For some reason I feel like we haven't seen enough series that feature a strong female protagonist. Maybe I'm wrong, but I think we could all stand to see more of it, especially one that isn't just sex appeal. Of course I'm not talking about the polar opposite either. The last thing I'd want to see is another Revolutionary Girl Utena. I get that some people are legitimate fans of that show but come on, you may as well strap some combat boots on and protest h-games. Instead, we could go with something a bit more balanced, something like Romeo x Juliet.
It's been a few years since the series hit Japanese television, and after what seemed like an enternity, we finally saw the North America debut, courtesy of Funimation. Being one of my favorite series of all time, I jumped at the chance to reivew it, much to Eva's dismay. I don't blame her for being sad though--the series is truly a work of art.
The series is kind of a mixture of all things Shakespeare, with various characters--including Shakespeare himself, though they simply call him "Willy"--and themes, in a love story loosely based on the play Romeo and Juliet, which was arguably his most popular work. Instead of using the exact script from the play, we have a series stretched out over 24 episodes, of which we have 12 included in this two disc release. It follows the star crossed lovers as Juliet finds herself in love with the son of the man who murdered her entire family, Montague. In a twist, the two lovers find themselves eventually uniting to try and overcome the various trials which threaten their relationship.
The animation itself was done by Gonzo, so if you're a fan of their previous works, you'll probably know what to expect in terms of quality. It's very well animated, and the character designs look as though they could easily fit into a Fire Emblem game, without being too over the top. The world of Romeo x Juliet on the other hand has a bit more imagination to it. There are flying dragon-steeds which look similar to a horse with wings, and the city of Neo Verona, along with the surrounding lands, appear to be floating in the air. I guess we should leave it to Japan to take a mere play and run with it, and in this case, it works.
As for the soundtrack, I had previously written a feature on Original Sound Version about the score provided by veteran game composer Hitoshi Sakimoto. Being his first major anime sound track, he blew me away. I don't know why I'd expect anything less, seeing as he's the man who scored Final Fantasy Tactics, which is perhaps one of my favorite video game scores of all time. Shortly after learning of his involvement, I found out that he had also worked on other series, such as Valkyria Chronicles which aired a season or two ago in Japan. For those of you who'd like to learn more about his involvement, there's an interview with him in the "making of" footage included on the second disc.
One last thing--I feel that it'd be wrong not to mention that the English dub features some revised script work. It appears that they took some extra time to add more Shakespearean dialog. In my opinion, this was a brilliant move on the part of Funimation, and I adore the fact that they care enough to want to improve the experience for an English speaking audience who can appreciate it. If you get a chance, please make sure to pick the series up at your local retailers, or favorite online vendor. it's currently only out on DVD, but I wouldn't mind seeing a Blu-ray release should it come later down the line.
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