So, RomeoxJuliet. The visuals are very pleasing. The subs could have been better written, with less use of the words somehow and totally in awkward ways. Totally was only used twice, but it completely took me out. The music is superb; it's stuck in my head, especially You Raise Me Up. Now let's do some character mapping.

 

Juliet - has visible progression that is justified by onscreen events. The only unrealistic thing about her as a character is the power of the instant and total love she has for Romeo, how it suddenly makes her want to give up on her friends and then drives her to go get captured, and then to feel like letting herself die in prison. I think there could have been a better way to have her do all those things that made sense, with more exploration of her reasons. Instead, I'm left to conclude that she just has this magical soulmate bond with a guy she barely knows, which combined with her belief that she's worthless and incompetent in her role as revolutionary makes her want to give up on that role and on life when she can't have Romeo either. But this lasts only through episodes 11-13, at least. After that she shapes up and decides she can and will be both a girl in love and a hero, and she only falters again when faced that tree plot, which is even more out of left field for her than the audience. But with Romeo's encouragement she defeats that too, and when he dies for her, she goes through with the only thing she thinks she can do to both save the world and stay with Romeo.

I realize I've written little about her compared to the next three male characters, despite that she is my favorite character and I tend to get frustrated with seeing more material about male characters than female ones (which is true for this series in regards to every female who isn't Juliet, and yet she suffers from some of this too, in that her relationships with female characters are barely dealt with, whilst the male characters' relationship other males are important to their arcs, even with Romeo). She's the most well-developed and complex character of the series, though in some ways sadly restricted to the love story. I'd have loved to see more of her relationships with Cordelia and Emilia, and with her male companions as well, and as I mentioned, more to explain her behavior in episodes 11-13. Plus more Juliet while Romeo was off at the mines, preferably flashbacks since she's travelinf for plot reasons, instead of just sadly accepting her separation from Romeo and need to focus on the mission, or being talked to by the Tree in a way she doesn't understand.

And despite the fact that I'm sold on RXJ for the show -it still needed to be done better though, and not so idyllic with a complete lack of conflict between these different people other than 'can we be together, no, yes, no, yes'- I really still prefer all her scenes with Tybalt (and the others, but mostly Tybalt) and wish for at least more fanfic putting those two together whether romantically, in friendship, sexually, familially, or any combination of the first three. That would help flesh out both characters more since they are linked and paralleled explicitly in the show anyway. Her scenes with Hermione and Cordelia are also imbued with interesting conflict, but unfortunately with the first it's sparse and all about Romeo, and with the second it's barely there. With Emilia- besides the obvious romantic/sexual thing Emilia seemed to maintain for Juliet even after knowing she was a girl, Juliet seems to just embarassedly try to ignore it. Though she does go along with her. Hmm, that reminds me a bit of Francisco and Curio, our other ambiguously gay pairing.

Romeo- He needed more development. I actually like him and all, he's very sweet and endearing, he just...has an arc, but it's poorly paced and timed. I don't mind that much because it's rare that you see the male lead being shoved aside for the development and conflict of the female lead, but it makes me feel sorry for his character that he doesn't get much. Then they try to shoehorn some growth in by making him realize how bad things are and making him choose between helping people and helping Juliet. Which is too much like a pale shadow of the affective and fascinating conflict Juliet has in the first ten episodes of the series. Granted, he gets the growth even if the how is poorly shown, so it's still interesting to see that now he needs to motivated to go pursue his relationship with Juliet and end things, as opposed to his initla proactive romantic pursuit, and a key part of the last two episodes is that he was taking her cue in not trying to get together -because she had changed her mind about it since accepting the tree plot, unbeknownst to him- and that he has to return to chasing her and making her believe they could be together. So, I like that in some ways, Juliet is the antiromantic heroine, because she almost never pursues Romeo and repeatedly puts it off because she has so much she needs to do. Of course that also means she needs saving, since this is a romance in which the power of love is supposed to come before all else and make everything okay. So he gets her to believe she doesn't have to sacrifice herself even if he has no evidence to support that reasoning and everything says that no, that's not true at all. Which meant he had to die saving her, so she'd be able to save the world without conflict about leaving him behind, and indeed wanting to die to join him. In the end, much of his arc is how Romeo can't protect Juliet no matter how much he tries, because that's not how things worked out. Trying to take all her burden killed him and didn't save the world, but in a way it allowed her to die in peace because she wasn't giving him up anymore.

