Yomiko Readman is a lovable, near-sighted bibliomaniac working as a substitute teacher at a Japanese high school. Her real identity, however, is that of a secret agent for the British Library Special Operations Division. Her codename: "The Paper." The moniker denotes her supernatural ability to freely manipulate paper into any object she can imagine, including tools and weapons in her fight against the powerful and self-serving IJIN (Great Historical Figure) Army! Along with her partner, the enigmatic "Ms. Deep," Yomiko travels across the world in attempt to solve the mystery behind the reincarnation of historical figures and their attempt to control the world.
Yomiko Readman will probably be the cutest bookworm you will ever see. Obsessed with the philosiphy "reading first, hygine second" The viewers will be fully immersed in the life of cute but unkempt Yomiko. In this world, books are the prized posession of the world. Books are so precious, there is a world organized task force designed in protecting these books from 'the bad guys. You'll be imersed in crazy steampunk/fantacy/etc vs magic conflicts and edge of your seat madness through the eyes of Ms. Readman.
The story itself is very farfetched and out of this world, but its a story that everyone should experience at
leat once. Reality may be limited as paper can stop bullets or take down giant insects, but the cute and clumsy Yomiko and her friends will keep you watching with great intent. Being a three episode ova, there is little back story to all what is happening and it leaves the backstory up to its viewers imagination. Which is fine because all that leaves room for is high quality action only an anime can portray.
When I mean high quality action I mean high framerate action sequences coupled with great coreagraphy and amazing attention to detail. Things like paper sticking to a hand or scouring an old bookstore littered with books and dust really show how much hatd work and effort it took the artists to make such amazing detail come to life. Nothing impresses me more than attention to detail esepecially in rooms/buildings. On top of the OVA quality artwork, this show just oozes cool from the James Bond-esque themesong and sexy girl credits to the crazy steampunk gadgets and flashy magic spells, its a pure sensory overload for me.
Speaking of sensory overload, the female supporting cast were quite an eyeful. All of them were either beautiful or cute, very easy on the eyes. And for the girls, the guys are all quite burly military men in stature and can give up quite a good fight. The enemies, on the other hand, are pretty outrageous incarnations of storytime characters (Genjo anyone?) Crazy badguys do lend themselves quite easy to some fun and crazy battles. Not much can be salvaged in terms of backstory information for most of the characters, but the chemistry between all the support characters and Yomiko are quite believeable in an anime sort of way.
Not much can be said in terms of negative aspects other than sloppy animations and some silly situations, but the overall experience is just too fun if you're really into the fantasy action genre. Don't get me wrong, its not the greatest OVA of all time but it is well worth your time (read: Good). If you're a sucker for a glasses-moe like I am (think Yuki Nagato or Miyuki Takara), you'll love this show. And if you love this show, I'm sure you'll love the R.O.D. TV series.
I have been meaning to watch this show for ages. Now that I've seen it, I'm wondering what the hell exactly took me so long to get around to this. It's a fusion of some of my favorite elements--steampunk, books, history, music, and espionage. Yomiko is an absolutely adorable character, and her personality is well-established the moment you get a look at her house. The characterization for the rest of the cast is excellent as well. The artwork is lush and gorgeous, and the action sequences flow beautifully and intuitively. As a bibliophile and history buff myself, the inclusion of various random intellectual figures as
villains was a nice touch. Though Beethoven gets no speaking lines, seeing him pound away at the keyboard with his archetypal wild hair made me far giddier than it should have.
I cannot recommend this show highly enough. It is well-worth your hour and a half.
I found it amusing how much the US president looks like Dubbya, and how much of an absolute trigger-happy pussy he is. He wets his pants at least three times when things get tough, and at one point he flips out and instead of proceeding calmly through a tight spot, tries to pound the 'nuke them all' button. Political commentary much? You must recall this vintage 2001, a very familiar year in his political history.
Yomiko Readman is an innocent looking girl who has an obsession with collecting and reading books. Her entire check goes into her hobby. After coming into a book, she's soon under attack by a man with a strange ability. She learns that the particular book she just purchased is necessary for an organization's plan. Readman also works for the British Library Special Operations Division under the alias Agent Paper, and her mission is to learn why this outfit is after the book. -summary
For reasons I do understand, R.O.D. is recognized as a popular anime title, and it was so well received that it spawned
a 26 episode series. Despite the claims to fame this is one title that never truly vibed with me. It doesn't get the least bit better over time, instead it does get worse and I see myself never watching it again.
The plot follows Agent Paper and a second woman code named Agent Deep, as they try to reclaim the book when it's eventually taken from Paper. This leads the two into a gauntlet against multiple enemies with bizarre powers, whom happen to be clones of famous individuals such as the samurai Hiraga Gennai, French Entomologist Jean Henri Fabre, and even Ludwig Von Beethoven himself. The anime features quite a bit of historical content, and it's heavily influenced by American superhero comics. Agent Deep has the ability to phase through objects, which is the exact same power of Kitty Pryde aka Shadow Cat of the X-Men, while Agent Paper has the ability to manipulate paper and use it for combat, by either turning it into solid objects for weapons, create shields, or even a vehicle. This large amount of creativity here is the only interesting thing about this character, as it does create some pretty cool action segments.
