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Romeo X Juliet- The Complete Series and My Bride Is A Mermaid Season 1 Part 1 DVD Reviews

 

The first 11 episodes of “Romeo X Juliet” are engaging, but the series falls apart after episode 12.

“My Bride Is A Mermaid” never lives up to the quirky premise.

Romeo X Juliet:

Set in Neo Verona, the 24 episode/act “Romeo X Juliet” is an anime series spin on Shakespeare’s classic “Romeo And Juliet” tale. In this series, the story goes a little differently. The story begins with the revelation that Juliet (of the Capulet family) has survived a brutal attack by Montague on the Capulet family. Now, years later, Juliet is masquerading as both a boy and an outlaw named Red Whirlwind that fights against injustice. As the story progresses Juliet meets a nobleman named Romero and soon begins to fall for him. Unfortunately, not only is Romeo arranged to marry another woman (Hermione), but Romeo’s father happens to be the evil Montague. The rest of the series essentially sees Romeo and Juliet’s war torn relationship develop. There are also plenty of subplots involving Romeo’s friend Benvolio, Romeo overseeing a mine, a warrior named Tybalt, characters like Antonio, Curio and Francisco, an ongoing battle against Montague, and a magic tree named Escalus (don’t ask).

As a huge fan of the works of William Shakespeare, I was curious to check out this anime adapatation of the iconic “Romeo And Juliet” story. In the first 11 episodes, the series proved to be a unique, engaging take on the famed play as the series offered up well developed characters, stunning animation, and even cameo appearances by William Shakespeare himself. Unfortunately, the series takes a turn for the worse once the supernatural elements became more prominent in the episodes. Without spoiling too much, let me just say that the inclusion of the magic Opehlia and the Escalus tree are totally out of place and distracting.

Summary: Fans of Shakespeare and romantic anime series might want to give “Romeo X Juliet” a rent out of curiosity. For everyone else, I hate to say it, but the series as a whole just doesn’t work well with the supernatural elements.

My Bride Is A Mermaid:

The premise: A young boy named Nagasumi finds his life getting complicated when a mermaid named Sun saves him from drowning. You see, mermaids are not allowed to reveal themselves to humans. If they do, the punishment for someone is death. The only solution? Sun has to marry Nagasumi so that their lives can be spared. To make Nagasumi’s life more complicated, he learns that Sun is part of a Yakuza mermaid clan. In the first 13 episodes of this anime series, episode plots range from Nagasumi and Sun getting to know each other, an assassin named Maki, a pop singer/mermaid named Lunar who falls for Nagasumi, a rich whale boy named Kai who likes sun, a mermaid diet, and attempts to keep mermaid identities a secret.

When I read that “My Bride Is A Mermaid’s” concept included a mermaid Yakuza clan, I was naturally intrigued. On paper, that sounded like a wild and unique idea that had loads of potential. Alas, the series never lives up to the premise. Instead, ‘Mermaid’ becomes bogged down by elements that plague many anime series (or animated series for the matter). I speak, of course, of unfunny humor and exaggerated behavior. My biggest pet peeve with anime is that characters seem to be rather fond of screaming. Why this happens so frequently or why it is appealing is beyond me. Personally, I find it irritating as it makes me not want to watch the series. This definitely applied to ‘Mermaid’ as Sun’s father immediately starts screaming his brains out in episode 1. It’s a shame the characters have to act so goofy/obnoxious here as it ruins an otherwise interesting plot idea. Had the show been more serious or contained more sophisticated humor, ‘Mermaid’ might have worked. Instead, we get lame humor involving such things as a sleep inducing mermaid song and a shark. Add in a universe that really makes little sense and you’re left aching to press the eject button. Skip it.  

Both ‘Mermaid’ and ‘Romeo’ are presented in widescreen and both series look quite nice. ‘Romo’ is a bit on the grainy side, but it’s clearly intentional. Aside from that, the show boasts some beautifully designed/animated cityscapes that make it stand-out from most anime series. As for ‘Mermaid,’ none of the animation will blow you away, but it is a competently made series

‘Mermaid’ and ‘Romeo’ contain English Dolby Digital 5.1 and Japanese Stereo audio tracks. The Romeo English dub is hit-and-miss. I actually preferred the Japanese stereo track as the voice acting was better. As for ‘Mermaid,’ the audio quality is fine, but both tracks were rather annoying with all of the shouting/screaming voice acting going on. However, that’s obviously not the fault of the company that put together the discs.

“Romeo X Juliet” Extras:
* Trailers for “Fullmetal Alchemist- Premium OVA Collection,” “Heroic Age,” “Romeo X Juliet,” “XXXHolic,” “Origin,” “Dragon Ball Z,” “D.Gray-Man,” “Nabari No Out,” “The Slayers,” “Dragon Ball,” “Jyu-Oh Sei,” “Black Cat,” “Kenichi,” and “Kaze No Stigma.”
* Textless opening and closing songs.
* “The Making Of The Romeo And Juliet Anime” (27 mins.) contains clips, a breakdown of the story and characters, interviews, etc.
* Act 24 commentary by the English voice directors, actors, and actresses. Typical pointless commentary that talks about the English dub.

“My Bride Is A Mermaid” Extras:

* Trailers for “Rin- Daughters Of Mnemosyne,” “Casshern Sins,” “Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood,” “My Bride Is A Mermaid,” “Shuffle,” “Soul Eater,” “Master Of Martial Arts,” “Romeo X Juliet,” “Eden Of The East,” and the S.A.V.E. line of discs.
* Textless opening and closing songs.

July 19, 2010 - Posted by | DVD review | ,

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