Anita King, Maggie Mui, and Michelle Cheung are the Paper Sisters. They run the Three Sisters Detective Agency in Hong Kong which is dedicated to solving cases involving books. They are hired as local guides for Nenene Sumiregawa, a Japanese novelist who has been struggling with writer's block following the disappearance of her longtime friend, Yomiko Readman. The sisters are all Paper Masters—individuals with the power to control paper—and with their abilities, they save Nenene from the dangerous terrorists targeting her at a book signing. But in case they strike again, the sisters remain as her bodyguards to protect her from further harm.
This is a dream come true for bookworms Maggie and Michelle who love Nenene's stories, but the young Anita cannot stand books despite her powers over paper. The three struggle to adapt to their new daily life in Japan, guarding Nenene while continuing their detective work under a mysterious organization, Dokusensha. However, the more they get to know Nenene, the more they discover the link between her, the disappearance of her friend Yomiko, and the mysterious books Dokusensha sends the Paper Masters to investigate. What began as a simple job ends up a bigger case than they have ever had before. Are these girls really willing to risk their lives over literature?
Despite its bookworm outlook at the begging, this show is very action oriented. And its action is centered around Nenene\'s three \'bodyguards\' known as Paper Users. They have the ability to shape and mold any forms of paper to virtually anything they want. Anita King runs the offensive using paper as blades and other weapons, Michelle Cheung is the defensive user creating barriers and such, and Maggi Mui has the most versitility of the paper being able to create creatures and vehicles. At my first impression of the use of this power i was a bit skeptical. If your anything like me your probably going
to say, "Look at all that paper!" And thats no joke too... they use alot of paper in this show (green peace freaks probably shouldnt watch this show). After the intial shock the action starts to become second nature to the show, showing each characters different fighting styles.
The story is pretty deep and intreguing starting by looking for her lost friend only to find out that there is ALOT more than what she bargins for. Since the series is a 2 season affair (26 episodes) This gave them the time to flesh out the side stories of the main characters and find out their ultimate goals with really really REALLY good twists. No spoilers here considering thats half the fun of ROD is finding out how everything fits into place so well...
The artistic detail in ROD is very well done but its not the best i\'ve ever seen. The details in the action scenes are well executed, you truly get the feeling of lots of paper being wasted fighting the baddies. Even after the aftermath (from fighting or just trashing nenene\'s house or the sisters apartment) the detail of the junk lying around is very well placed. Little details like a stack of books next to a staircase or a bookshelf so full its almost about to burst really pull you more and more into the story. I\'m a total sucker for small details like this. A minor gripe would be the sound... the paper monsters should have sounded a little more ferocious, and paper rustling is EVERYWHERE. But it cant be helped ^_^
Overall i really enjoyed this show despite it lacking ecchiness (big surprise i know). But the big fight scenes the animation and detail of every subtle movement make this show flow very smoothly and seamlessly. I mean its practically an 8 hour movie and i sat watched all 8 hours with great intent. I did have a 2 hour nap in between tho since i didnt sleep for 24hours straight.
But anyone whos into magical warfare but
wants something a little different than sparkles
and wands, please pick this anime up! ^_^
Read or Die - the TV is a very interesting Action, Adventure, Anime; where the main characters have the strange ability to control paper. After watching this you might begin to think differently about books and paper. ^_^
Read or Die - the TV follows the adventures of three sisters who have the ability to manipulate paper. These three sisters end up protecting a famous writer Nenene, who's being targeted by some dangerous people. Yet while protecting her, they also take on missions from the Chinese Intelligence on the side, to retrieve rare stolen books. It continues like this until the British Empire begins to
make their move.
The storyline of this action-packed anime takes place 5 years after the incident in the original R.O.D OAV. Just like in the OAV this anime follows the adventures of the main characters Michelle, Maggie and Anita who are all paper manipulators just like Yomiko from the OAV. During the show there's a decent amount of amazing paper combat and character developments. The main problem with R.O. D - the TV is the pace of this show and the number of dull and boring moments. The show started of well but flowed very slowly, with episodes of very little happening and it wasn't until episode 11 when the story actually started to develop. From here right through to the end there are some of the most exciting battles, a decent plot-twist and the most hoped for return of "The Paper" from the OAV.
