Romeo x Juliet Review

Story:
In the aerial continent of  Neo Verona, a young woman named Juliet is the last remaining member of a royal line brutally murdered by the land’s new tyrant king. Destined to destroy the man who killed her entire family, Juliet’s hand is stayed by Romeo, the tyrant’s son whom she accidentally comes to know and love.

Violence:
This show starts out with the betrayal of the royal family and it shows one person bleeding to death and another getting stabbed. The blood levels in this opening part are about as bad as it gets. Yet that violent element is rarely used, despite the tense and dangerous circumstances throughout the show. In other words, so long as you can get through episode one, you should be just fine.

Language:
Not much in this category. Some average stuff, like a d-mn or two, but nothing heavy or frequent.

Nudity:
Nothing much here either. Aside from a scene in the rain where two characters take off wet clothes and wear only their underwear. Don’t worry though. It’s very clean. Both are covered more than what one finds on a beach (she in an under dress and he in pants). That said, the scene is pretty tense feeling for obvious reasons. Also, at one point it becomes clear two characters are living together. Although it’s handled tastefully and nothing inappropriate is shown, it’s still worth mentioning. It’s also worth noting that one female character kisses another on the lips near the end. It’s not sexual in nature, but it is a tad disturbing.

Theology/Mythology:
This is probably the weirdest part of this show. There’s this strange tree thing that, from my understanding, keeps the whole continent airborne. And, of course, this tree is worshiped as some kind of god/guardian thing and it’s somehow connected to the old royal family. I was never completely clear on how that all worked. Truth be told though, this world has flying continents and Pegasus (aka flying horses). Realism isn’t the main agenda for this show. In any case, this particular element of the story actually only affects the tail end of the show and really isn’t discussed in depth.

Personal Impression:
If I gave the impression that this show has a “good” ending, I’d be lying. So before I say anything else, know this: The ending of Shakespeare’s original tale is kept intact. That’s right. No alternate ending going down. It’s only fair you know in case sad/tragic endings affect your mental state in dangerous ways.
If you don’t mind the tragedy aspect of Shakespeare, however, this show delivers the romance aspect a whole lot better. That’s right, better. Mainly because you’re with these characters longer and thus their relationship makes far more sense. Also, political tension remains high in this series, so even if pure romance isn’t your thing, this show isn’t bad. The animation, story elements and music are all pretty good too. It even has a few well done fight scenes now and again.
Even so, romance is the main draw of this series. The theme song is the Japanese version of “You Raise Me Up,” after all. So don’t expect Indiana Jones here. But if romance is your thing, by all means. Just don’t expect a perfect ending. You won’t find one here (though it is refreshingly clean considering the storyline).

Personal Rating: 10 and up

Episodes: 24
Languages: Sun and dub
Official rating: PG
Genre(s): Romance, fantasy
Website: http://www.funimation.com/romeo-x-juliet
Legal streaming: FUNimation’s site and YouTube channel
Screen shots:
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Extra: A splatter of shows for 2013

No, I’m still not watching every new stream that comes out. I do have a life, contrary to popular belief. That said, I am in the middle of a few random shows and, seeing as how I have not posted any line up posts yet this year, let’s trip on down the rabbit hole together, shall we?

Minami-ke (season 4)
I have nooo clue what happened to seasons one through three, but it hardly matters. This show is a whole lot of… well, nothing in particular. There are three sisters and this show pretty much just follows them around. Oh and the people around them are kinda weird. Think of the random comedy and laidback attitude of Lucky Star without the nerd references. That’s what this show is in a nutshell. It’s currently being streamed by FUNimation with new episodes every Friday.

Blast of Tempest
Shakespeare and anime. I thought I’d seen that with RomeoxJuliet, but this show takes on Hamlet and it takes it on in the weirdest way imaginable. The opener is amazingly catchy and the animation is great. And, as expected from something inspired by the Shakes-man himself, the characters are quite well written thus far. Though the addition of magic in the modern world and weird trees and iron fruit and such puts a very bizarre spin on things. It also makes the theatrics in this show a bit over the top at times. But, hey, when isn’t Shakespeare over the top? This show is currently being streamed by Crunchyroll.

Madoka Magica
I actually have yet to begin this one, but I can’t tell you have many requests I get for reviews on it. So, after checking to be sure it’s TV14 or under, I have decided to give it a go. However, I have reservations about possible gore as some places mark “horror” as an element of this show… Only time will tell if this show gets a full review here or ends up in the Warning Zone. Wish me luck? This show is currently being streamed by Crunchyroll.

Air Review

Story:
Yukito Kunisaki has the ability to control a puppet with his mind. Unfortunately, it doesn’t end up being too useful of a talent when he arrives in a small and sleepy town by the sea. But Yukito has to stay in the small town as he’s been looking for someone very special for many years: a girl with wings whom his mother often spoke of.

Violence:
Initially this aspect is pretty low, but around the second half of the series there are some people that die, mainly from sword fights and such. A girl with wings is shot at with multiple arrows at one point as well. The violence isn’t high visually though. Not too much blood, considering the situation.

Language:
Yukito has the worst language of the characters, though it’s still nothing worse than most YA series, one or two instances of the “illegitimate-son” word being the worst of the bunch.

Nudity:
This is the odd part. The “girl with wings” is actually unclothed in many scenes. However, all details are either covered or simply not there (like a silhouette). The only sexual implications in this show are when a female doctor is looking over her sister and the conversation gets suggestive. Nothing explicit, but it can be uncomfortable (as it certainly is for Yukito in the other room).