Tybalt: I'm doing him next because even though he shows up less than the other characters I'm going to do, he has a bigger part and more development, even if it's poorly shown, except for Prince Montague, whom I might do last because he's the villain. Or not, I don't know.

Anyway. He starts off as a cynical condescending asshole who despite that attitude wants to help Juliet survive. Little about his character suggests humanitarianism or particular caring for Juliet, since most of his soft moments could be interpreted either way. I choose to believe it's the latter, because he does try to help her with word and deed, even if somewhat harshly, before he ever displays caring about the world in general. Well, except for when he helped avert the assassination of Benvolio and his family. So I don't know. Maybe both?

He has little faith in Juliet's ability to fulfill the destiny given to her by her keepers, blaming her issues on her despite the fact that nobody bothered to teach her anything because they wanted her to hide away most of the time and not tell her anything until she was sixteen. By the end, when he sees that she learned to deal with all that shit her own way and integrate it into what she'd alreadby been doing as the Red Whirlwind, he gives her respect even to the point of going back on his words about killing the Prince. Unfortunately, that desire for vengeance is another thing that's poorly developed.

Tybalt says he hates the man in episode 8, while still being calm and smirky about it. By episode 17, he's still a bit snarky, but mostly he seems broody and almost unhinged with rage over something I dón't quite get. So okay, he was born out of wedlock because his father is the Prince who was using his mother, and then he goes and kills her along with all the Capulets. But we get little about that. I don't have the impression he ever knew his mother. Was Camillo a terrible father-figure? Was he raised and treated as less worthy because he was a bastard? We know he's at least a bit snobby with calling Curio a knave and his arrogance, and we know he ran away at fifteen. Does he feel like he should have been a noble, and like he doesn't belong in any social circle? That would go a long way to explain his rage, hatred, and apparently self-hatred since he told his father he wished he'd never been born. But we don't get any of that. We get just enough to make us think he might have a very interesting life, and that's it for his motivation.

So while I liked that despite his words he was listening to Juliet, and I wouldn't change that, the development doesn't feel earned to me.

He shows up again when the city's on fire, says something similar to Montague about how it's getting rid of his father, and smirks. I don't get the impression he was going to help the citizens caught in the fire he was praising, unlike Romeo and Juliet.

Then he shows up to tell Juliet again that he's going to be the one killing Montague, and is stunned and reluctant to believe she has to die. He delays his vengeance the next day because he wants to know how to save her, and when she shows up and makes it clear she wants to handle the Prince her own way he backs off and stands to the side. That's very respectful, and maybe it's because she does things her way instead of trying to do things his way or Conrad's way, neither of which was suited to her. I have the impression Juliet's making a convert out of him, but I don't know why or how it happened, what their relationship is from his point of view, why his worldview is changing from one of cynicism focused around vengeance and him versus Montague to whatever one he has know that has him believing in love and peace. But he starts to let it go, stabs the crest on the throne, and let's Mercutio go even after the guy took his last chance at vengeance away. (His words to Mercutio and later Romeo remind me of Katara speaking about how the guy who killed her mother was too pathetic for her to kill, although she doesn't know whether that makes her weak or whether it was the right thing to do, and she doesn't forgive him.) And gives Romeo a lecture about putting other things, even the good of others, above his personal romantic relationship with Juliet. That's another sign of his not being a humanitarian, but right after that he tells Conrad to go help people out of the city. And then more about having faith in the love of Romeo and Juliet. What is he, the convert trying to persuade the disillusioned teachers, does he care about them personally in any way or is it a final look at him being humanitarian after all (he reminds of me, in these moments, of the heroes of certain shows who believe no one has to die or be sacrificed and you should never give up on that), with him refusing to let either people in the city or Romeo and Juliet die. Despite not knowing how to save the world without their sacrifice. This complete turnaround is not explained or shown to be happening at all except in episodes 21-22. I like it and I want to believe that he has all of the motivations I've just listed for his behavior, but I just don't have enough insight into his character.