The animation quality for R.O.D – the TV was great with a decent amount of detail put in. the characters were well designed but the only thing that may annoy some is how cute they made some of them, with their blushing cheeks. Yet this is easily forgotten when there's a major action-packed battle, which is surprisingly fluid, even with multiple characters doing separate things (episode 12 is a good example of this).
The music was superb with every episode starting of with a great Jazz beat (with no lyrics), just like in Cowboy Bebop. The music during the show was also great and blended in well with the mood however it's sometimes spoilt by the character's annoying voices.
Overall this turned out to be a great anime, which had a lot of dull moments but at least it didn't let it spoil the story. As the story began to reach its climax, the new plot did feel a little too unrealistic; of how creating a new world without books would help end wars. At the very end of this series I was really disappointed that very little action happened, so if you're hoping for one big showdown then you'll be disappointed as well. This anime is best suited for those who want to see something interesting that hasn't really been done before, but I recommend watching the OAV first.
The OVA of Read or Die is a secret agent parody, perhaps poking a little fun at how ridiculous some of 007`s plots are, and its overboard story of literary greats trying to take over the world has a campy charm. The TV series brings back most of the characters from the OVA,but centers itself around a new cast. Even though it`s a little more heavy handed with its mood and drama, all the style in the OVA is preserved, only drawn out to a long 26 episodes.
Where the laughably crazy plot in the OVA held a certain charm, it doesn`t serve well as the
plot of a TV series. The plot is fairly thin for the first half of the series. It alternates between monsters of the week and some slice of life pieces. The monster of the week encounters don`t have the same elaborate design as the action packed encounters in the OVA, but they more or less have the same wackiness. The characters of the TV series are also more or less of the same quality as the OVA. They are simple characters with one or two defining quirks, some of which are a bit cliche in the Anime world. A short 3 episode stint is conducive to simple and cliche`d characters, but slice of life is not. By far the worst segment of this series is when it explores the daily lives of the 4 new main characters. The slice of life subplots are boring in and of themselves, and these characters are far too simple and played out to spark empathy.
The story suddenly and completely changes from around the midway mark,kicking out all of the monster of the weeks and slice of life bits for its central plot. It shapes into something vaguely similar to the OVA`s. The heroes have to stop some maniacal villain from taking over the flow of books, and thus, the world. It`s certainly a lot more complex than that of the OVA`s, but to its own detriment. Far too many plot developments stem from extraordinary lapses of common sense by some of the characters. Contrivances like these are sadly, a gigantic driving force. This leaves the plot not only wacky, but also nonsensical.
As if that wasn`t enough, we still have to stomach our average dose of B rate Anime melodrama, including but not limited to complete over-dramatization of trauma, loss, and depression. As per usual also,the maniacal villain has to give his share of philosophical lectures on how to make the world a better place, all of which are answered by the hot headed heroes with equally bogus, but less pessimistic philosophy.
The TV series isn`t really unfaithful to the OVA. It`s not quite as impressive visually, and maybe it`s a bit cheesier, but it goes for the same feel the OVA does. This just goes to show that campy charm is exceedingly delicate. Where the OVA in many ways was so weird, so bad that it was good, trying to stretch that same appeal into 26 episodes just leaves it as plain weird and bad.
R.O.D the TV soars above it's manga equivalent, Read or Dream, in terms of strong story and well developed characters, even bringing back several popular characters from the past. While the two host the same primary characters, the plot line of the tv series takes on a whole different path from the manga, and I must say that it was a brilliant choice. Although the series overall is rather slow to develop, it all results in an amazing ending climax and resolution that is well worth viewing for oneself.
Do note that it is not necessary to know anything about the Read or Die
setting previous to this series to be able to follow it, although many elements do tie in with the past.
This story centers around several bibliophile sisters (and one who hates books) who are able to animate paper, and their various day to day life, as well as the missions they go upon. Later on in the series, the story takes on a much more epic scale, and everything involving the sisters and the people they are involved with all comes together in a grand fashion that has the potential to all fall apart, but manages to stick and finish well.
Again, I'll try to avoid comparisons to the manga, but first I shall mention that I found the character designs to be greater in the anime series; the portrayal of the Paper Sisters is better executed and personalities are well defined in a manner that the manga lacked.
