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.
The Read or Die series is one of those series that I wanted to check out because it gave me the James bond vibe when I saw the trailer. After that, I decided to blind buy the series which I went on Cex website to see if the OVA and the TV series of Read or Die are available in a local Cex store in London. Lucky for me it was available in my local Cex which also had a lot of bizarre anime in it. After that, I decided to pop in my local Cex store and picked up the whole series of Read
or Die that contained the OVA and the TV series. Then on the weekend, I decided to marathon the whole series and in ended up loving the series. This review will focus on the OVA series as the TV series will get its own review.
Story and Characters.
The story of Read or Die follows a nerdy girl named Yomiko Readman who is obsessed with books. As an Agent Paper she works for a secret branch of the British Library, where she has the power to telekinetically control paper so she can project the world from evil but in reality, she just wants to read her new book. Unfortunately, it has been stolen by the I-Jin, clones of the historical figures who believe Yomiko new book holds the key to unlocking Beethoven’s lost Death Symphony. When anyone hears the tune would be forced to commit suicide and the I-Jin intend to broadcast it all over the world. Now Yomiko along with her fellow super agents Drake and Miss Deep must stop I-gin plans of destruction before it’s too late.
The story of Read or Die is honestly the weakest part of Read or Die. Don’t get me wrong it was nice for what it despite the ova being only 3 episodes long and it was fun overall plot but at the same time, the ova sadly didn’t have enough time to properly explain the story to the viewer meaning that ova, especially in certain story elements, kinda stumbles quite a bit. Thankfully the ova isn’t boring at all as it remains to be an entertaining ride from start to finish thanks to being well paced.
When it comes to the characters for Read Or Die I thought they were pretty solid overall despite most of them being sadly forgetful due to lack of screen-time.
Yomiko is a great and unique female protagonist. She is a friendly, and upbeat person who is completely obsessed to a point where she will do anything to get a book especially the ones that she’s currently reading as seen from the first episode of the OVA.
Nancy is a pretty great character as well. She may start off as this cold and focus individual but as the ova progresses she starts to open up to Yomiko where they become good friends.
The rest of the characters, on the other hand, are pretty forgetful. They aren’t bad characters by any means necessary but they were clearly not as memorable as the two females of the show.
While the story itself was unfortunately thrown away in the away side the character development as the chemistry and interactions completely make it up to a point where for the most part completely negate the weak story.
For an OVA that came out in the early 2000s, I thought the visuals were pretty good.
The character designs, for the most part, are pretty solid especially Yomiko who is by far the best-looking character in the show.
As for the actual animation itself, I thought it was very good. The action scenes are smooth, fluent and well animated to the core.
The one thing that I liked about the OVA is how it was able to showcase the character abilities as well as how they react to set power during fights. This alone adds more dimension and tension to the fights as they all fun and intriguing.
The music in Read or Die is fantastic and well directed.
Every single track especially the iconic read or die theme which is by far one of my favourite tracks in action anime. The song magically gave that James Bond vibe every time the track gets played.
This is one of the few series that I have not touched the original Japanese audio so I cannot comment about it. The English Dub was pretty good overall. Kimberly Yates did a pretty great job of voicing the charming Yomiko. The rest of the actors did a good job on the roles that were given.
Read or Die is a pretty great OVA. Sure the story may not be it’s the strongest point but the OVA completely makes it up for having a strong and likeable female lead, brilliant character chemistry, great animation and a kick-ass soundtrack. If you're looking for a good short action flick that has a strong and likeable protagonist than I point you towards this show. Read or Die OVA is a perfect of how two great females leads can carry a story is on the away side and I like it that way.
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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