He finally accepts Juliet's reasoning when she tells him she's doing this for love, and next time we see him he's doing the favor Romeo asked of him and returning Romeo's "brother." I'm glad he's all sweet, at least to strange children, and has learned to behave in a loving manner, but nothing is explained! We don't even know how long it's been! He probably didn't give them the souvenirs like Romeo asked, since he threw them to the ground during hsi telloff of Romeo and then went chasing after Juliet with him.

The guy had a potentially interesting life, and along with Mercutio could have been used to parallel Romeo. Hé the unwanted son who had a life separated from nobles and politics but not of his own choosing, and he does choose to involve himself in the city's high affairs through illegal means instead. He needs to be taught about love and how to care about others too, but in a different way, and Juliet and her love story teach him that. He'd parallel Mercutio too in a way, since his arc of learning to let go of his past and be happy contrasts with Mercutio's not being able to let go of his hinted at father issues and apparently dying in the crumbling castle.

Hey, he parallels Juliet too and that's definitely explored a bit more. They're the last surviving Capulets, he lived in riches versus her being poor, they both try to run from being isolated from the world, although in different ways and with different beliefs. How different I don't know, because I don't know what he was like when he ran away. Tybalt definitely sees himself as linked with Juliet. He'll only tell his name when she asks him, he tells here she's grown up and he wants to show her the parts of his world she doesn't know. He's disappointed she doesn't want to be like him, but nice enough to hug her after that talk about how it's a heavy burden to fight. He says he doesn't care if she dies, but he rescues her anyway and tells her to stay out of the plot because she can't take it, even if he blames that on her and says he feels sorry for the people who want her as a symbol. He follows her when she leaves him until she seems safe in a convent. He gives her his backstory and all along thinks Juliet hates Montague like he does, because they both have no parents thanks to him. Maybe that's part of why he follows her in the end - he sees them as similar, and if she can do and see brighter things, he wants to do so as well, so he gets angry at the idea things won't work out for her and she's giving up. But I don't feel we got enough of that to make me certain I'm not just making things up. 

He ties in to the theme of going to love and not hate, but the how is not done right. That makes me sad. (Incidentally, that scene in the castle when he backs off has suddenly reminded me of Heero in Gundam Wing. He's going to shoot Relena because he thinks she's joined his enemies, but he sees her and listens to her talk, and decides that she can succeed in accomplishing her goal of peace her way. He comes to respect her, and supports and protects her. I don't think it's a coincidence that I also like this ship. They're very different from Tybalt and Juliet, but there are some similarities.)

Mercutio: I see him as a parallel to Romeo. He makes comments in the later episodes about Romeo not being special anymore, how he won't show mercy even to Romeo. In the beginning he pretends to be friendly and tells him he wishes he had his father, and that he'd live up him if he were Romeo. In my first rewatch I wasn't sure whether he was Romeo's friend or not, though by the end he obviously isn't. But these early episodes make his motivation ambiguous, especially given his later comments. I don't know, maybe he wanted to look up to Romeo and was then disappointed and resentful that the guy wasn't really interested, and was just clueless and uncaring about making his father happy or the important things a noble is supposed to care about. Especially since he resents his own father's seemingly merry not caring about those same things. So he pushes Romeo out of his life and stops sucking up to Hermione now that she's engaged to the banished son, although he seems kind of overwhelmed by her too. Tries to turn her against Romeo for some reason, gets shocked when she looks so angry at Juliet. He helps her meet Juliet, and then tries to ignore her when Romeo's gone, only to be shocked again at Hermione's determination to get something out of him about Romeo, and yet again when he learns she just took off.

