first sight. However, when Juliet turns sixteen and learns the truth of her past that has been hidden from her for fourteen years, her love becomes conflicted between revolution and devotion.
Romeo and Juliet face many challenges and adventures together which strengthen their love. Juliet resumes her role as The Red Whirlwind to start a revolution against Prince Montague. Meanwhile, Romeo has been banished and sent to work in a mine. He frees the criminal miners and begins to start a new village with them. He then returns to Neo Verona to face off Prince Montague.
Tybalt, Juliet accompanied by Francisco, Curio, and the rest of her force, and Romeo storm Prince Montague's chambers. They all wish to arrest him but are stopped by an insane Mercutio who stabs Prince Montague in the back with a poisonous blade.
After the village celebrates Juliet goes away to sacrifice herself to Escalus, which had been keeping Neo Verona as it was until the rule of Montague corrupted it. Romeo tries to stop her but Ophelia captures her. After a small battle between Ophelia and Francisco, Curio, and Tybalt, Romeo breaks through Escalus to free Juliet. He succeeds but Ophelia kills him. The Earth continues to shake and Juliet stays with Romeo. She says all will be well, and forces the others to leave her. The others fly away on their dragon steeds. Juliet decides to become the Escalus Tree and perishes to save Neo Verona, but she and Romeo are united forever in what may loosely be called a form of heaven shown in the last scene of the final episode.
Neo Verona is moved to become an island paradise where the surviving characters live happily ever after.
- Neo Verona (ネオ·ヴェローナ Neo Verōna?) - An aerial city in which the story is set. It is likely named after the city of Verona, Italy, in which Shakespeare's story of Romeo and Juliet takes place.
- Dragon Steed (竜馬 Ryūba?, lit. Dragon Horse) - A winged horse with the tail of a dragon, similar to the Pegasus. Ryūba are capable of transporting people on their backs and are handled using reins in the same way as normal horses. More than a means of transportation, winged ryūba can be considered a symbol of status as they are not something that common folk can own, and are only seen ridden by members of the aristocracy or nobility. Ryūba with degenerated wings, thus unable to fly, are often owned by commoners.
- Great Tree Escalus (大樹エスカラス Taiki Esukarasu?) - A huge and enchanted tree inside the Montague's castle, which is the remaining of a pair of trees that gives support to Neo Verona. According to its caretaker, a woman named Ophelia, it gives blessings to people, but it also weakens if the persons don't have love in their hearts. When it is thriving, it drops shining fruit from its branches. Since it has been in Montague's care, the tree has noticeably begun to wither. It is likely named after Prince Escalus from Shakespeare's play.
- Carabinieri - The Military Police of Neo Verona. The name is the same as the true Carabinieri of Italy.
- Juliet (ジュリエット Jurietto?) Voiced by: Fumie Mizusawa (Japanese), Brina Palencia (English)
- Juliet Fiamatta Ars De Capulet is the last member of the Capulet family. She masquerades as a boy, Odin, in order to avoid being caught by the usurping House of Montague, who still actively look for the Capulets. An excellent swordswoman, she also masquerades as a vigilante, the Red Whirlwind (赤い旋風 Akai Kaze?), in order to aid the people oppressed by the rival Montagues. She unwittingly falls in love with Romeo, which leads to several complications for her in the series. (Juliet in the Shakespearean version is almost forced into a marriage to Prince Escalus's relative Count Paris, not the other way around)
- Romeo (ロミオ Romio?) Voiced by: Takahiro Mizushima (Japanese), Chris Burnett (English)
- Romeo Candorebanto De Montague is the son of Lord Leontes Montague and Lady Portia and heir to the throne of Neo Verona. For political reasons, he has been forced into an unwanted engagement with Hermione, a young noblewoman. As a nobleman, he rides and owns a ryūba named Cielo whom he later freed. In contrast to his father, he is obedient and kindhearted, often disapproving of his family's tyranny. He is ostracized by the nobility save for his friend, Benvolio. He falls in love with Juliet at first sight. (In the Shakespearean version, Romeo is in love with a girl named Rosaline, who broke his heart. Then, during the a masquerade ball he meets and falls in love with Juliet.)
- Lord Montague (モンタギュー Montagyū?) Voiced by: Kōji Ishii (Japanese), Sean Hennigan (English)
- Leontes Montague is the ruthless, Machiavellian Duke of Neo Verona. He, an illegitimate Capulet offspring and son of a prostitute, was born and raised into poverty. The death of his mother sparks his unrelenting and ferocious grudge against the Capulet name and his ambitions for being Duke. He acts coldly to all around him, only seeming to care about the Great Tree Escalus. He is killed late in the series by a mad Mercutio, moments before surrendering to Juliet.
