Thursday, April 19, 2007

Romeo X Juliet 1

Yes, Romeo and Juliet, the anime. But, stick with me...

Episode one starts out in a kingdom sitting on a floating continent. The Montagues are almost done slaying the Capulet family, and taking over Neo Verona. A crying princess, Li'l Juliet, is led down a hallway to her mother, who we just saw dead on a floor. And she arrives just in time to see the sword pulled from her father. King Montague orders that the rest of the Capulet family be slain, and a real go-getter of a soldier runs out to kill the little girl. She's saved at the last second by Conrad, soon to be ex-captain of the Capulet guards. Fleeing the castle, they jump from a bridge crawling with soldiers onto a Pegasus, or Ryouma, as they're called here. The opening sequence starts.

14 years later... The Montagues are still looking for Juliet, and they go about it much the same way we used to find witches: "Um... that chick!" Then they kill her. Worked then, works now. Except not. A non-Juliet is about to be killed for maybe being the Capulet's rightful heir when the Crimson Whirlwind shows up to free her. While the guards and everyone in the crowd refer to Crimson as a 'he,' dude sure sounds like a 'she.' I wonder what shall happen. With anime-like reflexes, Crimson cuts non-Juliet's ropes, disarms three guards, and scampers off. A little friend in the crowd throws smoke bombs down to hinder the following guards, and they do that little dance that scared cartoon characters do when something's exploding at their feet. Crimson and friend run through a market square, and the whole thing is reminding me of Aladdin all of a sudden. Crimson runs into Cordelia on the street and pulls her into the chase, for no apparent reason. No one's after Cordelia. The two run up a flight of stairs, catching the eye of our Romeo, sitting at a cafe with Benvolio. Romeo must help, because he's our good guy, and the two jump on their Ryouma and fly off. Romeo arrives just in time to save a falling Juliet.. I mean Crimson, and his buddy grabs Cordelia.

Safely... elsewhere, Romeo and Crimson have a little fight about manners which serves no purpose other than getting these two together in a more proper way. Once the two boys have flown off, we learn that Crimson/Juliet also goes by the name, Odin. Cordelia scolds... whoever for being reckless and not hiding like they're supposed to be. Odin has, like, a conscious about people dying in his/her name, though.

Cordelia, Antonio (the little friend), and Cordelia arrive at a theater they call home. Inside, a performance of 'Otello' is going on, and 'Willy' sits in his booth seat, watching. And, yeah, it's called 'Otello.' Other languages are hard. William complains that nobody understands his plays, then goes on tell Odin that he/she is quite handsome but Antonio has a ways to go, and they should audition for one of his plays. Shakespeare is a little fruity. They leave Willy and go behind a secret door.

Once in her room, Odin complains about having flashes of memories and being confused. Cordelia assures him/her that once he/she is sixteen, everything will be clear. And her birthday is tomorrow. She goes on to let Juliet's hair down and confirm that Odin is in fact Juliet just before we cut to a title card And somewhere, someone who wasn't paying attention gasps. Mostly because they were choking on a Dorito.

We come back to some Ryouma race in a coliseum. The Archduke sits, drinking wine as Mercutio emerges to be belittled. He leaves right away as Romeo enters. Like with Juliet, Romeo is scolded for entering the city. During an awkward silence where Romeo should be defending himself, Hermione arrives to be Romeo's appointed date for the evening. The Archduke takes it upon himself to ask her to go to the Rose Ball with his son, Romeo. He goes on to talk up Romeo's feelings for Hermione, and Romeo clearly feels uneasy. He leads her away, thinking of Odin, and how he was probably a girl. Or maybe other, more confusing feelings.

Romeo asks Benvolio, and Juliet asks Willy what 'love' is. Almost as awkwardly as aliens do when first hearing of this strange, Earth emotion we call, "Love." They both basically say, 'someone you'd die for,' only more convolutedly. Is it still foreshadowing if everyone already knows what's going to happen?

One of Willy's actresses, Emilia, is wondering which dress she should wear to the Rose Ball a 'destined partner' asked her to, when 'Odin' comes to the door. Emilia insists that Odin should come, too, because that'll surely advance the plot. She tells Odin that she needs to change into a dress, because her partner won't approach Emilia if she's with a man. I'm thinking this partner probably would anyway, what with him giving Emilia the invite and all. Once Odin is in a dress, I find it hard to believe that no one's questioned 'his' gender for fourteen years. It's as if I were to walk into a room with a t-shirt and jeans on and a full beard then just announce I was a woman, and everyone went, "Why, yes you are." Emilia goes off to get a hat, and Juliet decides to embrace her femininity. Which involves nothing but putting on a ring and some lipstick, then a lot of twirling around. She could have at least read a bit of The Vagina Monologues. Her twirling is interrupted by Emilia's partner, who takes the now-masked Juliet as his date, and runs out with her. Juliet doesn't correct him for whatever reason. Plot-convenience is my guess.

Once at the ball, it doesn't take long for Juliet to get flashes of living in the palace. She quickly spots the Archduke, and runs out as fast as she can. She falls to her knees by a fountain and, of course, Romeo appears from the Ether to ask if she's okay. The two stare at each other in silence...

So far, no woe. But the ending sequence has a kinda cool song.

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