Boarding School Juliet
by James Beckett,
How would you rate episode 8 of
Boarding School Juliet ?
The first reaction I could muster after finishing “Romio and the Prefect” was a resounding shrug. “That sure was an episode of Boarding School Juliet,” I muttered to myself, and there honestly isn't much to say beyond that. Despite properly introducing a trio of ostensibly important characters, as well as featuring the hijinks of Romio and Juliet trying to stealthily navigate the Academy's Harvest Festival, it feels as if nothing much happened this week at all. This is a textbook example of a show spinning its wheels.
The first half of the episode is mostly devoted to introducing two new Black Doggy girls, a pair of twin prefects named Kouchou and Teria Wang, who live to use their social power to cause mischief and have fun, despite their elder prefect's assertion that their job is to serve as the natural enemies of joy and merry-making. There's potential to be had in adding more trickster characters to the cast who aren't quite as emotionally invested in the Doggy/Cat feud, but unfortunately Kouchou and Teria are the series' thinnest-written characters yet. Many of their initial jokes center around groan-worthy “accidental groping” gags and supremely unfunny bits that make fun of how small Teria's boobs are compared to her sister's. They're essentially the feisty loli-girls that show up to generate questionable sexual tension in low-rent harem comedies, yet for some reason they get the central focus of “Romio and the Prefect”.
Story-wise, the Wang twins are only here to be the weekly thorn in Romio and Juliet's collective side, hunting Romio down to uncover his secrets while our heroes make a mad dash around the Harvest festival. The episode does improve somewhat in this second half, if only because the show always gets better when it pushes the supporting cast to the side in favor of focusing on Romio and Juliet. Still, the episode wastes the potential of a more open-air date for pair – we get a couple decent visual gags out of it, such as Romio and Juliet having to hide behind a pair of cows to evade the twins, but that's about all this plot delivers. Romio and Juliet end up hiding in a barrel at one point, which is just an excuse to replay the sexual tension the two shared last week in a less funny way.
Poor Juliet even ends up stuck in the barrel for the last third of the episode, when Romio decides that the best way to get the girls off their backs is to indulge in their desire to have a friend to play with for once. So Romio appeases the girls with some carnival games, but he forgets about Juliet in the barrel, and the two end up missing the big fireworks show. Juliet is understandably irked, but she apparently enjoyed getting to see her boyfriend be a big softie with the two fourteen-year-old girls he just met, so all's well that end's well, I guess. The episode ends with the reveal that the head Prefect is Airu Inuzuka, which probably means that this is Romio's Big Bad Older Brother. This is an interesting enough plot point to bring up, I suppose, but it honestly could have been included in any episode, which makes it feel more tacked-on than suspenseful.
So given that the cliffhanger is essentially empty setup for next week, and the new characters we meet are little more than lazy clichés, this episode misses the mark almost entirely. The animation and direction are quite shoddy this week too, so the show can't even make up for its poor writing with some visual flair. While "Romio and the Prefect" may be too bland to muster genuine offense or outrage, I think I'd prefer a complete misfire to something that ended up being so forgettable.
Boarding School Juliet is currently streaming on Amazon Prime.
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