- Tybalt (ティボルト Tiboruto?) Voiced by: Ryōtarō Okiayu (Japanese), Mike McFarland (English)
- A mysterious warrior later revealed to be the illegitimate son of Leontes Montague. He wants vengeance for his mother, a Capulet woman,named Volumnia Capulet, used by Lord Montague. He eventually acts as the medium between Juliet and Romeo. His name is a reference to the character of the original play. Considering who his father is Tybalt would also be Romeo's half brother.
Romeo x Juliet was broadcast in Japan on Chubu-Nippon Broadcasting between April 4, 2007 and September 26, 2007. It was later broadcast by other Japanese television networks such as TBS, KBS Kyōto and SUN-TV. It was broadcast in Hungary, Czech Republic and Slovakia by Animax and in Italy by Rai 4. The 24-episodes anime was produced by Gonzo and SKY Perfect Well Think. It was directed by Fumitoshi Oizaki. The chief screenwriter for the series was Reiko Yoshida. The music was composed by Hitoshi Sakimoto and performed by Eminence Symphony Orchestra with Tomohiro Yoshida as sound director. The series used three pieces of theme music. The opening theme was "Inori~You Raise Me Up〜" (祈り〜You Raise Me Up〜)?) by Lena Park. "Cyclone" (サイクロン)?) by 12012 was the ending theme for the first 14 episodes. "Good Bye, Yesterday" by Mizrock was the ending theme for episodes 15 to 23. "Inori~You Raise Me Up〜 (English version)" by Lena Park was used as a special ending for episode 24. The anime is licensed in North America by Funimation. The complete series was released in two sections, with the first half of the series, the Romeo Collection being released June 23, 2009 and the second half of the series, the Juliet Collection being released August 11, 2009.
Romeo x Juliet was also adapted into a manga series, which has been serialized in Kadokawa Shoten's Monthly Asuka shōjo magazine since March 24, 2007. The manga is licensed in North America by Yen Press. It is set to be released July 2010.
An internet radio series, entitled RomeJuli × Radio (ロミジュリ×レイディオ Romijuri × Reidio?), has been streaming on Cospa's internet radio channel Onsen since April 13, 2007. It features the seiyū of Juliet, Fumie Mizusawa, and the seiyū of Cordelia, Miyu Matsuki.
The original soundtrack for Romeo x Juliet was released in February 2008, bearing a catalog number of COCX-34784. It contains Hitoshi Sakimoto's music score, as well as the opening and closing songs for the anime.
Theron Martin, writing for Anime News Network about the first DVD set, enjoyed the musical score, but felt the story made use of too many 'saved-at-the-last-moment' scenes. He noted a drop-off in animation quality in the second half of the series, and was disappointed at the change in the tone of the ending. He later chose it as one of the best anime series of 2009, citing Gonzo's preservation of the overall tone, and the addition of "great action" scenes. Bamboo Dong described it as "absolutely wonderful, both aesthetically and also narratively", and praised the reinvention of the tale. Todd Douglass Jr. described it as "The characters, animation, and story all come together for one heck of an experience", and felt that the love story did not become "too cheesy". He cautioned that the series' divergence from its source and the fantasy elements involved may make the series not ideal for everyone, but that overall it was a "great series". Chris Beveridge noted the addition of characters from Shakespeare's other plays "may either please or annoy the hardcore fans", but enjoyed the adaptation, although he noted it was not particularly "revolutionary or challenging". He later noted that in the first volume, the use of the fantasy setting was understated but was used more in the second part of the series. Beveridge enjoyed the "focused" narrative, which he attributes to the "energy and enthusiasm" of the young production team. Daryl Loomis enjoyed the balance between the romance narrative and the action narratives in the first part, describing it as "breezy fare". He later sums it up by saying, "in spite of its many little faults, it is good, angst-y teenage fun", and that it "doesn't set the world on fire, but there's quite a bit to like about this series". He felt the "wild, logic-defying climax" added to the series, making it feel "less contrived". Holly Ellingwood felt the choice of opening and closing songs was "unusual", as one was an already-existing song, and the other was a rock song which she felt contrasted with the mood and overall score of the anime. She also praised the English adaptation as it incorporated an older style of language and many more Shakespearean quotes than the Japanese language voice track.
- Funimation Acquires Romeo x Juliet, D. Gray-Man (Updated)
- Yen Press Adds Kobato, Darker than Black, Romeo x Juliet Manga
- ANN DVD part 1
- ANN DVD part 2
- One of the Best Anime of 2009
- Shelf Life review
- DVD Talk Part 1
- DVD Talk Part 2
- Mania Part 1
- Mania Part 2
- DVD Verdict Part 1
- DVD Verdict Part 2
- ActiveAnime Part 1
- ActiveAnime Part 2
- Romeo × Juliet official website at goo (Japanese)
- Romeo × Juliet official website at Funimation Entertainment
- Romeo × Juliet (anime) at Anime News Network's Encyclopedia
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