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NovaProspekt's Read Or Die Tv Review

Read Or Die

Read Or Die tv Review

Story & Characters

Paper: we use it all the time. Writing, drawing, printing on, reading from, even wiping our mouths with. But paper as a weapon? Yes.
First off, I have to say this universe attracted me simply by the fact that the main character(s) love books. Reading is really becoming a lost art nowadays, and as an avid reader, it touched my heart that these characters, as cool as they are, love to read. There are Manga (plural), novels, and an OVA set in this universe, and I recommend them all, but this review is for "R.O.D. The TV." This series is one of my favorites set in this universe. I recommend reading the Manga and watching the OVA first if you can or you will miss out on the details of the back-story. It"s not "required" in the base sense of the word; but you will understand this series much better if you've read/seen the rest beforehand.
Anita, Maggie, and Michelle are three sisters who run a detective agency together. In the beginning, they are tasked with protecting Nenene Sumiregawa, an author who is having a bit of writer's block and is currently attending a book signing in Hong Kong of her first book (and last) she wrote many years ago. But these sisters aren't average detectives. They are paper masters; they can manipulate paper. Anita has the offensive powers, Maggie can create familiars and Michelle is, in a word, the support. Alone their powers are amazing, but together they are simply spectacular. From the first moment they use their powers, my jaw hit the floor and it stayed that way until the very end. This has to be the most original power I've ever seen, and it is definitely the most "cool." Seeing them pull off such amazing coordinated plans is awe inspiring and there aren't words that can do it justice. But trust me; you'll be staring in amazement.
The story revolves mainly around the Paper Sisters protecting Nenene, much to her disdain. This creates a great element of comedy, since Nenene is not the most laid back of people, and the Paper Sisters all have such diverse personalities. Michelle is a slight goofball, but she is very responsible and acts as the "leader" of the sisters. Maggie is shy, tall, and awkward; she doesn't talk much, is usually pretty tame and loves small confined spaces. Not a character you see too much in anime. Anita is the youngest of the three, still in middle school and she is quite precocious and outspoken: probably the most developed in this series. She doesn't like books at all, unlike her sisters who take the word "obsession" to a new level, much like Yomiko. The sisters stay with Nenene in Tokyo while doing missions on the side for money to fuel their book cravings. The series' story is a mix of mystery and adventure, and is top notch. There are twists and turns, questions after questions, and if you've seen the OVA and read the Manga, it really makes you wonder what's going on with this world. Even the "filler" episodes (I despise that term) move the plot along nicely, and you never have a chance to get bored. I don't want to say anything out of fear of ruining the plot, but it was refreshing and entertaining the whole way through. A "grade A" story.

Rating: 10

Art

The R.O.D. OVA holds one of the highest budgets ever in a Japanese animated ANYTHING, and it showed. Surprisingly, this series continues the wonderful artwork and animation well. The background art is highly detailed, and colored well. The environments match perfectly with the story, settings, and locales. One of my favorite parts of the backgrounds is the amount of detail that went into the books (and there are a lot). Each book has a title, and there aren't too many that look alike.
The character design is great; each character has her/his own individual look, and it compliments their personality perfectly. The characters animate fluidly, are very expressive, and even their movements right down to the way they walk portray their personality.
The props even have a nice amount of detail to them. They didn't skimp on the paper animations, and it makes the fight scenes truly amazing: papers flying everywhere, familiars moving swiftly, and arrows flying through the air, all as the characters stream across the scene. The scenes play out well, shot by shot, with the action taking front and center. The quality drops slightly in the middle of the series, but considering it's a series, it still looks great. It starts and ends at the same level as the OVA in my opinion, and I'm never bothered by the lesser quality. If the whole series was like it is in the middle, it would still be great.
The opening sequence is as wonderful as the OVA; flashy, action packed, and very conventional in a non-conventional way. Hard to understand that? It shows all the main characters like any opening, but the way it does that is amazing. Cutting between shots of "painted" people with the credits on them, to shots of the characters in day-to-day life. If you've seen the OVA, you know what I'm talking about. Highly stylized with full of energy and class. One of the better opening themes in an anime. The two ending sequences are the opposite: nostalgic and slower. They give a good feeling to the end of the episode.

