Boarding School Juliet – Anime Preview
Synopsis: At Dahlia Academy, a prestigious boarding school on a remote island, students from two feuding countries battle each other every day. However, Romio Inuzuka, the leader of the Touwa dorm, and Juliet Persia, the leader of the West dorm, start a secret relationship! (Official Amazon Synopsis)
1st Episode Review (Warning: Minor Spoilers to Follow):
Tom: Boarding School Juliet opens with a fun, silly premise taking major cues from the classic play Romeo & Juliet. It’s basically the comedy version, with a few anime staples thrown in for good measure (the school setting, the over top the violence, etc.) What’s here isn’t particularly original, or clever, but delivers enough decent comedy and silly romance that it for the most part works, and feels like a modest start to what could be a frivolous little story.
Linny: The episode does however start off with a sexist undertone as our strong, determined female leader of the White Cats, Juliet Percia, ends up helpless and needing to be rescued by our male hero, leader of the Black Doggys, Inuzuka Romio. The boys also keep spewing lines about her being too brazen and boisterous for a woman, telling her she is ‘just a girl.’ Then there’s the very contrived and cliche set up for Inuzuka’s budding love for Juliet, ‘I love her but I cannot tell her because reasons’. All these elements nag at the show, though to be fair, in this case, Romio has a decent excuse in that they’re the leaders of two vehemently opposed clans. Also, as the episode continues, the show overcomes these lingering issues, undoing some of its earlier shaky and questionable material.
Tom: Boarding School Juliet’s ability to remain entertaining depends really on how it chooses to shake things up. Predictably the episode ends with Juliet and Romio entering a secret relationship, with the threat of others finding out looming overhead. While the first episode is fun, it’s not hard to imagine this secret affair angle growing tired quite quickly. Boarding School Juliet will need to find clever ways of making troubles for our heroes that don’t feel played out.Perhaps it could do that by taking a harder stand on the gender politics it hints at, or delving into the politics of the White Cats and Black Doggys feud. While the episode teases those elements I’d honestly be surprised if they were more than surface level justification for Romio’s development. I personally think those harder themes will have little bearing on the story ahead, but I’d love to be proven wrong. For now though, this first episode feels fun enough to recommended to anyone looking for a light comedy with some decent romance.
Linny: The last part of the episode is where Boarding School Juliet not only redeems itself but shines with great promise thanks to emotional and romantic maturity that can be hard to find in anime. Not only does Romio realize his own mistake in underestimating Juliet and thinking she is some damsel that needs to be protected but he also vocally acknowledges all the hard work she is putting into overthrowing the oppressive male patriarch society she lives in and establishing herself as a strong and equal individual unrestricted by gender and society’s conventions. If the show manages to make Juliet a more vocal lead, actively showing her bad-assery rather than making Romio have to be her mouthpiece and campaigner, Boarding School Juliet could be a surprisingly empowering and encouraging show. I have a little more faith than Tom, and am cautious optimistic for the moment as I’d have to see more before I could confidently shower praise onto the show. But based on this first episode alone, I’d urge you to watch Boarding School Juliet if you want to see anime’s latest take on this age old romance served up with a surprisingly positive and mature portrayal of romance and female empowerment.
Boarding School Juliet is available for streaming via Amazon Video.