Anime Review

Anime Hajime Review: Boarding School Juliet

Original Run: October 6, 2018 - December 22, 2018
Number of Episodes: 12
Genre: Comedy, Romance
Based on the Series Created By: Yousuke Kaneda

***Warning, the following may contain spoilers for Boarding School Juliet. Reader discretion is advised.***

Series Synopsis

Dahlia Academy Boarding School is a prestigious institution which houses students from the rivaling countries The Nation of Touwa and The Principality of West, and it would seem the bad blood is alive and well within these walls of learning.

The Touwa pupils reside within the Black Dog Dormitory and the Westerners in the White Cat Dormitory. The tension between the two sides has persisted for years. Nowhere is the hatred greater than between the leaders of the Black Dog’s and the White Cat’s first-year high school classes, Romio Inuzuka and Juliet Persia (voiced by Yuki Ono and Ai Kayano).

Or so it would appear.

For as long as he can remember, Romio has loved Juliet. In his eyes, Juliet is the definition of strength, grace, and determination. One day, Romio risks everything and finally confesses his feelings. Although taken aback, Juliet has also seen Romio as her most formidable rival and equal, and thus, albeit tentatively, accepts his confession.

As time passes, the two grow closer, and soon, the once bitter enemies become an unbreakable couple. However, no one can ever learn their secret. Their respective nations could never accept a love such as theirs. Nevertheless, both Romio and Juliet are determined to uproot everything to be together.

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Series Positives

Boarding School Juliet was one of those on-a-whim choices of mine. There was nothing about it that caught my eye. There was nothing which piqued my interest. All I had were assumptions; assumptions that led me to think this would be a typical and – since I usually like to hope for the better – serviceable romantic-comedy.

(By the way, the bulk of those assumptions were fueled by the name “Juliet”)

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It is often under these types of circumstances where the biggest surprises – both the good and the bad – arise. As such, I am happy to say Boarding School Juliet was most definitely a very pleasant surprise. This series turned out to be amazingly fun.

Getting into why that was the case, first I want to apologize if this next part sounds a bit self-indulgent. It will consist of a lot of anime-facts-for-big-anime-fans information, but I just can’t help myself. Having now written for Anime Hajime for the past four years (at the time of this review’s posting), there have been some voices I have begun to recognize. On the whole, many of those voices have been so memorable because they have an abundant amount of talent behind them.

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Boarding School Juliet happened to have quite a few of these types of voices:

I also want to give credit to Mr. Yuki Ono, the voice of Romio Inuzuka. I have been hearing his work rather frequently recently, and he gave a particularly strong performance here.

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I bring all this up because this series was filled with actors and actresses who know how to do their jobs well. Every cast member allowed this story to land more soundly. For instance, Boarding School Juliet was far funnier than I ever could have expected; countless moments got me laughing hard.

More than anything else, though – and much of this was aided, significantly, by the voice actors – the characters of Boarding School Juliet were its best feature.

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There wasn’t a single person who was deadweight. Everyone added something to what was going on. And in case you were wondering, the only characters who were based on the Romeo and Juliet story were Romio Inuzaka and Juliet Persia themselves. Furthermore, it was only their names and their star-crossed-lovers predicament that had anything to do with Shakespeare.

Branching off from that, Boarding School Juliet was a great romance anime. Romio and Juliet were an outstanding pair. Speaking for myself, I found I really wanted them to be together because they were pushing their relationship forward equally. They were both the lead protagonist.

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Although it was Romio who was responsible for the majority of the show’s slapstick comedy, he AND Juliet were at risk of being discovered. They each recognized – or, at least, acknowledged – that risk. More importantly, though, it was clear they only had eyes for one another.

It could have been easy for Boarding School Juliet to become a harem anime. Instead, the series was far more responsible in this area. Thanks to its responsibility, this show managed to have two believable love rivals who would have preferred to see Romio and Juliet apart. The first was Juliet’s best friend Princess Chartreux Westia (voiced by Yu Shimamura).

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The princess took great pleasure in tormenting Romio. However, her sadistic nature had been a part of her personality long before she knew Romio even existed. Chartreux was horrible to everyone except for Juliet; the person the princess cared for more than anyone. Throughout the series, Romio had to and completely proved his devotion to Juliet. It reached the point where Chartreux had to admit there was someone who loved Juliet as much as she did.

Chartreux’s support and love for Juliet, not Romio, made her an indispensable ally when the pair needed one the most. BUT this didn’t stop the princess from enacting her spiteful vengeance on Romio from time to time. Therefore, Chartreux remained a crucial factor in what was going on and was never a part of a pointless, never-going-to-happen-so-why-is-this-show-even-bothering plotline.

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The second rival was a tad more complicated, but the show pulled this off even better than with Chartreux. This time, the friction came from Romio’s best friend, Hasuki Komai. Unlike the princess, Hasuki did have feelings for Romio. Luckily, rather than leaving a potential alternative as a possibility – even if unlikely – Boarding School Juliet confronted the dilemma head-on. How this series tackled the issue legitimately impressed me.

And that really is it, isn’t it? To use a single word: This show was impressive.

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Series Negatives

I’m sorry but many years of religious lessons simply don’t die easily.

Rosaries are not jewelry. They are not necklaces meant to be worn around a person’s neck. While they can be beautiful, they are a prayer tool, and that’s it.

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Does this have any bearing on the merits of Boarding School Juliet? Or rather, would this series have been better if it had gotten this small detail right? No. I am just being overly critical because this was a point that was shoved down my throat so often as a kid, I can’t push it out of my mind.

Besides, I needed something to say in this section.

When you get right down to it, Boarding School Juliet was a damn fine series. I wouldn’t expect to find it on any Highlights lists any time soon (February 18th to 22nd, 2019, self-plug finished), but it should not be overlooked.

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Still, if I had to give a real negative: This show’s comedy-drama balance wasn’t always perfect. There were times when a decently tense scene was ruined by a stupid joke. For example, this series had one of the best sports day competitions I have seen in a while. The conclusion to this was preceded by a hell of a build-up, and it truly was a climactic face-off. There was a ton of meaning behind this moment, and it served to bring Romio and Juliet closer than they had ever been, when suddenly:

LOL, accidental boob grab. Goddamn it show. Really? You had to add that?

Even in a good series, uncalled for humor gets under my skin.

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However, when I say Boarding School Juliet’s comedy-drama balance was sometimes askew, I meant it went both ways. There were instances when a ton of unnecessary drama was thrown in. Putting it together after the fact, it would make sense that Romio and Juliet’s respective factions’ disagreements had to take root somewhere. Nevertheless, the out of nowhere threat of open warfare between nations seemed a bit harsh in this otherwise silly romantic-comedy.

Also, now that I think about it, this show opened several doors without ever entering them. While things may have finished satisfyingly, I am left wondering. But hey, if that paves the way for a second season of Boarding School Juliet, you won’t hear me complaining.

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Final Thoughts

This was a very much appreciated surprise from the 2018 fall season if I do say so myself.

With the typical ingredients for a passable romantic-comedy, this show took things one step further. The story was fun, the characters were interesting, and with a brilliant cast lending their voices to support it all, a diamond-in-the-rough seems almost assured looking back on it now.

Plus, with the possibility of a continuation not utterly shut away, this is a series I hope to return to.

I am happy to recommend Boarding School Juliet.

But these are just my thoughts. What are yours? Have you seen this show? What would be your advice concerning Boarding School Juliet? Leave a comment down below because I would love to hear what you have to say.

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For Anime Hajime, I’m LofZOdyssey, and I’ll see you next time.

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