Aug 6, 2007

[TV] Read or Die OVA

R.O.D. OVAI finally got to watch the Read or Die (R.O.D.) OVA over on Animax last Saturday and again on Sunday afternoon. This is the original series that spawned a popular sequel as based on a hit manga series in Japan.

This "movie" of sorts centered around Yomiko Readman, also known as "The Paper" - a secret agent for the organization known as the British Library. Her unique talent is to manipulate paper in order to craft it into various things like weapons, defensive armor and many more depending on her imagination. She's able to change the hardness of her paper constructs to be strong enough to stop bullets or pliable enough to smother opponents. To top it all off she's a bibliophile as evidenced by her massive book buying sprees and her obsession with not just accomplishing her mission but getting her book back at all costs.

I guess the concept of Papermasters appeals to me a lot - the dynamics of bending mere paper to your will seems amazing and the tricks and feats the manage are pretty wicked. Throw in the Shadowcat-style abilities of Nancy Makuhari and you have yourself a very strong set of female characters. Yomiko's abilities are simply amazing and she really maximizes every last bit of paper available to her to lethal efficiency.

The animation style is crisp and very clean - not excessively computerized but there are still some very stunning scenes and sequences that are just going to blow your mind away. Plus the music is very engaging and actually reminds you more of something from the late 70's or early 80's, giving it a very nice fun vibe when needed and really making things cool during the fight scenes.

The story certainly seems interesting but is a tad far-fetched. Then again, this is a Japanese cartoon and they are somewhat known for pushing the limits of imaginations in the concepts of their stories. The story is a bit shaky in some parts, but its not that evident and is largely forgivable once the fighting comes along.

It's hard to fully decided whether or not the series has homosexual undertones - the strength of the Yomiko-Nancy relationship is certain to raise eyebrows. Then again, a lot of anime has that in line with the general sense that the Japanese are into that sorta thing - that being very strong relationships regardless of gender, of course. What were you thinking? Hehehe...

The OVA ends somewhat abruptly and some might be looking for a better sense of closure. Either way, the series does make you want more and is probably why they created a sequel in the first place.

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