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Read or Die back to product details

Clever, But Nothing Special
written by ahogue July 15, 2005 - 11:19 AM PDT
3 out of 4 members found this review helpful
Read Or Die has a few very clever ideas. A mousy, timid librarian superhero whose special ability is control over the properties of paper, and a villain somehow resurrecting (relatively) famous historical figures as supervillains.

There is no doubt about the makers' intentions with this one: it's supposed to be good, silly fun. And it is, up to a point. Unfortunately it is marred by somewhat lackluster art and animation, and, as another reviewer has pointed out, it really does not capitalize on its central theme. Why bother making supervillains out of historical figures if you are just going to draw them like any other Saturday morning cartoon villain, with dialogue to match? It doesn't make sense.

It is not a bad show, really. It's a bit of fun, even if it starts to get a little old before the movie is over. If it sounds interesting to you, there's no need to avoid it. But in the end it's rather disappointing and you probably have better things to rent.

Read Or Die The OAVs
written by TZero November 29, 2004 - 9:00 AM PST
1 out of 5 members found this review helpful
This is one of The Best Animes Of All Time. Watch the OAVs before you watch R.O.D the TV to save confusion later.

More books, less villians. Please.
written by whump May 4, 2004 - 5:14 PM PDT
0 out of 8 members found this review helpful
The Special (Operations) Branch of the Library of the British Museum.

That's how this series was pitched to me, it's a brilliant concept, but an already fine series would had been even better if they had stuck to that concept rather than the big bad's plan to end human civilization.

It's still a fun ride. But I had just returned from staying in the neighborhood of the British Museum and Bloomsbury before I saw this and would had loved to see more of that in the anime.

So much fun!
written by MrBunBun September 18, 2003 - 5:22 AM PDT
11 out of 11 members found this review helpful
This was the first anime in a looong time to actually *surprise* me. I was impressed with the high production values of this anime and the EXCELLENT blend of action and characterization. It's stylish and modern and genuinely fun to watch. The action scenes are excellent and are innovative -- mostly due to the fact that the world of ROD is a meeting of 19th Century Britain and modern day Japan if that makes sense. 'The Paper' has powers that keep you going, "oh wow" and seriously keep the action very fresh and interesting.

I would definitely watch again and add to my home DVD collection.

great action, great characters
written by MBlase August 19, 2003 - 7:35 AM PDT
13 out of 13 members found this review helpful
Rarely do I keep my anime rentals to watch twice, because I don't have much time and because I love to get the next one in my queue as soon as I can. But this was worth it.

R.O.D is possibly the most implausible story I've seen in a long time: a centuries-old Zen monk has apparently not only survived the ages, but has cloned a number of extraordinary (and obscure) historical characters as his servants. His goal: capture a book containing information he needs in order to complete his evil plans.

Unfortunately, that book was just purchased by Yomiko Readman, a.k.a. The Paper, a special agent for the British Library's "James Bond"-type division, which handles rare book retrievals around the world using super-powered agents like Miss Deep, weapons specialists like Drake, and at least one nuclear submarine.

Yomiko's Japanese, but this doesn't seem to bother the Library. Her particular talent is controlling paper: once she touches it, she can make it do anything she wants, such as chaining into ropes stronger than steel cable, forming floating balloons, sticking to targets like flypaper, or slicing skin with the hardness of a steel blade. It helps that she's also got ninja-fast reflexes, although her actual fighting skills are somewhat lacking.

This is just what the Library sees in her. But when she's not on secret missions, Yomiko is struggling to get substitute teaching jobs so that she can afford her book-buying habit. She's a bibliophile in the extreme, and when the bad guys decide they need to steal the rare book she just bought (on credit, no less!), she's bound and determined to get it back--so that she can finish reading it.

The whole thing is so unrealistic, I'm amazed I can even enjoy it. But I loved it, because the characters are so enjoyable. Yomiko is so sweet and her love of books borders on madness, but she's still a superb agent. Miss Deep is one tough cookie, and it's hard not to love a woman who can smirk like that while she's pointing a gun at someone. Drake is something of a family man, who grouses and grumbles about having to work without a much-deserved pay raise as he blows up everything he's asked to. Even Joker, Yomiko's boss, and his secretary Wendy are the kind of people you wish you had time to learn more about.

On top of all that, the animation is excellent (I believe this three-episode story had one of the highest budgets for an OAV ever) and the music is just as good, featuring a solid rock theme that's reminiscent of James Bond without copying from it.

Feature-wise, I have only one complaint: at least two parts of the movie (near the beginning and near the end) have Japanese writing that should be separately subtitled, but unlike many other anime DVDs, the subtitles aren't available in a "translate writing only" option. But they make up for that with a creators' interview, a gallery of stills, bios of the historical characters borrowed for the story, and the usual assortment of "see also" trailers.

Worth getting, no question.

Engaging light action entertainment
written by hneline1 July 24, 2003 - 4:44 AM PDT
12 out of 12 members found this review helpful
Read or Die, or R.O.D. as it is affectionately called, is a three-episode OVA with an engaging theme song and a spacey bookworm as the action heroine. It's a solid action adventure along the lines of James Bond (British agents, thrilling action, saving the world from destruction), classic Batman (outlandish villains that enjoy their triumph), and X-Men without the angst (each agent has a special power). It has engaging characters and many obscure literary references to tease the reading obsessed, but you don't need to understand the references to enjoy the adventure. This is a well-done, short anime if you're looking for light action entertainment.

I watched this in English dubbing as well as in Japanese, and the dubbing is rather good. In fact, there are some subtle jokes in the English dub that are pretty hilarious. My one minor complaint is that signs are not translated in the English dub, whereas they are in the Japanese with English subtitles, so you lose some understanding of the storyline. Thankfully the storyline is rather straightforward so you don't really need to understand the subtleties.

The DVD also contains a rather badly taped Q&A interview with Koji Masunari (director), Hideyuki Kurata (screenwriter), and Masashi Ishihama (character designer). If you ignore the format, video, and audio quality, the interview does have some good insight into the creation of R.O.D.


(Average 7.96)
310 Votes
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