Romeo X Juliet Omnibus
written by COM
Shakespeare is credited on the cover of Romeo X Juliet, but that isn’t quite right. There have been multiple versions of Shakespeare in the graphic novel realm and Romeo X Juliet is a creative new take on it. In fact, it’s a manga based on an anime based lightly on the original Shakespearean play. If readers have already checked out the anime (licensed by FUNimation), they’ll know what to expect.
In Romeo X Juliet, Romeo’s father kills Juliet’s family when the girl is only two years old. She escapes and at the age of 16, she is told about her past. This is so she can take revenge on Duke Montague and put the Capulets back into power. Juliet is a skilled warrior and well-liked, so it shouldn’t be difficult for her to win this battle.
There is a problem. She falls in love with Romeo, Montague’s son. The two marry in secret but Romeo’s father is aware Juliet is still alive and wants her to be killed.
Some characters from the original play, like Benvolio and Tybalt, are here, but are shown in a different light. Numerous other original characters, like the nurse and Friar Lawrence, do not show up in these pages. For the most part, only the loosest threads of the original play show up at all here, like how Montagues and Capulets are enemies, and Romeo and Juliet love each other in spite of this. While in the anime the characters talk in a Shakespearean style (if not outright quoting the play), that didn’t carry over into the manga. However, there are some lines in here where one can see reference to the original play, such as when Juliet is asking why Romeo has to be Romeo. It’s not “O Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo?” but it’s along the same lines.
This book is actually a collection of two Romeo X Juliet volumes. The art is by COM and has kind of a general manga style. It sticks with the anime’s take on the characters, though I personally would have liked the art better had it been a little more ornate and polished. Still, that doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with the art or that COM is unskilled.
Fans of the anime will most likely also be interested in the manga. It isn’t exactly Shakespeare, but this new take is inventive, dramatic, and emotional. It’s definitely bound to attract readers.