In Japan, though, Kill Me Baby has become something of an internet meme. Its popularity has only increased over time. This is particularly interesting because at first, Japanese viewers watched the show and thought, “Baby, please kill me.” That is to say, it was not a popular show when it first aired. The first BD volume sold a grand total of 686 units in the first week.
And yet somehow Japanese viewers changed their mind. When the Bluray boxset was released a year later, it sold over 4000 units despite costing some 16,800 yen. It outsold Toaru Majutsu no Index II (3830) and Infinite Stratos (2577). How did this miraculous turnabout happen?
For a lot of people, studying Shakespeare is something you only do in high school English classes. At first glance, readers of Shakespeare and watchers of anime don’t appear to have very much in common.
I’m no Shakespeare expert, but I do love anime, and it’s always fascinating for me to see an anime interpretation of western literature. It’s precisely because Shakespeare and anime seem to belong to two different worlds that you can learn a lot about how they work when they come together.
So in this post, I’d like to bring some attention to how Shakespeare is reinterpreted in anime form. I’ll start off by discussing how Shakespeare plays are adapted in general, what we can learn from modern adaptations and how Shakespeare is adapted in Japan in particular. Then I’ll focus on three modern anime titles which I think offer new and interesting ways to look at Shakespeare: Romeo X Juliet (2007), Zetsuen no Tempest (2012) and Nisekoi (2014).
Warning: word vomit ahead.