Now speaking of the action, this is where the anime shines. The animation is pretty fluid with minimum jumpiness during the quick paced battle segments, and the choreography during the hand to hand fights are also nice. The backgrounds are very pretty and they mesh well with the CG and 2D animation. There are some very pretty landscapes and artwork of New York City and even the White House. I can't say I liked the music, especially the Mission Impossible-ish opening instrumental featuring that jazzy theme canon with secret agent type movies. However, it is fitting for the anime.
The plot is your standard good vs. evil, with the stock bad guy seeking to plunge the world into destruction, and here lies some of the problem. Outside of how the bad guy wants to pull off his plan, it's way too cookie-cutter, predictable, and the characters have very little depth. I didn't care for anyone in this title, and this especially goes for Agent Paper who came off way too annoying for me. It wasn't only the voice acting for both languages, but it was her personality and how the character was just written. There are also issues with the writing when concerning her abilities. It's unable to tell how exactly her powers work, and it appears things happen only when it's convenient for the script. One thing I cannot stand are power level inconsistencies.
Read or Die is something that will no doubt appeal to the action crowd. I may have enjoyed it more had I been able to buy into the characters and their interactions along with the story, but for some reason it feels as if it was a vehicle only to show off the visuals, which are very pretty I must admit. The fan service is mildly present via bouncing breast, and the gore is also pretty tame. Still, this is a title I do recommend, because at least it looks pretty while doing what it's suppose to do and that's entertain.
Highs: Visuals, Some creativity
Lows: Stock bad guys, cliché characters, writing issues
I have been looking into this series for some time now because to me, it seem like a fresh idea that’s waiting to be made into an anime OVA (and yes, I know it’s based on their light novels and manga, too.) with it having these super-secret spy/James Bond-type tone as it shows throughout the whole course. This could be one of those anime that has the cool factor going for it, much like Shinichiro Watanabe’s anime (you should know what he directed by now.), but hopefully it’s not just the cool factor that keeps it entertaining. How well I know? Well, let the review
Nerdy Yomiko Readman is obsessed with books. As "Agent Paper," she works for a secret branch of the British Library, where her power to telekinetically control paper helps her on missions to retrieve rare manuscripts and protect the world from evil. But all Yomiko really wants to do is read her new book. Unfortunately it has been stolen by the I-gin, clones of historical figures who believe Yomiko's book holds the key to unlocking Beethoven's lost "Death Symphony." Anyone who hears the tune is compelled to commit suicide, and the I-gin intends to broadcast it all over the world. Only Yomiko, along with fellow super agents Drake and Miss Deep, has a chance at stopping them.
OK, I’m just going to say this……I had fun with this anime and as much as the plot doesn’t go that deep, but then again, it is a three episode OVA clocking in at 96 minutes. The plot may seem silly and nonsensical to most people, but it isn’t too distant from reality, it’s not like “GAINAX!! OMG!! CRAZY SHIT!!” type of nonsensical; it’s much like a good action film, whose purpose is to entertain us with how unreal it is without being bored and easily distracting itself from its plot. I will say that using paper as weapons more powerful than they appear are a plus in my book, because after seeing that, I imagine somebody challenging someone to a gunfight and someone made a drawing of a gun and then it came in paper form and it did the job of a regular one, but more deadlier.
Characters in here are a delight to watch as I really love the main character of Yukiko Readman or “The Paper”, as she is called here to be equally adorable as a nerdy bookworm character and capable of her being in a fight, especially that part, and considering not many of those exist in much anime….at least the ones I watch. There’s also Nancy Mukahari (or Miss Deep, which does sound a porno name…..and yes, even in the OVA, they reference that.), the token bad-ass female character with a shady past and Drake Anderson, the lone male member of the team. The dynamic budding relationship between Yomiko and Nancy is actually the only thing I see in character development and progression. Some of the other characters like Joker (not the one you’re thinking), Drake, and the other super villains don’t really stay in our heads and some are just unimaginative characters like Joker is stereotypically posh and English and Drake is the no-nonsense American soldier. They are fine characters just nobody I would give a shit about.
Studio DEEN’s print is on the animation here and knowing their reputation of shows, the animation is solid for most parts here, as I often see a few hiccups even during the paper manipulating scenes. I wouldn’t count it as vintage, maybe even for it being 11-12 years old since its release in 2001 or ’02. I did like the opening theme and sequence of the show, as I’ve said; it brought out this James Bond / superspy tone that fits perfectly into the OVA.
The dub by Manga Entertainment is a fine dub with some good performances with Kimberly Yates, a relatively unknown voice actress, did capture the kindness and bookworm’s attitude of Yukiko. Amanda Winn-Lee, who also directed the dub, was good as Nancy, delivering in the deadpan humor within the character and of course, Crispin Freeman playing the not-so-subtle Joker and you can tell he was hamming it up and having fun in his role.
FINAL VERDICT: You can check it this OVA. It may not go deep within the plot that much but as you watch it, you start to not care that much, that is if you’re enjoying it but if you didn’t, then I shouldn’t recommend it to you. For those you have liked it, the series is available to get, although you might have to pay some high prices and something else to go with it…….but we’ll get to that later.’
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