|Romeo and Juliet. While the picture may not suggest it, they really loved|
Some of the other changes include having the Capulets as the rulers of Neo Verona at the beginning of the series, but they are wiped out by the Montagues, with their leader becoming the city's new prince. From there, the sole survivor of the Capulet family, Juliet, has been living in hiding with some of her faithful retainers for the last 14 years. Since this all happened when she was a child, her memories of the overthrow are really fuzzy, and only on her 16th birthday does she learn the truth of her origins. From here she sets out to take back Neo Verona from Prince Montague, who has ruled with an iron fist for all these years.
It's during this time that she meets Romeo and falls in love with him. They both quickly learn about each other's families, and despite this complicating their relationship, they stick it out hoping to find a way to make things work.
|Montague made for a great villain.|
Romeo and Juliet themselves are reasonably interesting characters. They're both only in their teens, so they have a much more pure, naive outlook on the world than the adults around them, yet still have their own visions of how they would like to help Neo Verona and its people. It's really up to them to find a way to make their values and dreams a reality. We see a glimpse of how Romeo would like to help people when he relocates the prisoners at a labor camp to an abandoned village after the mine is destroyed in an earthquake. Here he tries to help the prisoners start a new life where they can be happy and one day live with their families. Romeo understood that these men had served their time and needed a new lease on life, and wanted to do everything he could to help them with that.
Meanwhile we could see all throughout the series that Juliet was not comfortable with killing. She could smack people around no problem, but when it came to actually stabbing someone with her sword she just couldn't do it. Sometimes this got her into trouble but ultimately she was able to take this and use it when marching to retake Neo Verona, allowing for a relatively bloodless overthrow of the prince.
Both characters had very believable personalities, and the innocence of their youth helped make them even more likable. I found this to especially be the case with Romeo. Every time I saw him he looked like a happy puppy that just wanted to do the right thing.
|Tybalt was an alright supporting|
character. The others less so.
Of course, at the end of the play both Romeo and Juliet die, and this remains the case in the anime. However, it's more bittersweet here, as opposed to being purely tragic. In Romeo X Juliet the pair sacrifice themselves in order to save Neo Verona. Sometimes I feel the whole theme of sacrifice gets overplayed in anime. Sure it's a very big thing in Japan, but the sheer amount of times I've seen it in anime has made it a bit redundant. That being said, I thought it worked reasonably well here. It was understandable that Juliet needed to die to save the city, and a bit sad that Romeo died along the way. However, I did find myself hoping that their spirits were happy together wherever they were.
In the end, I'd have to say that I quite liked this show. The characters are great, and the story does a good job or retelling Shakespeare's play while developing its own personality as well. Moreover, the animation looks great with all of the detail in the city and characters coupled with the softness of the art. I've been watching quite a bit of anime this year, and of all the series that I've watched so far Romeo X Juliet is my favorite.