Theology/Mythology:
Yukito has the ability to control a puppet with his mind, make what you will of that. Later on, it is implied that reincarnation, or some other kind of “rebirth” exists in the world as well. One girl is supposedly “possessed” by another person long dead. Also the “girl with wings” was born as such and the people who raise her believe her to be a “messenger of the gods.” There is also a lot of talk about fate and whatnot. Nothing attempting to make converts of viewers or anything like that, but it’s there nonetheless.

Personal Impression:
If you don’t like sad endings, give up this show right now. I’m serious. This show does not end well. I won’t spoil it outright, but you should be well prepared for that eventually. If you don’t mind some tears though, you’ll find this show’s story, art (oh my gosh, the art) and characters are all wonderfully done. The music is beautiful as well, depending on slow piano pieces frequently, as is fitting for the sad undertones of the show.
I would mention more on this show, except that spoilers would appear if I did so. Suffice to say that Yukito is quite a loveable and unique hero and the other characters are all pretty interesting overall. Which makes the end quite bitter. Bitter indeed. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Personal Rating: Young adult

Episodes: 26
Languages: Sub and dub
Official rating: TV14
Genre(s): Fantasy, slice of life, supernatural
Website: http://www.funimation.com/air
Legal streaming: FUNimation’s site
Screen shots:
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Extra: Another look at Relena Darlian

relenaWhen talking with a friend of mine recently about heroes, I was reminded of one particular character that I didn’t really like all that much when I first met her, but who I grew to love and respect down the road.

Relena Darlian. A female character that seems rather typical, if a tad spacy, at first. When I watched Gundam Wing for the first time, her ability to ignore a gun pointed at her and address Heero on equal terms was interesting, but I didn’t put much stock in it at the time. And her statements in the movie, such as “hatred will only breed more hatred,” seemed hopelessly cliche to me. And, yes, it is cliche in a way. It seems overly simplistic. But having a few more years to my name I can say with confidence that it is also a hundred percent true.

As I’ve mentioned before, heroes need to be more than people with a mission statement. They need to be able to take all the consequences that come along with that stance. And, say what you will about her love of pink outfits, Relena does just that. Over and over she sticks by her resolve to not take up weapons (she only uses a weapon once near the beginning of the series, but once she decides to drop weapons she never picks them up again), often putting herself in harms way as a result. And she does not force others into her beliefs. Though she denies having weapons of her own in the Sanc kingdom, she allows others, such as the Gundams, to stick by their own methods. Even after her kingdom’s collapse, Relena refuses weapons. She doesn’t hide one on her person to kill the leader of the Romefeller Foundation (although she certainly had the chance to do so). In fact, she only joins the Foundation because her own people were suffering. In other words, she didn’t bat an eye when consequences for her decisions were upon only herself, but she refused to drag others with her uselessly. She later confronts her brother in space and faces the killer of her foster father, all without a single weapon. Again, she had chances to end things. Yet she knew killing was wrong and refused to give up what she thought was right. But even when negotiations failed, she stayed where she was, in harm’s way, doing what little she could.
And, if her character wasn’t clear already, Relena takes her beliefs one step further in the movie. She stands before a pointed gun and states bluntly “I am prepared to die.” Again, on the surface that seems cliche, but think about that. How easy would it have been to stay quiet and stay down? To not stand up? No one would blame her. She couldn’t fight in any normal way, after all. Yet, even though she had no chances to live through the event, she still stood for what she knew to be right. She knew what would likely happen and she had no regrets.

So while it may not have been as cool as piloting a Gundam or dropping a grenade in the middle of the room, Relena is by no means as “girly” as she first appears. In fact, one might even say she had more courage than any other character in the series. Heroism doesn’t always “look cool,” but it’s certainly something to respect and look up to.

News: Warning Zone added

You may have noticed a new addition to this site: the Warning Zone. So let’s get right down to it, shall we?

What is the Warning Zone?

The Warning Zone is a place where shows that cross that line into “mature” content end up. Unlike Reviews, shows that end up in the Warning Zone get very brief excerpts that focus mainly on why the show ended up in the WZ in the first place. WZ posts are also unscheduled, meaning that they are posted as this blog’s writers come across them.

But RRAR doesn’t support M rated stuff, right? Why bother having the Warning Zone?

Simple. The shows that end up in the WZ are shows not marked Mature. Often they are marked by companies and other sites as TV14 or just PG13 (often without any explanation as to why they are rated as such). However, their content is often of a variety that would not be appropriate for those ages (such as the case with Sword Art Online). They are not marked as Mature, yet their content could easily land them there. Thus the WZ was created to warn cautious viewers that, though these shows are not marked higher than some others, they contain mature aspects that should be noted prior to viewing.

Warning Zone: Sword Art Online

The why:
The violence is a tad high, one character gets stabbed near the end. However, the real defining element that shoved this TV14 show into the WZ was sexual content. In one scene a girl gets undressed (down to her underwear) while under the impression she will be having sexual relations with another character. The scene then changes and she is in bed, seemingly naked and covered only by a sheet. What happened during the time jump is not confirmed, but very much implied (the fact that they are only about 16 years old and in a virtual game makes it all the more eerie). Near the end of the series, this same female’s shirt and over skirt are ripped off and the villain sexually harasses her. No details appear on screen, but the sounds made and the movement of the characters’ bodies make it very clear what’s occurring.

Personal thoughts:
I personally didn’t like this show, mainly due to the numerous issues with the storyline and character relationships. If I were to attempt explaining these issues, I’d likely be writing long into the night. Besides, other bloggers have already done personal impression reviews of their own and some have said it better than I. Suffice to say, many people liked this show. A few didn’t like it. It seems to boil down to what kind of shows one likes. If you don’t mind plot holes so long as the romance aspect is always prioritized, you might like this (if the mature content doesn’t put you off your tea first). But if you like heroes that stand up for something besides their own selfish desires, and prefer romance to be a side affect, not a main dish, this show will likely be a sea of frustration for you.