An anime DVD boxed set.
Romeo×Juliet 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 … see full wiki
Funimation has to be credited for their ability to drop anime DVD collections in a timely manner. After all, patience may be a virtue but who wants to wait around to find out how a story they’re waist-deep in concludes? Such was the case with Romeo x Juliet. The first collection (known as the Romeo Collection) hit streets on June 23rd and now the concluding set is at our collective disposal as of August 11.
Romeo x Juliet from Funimation breaks the 24 total episodes into a pair of two-disc sets. The second of which (reviewed here) is known as The Juliet Collection and contains episodes 13-24. Packaged within an appropriately artistically decorated cardboard exterior slipcase is a pair of thin disc cases each containing a single dvd (with 6 episodes on each).
Total runtime comes in at 290 minutes and the show wears a conservative TV PG (13+) rating, based presumably more on the grander adult oriented themes (we do all know how this tale will end) than it is language, sexual scenarios, or gore.
Language options are standard fair sub & dub meaning the original Japanese dialog track is presented (in stereo) as well as the option of instead watching an English dub (in Dolby Surround 5.1). Finally English subtitles are available with either vocal option.
Extras include a commentary track of Act (episode) 24, textless songs, and a host of Funimation trailers on the second disc.
As was the case with the first collection, the source material here deviates from the original William Shakespeare play while retaining many of the same fundamental concepts of forbidden love, dictatorship governments, and the agony of heartbreak.
In this installment Prince Montague sentences the captured Juliet to death, which of course spurs her faithful comrades into rescue efforts. For simply aiding in Juliet’s escape, Romeo finds himself exiled to the grueling Gradisca mines.
Though ripped apart from one another, both Romeo and Juliet focus their efforts to create a world where they can be together while Juliet cements a Capulet strike against Montague complete with the return of her vigilante alter ego, the Red Whirlwind.
While the human factions battle each other for control, Neo Verona itself is crumbling as Escalus, the tree that supports everything, begins to wither and die beneath their very feet.
Pacing in the show’s second half is much grander in terms of scale and scope when compared to that of the first 12 episodes. The love interest between the title characters definitely blossoms into a more believable/ less forced relationship here even as the underlying chaos that surrounds them builds to a fever pitch.
Without giving away too many spoilers, I will say to expect some of the tragic nature of the source material to not only carry over but to become a literal ultimatum faced by the characters by the show’s dramatic conclusion.
However, I really don’t wish to insinuate that the entire Juliet Collection serves as a funnel to the inevitable conclusion; in fact the truth is quite the contrary. Thanks to the fact that this half of the tale once again consists of a full 12 episodes should hint toward the truth that the voyage is every bit as rewarding as the arrival.
I was particularly moved by the sequences that focused on Romeo’s torture in the mines, as they appear to have been lifted from some of the finer science fiction films of yore and work very well here. Juliet’s isolated plots were a bit drier and more politically under-toned but I suspect some may find this to be the more enjoyable.
Prince Montague’s tyranny really comes into fruition in this installment as well; a credit to Gonzo’s ability to paint realistic characters (love them or hate them).
Like in the first half, the artistry is by no means spectacular but it does work within this setting with emphasis on textures and background detail, sometimes at the cost of the moment. The musical score however continues to build both in scale and mood. Ultimately, it comes off as a very well constructed symphonic score that manages to impress (even in the show’s darker moments).
Once again I’m left with mixed feelings on the occasional old-English/ Shakespearean-inspired dialog on the English dub, which may actually be superior to the original Japanese dialog (a rarity in the anime world). It’s not quite as glaring an inconsistency as it was in the first installment, but it without fail makes the viewer wonder if it would have worked better to quit resisting and just perform the entire show that way or to avoid any and all references to that era and simply do away with it entirely.
The English voice cast commentary track is great in terms of demonstrating just what a highly anticipated project the show was to Funimation. It’s funny to hear that nearly everyone on staff did their absolute best in the hopes of snagging one of the lead roles. Of course the producers had to narrow it down and surely there were those lowly voice actors left feeling like the last person on the wall during team selection of a gym class dodge ball game.
In all, this is a must have for those who watched, loved, liked, or even just barely got through the first half. For everyone else, this is definitely above average anime as a whole and now that the full 24-epiodes are available, this would be the perfect opportunity to get involved. After all, waiting for a show’s conclusion bites.
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