Inspired by Shakespeare’s famous tragedy Romeo and Juliet, this twenty six episode anime centred around these tragic lovers in a Japanese spin on this romantic tale that still leaves you sad and hoping for a chance at reconciliation between the two warring families.
The story opens with the massacre of Juliet’s family, the Capulets by the Montagues to gain control over the city of Neo Verona. After the event, Juliet is disguised as a boy and hidden from the Montagues so that she may grow up to reclaim her rightful place as ruler of Neo Verona. Disguised as a young lad Odin, she takes on the persona of the Red Whirlwind to assist the citizens of Neo Verona who are being oppressed by the Archduke, aka Romeo’s father. It is when she gets whisked away to a ball held by the Montagues to announce Romeo’s marriage to Helene, that the star-crossed lovers meet. This is where the tale of their tragic love begins to unfold.
The artwork was very bright and colourful, a stark contrast from the tragic story that was unfolding. The costume designs for the main characters were also vivid and multi-coloured, which highlighted their young, furtive and undying love for each other. While the drawings themselves were not excessively detailed, they were quite thorough enough to showcase the beauty of the setting and the characters.
The characters were pretty much straight out of Shakespeare’s play and still maintained some of the characteristics from the original version. While both Romeo and Juliet were transformed by their love for each other, it was Juliet who was the most dynamic character in the show, similar to the play. Her maturity and strength in the face of adversity demonstrated that she grew considerably, that is, from making rash decisions before she found out about her true heritage about her rightful place as ruler of Neo Verona to mature ones when she did.
Both the opening and ending musical scores were melancholic but were imbued a touch of hope to them. The Japanese version of the song You Raise Me Up is definitely a tribute to the main characters Romeo and Juliet, whose love for one another kept them going, defying all odds. The ending song was a bit mournful of the tragedy that was to befall these two lovers.
Because I had studied Romeo and Juliet, I wanted to see what the Japanese spin on this famous piece would be like and I was not disappointed. It took me a while to really get into it because I am not really too keen on really romantic anime genres but it really grew on me with every episode that I watched. Needless to say, I was still saddened by the inevitable end but I definitely did enjoy watching this series.
If you are a fan of Shakespeare or if you simply love romance genres, then this anime is for you. It’s another timeless portrayal of Shakespeare’s tragedies illustrating the undying, persisting love in the face of adversities, a love that shines throughout all the ages.