Boarding School Juliet
by James Beckett,
How would you rate episode 9 of
Boarding School Juliet ?
Char hasn't gotten much love since her introduction back in episode 3; she's mostly been around to pop up for a quick gag or remind the audience of her romantic rivalry with Romio. “Romio and Char and the Present” is a chance for Char to nab the spotlight once again, and the plot is exactly what it sounds like. Juliet's birthday is coming up, and both Romio and Char are out to get a perfect present for their beloved. Things take a turn when Romio, needing to avoid being seen while on Dahlia street, ends up in disguise as Char's chaperone, meaning the two will have to learn to get along if they want their shopping date to go smoothly.
Like last week's less-than-stellar outing, “Romio and Char and the Present” is light on plot and low on stakes, but this episode succeeds where its predecessor failed by letting Romio play opposite a likable character with an interesting dynamic. While I do think that Char's unrequited love for Juliet doesn't have to be played in such broad strokes, I can't deny that it makes for a great back and forth with Romio—Char is at her most devious when she's pushing all of Romio's buttons and laying on the pressure, explaining how terrible and tragic it would be for Juliet to throw away her relationship with Romio if he were to get a crappy gift. The random arrival of Romio's nightmare gift—a beefy, bespectacled doll named Mr. Specs and Pecs—is one of the silliest and funniest gags Boarding School Juliet has delivered in a while.
The underwear shopping trip was also a cute diversion, providing us with more great jokes, such as Romio getting Char to awkwardly fantasize about Juliet in ugly underwear, and the pair eventually becoming quite enthusiastic in their search for lingerie. None of the animation or direction is especially vibrant or interesting this week, so it's all up to the character writing and individual jokes to keep the episode humming along, and they're thankfully up to the task.
Of course, Char is still very much invested in excising Romio from Juliet's life, and she even tries to use a sudden rainstorm and her own conspicuously visible bra to half-jokingly tempt Romio into infidelity, but our hero is no cheat, and he's more irritated than anything by Char's brazen attempts to ruin his chances with his girlfriend. Later in the episode, Romio openly attacks one of the men who try to get the drop on Char in a sketchy alley, because he's long past the point of letting the Touwa/Western Kingdom rivalry get in the way of keeping Juliet's loved ones safe. It's a sweet moment of bonding between Romio and Char, both earning Char's respect for Romio and doubling down her resolve to get rid of him. Now Char recognizes Romio as a good partner for Juliet, but she's still convinced that the family rivalries will prove to be too much for the couple to bear, and that's when she'll make her move.
It looks like that conflict will be arriving sooner than our heroes might expect, as the twins managed to tip off the one person Romio would rather not have involved in his personal affairs: his brother, Airu. We don't yet know enough about the character for Airu to feel like a threat, but Romio's reaction suggests that nothing good will come from this brotherly visit. We might even see these final episodes of Boarding School Juliet edge back into the “battle school” element of the show, which we haven't seen much of since the premiere (and the sports festival doesn't count). This may not have been the greatest episode of Boarding School Juliet, but it was much funnier and sweeter than the last one, and that gives me hope that this final arc will see the show go out on a high note.
Boarding School Juliet is currently streaming on Amazon Prime.
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