Review by: Faith McAdams
Publisher: FUNimation Entertainment
MSRP: $59.98 US
Running Time: 290 minutes
Rating: TV PG
Release Date: Available Now
Good night, good night! Parting is such sweet sorrow.
Even if you have seen every unique twist on William Shakespeare’s play and even if you know how it ends, the anime series Romeo X Juliet manages to surprise and make the story feel fresh again as if it were the first time you were seeing it. This is a rarity in any art form and this is what makes this series one of those required viewing DVDs you hear about.
In the second part, called the Juliet Collection, the last descendant of the House of Capulet returns to Neo Verona but makes her return to the castle in shackles. Despite Romeo’s pleas to spare her life, Montague plans a public execution that would finally give the cruel Prince peace of mind. As word of her capture spreads through the city, Francisco and Curio plan to break her out of her prison out of loyalty and even love for Juliet. During the rescue, Romeo lends a hand and, as a result, is punished by his father and is banished from Neo Verona to work in a mine. During the rescue, Juliet even meets Ophelia and sees the great tree hidden beneath the castle.
As Juliet escapes from the city to plan her next move, the series shifts to Romeo who is seen as a snooty Noble trying to take charge of a mine with the worst working conditions since the men working the mine are convicted felons. He works the mine like the men around him and while he is picked on by nearly everyone, Romeo manages to befriend a boy whose death affects him in a way he never felt before and it inspires him to give these men a better life. When an earthquake destroys the mine and injures many men, Romeo vows to build a new home for them using an abandoned town and wins their trust.
Meanwhile, Juliet finds comfort in her friends in another town as William comes before them with a play that tells the tale of Montague and Capulet that would be used to inspire the people as well as get people to side with the House of Capulet. Juliet even meets Hermione again … who attacks Juliet. In one of the best scenes, Hermione realizes that Juliet didn’t seduce Romeo to get to Montague but she really loves Romeo with all her heart when she hears that her beloved survived the mine collapse. We also see Tymbalt again who reveals to Juliet his own mysterious past as well as the past of Montague himself. Both men certainly did have troubled pasts and, in the end, it is Tymbalt who wants a chance to kill Montague.
With Juliet friends as the starts, the play is a rousing success, which gets the people on the side of Capulet. To top it all off, Juliet comes to the realization that the best way to inspire the citizens is to dress as the Red Whirlwind again and does so during the play. As rumor spreads that the Red Whirlwind is alive, the people begin to rebel against Montague and even more so when the Red Whirlwind’s identity is finally unveiled during an attack in front of the citizens of Neo Verona.
Upon hearing the Juliet will make her attempt to overthrow his father, Romeo heads to confront his father for the final time. Before he was banished, Romeo realized that his father has gone mad with power and even more so since Montague shows him the source of his power … the child of nature he calls Ophelia. Before Juliet gathers her troops to take the castle, she is confronted by Ophelia that tells her sacrifice is needed in order to save Neo Verona.
As the members of House of Capulet begin their coup, soldiers begin to abandon Montague and those loyal to him begin to bow to Capulet. Mercutio, who has become Montague’s adopted son, is the only one left but even then he begins to fear what Montague would do to him when he fails his mission. On top of that, the earth begins to tremble and Ophelia’s words begin to sink into Juliet’s heart.
The last few episodes of the series are nothing short of breathtaking and utterly shocking as the end of the House of Montague becomes a realization and Juliet’s fate becomes sealed by an old prophesy involving the tree and Ophelia. I will not spoil the interesting twist in the ending nor will I mention what fate befalls the rest of the characters. Just as it has in the beginning, the ending is like nothing we ever expected.
The Juliet Collection of Romeo X Juliet is just as unforgettable as the first part of this amazing series. It’s a fitting end that’s just as creatively beautiful thanks to a solid voice acting cast, great animation and a great story that is told in an imaginative style that makes this one anime series that you will fall deeply in love with from beginning to end.
DVD REVIEW BREAKDOWN
In this second part of the series, Juliet finds herself a captive of Montague only to escape and begin her finally push to reclaim all that was lost to the House of Capulet. Meanwhile, an exiled Romeo makes a new life for himself outside the city until he hears that Juliet plans to overthrow his father. Secrets are revealed and the lovers reunite in a truly mesmerizing finale.
VIDEO QUALITY: A
The gorgeous animation will not fail to keep your eyes glued to your screen and it remains consistently good throughout the series. This is definitely a visceral series that is hard to forget thanks to some memorable scenes.
AUDIO QUALITY: A+
“Good Bye, Yesterday” performed by Mizrock is a wonderful new closing theme for the series and, thankfully, the opening theme song remains as does the amazing original score. The Japanese voices are great but the strong performances by Brina Palencia (Juliet) and Chris Burnett (Romeo) make the English dub shine.
The second disc contains the original trailers for the series as well as clean opening and closing theme songs. Just about the only extra feature you will look forward to is the audio commentary for the final episode that includes Chris Burnett and Brina Palencia.
A brilliant interpretation of Shakespeare’s tragic love story, the final part of Romeo X Juliet will sweep you off your feet and remind you that anime like this is why we fans love this art form. An exciting series that is beautifully animated and perfectly written, this is yet another version of Romeo and Juliet you must own even if Shakespearean stories aren’t your cup of tea. I promise you will love this series.