He doesn't seem to know Titus (his father) well, but we don't get know if that's really true. Titus says he's been betrayed by everything except wine in the episodes right before his death, Mercutio doesn't know he used to be a great swordsman -if that's actually true- and then he tries to do something good for his son and give him what he wants, to be the Prince's son, and gets killed with no help from Mercutio for his trouble. We know Mercutio was reluctant to say he actually didn't deserve to live, and was pretty upset to see him die, but we don't know how much he actually cares about his father. We don't know why he kept going along with the Prince even after no one wanted to side with him -well we know he was afraid of being killed by him, but if he were as cunning as he tries to be he'd have realized no one wanted to be on the Prince's side and flee with the other nobles, instead of trying to stick it out for a while and set the fires.

We can infer from his behavior that he thinks he has no one who cares about him, because he fears getting killed by both sides after his actions. By the end he seems to only care about self-preservation, killing the guy to spare himself (like Spike's last-minute sideswitch in Primeval) while completely falling apart at being told he's worthless by Tybalt. He walks off to what I think is part of the castle, judging from when he was staring at Juliet's wings, and I think he died, if the castle did crumble completely as Tybalt said. He's not shown in the epilogue where everyone else is happy some time later. Ultimately I'm not sure how to interpret him, because I think his development was screwed over. He's interesting but we know little about him, he had an arc that seems like he's going to be Romeo's foil in high society, with having concerns opposite his. Part of his arc is that he's in over his head, in little moments with Hermione and his entire time of being adopted by the Prince; Romeo was in over his head politically but gave up on that quickly, only to succeed, in a way, by slaying Ophelia even as it cost him his life, and he gets what he wants in death. Whereas Mercutio was not fulfilled in anyway and probably died. I wish we'd seen more.

Hermione: She seems to be nice and cannot express her anger and disappointment to Romeo. So she directs it towards Juliet, although she is still at first too kind to do anything hurtful towards her. That is, beyond telling Juliet that she's the fiancee here. I believe she wants to see that Juliet is a bad person, and not being able to get that out of her makes her angry, and further believe that Juliet's innocence is an act to fool Romeo. She'd rather blame Romeo's behavior and her unrequited love on Juliet, to the point of desperation. Naturally, when she continues to pursue Romeo by running off recklessly, she is hurt and fails, although she quickly learns the basic truth of economic material exchanges to get what she wants and gets herself to Mantua. By then she's made herself even more miserable and has reached a level in which she's willing to injure or even kill Juliet, but Juliet's persistent kindness combined with her distress on hearing about Romeo prove that Hermione's been fooling herself as to her nature. So she gathers her pride and leaves, unwilling to out Juliet. With this, her lack of understanding during her trip, and her surprise at being told she might not leave Mantua alive, I think we can conclude she knows little to nothing about the feud between the Capulets and Montagues or doesn't care, and is probably ignorant of the suffering of the city. Though she can't be completely oblivious, since she knew what Prince Montague was going to do to Cielo and used his fondness for her/belief in her unthreateningness to persuade him otherwise. Or maybe she is and she was completely sincere with that plea, but I always thought it was a ploy. We do get two shots of her before the epilogue and after her time with Juliet. One is at the funeral of Titus, looking shocked at the rumors the nobles are spreading about how he was really murdered, and the other is of her looking at Juliet's wings from somewhere. We don't see her reaction to that, but in the epilogue which takes place in an undefined later, presumably no less than a year since Cordelia just had a baby, she's holding a rose and an iris together and vowing to find her own happiness. I wish her story arc had less to do with Romeo and was more involved with the city. Hermione reminds me of Princess Millerna of Escaflowne. Millerna is in love with a guy who might or might not love her back, and she seems to give up on him and accept her arranged marriage. When her husband leaves her she says she's spent her life waiting for others to make her happy, and that she needs to make herself happy. I don't know whether she ever got over her first love like Hermione did, nor how well she really knew him - Hermione didn't seem to know Romeo that well beyond that he was kind, not registering his lack of interest, and just assumed he liked roses best, for example- but that similarity is interesting. (Tangentially, the guy she's in love with seems to mainly be there to serve the interests of Millerna and Hitomi's arcs, being mostly mysterious about his own feelings for both and having no arc himself except for finding his sister. I hadn't realized that, but it's pretty cool.) 

