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AKA: Read or Die
Genre: Action with some comedic elements
Length: OAV series, 3 episodes, 30 minutes each
Distributor: R1 DVD from Manga Entertainment, BD from Aniplex of America
Content Rating: 13+ (fan service, violence)
Related Series: R.O.D. TV (Read or Dream)
Also Recommended:
Notes: Based on the manga by Hideyuki Kurata and Akitarou Yamata.
Rating:
 

R.O.D. OAV

Synopsis

A plot to end humanity is taking place and its up to one agent, who just happens to be a bookworm, to stop the onslaught. Her name is Yomiko Readman - better known by the organization of the Library Special Operatives as “Agent Paper”. Someone is making it their goal to bring back a lost Beethoven manuscript and has brought together a team of superhumans who are clones taken from the DNA of some of the best in history. It is up to Yomiko and her team of super-powered agents to fight this new threat and save the world!

Review

This is an OVA that has excellently utilized the mere ninety minutes it was given by adding a little something for everyone, and by being one of the most creative anime ever to be made. Imagine a show that puts together secret agent movies, science fiction action mixed with fantasy based super-powers, and you get a clear idea of what kind of anime R.O.D is. Even elements of steampunk are put to use in this series.

Technically speaking R.O.D has some very good animation but suffers from the flaw of making the backgrounds more fleshed out than the character designs. There are times in the anime when the visual sets are crisp and clean, but the character designs look a little on the shoddy side. These foibles are easily unnoticed, because in R.O.D, the action sequences make up most of the story, and luckily they are superb and creatively handled. The soundtrack of R.O.D—courtesy of anime music maestro, Taku Iwasaki—stays true to the whiz-bang feeling of the show with epic, edge-of-your-seat orchestral themes, and an opening theme that is reminiscent of 60's spy movies.

In the character department, each character within the group of heroes all have special abilities. Yomiko Readman, codenamed: The Paper, is a book lover who has an uncanny power to make paper into whatever she chooses; Such as the ability of creating a giant paper airplane to fly in, crafting a sword, or making a giant shield in the nick-of-time to protect herself against an explosion. The sexy femme-fatal, Nancy Makuhari, codenamed: Miss Deep, can make herself immaterial so that she can move through any object. The final member of this trio is Drake—who has no codename—he does not have a super power but is a master at military tactics, weapons, and explosives. R.O.D also is a breath of fresh air for its choice of a main heroine due to the fact that Yomiko is not the typical female eye-candy that has become ubiquitous with heroines in anime. Yomiko Readman is a dorky, tussle-haired, modestly dressed female lead, with no hint of fanservice at all within the OVA, and even Miss Deep—who is the token fanservice female of this anime—does not drown the viewer in sex appeal, but her sexiness is utilized tastefully.

Another aspect of characterization that is noteworthy is the voice acting of Reiko Miura in her role of Yomiko Readman. The mousy, whiny voice that teeters along the lines of being cute and aggravating, perfectly fits our spectacled heroine. The antagonists of R.O.D are attention grabbing as well. The villains are evil clones of historical figures—albeit obscure ones, and some more legend than fact. While the OVA is only an hour and a half long, each bad-guy is given just the right amount of time to shine in some pretty awesome battles. The battle Between Sanzo the priest (of Journey to the West fame) and Yomiko is an especially noteworthy work of art.

There is not much to speak of in terms of plot development in hindsight of this OVA's limited length, and the large amount of time that has been allotted for fight scenes. However, due to its fun nature and inventive concepts, Read or Die is definitely worth an afternoon viewing.

A short but sweet action anime that is fun, fast, and inventive! The way R.O.D pulls these elements together earns it a strong four stars. Take away one star if you prefer your anime to have more depth.Dallas Marshall

Recommended Audience: Nancy has one of the most revealing uniforms that I have seen in an anime: a skintight leather uniform with a long slit down from her cleavage to her belly button. It is obviously made to partially expose her enormously large breasts. Toss the service along with some violence and this is a title that is aimed at the 13+ audiences.



Version(s) Viewed: R1 DVD (bilingual)
Review Status: Full (3/3)
R.O.D. OAV © 2000 Studio DEEN / Studio Orfee / SPE Visual Works