Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet has been used (and abused) so many times in contemporary fiction that people have started to get enough of it. I doubt there is anyone in the English-speaking world (and even outside of it) that doesn’t know the story of the girl and the boy that were not meant to love each other due to family matters. But this was quite a refreshing change from the ordinary adaptations of the play, since we get some fantasy elements thrown in. It’s quite a successful attempt at an original remake, I’d say.

Plot:
Loosely based upon the legendary play by William Shakespeare, this anime recounts the story of Romeo and Juliet in a unconventional way. Juliet, who has to hide her identity by dressing up as a boy, is saved by Romeo one day. They fall in love, but because of their families, it is a love that cannot be…

24 episodes
Romance, drama, shoujo

I loved Shakespeare’s story of Romeo and Juliet, and that was the main reason why I decided to watch this anime. My presumption that this anime would not follow the original storyline was already proven to be right in the first episode. Apart from the idea of an impossible love between a girl and a boy from rivaling families this anime does not resemble Shakespeare’s play very much. I was pleased to see that at least some details referred to the play, though: take for instance the name Neo Verona: it rings a bell, doesn’t it? The anime is well-paced, but it can get “a-lot-of-talking-and-no-action” sometimes. This did not particularly bother me, though: I did not expect this anime to be full of action and adventure.

I liked the art of this anime very much. I was amazed by the amount of details in the background. I even daresay the background is far more detailed than the character designs.
The character designs are very well done, each character has a distinguishable look. The clothes are pretty to look at and reflect the feeling that this anime takes part in a beautiful place a long time ago. The colours are very vibrant. The light is often very nice, in a red or a yellow shade.

As expected, the main characters are Romeo and Juliet. Juliet is represented as a strong woman that knows what she wants. Despite having to dress as a boy when going out, she wants to be seen as a girl and have nice clothes. Romeo is a young man that refuses to agree with his father, who is a merciless ruler. Most characters are given enough screentime, and there is quite a lot of character development.

After the first episode, I already found myself looking up the soundtrack of this anime. That usually means it’s good! And so it was: I love the way the tracks fit the anime. The music varies from being slow and emotional to suspicious to grand. I loved the opening theme, ‘Inori ~ You Raise Me Up’ by Lena Park. After a while, I usually skip the opening of an anime, but for this anime I watched the opening every episode.

In fact, you don’t need to know anything about Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet to enjoy this anime. I can understand the reasons why people wouldn’t like this anime: yes, it’s full of cliché’s; yes, maybe there is no such thing as love at first sight; and yes, a lot of things don’t match with Shakespeare’s play. But if you’re willing to see this anime as a story that was inspired by Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, and not as an adaptation from it, then I’m sure you’ll probably be surprised. Give it a try if you’re looking for an anime with romance and some fantasy intertwined with it, or if you simply want to see Romeo and Juliet in a slightly different story.

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