Curio - He was in most of the episodes and yet he had no arc. We get little details, like that he hangs around Francisco -at least that is my impression-, and that he is confused by Francisco's manipulations with regards to his true feelings about the entirety of Juliet's arc. In episode twelve we see that he is hidden by a grocer, while he is a grocer in the epilogue. He drew as a child and is embarassed by this. He claims to think the Red Whirlwind is a game, but he helps Juliet with that anyway and later, when he comes to accept that and see how she needs him to look at what she needs personally instead of being looked as the Capulet heir, he says he blames himself for the incident that inspired her, because he was unable to protect her. He hits her and mocks her that one time, which made me angry, but do I attribute that to her continually not going along with what was wanted of her, protectiveness, a mix of both? And I can't tell whether he's gay or not. He and Francisco seem like they're there partly so you can slash them, but as with Emilia and Willy, you get nothing explicit. I don't see him as being interested in Juliet despite what Francisco started saying in the middle episodes, but those scenes confused me even more. He's obviously the more impulsive one of the duo, and the last one to accept Juliet's wish to die at the end. He's less calculating and cold. I wish he had more of an arc, in fact an arc that wasn't the shared one all Juliet's main minions had in accepting her use of the Red Whirlwind, or just the one he shared with Francisco in finally putting Juliet's personal happiness above the world in the finale. And deciding to accept Romeo as Juliet's beloved. Hell, I was going to give him the same section an Francisco, who suffers from the same problem.

Francisco: We know he's manipulative, focused on the mission, and a ladies' man, at least to an extent. In the beginning of the series he tries to play good cop whenever Curio or Conrad criticize Juliet, whilst in the middle he's sternly telling her to get over it and telling Curio that he can hardly stand being with her. He does things with planning and might or might not be gay. As I said above with Curio, he's partly there so you can slash them together. He gets the same arcs Curio does, of accepting Juliet's way of doing things and putting her personal happiness first, only with less dimension and backstory. Not to mention less relationship with Juliet. At least Curio gets a flashback with her, and gets to meet Romeo. I can't tell how much Francisco cares about Juliet or whether he just joined Curio at the end in trying to rescue her because he cares about Curio. I think he cares about Curio most, though. My interpretation of that scene together at Mantua is that he continued to lie to Curio by misleading him into thinking he was in love with Juliet, when really he's in love with Curio. Or not, but he's still misleading, because I can't see him being in love with Juliet as Curio concluded. In this scene, Curio's already deciding to put what Juliet wants first, while Francisco is saying there is no difference between her personal happiness and what is best for NeoVerona, which is not wholly false but not wholly true, and that he is being loving towards Juliet by only working towards the mission. That's really confusing when it comes to trying to decipher his true feelings though, as befits this indirect guy, and unfortunately we don't get much more than that about his character. He becomes a politician in the epilogue, as it was hinted he wanted to be in episode 6 or 7, and we get nothing more about his relationship with Curio or anyone else, for example.

Cordelia- She starts out as the innocent older sister-mother figure to Juliet, just taking care of her and everybody while the others go on with their politics and such. I don't have a sense of how much she cares about the Capulets returning to power, but she seems like a dutifully loyal person to the group who also wants Juliet to be happy. She's upset when she understands who Juliet is in love with, and is mainly horrified she wasn't able to be there for her, and doesn't mind being the strong one in her relationship with Benvolio, whom she also likes to mother although she has a romantic interest in him as well. She likes to set herself up as the one with common sense, judging from her comments to Emilia and Juliet in the beginning. I wish we had more of her so I could judge her better.

Conrad: I just do not like him very much. He's stuck with his pain of losing what was rightfully his, and too determined to reclaim it while ignoring who Juliet is and her effect on the city completely. He's reluctant to accept her Red Whirlwind identity even when it proves to have been a great idea after all, he's the one with the stupid plan that got them scattered and nearly all killed, which Juliet took the fall for (I hope Lady Ariel criticized him for that), and at the end he still thinks Juliet wants to be a ruler and has to be practically dragged out of the crumbling castle. Then he's sitting there moping and has to be told by Tybalt of all people to get his act together and actually try to save the people of the city he wanted to be part of ruling. He finally, finally doubts himself at the very end, just a little bit, before Antonio reassures him that Juliet wouldn't want him sad. I don't hate him or anything; I pity him a bit. He lost so much that he knew for his entire adult life, and he couldn't cope with letting it go, to the harm of Juliet and the people who followed him in episode 9. As far I'm concerned, until the time of the play, everyone was following Conrad and not Juliet. Juliet was just the symbol Conrad was using. Agreeing to his plan was a mistake she made, but it wasn't her plan and she wasn't the one who should have known better. Conrad just overlooked the objections of people who did know better because he heard what he wanted to hear.

