Cover Image: Manga Classics: Romeo and Juliet

Manga Classics: Romeo and Juliet

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Book Review
Title: Romeo and Juliet (Manga Classics)
Author: Crystal S. Chan (Adaptation), Julien Choy (Art), William Shakespeare (From the original play by), Akanovas (Lettering), Jeannie Lee (Lettering)
Genre: Classic/Manga
Rating: *****
Review: So, everyone and their mother knows Romeo and Juliet but if anyone has tried to read and/or study Shakespeare it is a pain to read, so I was thrilled to get hold of the manga classics version of one of my favourite star-crossed lovers stories ever. In the opening to Romeo and Juliet we are introduced to the age-old feud between the Houses of Montague and Capulet. However, studying this as a child I didn’t realise how dark the opening actually is. After a small fight in the street our Romeo appears, and I just love the innocent, bishi look he has been given.
As we approach the ¼ mark in the manga, we see the peace treaty drawn up between the two houses and a banquet is to be held in Paris’ honour as he announces the woman he’d like as his bride. We learn that Romeo has recently broken up with a woman he claims to love and is going to attend the ball on the rebound while Juliet is the object of Paris’ affection. I think that makes the story all the more tragic in the end. While the old English remains, I felt that some of the comedic elements added in and the more romantic elements would have more of an impact if they were written in modern English. I would recommend that you brush up on your old English if you haven’t read or studied it in a while.
I loved the friendship between Romeo and Mercutio which is really highlighted in this format as well as a lot of other things. We see the masked ball where Romeo and Juliet meet for the first time but not before we see Tybalt causing trouble because a Montague has found his way into their party, but his hand is stayed by the Lord. One disturbing thing I had to mention was Juliet isn’t even 14 at the start of this story while Romeo’s age isn’t definitely he is older than he maybe 15 or 16.
As we cross the ¼ mark in the manga, Romeo and Juliet share their first kiss and their second. The pair seem to have fallen in love at first sight despite Juliet knowing that she might be promised to another. However, it is only after the ball that both learn who the other is and realise that their love can never be as they are born of the enemy and it is something that neither of their parents will allow, but that won’t stop them. We then get to the famous balcony scene in the manga which is far longer than I ever remember it being but alas it is, and it is wonderful. We see the love blooming between the pair and I am sure it will make the ending all the more sad when we already know where the pair end up.
As we approach the halfway mark in the manga, Romeo arranges with Friar Lawrence to marry his love on the morrow to which Juliet agrees and the plan is set in motion for her to be made a wife and kept away from Paris’ attentions. Juliet gets away from her family and heads for the church where Romeo is waiting for her along with Friar Lawrence. Reading this play in manga form is strange because you notice far more of the comedic elements, but you also notice more of what is going on outside of the whirlwind romance including the rising tensions that leads to the ending of the play.
However, the peace between the families doesn’t last long when Tybalt kills Mercutio and is killed by Romeo in turn leading to Romeo being banished on pain on death. However, he can’t stand to be apart from his love, desperate and willing to end his own life rather than be separated from his wife, Friar Lawrence and Juliet’s nurse come up with a plan to bring the lovers together again. What the lovers don’t know is that Juliet’s parents are still making plans for her to marry Paris in the coming week. Knowing what sets the final arc into motion I was desperate to see how it is played out in manga form but at the same time I didn’t want to read any further because I was attached to the characters.
As we approach the ¾ mark in the manga, the Capulets swear to make Romeo pay for killing Tybalt and this is something Juliet can not allow, however, when her impending marriage to Paris is announced she knows she has to act quickly or lose her love forever. She visit Friar Lawrence who gives her guidance as he did Romeo earlier on, he also gives her a vial that will simulate death. Upon returning home she repents and tells her father that she will marry Paris fully intending to “die” before that can happen.
As we cross into the final section of the novel, there isn’t much left of the story apart from the climax. The climax itself was beautifully presented and it is heartbreaking to think of all the death in this novel, but it is Romeo and Juliet’s deaths that bring about peace between their people which they had wanted for so long and never lived to see it.
Overall, the beautiful and stunning artwork really captured the essence of the story, but the language used is a little complex to process. I would have preferred to have the story in modern English with only key scenes like the balcony scene, the wedding and the climax reverting to old English. However, I have to say my favourite quote is “For never was a story of more woe than this of Juliet and her Romeo” because it just sums up the entire story in a single sentence.
As always Udon Entertainment’s manga classics are highly recommended.

