Teaching with Anime- English Class- Romeo and Juliet

Teaching with Anime- Romeo and Juliet

Romeo and Juliet

So far all of my teaching with anime posts have focused on science related topics, but this time I am going to try my hand at English.  Romeo and Juliet, the classic play by Shakespeare and a feature of many English classes around the USA, has been remade many times over the centuries, for better and for worse, depending on your viewpoint.  These remakes weren’t just left to the USA and Britain either, as Japan has made their own version of Romeo and Juliet.  The one I am of course referring to is the Romeo X Juliet anime released in 2007.

 

As a student I remember reading various Shakespearean plays and then watching their movie versions.  This was then followed by the inevitable essay comparing and contrasting the two.  I have also seen some of the English teachers I have worked with over the years do the same thing, and some enhanced this by having the students watch a more modern twist on the story.  Yes, I am talking about the Leonard DiCaprio version from 1996.  Now the anime is 24 episodes long and even in this age of binge watching that is a bit long for its use in the classroom or as a homework assignment.  However, there is a manga version of the anime which comes in an omnibus format and is 368 pages long, which is easily read in a few days or less.

 

The way I see it is that you could have the students read the original Romeo and Juliet first.  Then have the students pick a remake of their choosing to read/watch it, and write an essay comparing and contrasting the two works.  Topics that could be focused on could include the following:

 

1- How closely does the modern work follow the original?
2- What, if any, changes improved or hurt the play?
3- Were any changes made for a foreign audience?
4- Were any changes made for a modern audience?
5- How well do the themes of the play hold up in the current time period?
6- Is the adaptation faithful to the themes of the original, and can it be called Romeo and Juliet?
7- Is Shakespeare something that should be adapted to modern times and/or other cultures, why or why not?
8- Is there any foreign literature/art that you think should be adapted to a western audience?

 

Conclusion

Well, there you have it.  I know it’s not much this time, but as I said in the beginning I am a science teacher, not an English teacher.  If there are any English teachers out there, let me know what your thoughts are in the comments.