Willy- He serves as meta commentary and comic relief. He's also hinted to be gay, which if true, seems to make him an offensive stereotype, because he's odd, effeminate in a ridiculous way, and makes sexual comments with regard to Juliet while she's pretending to be a boy (although I think he knows she's a girl before she tells him.) His plays flop and he has an argumentative relationship with Emilia, although they're always together so I don't know what's up with that. I suppose he patronizes her as well as letting her act in his plays. He wants Juliet to inspire his story and is willing to change his ending to a happy one, because he wants hers to be happy too, and he tends to say some of the messages of the series as well as summarizing the plot at the beginning of episode fourteen. His is the last scene in the epilogue before Romeo and Juliet are shown again, saying that they taught NeoVerona about the power of love.

Emilia- At first she's a girly, vain actress who makes demands on Willy as if they're equals. I wish I knew more about her relationship with him, as they appear together most of the time and she does stay in his plays despite their arguments. She's also easily persuaded by him into not outing Juliet when she finds out who she is, even if it's true that if she did, she could be punished as a coconspirator. Despite that she repeatedly wants to go on dates with guys, preferably rich noble ones, she seems to be interested in Juliet as Odin. Even after finding out Odin is Juliet, she wants her playing opposite her and tries to kiss Juliet while rehearsing for the play at Mantua, before Willy changes her part from heroine to nurse. Whether she's just bi or is using guys as a beard to pretend she's not lesbian, thus giving her that reaction when she finds out Odin is Juliet, is left ambiguous. How many times do I have to say I wish I knew more about a character.  

Prince Leontes Montague himself- His backstory is, like Tybalt's, woman in a fridge. He's a Capulet bastard whose mother died, presumably of illness, wishing that she was a noble. So he grows up with resentment towards nobles and particularly Capulets, is somehow adopted into the house of Montague (I think Titus said he was responsible for that, but we get little information of this and Titus in general), and proceeds to connive and seduce his way into power, culminating with his massacre of the Capulets. Huh, I wonder if part of the reason he was adopted was that there was some kind of conflict at the time between these two houses, and the Montagues wanted to use a Capulet bastard against them. Though I don't see how, as he was left to live with his prostitute mother in poverty. Or maybe Titus did have him adopted out of the goodness of his heart, and part of his bitterness and sense of betrayal is how bloody the consequences of that decision were? But then why actually try go give his son away to the Prince? Oh, I don't know. Back on topic. Prince Montague wants to punish the people he thinks hurt him, and he became so single-minded on causing them pain and never being the disadvantaged one again that he turned into a raging murderous asshole who doesn't know how to rule a city, because he continually tries to get every bit of juice he can from them while squashing them, especially if they protest that treatment. This is by his own admission early in the series. He seems to think he's being good to the land, not understanding that hés killing it, and from the little we see of his relationship with Romeo's mother, he loved her and doesn't understand why she left. Or why Romeo is leaving him. He's basically too wrapped up in his past to behave in a decent and caring way, and doesn't get why he's not getting a good response from the two people he actually cares for somewhat, Portia and Romeo. Although we get regrettably little of those relationships. He doesn't feel secure in his power and current persona, as proven by his continued persecution of the people and Capulets in particular, his rage at Titus' way of asking him to adopt Mercutio, and his continued murder of anyone who opposes him. He clutches onto his past as if it's trying to kill him, while trying to get rid of it via the scorched earth route, and if leads to his being stripped of everything he tried to hang onto it. When he finally realizes he's lost and gives up without even trying to kill Juliet, he gets stabbed by a desperate Mercutio, who was set on that path both by himself and Montague's slaying of his father. Reminded of all he did, he wonders why he was never loved (I presume his mother loved him though, but maybe he thinks she didn't because she "failed him" dying, like Voldemort with his mother) and says not to pity him, restating that he wants to be feared. He does get a pretty good arc, and he's complicated and interesting, yet not redeemed or treated like he wasn't a bad guy. His choices have consequences, and they lead to his destruction. I wonder if he didn't have self-hatred issues as well, having Capulet blood himself. That part of his thoughts would have made him more eager to destroy all Capulet remnants so there'd be no more there to haunt him. This is paralleled with Tybalt, who feels much the same way and also seems to have self-hatred issues, only he comes to terms with them, gives up his vengeance, and decides to look out for the good of the people.

