Like most people out there, while I was in high school I had to read William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. It’s one of the most well known love stories in fiction and has been a mainstay of pop culture throughout the years. Obviously, someone was going to turn it into an anime eventually. I have no idea how any of you reacted to the play when you read it, but my cynical 16-year-old self hated it. I don’t hate it now, but I still wasn’t exactly going into this expecting much. But I like to keep an open mind and give everything a fair chance, because sometimes things can surprise you.
Romeo X Juliet is more than just a simple anime version of the classic love story, for a few reasons. The biggest reason is because it’s barely Romeo and Juliet at all. It does share some common elements and scenes from the original, mostly in character names and relationships, but it deviates greatly. In the original story, Romeo and Juliet are simply children from two families that hate each other. In this version, Romeo is the son of Prince Montague, who came into his position by killing the former ruler of Neo-Verona, Prince Capulet, the father of Juliet. This adds another level of tragedy to the love that forms between the two. Instead of Juliet simply falling in love with a boy her family hates, she’s fallen in love with the son of the man who killed her father, a man she swore revenge against.