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Another wonderful adaptation of a Shakespeare classic! The graphics are once again beautiful. Despite it being a tragedy, Romeo and Juliet is an amazing story, and I believe having it as a manga will help encourage adolescents to appreciate these classics.

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I'm not a big fan of Shakespeare, so I thought that giving him a chance in manga form is a good idea.
And it is - the artwork is absolutely gorgeous, but it still didn't make me feel better towards the actual story. Suicidal love - just not my thing.

It was also a bit strange to see old language together with manga art - I was excepting a little bit of better readability, maybe a tad modern English adaptation, but that wasn't the case. It's not particularly a bad thing, since keeping the old classic the way it is is great, but I do feel like in this instance manga would have benefited more if it was even slightly modernized.

Big thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for a digital copy provided for a review. All opinions are my own, honest and come from the heart.

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I'm a fan of the Manga Classics that's why I'm already aware that the publisher, Udon Entertainment, always use the original text from the book they were adapting. I know Romeo and Juliet but I still haven't read the book either watch any stage play or movie adaptation, hence, I'm eager to check out this manga adaptation.

This is the first time that I've rated a Manga Classic low because of it's not that easy to comprehend what the characters are saying because they are in Early Modern English. Just like what I've mentioned, I'm fully aware that the publisher never makes any alterations to the dialogues because they use the original format. I could understand some of the conversations in the story however, I fail to grasp several parts. Thankfully, I still got to follow the story through the illustrations.

If there would be any future plans of Udon Entertainment to adapt other works of William Shakespeare, hopefully, they will try to make the dialogues easy to understand because I'm positive that it will be more marketable even to middle-graders.

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I love the art and the character design. They resemble the characters very well. The language used is also the Old English that Shakespeare used in the original play. I thought it would be in modern english but using the kind of english the author used is very helpful to students these days. I always believe these classic mangas are educational but this by far just might be the most helpful of all.

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Once again, I am so impressed by this Manga Classics edition. I cannot sing them high enough praises. As someone who does not read many classics, but wants to, I find these editions to be a good alternate way of experiencing the story, with the addition of beautiful illustrations.

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This manga is a wonderful rendering of Romeo and Juliet. I've read many mangas adapted from books that have cut parts out from the story but this book has it all. I my opinion it's almost as good as watching it on stage.

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The emotion captured in the images is heartbreaking and luscious all at once! The story is presented in such a beautiful way, that I found it shedding light on parts of this story I hadn't noticed before. A definite five stars from me!

The Manga Classics series is a joy to read! Thank you so much to the creators for bringing this series to life!

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I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

Actual rate: 4.0

I love the comic, but I don’t really like the plot itself. The exaggeration of conflict between the families was something that I expected from a comic adaptation. Other than that, this comic is amazing for readers who prefer comics over books -if they wish to read Romeo and Juliet.

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I love these manga editions of the classics because they make the stories I would otherwise be unable to get through a lot easier and much more entertaining to read. Most classics just aren't for me, because the plot is too boring or the language too difficult. My favourite was definitely The Count of Monte Cristo, but I've read a few others and though they aren't necessarily more exciting I'm familiarised with the works, which was the idea.

I give this 3 stars mostly for the artwork, which is, as per usual, amazing. And of course we all know the story of Romeo and Juliet. It's not my favourite story, I don't find it as romantic as a lot of people seem to do, but rather silly. And I was hoping that the language would have been easier to read, but it wasn't, which was a bit disappointing to me. Nevertheless there are parts of it I do enjoy, and I definitely think that fans of the story and/or play would like this.

To me is was all quite meh.

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I received an ARC of this book from the publisher via NetGalley. This book has content warnings for death, suicide, physical violence, murder, and tumultuous family relationships. 

I've always been fascinated by Shakespeare -- a Shakespeare class that I took during my very first term of college was what sold me on being an English major. What I remember most about Shakespeare, though, is reading Romeo and Juliet during English class back in high school. I didn't have a ton of problems reading it myself (though I was pretty reliant on the glossary at the bottoms of the pages of the book we used), but almost the entire rest of my class had a ton of trouble following along -- to the point where they would ask me to "translate it into English" so that they could figure out what was going on. Needless to say, that wasn't exactly the best Shakespeare experience for them OR for me.