In terms of story progression, the first episode should give you a pretty good feel of what the series is like. The first few episodes are somewhat uneventful in terms of heavy action as they're used to introduce you to the main characters and their personalities, but the pace starts to pick up around the fourth ep. when they start taking on some missions and Anita starts school. Episode 12 marks the start of the real focus of the story, and after a recollection of the events that were involved in the original Read or Die and tie in with R.O.D the TV in Episode 14, the true plot line unfolds (as well as the return of a certain Paper Master). The series definitely takes its time in delivering the full story, and although many episodes could easily be cut, overall, I found the shifting between the slower, more character development-centered parts (edging toward the slice of life genre) and the more story-driven, action oriented parts to be appealing and rather enjoyable.
R.O.D just has this really relaxed feel to it, which blends well with the action sequences surprisingly. The main characters maintain their personalities well whether relaxing reading books or animating paper on a serious mission.
The way that the plot progresses is comparable to a train starting up; it starts out really slow and slowly begins to pick up speed, until it progresses into an all out (I'd feel rather awkward saying 'full steam ahead') race to the finish that is just impossible to stop watching. While the story does take quite a few rather creative liberties when the real action begins, overall the story packs a solid punch that delivers in the end.
I should mention that the series does contain a small amount of nudity, but nothing too major (namely Episode 9).
If the animation for the series has one thing, it's consistency. The animation is fluid and well done throughout the entire series; the flow of hundreds of sheets of paper everywhere is quite a sight to see. The series delivers on the action scenes, and is easy to follow and impressive to watch. Character design is clean and simple, although they are defined aptly, and it is easy to distinguish one character from another. The anime refrains from using any super deformed styles such as simplified faces or chibi to convey emotions, and rather uses dialogue, superb voice acting, and well drawn faces to create an effect. However, they do sometimes use blush spots on cheeks to make the characters look cute at times, and while it is a bit out of place, it is far better than the common use of >< eyes and such to translate feelings. The backgrounds at times are simply beautiful, as are the cloud designs. Overall, the art is rather solid.
One thing I should mention, regarding voice acting, I watched the english dubbed version for a while, and I have to say that it wasn't too bad. It takes a bit of getting used to at first, but some voices are just spot on, such as the brilliant voicing of Nenene, which provides a perfect fit to her character. In fact, when I went back to subs, I found that I actually preferred the English voices, with a few exceptions (i.e. Hisa's voice). And that's saying something, as I generally prefer Japanese with subtitles to dubbing.
The ending theme is very fitting to the series, as I find it reflective of the relationship of the Paper Sisters. The ending changes after Episode 13, halfway through the series, and although I liked the new ending, I found that it did not fit quite as well as the first.
The OP is a lyric-free jazz piece similar to ones found in Cowboy Bebop, or something that you'd hear in a James Bond-type movie, and is also used several times during action scenes. The music played throughout the series fits the atmosphere and helps to define it, and although the music is sometimes started awkwardly in some scenes, it is all very fitting.
Perhaps R.O.D's strongest point is its character relationships. The chemistry between the three sisters is realistic and gripping, as are the friendships they form with many of the other main characters of the series. Every character possesses strong unique qualities that define each, and they stick by them consistently throughout, while simultaneously developing and growing as people. The characters' traits and the way they act are deeply ground in reality and it is easy to visualize any of them living in the real world (minus the supernatural elements, of course). All have vastly differing appearances; there is no risk of ever mixing up characters for one another. While many of the characters' pasts are not deeply delved into, although at the moment I cannot confirm, I believe that they are addressed in earlier installments of the Read or Die universe. However, the three main characters receive plenty of background information that is slowly revealed throughout the story and make them stronger as a whole. The characters of R.O.D are part of what makes this story so great.
R.O.D the TV delivers a unique story that any anime fan should check out. The story is unique and refreshing and the characters are both memorable and likable. The general atmosphere of the series may not be for everyone, but I feel that this is a rather under-appreciated anime and everyone should at least give it a chance. Despite its slow and steady pace, this series manages to stay compelling and kept me hooked all the way through up to the end.
Although I feel that the series does fall a little short as it takes a bit too much time in the beginning, those who are patient will be rewarded with a great story and characters if they stick with the series. My best advice would be to at least check out the first episode and see what you think as it gives a pretty good idea as to what R.O.D is like. If you happen to like the Read or Dream, or Read or Die manga, then you should check out this anime for sure.
The anime archer is a rare breed. These are the unsung heroes of the anime world who rely on a rather simple, but effective skill - archery! Most will use a bow and arrow, and a few will utilize a crossbow. Even if they don't always save the day, they'll look cool as hell while trying to.