Rating: 9

Sound

There's nothing quite like hearing thousands of pieces of paper flutter around you as an epic paper fight is taking place. With Geneon's 5.1 audio tracks on the DVDs you hear each paper clearly, as well as every breath, sound, and explosion. Even the guns sound realistic, which is hard to find in anime (or anything really). From turning pages to turning out mayhem, the effects never falter.
The Japanese voice cast did quite well. All characters sound like themselves, and portray emotion well. A great acting job all around. But I have to say, this might be one of the few anime where the English cast did a better job. Anita spans the full gamut of emotions many times throughout the series, and the actress (who apparently isn't that old) did a fantastic job. Maggie's shy, introverted nature came out well through her voice actress, as well as Michelle's ditzy, always-positive nature. The rest of the cast sounded amazing as well, each character expressing their emotions accurately, even the more complex ones. I speak of the English cast more than the Japanese because it's refreshing to hear such a great dub, and I think they deserve a lot of praise. There is one character that I was a bit disappointed with at first, only because she was very different from the OVA, but after like 2 minutes, I loved her voice too.
The opening and ending themes mesh well with the series, and the opening theme is just as good, if not better than the OVA. It's a spy/adventure/jazzy song that just pumps you up for the episode, and because of that (well, animation too) it's one of the few openings that I watch before every episode, instead of skipping it after seeing it once. The ending themes portray the sense of nostalgia, and it is fitting with the sequences. Again, overall wonderfully done sound all around.

Rating: 9

Presentation

This series is all about "cool." The sets, the characters, and the plot all have this great feel to them. The universe this takes place in is pretty close to our own, next to the superpowers. There's just this stylized "I'm-so-cool" feel about it. The art overall matches the mood of the moment, with the colors, characters, sound and "camera" all properly taken advantage of and used to their fullest extent. The action scenes truly shine, but even the dramatic scenes carry the emotion of the story in a very exact manner.
As far as content and viewing age; Geneon gives it a "13 and up" rating, but I would say 16 and up. There are a few intense scenes with violence and blood, and one nudity scene that is put in there just matter-of-factly. It's not sexual, not raunchy, but it is there. And there are some plot devices that kids just won't pick up, or at least might not fully appreciate.
Again, I highly recommend watching the OVA and reading the manga first.
All in all ROD The TV is one of my favorite anime series in and of itself, and it's just made better with all the other material out there. I highly recommend this to ANY fan of anime, but especially to fans of books, something original, or great mysteries. Take off a bit of desirability if you can't stand slow plot development (which speeds up after the first 1/3 of the series).

Rating: 10

Final Verdict

9.67 (excellent)

Reviewed by NovaProspekt, Jan 16, 2006

Comments

  1. Xephan Jan 16, 2006

    I saw the Read or Die manga and OVA and loved them both. But I didn't think I could bare parting with Ms. Readman happliy this reveiw convinced me on what I'm missing out on great job!

  2. JC206 Jan 16, 2006

    nice review for the anime i didn't get to see the whole anime got 4 eps left >_< but really was an awesome anime

  3. shinsengumi Retired Moderator Jan 17, 2006

    What can I say? This is certainly an excellent -- and exhaustive -- review. I tend to approach reviews where the reviewer gave a particularly high aggregate score with some measure of wariness, but here you certainly qualified and justified your score assignments.

    Bottom line: great job, and keep it up!

  4. Scarletelle Jan 18, 2006

    nice? more than nice.... its possitively excellent! I only got to see some of the episodes but i really enjoyed them.... thanks to you and your review, i now know what i have been missing... that way when i get to see another episode at least i wont get lost... thanks! STUPENDOUS! o_o

  5. twilightsigil Jan 20, 2006

    The ending got me kinda confused, who was that girl in the hospital?

  6. marcus Jan 21, 2006

    I really enjoyed this series also.. I just watched all of it today .. It was pretty damn good ^_^ Its great how "sisters" stick together always :P

    Well rather, FAMILY sticking together..

    Good review ^

  7. ripsilver Mar 16, 2006

    excellent anime... so cool that its cool.. i think its cool that they chose chicks to have the power of paper.. its like deadly and not deadly at the same time... but mostly deadly... ah you know what i mean

  8. angelxxuan May 23, 2012

    not a bad review, I really liked the movie, the series sort of drug in places, but the movie is well worth a person's time, and you don't have to watch the movie in order to understand what's going on in the series, it's just a continuing of the story

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