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Favorite Episode
I like the flower festival episode. Romeo met Juliet while she was visiting her parents' grave. Shortly afterwards, he wondered to himself why Juliet is visiting that particular grave. He visits his mother to ask what the name of "the Capulet girl" is. His mother reluctantly answers him, but we do not know what she answered until later in the episode,

Juliet attends the flower festival with a heavy heart. She still wants to see Romeo, but she knows that she is not suppose to because he is the son of the man that she plans to overthrow. When she least expects it, she runs into Romeo.

She immediately runs away, but Romeo determinedly chases her. He finally catches up with her on a bridge in the middle of town, where he reveals that he knows that she is the heir to the House of Capulet, and that he doesn't care. This is also where Romeo and Juliet have their first kiss amidst the fireworks that his father arranged to celebrate his engagement to Hermione.

Romeo x Juliet
Synopsis | Review

Romeo and Juliet die in the end.

What? Are you mad that I gave away the ending? If by now you don't know that Romeo and Juliet die at the end of the story, then you need to get out more often. Or stay inside and read books.

The story of Romeo and Juliet has been reincarnated over and over in books, movies, and TV. There's just something about two young lovers who had the misfortune to be born to the wrong families at the wrong time. And there's something about giving up everything, even your life, in order to be with the one you love.

Okay, fine, this anime series wasn't really faithful to the original. It used a number of characters from the original, as well as from other plays that were written by Shakespeare. But still. Think about what makes a Romeo and Juliet story. This anime has all the basic elements.

Romeo x Juliet aired in 2007 with 24 episodes. It has a nice opening sequence that is accompanied by the song "Inori ~ You Raise Me Up." It also has a nice ending sequence that is accompanied by the song "Cyclone." Later in the series, the ending sequence changes. The later ending sequence song is "Good-bye Yesterday." I'd love to give a commentary on the opening and closing songs, but unfortunately, the Romeo x Juliet discs I got had corrupted audio. It was a weird experience watching this anime in pure silence.

Synopsis
The story starts with Leontis Montague murdering the archduke of Neo Verona, Lord Capulet. Neo Verona is a continent that floats in the sky. Montague sets about decimating the rest of the Capulets, their relatives, their allies, and their servants.

The Capulets' only child, Juliet, barely manages to escape the massacre. She and her friend, Cordelia, are rescued by Conrad, the Captain of the Capulet Guards.

Montague becomes the new archduke of Neo Verona. To secure his position and power, he spreads lies about how corrupted the Capulets were. He keeps a tight leash on the kingdom by killing those who oppose him, manipulating the house of nobles, and oppressing the commoners. He is also not adverse to raising a hand against his son, Romeo, whenever Romeo does not do what he wants. He also continues to hunt for Juliet so that he can bring an end to the House of Capulet once and for all. He is unable to find her for fourteen years.

Juliet and the other survivors of the House of Capulet hide with the assistance of the Farnese clan. They live in a building that also houses a theater. The master of this theater is Willy, who is a Farnese. Willy is a flamboyant playwright and is considered a caricature of Shakespeare.

Meanwhile, Juliet grows up unaware that she is the heir of the House of Capulet. She is raised by the watchful Capulet retainers: Cordelia, Conrad, a skilled swordsman named Curio, and a skilled archer named Francisco. Whenever she has to leave the house, she has to disguise herself as a boy named Odin, which is one of the primary reasons why Montague cannot find her.

When Juliet roams the streets, she often finds soldiers abusing the townspeople. Soldiers roughly seize girls whom they suspect to be "the Capulet girl." Her sense of justice compells her to intervene several times. One of these interventions became out of hand, and Curio had to rescue her from the soldiers. As a result, he lost his right eye.

The incident with Curio led Juliet to disguise herself as the Red Whirlwind, defender of the commoners against the oppressive soldiers and nobles. Her sidekick is Antonio, Conrad's grandson. It was not long before the police viewed the Red Whirlwind as a menace and sought to eradicate "him."

The Red Whirlwind and Cordelia are being chased by the police one day. When they find themselves trapped, Romeo and his friend, Benvolio, swoop down on their flying horses and rescue them. The Red Whirlwind is not impressed by Romeo, whom she views as just another spoiled noble.

Later, Juliet ends up attending a masked ball for the nobles due to several unexpected events. She meets Romeo in the garden. She recognizes Romeo right away and finds herself smitten. Romeo does not realize that Juliet is the Red Whirlwind and is smitten with her as well.

Romeo and Juliet continue to meet, at first through coincidences, and then later through secret meetings. Gradually they learn the truth about themselves and each other. They try to forget each other but find that they are unable to. They finally decide to be together, despite the Capulet retainers' plans to overthrow Montague and despite Montague's intent to kill Juliet.

As the drama between these two houses unfold, a more sinister issue developed in the background. The Great Tree Escalus, which sustains all life in Neo Verona, is dying. Without Escalus, the world as the characters know it will come to an end.

Review
I like romantic anime with happy endings. But I am making an exception for Romeo x Juliet. I had plenty of time to mentally prepare myself for the ending. So when I finished the final episode, I was able to say to myself, "That was a good anime."

The graphics for Romeo x Juliet is nothing to crow about. I like it for its simplicity. The only special effects that stood out were the fluttering, three-dimensional Montague (and later Capulet) flags. The characters were drawn cleanly. Romeo is no bishounen, and Juliet is no bishoujo. In fact, there are no drop-dead gorgeous women in this series. There is exactly one gorgeous man, and that is Tybalt. Oh yes, Tybalt is hot. His character, his personality, and his background jjust screamed sexy. After he appeared, he became my motivation for watching this series. I mean, come on, we all know that things will just get worse and worse for the hero and the heroine in this story.

The main characters are flawed, which is good. It is a little bit frustrating that Juliet does not know what she wants, but at least she is a solid character and is not a simpering, insipid shoujo anime heroine. And Romeo's too effeminate for my taste. He showed force only at the very end. It would have been nice if he's more like Tybalt... but I suppose that will mess up the storyline.

The other characters have little side stories of their own. These side stories do not take too much attention away from the main storyline, and so they are refreshing changes and keep the series interesting. Also, a few characters are in love with Romeo or Juliet, but they all step aside because they understand that only Romeo will make Juliet happy, and vice versa.

As I mentioned earlier, the main elements of the original story are here. But the series also has new elements and elements from other Shakespeare tales. So there are a few nice surprises... lest you are one of those people who had read Romeo and Juliet cover-to-cover and think this anime has nothing new to offer.

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