Portia: there to give some dimension to Romeo and Prince Montague, and be a plot device that reunites Romeo and Juliet.

Volumnia Capulet and Prince Montague's mother: They go in the same section, because they're essentially the same character trope with no actual character - fridged for manpain. The Capulet parents of Juliet would go here as well, but Juliet doesn't really have manpain about them, although she respects them and prays to them.

Antonio: No real arc, except that he wants to help Juliet later on even though Curio and Francisco don't want her to know about Romeo. He's useful and nice and cute, and the hero of Willy's play. I don't mind that he didn't get more, though.

Regan: daughter of a servant of the Farnese family at Mantua, she has no real character either. She's just nice to Antonio while also snarky with him, and makes a nice heroine of the play.

 

So I think this rewatch confirms my idea. The story is about love, an innocent ideal love, versus hatred, and using that love to put aside the past. Love here is defined as something innocent - innocent attraction ignorant of the past, something which is precious precisely because it's threatened so much by burdens of hate and suffering previously accumulated. Which is why Romeo and Juliet have instant devotion to each other that lasts despite the fact that they don't know each other well or for long, and why the show spends so much time on their romance instead of a resistance plot. The resistance plot of the first ten or so episodes was fabricated to make the romance seem important and the impossibility of it sad.

I've mentioned that I wondered if something was up in production, because those first ten episodes have no Tree plot. Actually I just remembered that the thing Prince Montague was going to see was the Tree, so scratch that. It just needed to be more present, so that the audience can understand that on top of Juliet feeling she has to sacrifice her love for the people and the feud or not, she's going to have to literally die or the the continent will fall. Tell us about that before Juliet learns of it, so we can feel the dread built up as she innocently thinks that someday, when the revolution is done, she'll end both Houses and spend her life with Romeo. There was vague build up, but all we knew was that there was a weird tree dying, the land was suffering, and love had something to do with it. That caused so many complaints and criticisms.

I also think that for the plot to stay as it was, for everything to happen just as it was but in a way that would improve the series, the story would have to be extended. There are so many characters in that list I made that were not given appropiate treatment. Juliet got the best development, but there are still flaws there. All the other characters had their progress barely shown on screen, or it was all squeezed into too little time, or spread too thin and without some steps put in to explain their inner lives a bit. How long it should have been, I don't know. A few more episodes, twice as long? Just to stuff in Tybalt, Titus, Mercutio and Hermione, Curio and Francisco, and please some Cordelia with a little Benvolio. Also Portia, Camillo, Emilia, and Willy. Romeo could have grown his social conscience more naturally. Hell, he could have spent more time with Juliet getting to know each other, bonding and clashing because of their similarities and differences. I think Prince Montague is the second best-developed character. Juliet and Tybalt are my personal favorites.

 So, I've been typing this since like six and a half hours ago, with only a couple of breaks that make up 54 minutes if combined, and half an hour doing other Internet things. My fingers and my eyes hurt a bit. I thought I might not have that much to say, but then again, I think I knew I didn't since I dreaded how long I'd take. It's been great fun writing it all out, going over the series again and finally expressing everything I felt, even if no one reads it. Though I hope to find somewhere to post it so someone will read it and give feedback. These are pretty long, more due to the flowing of my thoughts and some self-involvement than to the work I put in editing it. Of course they do have some editing; that's part of why they're so long.

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