Friday, June 7, 2013

I am The Paper.

Read or Die OVA: And OVA Series Review

Number of episodes: 3 OVA's
Genre: Action, fantasy
Source material: Manga written by Hideyuki Kurata 

I don't know how these people avoid papercuts. Seriously.
**May Contain Spoilers**

The Story: Read or Die OVA presents a pretty straightforward plot line involving the fight between the British Library, led by Mr. Gentleman, and a group of supernatural people called the I-jin, led by Ikkyu
The OVA  starts off with an attack on the White House (wait...the President and his bodyguards speak Japanese?!), and subsequently, the Americans request help from the British Library.
The British Library calls in their Special Engineer Forces with secret agents, "The Paper," "Ms. Deep," "Joker," and Drake Anderson (poor guy doesn't get a codename...) to investigate what the I-jin are trying to accomplish. As it turns out, each of the I-jin is a clone of a famous person who has lived and died while contributing something important to society (whether it be technology, music, or art). Is this significant? And just why are they trying to collect a bunch of books? What follows is a series of fights over these books (yes, physical books) as the mysteries surrounding the I-jin begin to unravel.

The Characters: There are quite a few characters in this OVA, but for the most part, the main characters are Yomiko Readman ("The Paper"), a bibliophile, Nancy Makuhari ("Ms. Deep"), a sultry kickass lady, Drake Anderson, a military dude who believes in horoscopes, and "Joker," their unit leader. Out of the British Library's agents, Yomiko and Nancy stand out because they have special powers.

In Yomiko's case, she has the ability to control paper (hence the codename), and although she appears quite ditsy, unaware, and altogether fairly clueless at times, she can hold her own given a suitcase full of paper and the proper motivation. Nancy, on the other hand, is a no-nonsense agent who can phase--that is, she can walk through anything (think Kitty from X-Men). She's also extremely good with hand-to-hand combat and knows how to use a gun, and although her age is never given explicitly in the OVA, it's clear from the beginning that Nancy is wiser and more mature than Yomiko, despite her playful attitude. 

Overall Impressions: There are no devastatingly deep moments in this OVA, but it was quite a fun and enjoyable one (and short too!) to watch. The characters are simple (with hints of something deeper), but I found myself liking Yomiko a lot because even though she's a little weird and air-headed, she loves books and loves to read! As a bookworm myself, it was cute to see how crazy for books she is, and I only wish I could read as fast
Books, books, books!
 as her! Just look at her apartment! Her attitude was optimistic, and I liked that when she got mad or got down to business, The Paper changed from clumsy Yomiko to badass paper-user who meant serious business! I also enjoyed Nancy's character, and although her story was a bit deeper and more complicated than Yomiko's, I liked that the OVA didn't get bogged down in the drama and that the story connected nicely between the British Library's team and the group of I-jin. Drake provided much of the sarcastic and dry humor in Read or Die, and although he seemed like a background character, he did also provide critical tactical support for Yomiko and Nancy when it mattered the most. The story of Read or Die OVA is nothing too creative, but it's well written and coherent, something that is becoming more rare in anime today. I felt that the ending to the OVA was perfect for the series, even though it was a bit surprising, but hopefully you'll give R.O.D OVA a watch and form your own opinions! 

And last but certainly not least, the soundtrack for Read Or Die is absolutely amazing! Taku Iwasaki's jazzy-ish compositions really add to the quirky-ness that is R.O.D, and you'll probably fall in love with the action sequences because of his epic-sounding music. My favorite song from the OST is titled: "The Evil Wing of Gale, That No One Can Catch," and it's spectacular from beginning to finish. Listen to it here.

Rating: 7/10 

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