This is the kind of text I wish that my classmates would have had in high school instead of the straight text of the play. Shakespeare's plays weren't really made to be read straight; they were made to be performed, and comics is a wonderful format for this because it combines reading the play with watching the drama unfold. What was even more delightful for me was the fact that the text itself is virtually untouched; every one of Shakespeare's original lines is given space inside a word balloon, and it's not at all abridged. Readers of this adaptation are getting Shakespeare's original work in its entirety, but they're getting it in a way that is dynamic and fun and, for many younger readers in particular, easier to digest.

The only thing that I found off-putting about this book relates to the illustrations. The art itself is lovely and rich and a pleasure to look at; what bothers me, though, is how the characters are drawn. The majority of the characters look like your "typical" manga-style characters, which wouldn't be a problem except that the characters are virtually all white Italian people (as the adaptation kept the play's original location of Verona, Italy) and manga facial characteristics are actually depicting Japanese facial features. There's a lot of confusion that goes around about how manga characters in all manga "look white" even though the style is designed to depict Japanese characters, and white manga characters have a very different look to them. I worry that because the characters in this book are drawn as Japanese manga characters rather than as white characters, it's going to continue to spread the idea that manga characters are white when they really aren't. I feel like this is something that should have been taken into account more.

On the other side of things, the team who worked on this adaptation really did their research -- they took a trip to Verona to look at the architecture and really understand the history of the place and to find the most accurate backdrops for the illustrations they could find. They put a lot of work into ensuring that the details in the book were accurate, and I really appreciated that. 

Overall, this was a really good adaptation of this play, despite the issues I have with depictions of race. If you love Romeo and Juliet, or want to read the play but have trouble following Shakespeare's text alone, this is a really nice way of experiencing the story.

Final rating: 4 of 5 stars

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In Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare creates a world of violence and generational conflict in which two young people fall in love and die because of that love. The story is rather extraordinary in that the normal problems faced by young lovers are here so very large. The graphic novel of this thrilling story will leave you in absolute awe.

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Everyone knows the story of Romeo and Juliet but I couldn't resist trying it on a manga platform! It was a refreshing beautifully drawn story that I enjoyed reading even though it doesn't end in with a happy ever after

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I LOVE Shakespeare! I've never thought that Romeo and Juliet was a great romance, like so many believe, but I do love the story. This Manga version of the Bard's tale was fun to read and I enjoyed the illustrations. My one gripe with this text, is the way they drew Tybalt. He was portrayed as a classic villain with a pointy black mustache and dark hair -very unlike the Tybalt in my head. Aside from that, this adaptation of R&J is well-done and very enjoyable to read.

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Rating: 4.0/5


Romeo and Juliet is the classic tragedy of western literature. Created by William Shakespeare, it is tale of two very young lovers from Verona, Italy who defy the wishes of their feuding families, get married then, and tragically, end their own lives in the name of love. It is their deaths that ultimately help the rival families of the Capulet's and Montague's find reconciliation. Manga Classics brings an incredible new reading experience with this adaptation of Shakespeare's most popular and frequently performed plays: Romeo and Juliet.

How I got this Book
I got to read this book through Netgalley.

The Positives

 This is a great way to revisit a story that most people read multiple times in school. The beautiful artwork gives it a new feeling that allows you to enjoy the story multiple times.
 Reading this story as a manga gives new meaning to Old English. Words that didn’t quite make sense the first time you read it? Well now you have gorgeous works of art to help you see and feel what you should have the first time around.
 The characters are portrayed to perfection how I feel Shakespeare meant for them to be seen. You feel the innocence of some of the characters, you feel the tension caused by the feud, and you feel the infatuation between Romeo and Juliet. If you are anything like me you also have a renewed revulsion for the disgustingly slimy Count Paris.

The Negatives

So I am not really sure that I can count this as a negative of the book, or if I should just count it as a negative based on my personal feelings. I knew when I picked this manga up that it was going to be a classic, and therefore would be written in the original way. This became an issue for me as I kept wanting to stop and lost track of what was going on at times. This isn’t really a flaw with the book, but it did give me a slightly negative view of it, which is what caused me to give it a solid 4 out of 5.


