Romeo and Juliet Manga Shakespeare Graphic Novel Review

Title:  Romeo and Juliet

Based on the play by William Shakespeare

Adapted by Richard Appignanesi

Illustrated by Sonia Leong

Publisher:  Self Made Hero

ISBN:  0955285607

May Contain Spoilers

The age old romance of Romeo and Juliet, manga-style!  Imagine rival yakuza families, with a backdrop of modern Tokyo.  Young Romeo, pining for the love of Rosaline, crashes the Capulets’ bash.  Instead of the fair Rosaline, Romeo falls instantly for the daughter of his enemy, Juliet, setting forth a series of events that ends in tragedy for the young lovers.  You know the story! 

Manga based on Shakespeare – and who said comics can’t be educational?  This is an interesting concept, and it’s  attractively presented.  The interior contains full color pages featuring each character and a notable quote before shifting to  b&w illustrations.  The paper is a nice heavy stock, and the book is larger, 6″ x 8.5″, making TOKYOPOP and Viz titles seem dinky in comparison.  Also included is a plot summary of the story, and a biography of Shakespeare.  Overall, Self Made Hero has put together an attractive package.

Reading Shakespeare as a comic was a lot more fun than my memory of wading through the text in high school.  The modern setting also gave it a new spin.  Romeo on a crotch-rocket?  Or party crashing wearing his gansta shades?  Definitely more appealing than Shakespeare’s dreary time – how did they survive without cell phones?  And no electricity?  No, thank you!

The illustrations worked well with the story.  The dueling scenes and chibi Romeos added some spice to the story.  Romeo, a rather gloomy young lad, weeps mournfully and beats his chest in despair, giving any drama queen a run for her money.   The beautiful, willful Juliet is always fashionably attired, but she needs to trade in her scooter for a real set of wheels.

Romeo and Juliet was nice change of pace.  If these had been around when I was in school, I might have been compelled to read more of Shakespeare’s plays than those required to graduate!

Grade:  B

Review copy provided by Self Made Hero.

15 thoughts on “Romeo and Juliet Manga Shakespeare Graphic Novel Review

  • March 11, 2007 at 3:49 pm

    Whoa, this is pretty weird. For a second I thought this was going to be a manga based on the Gonzo anime version of Romeo x Juliet that’s coming this Spring.So does it give a OEL, manhwa, or manga vibe anyway? The art looks a little OEL’y. 

  • March 11, 2007 at 4:01 pm

    OEL with a manga twinge.  The art isn’t drop dead gorgeous, but it worked well with the story.  

    When I saw that Gonzo is working on Romeo x Juliet, I thought that was really weird, too.  I want to check out the anime, too.  I love Gonzo!

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  • February 13, 2008 at 11:24 am

    I LOVE IT! I read it kuz were doing an assignment for the play in English 9!

  • May 6, 2008 at 8:11 am


  • May 8, 2008 at 8:07 pm

    I Think the manga wesion is really good and attractive.
    I love it!!! ^_^

  • July 5, 2008 at 9:30 am

    Whoa, i didn’t realise this book was so famous i just found it in the liberay at skool i need 2 get this book so i can keep it the drawings are amazing!! xD

  • August 12, 2008 at 8:42 pm

    Um…I’d have to disagree. There were a lot of elements unecessarily added into the story that made the characters not so relatable. Was it that necessary for Romeo to be a rockstar, or Tybalt to be a sword-wielding samurai? The character designs were rather generic at times as well. I may have found it to be too generic and stereotyped for Juliet, portrayed as a Japanese girl, to be wearing a deviated version of a kimono. I might be a bit too picky about the art, since I am an art student myself, but the artist’s characteristics were not so unique or standing out. Either way, everyone has their opinion, I just disagree. 

  • December 1, 2008 at 8:30 am

    i loooooove this version
    its alot more better 🙂
    yey manga

  • April 18, 2009 at 11:09 am

    I liked it to…..much

  • August 1, 2009 at 12:07 am

    Omg! i love it! I bought a copy of it and I love it! i can relate to it so much because i went through an experience like it!
    live it love it laugh like it

  • September 20, 2010 at 11:15 pm

    I’m a big fan of many of Shakespeare’s novels, and I’m also a big fan of this. The idea of a modern day Romeo and Juliet is wonderful! It’s a very good read.

  • February 23, 2011 at 11:18 pm

    i thought it was ok i liked the wa they wrote it
    thou some parts were kind of strange i wasn’t a huge fan of the drawings but the style was cool.

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