Overall, I would recommend this to anyone who loves the classics, loves Shakespeare, and loves manga. I personally found it harder to enjoy because of the flowery language Shakespeare was so known for, but it truly is a masterpiece that combines the past with the present.

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UDON Entertainment and NetGalley have provided me with an electronic copy of Manga Classics: Romeo and Juliet. I was under no obligation to review this book and my opinion is freely given.

The most striking part of this adaptation is the cover art, as it conveys the story in a clear and concise manner. The book itself is not without challenges, as Shakespeare's words can be dense and difficult to follow. Because Manga is a highly visual art, I was hopeful that the depictions of the action in the book would be easier to understand. In their zeal to tell the whole story, many of the pages simply get bogged down in the details. I found this version of Romeo and Juliet hard to follow and did not feel that the artwork did enough to tell the story.

I have read several of Crystal Chan's adaptations of classics and Romeo and Juliet is the least successful thus far. Usually, the artwork helps the reader to visualize the original literature, but I was not impressed by the level of creativity throughout the book. The last few pages were well drawn and represented the story well, but most of the book contains Shakespeare's dialogue with little visual reference. Manga Classics: Romeo and Juliet is a missed opportunity to tell the classic love affair in a way that many would understand, but it may spark some interest in Shakespeare for readers who normally would not enjoy his works.

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4 stars
I’ve read several of the Manga Classics and have always found them to be well done. This one is no different. The artwork is lovely. Original text as written.
Thank you NetGalley and publisher, Udon Publishing, for the opportunity to read this ARC.

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I’ve been reading the Manga Classics since the beginning and I really like how they bring classics to life in a new way. Especially some stories have been told so many times in so many different ways that it is difficult to bring something new to the stage (see what I did there?), and now they have branched into a new field: Shakespeare. Shakespeare has been turned into manga before (at least I believe I saw some lying in The Globe shop last year, but I haven’t read those (yet)).

They start with Romeo and Juliet, probably a logical choice but also one of my least favourite Shakespeare plays. All the original text is included, and the drawings help with understanding some of the more difficult metaphors if needed. Manga really lends itself into exaggerating personalities into caricatures (especially with characters like the nurse which already have these tendencies).

Nice artwork make a nice adaptation, but I would be looking forward to other plays which are said to come soon!

Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

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So, honestly, I didn't actually read this. I skimmed it. I have read Romeo and Juliet previously. So I knew exactly what happened.

It was well done, in my opinion. The art was done well, not really my style but done well.

The only thing I would have changed is that it was written in old English. I would have liked it to be modern and I feel more people would enjoy it better if it was written in more modern English. But overall, it was well done and it was enjoyable to see the manga version of a story I know and love.

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4 stars

So this is the fourth Manga Classic I've read and needless to say I'm officially a fan. My method with this series is to review the adaption more than the story because really you can't review it as a story since its based off another book (that I've likely read and therefore reviewed).

Since I have not actually read Romeo and Juliet I can't exactly do that but I happen to know this book is taken word for word from the OG so I don't actually think it matters and - unpopular opinion coming your way - I genuinely think this could be a good alternative to reading the original. HEAR ME OUT.

Shakespeare never intended his plays to actually be read, he intended them to be seen and experienced. Reading Shakespeare is hard and sometimes dull for leisure purposes. I mean sure, you can get the gist of the language after some practice but I found this method of enjoying it so much better. I have read a few of the Bard's plays and I honestly don't find them even remotely fun to do so. I love watching the plays, every actor interprets and presents the character differently and it's so good to watch and the acting and context makes understanding second nature. But, plays don't come along that often, least of all really good ones, and manga is a perfect graphic substitute because the style is so expressive and hyperbolic - like good actors in a Shakespeare play should be.

I really enjoyed this book, the art was beautiful. I mean, stunning really. Of course, I knew what was coming the whole time because it's Romeo and Juliet but still loved it all the same. The only nitpick I'd have is maybe more clearly labeling characters as it can be tricky to keep track of them all.

If you enjoy Shakespeare anyway or want to get into it but are hesitant because of the language - read this, it's great.

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