Anime Vice News

Anime that doesn't Suck: Read or Die (OVA)

I chose to read, not die.



Title: R.O.D (Read or Die): The OVA
Genre: Supernatural Spy, Science Fantasy
Studio: Studio Deen
Licensee: Manga Entertainment
Year Produced: 2001
Number of Episodes: 3
Run Time: 90 minutes
Available Online: No
SRP: $14.98
Online Price: 12.00

A Bibliophyle Who Must Save the World!
Yomiko Readman is a 25-year old substitute teacher with an obsession for books. She's also an agent for the British Library Special Operations, an agency tasked with safeguarding any rare or lost books. Know to her peers as "Agent Paper," Yomiko has the power to manipulate paper into various shapes and forms. Along with her fellow agents, Yomiko attempts to save a rare Beethoven manuscript from the I-Jin. The I-Jin, a group of historical figures who are cloned and enchanced, are amid their attempt at world domination.


 At a mere 3 episodes, R.O.D. is easily the shortest series we've featured so far. Though, its worth noting that it also represents the cheapest buy as well (SRP $15,) and trust me... its worth it. 
Of course, the obvious comparisons are the best. The series unabashedly takes delicious British spy tropes, and merges them with book-lovers theme/anime battle scenes . Yomiko Readman may be an adorable bibliophile, but don't let that fool you. Despite working for the British Library, "the Paper," is a 00 agent (I.E. has a license to kill,) though she rarely exercises such power.
A weird blend of librarians and assassins, its only appropriate that our villains are weird clones of historical figures. Granted, I'll admit that Beethoven was the only figure I earnestly knew, but hey, they fight a dude riding a giant grasshopper... so I can't complain. Despite being only 3 episodes long, it has the action and content some 12 episode series struggle to obtain. I can't honestly off hand think of 90 minutes better spent, considering I dump 60 minutes a week into epic sized affairs like Lost and 24.

Meet the crew

Yomiko Readman: Read or Die's protagonist, she's an absent minded bookworm. While noted as being obsessive enough to tote around a briefcase of books, she'll frequently lose them entirely. Readman is also the 19th person to be serve as "the Paper." She is presumably named as such due to her superhuman control of paper, which she can manipulate at will. Not much is known about her predecessors, though they presumably had powers of their own
Nancy Makuhari: Code named "Miss Deep," Nancy most resembles the hardened spy genre. She possesses the ability to "dive" through objects, and will often use this to great advantage in combat. Its also stated that she dislikes her codename, as she thinks it makes her sound like a porn star.
Drake Anderson: An American Special Forces vet, Drake is the burly man of the team. Despite lacking a power, his experience makes him an invaluable aid to the team. Drake most often works as their Field Support Operative.
Joseph Carpenter: Most commonly known as "Joker," Joseph is the chief director of the Special Operations Division. When not bossing around his underlings, he's usually displaying his prowess as proper Englishman stereotype.

Reasons you might like it:

  • Spy flick action
  • Short, but full of content
  • Followed by a 26 episode series if you enjoy the independent OVA
  • The protagonist is a book lover who can reshape paper...


Recommend it to friends who enjoyed

Toshokan Sensou (Library Wars)
Read or Die - TV
JoJo's Bizarre Adventures  
James Bond Films
Photon: Idiot Adventures


How long is 90 minutes? In the amount of time it takes to mow the lawn, clean your room, or even cook dinner, you could watch an entire animated epic. While its far from perfect, at a 15 dollar price point, this is a series to own. Plus, it also makes a great series to show people who you want to expose anime too, but not necessarily long, or super complex. Either way, even if you don't take to the TV series, Read or Die definitely doesn't suck.

agila61on April 20, 2010 at 3:52 p.m.
Excellent series - R.O.D. the TV doesn't suck either, and while it can be watched independently, I watched them in reverse order and would have been happy to have seen the ROD OVA first.
Animelove5on April 20, 2010 at 3:57 p.m.

I want it. It seems like a good series.
ShadowKnight508 moderator on April 20, 2010 at 4:45 p.m.
Nice....I will have to give Read or Die a try....might just write a review for it too, John. n_n
rocketbomberon April 20, 2010 at 4:52 p.m.
Y'all should also read the comments/commentary that followed John's first posting about ROD to his blog:
Dream moderator on April 20, 2010 at 4:52 p.m.
The "porn star" comment from Nancy was an addition for the English dub for why she hated her agent name. In the Japanese version, she hated it because it wasn't cute.
And for those who want to look into more missions and bibliomania with Yomiko and other Paper Masters, check out the R.O.D TV series and the two manga spinoff titles.
Helloson April 20, 2010 at 5:01 p.m.

Never got into this unfortunately.
JJOR64on April 20, 2010 at 5:27 p.m.
I think I watch this some years ago when it was on Adult Swim.  I was R.O.D. TV on Anime Unleashed (or whatever it was called) on Tech TV about 7 years ago and I dug it.  Maybe I should check it out again with Japanese VO.
buhssuhton April 20, 2010 at 6:01 p.m.
When I watched this for the first time, I was like "Where did this come from?" 
Because I was unaware with the series, and still am with background story, I was somewhat confused because nothing is practically explained in the very first episode. 
so my reaction after seeing the first episode which my friend showed it to me, "What is this?, am i supposed to wtf is going and just go along?"
Agent_Loston April 20, 2010 at 6:54 p.m.
I really enjoy R.O.D.
constanzadellarosaon April 20, 2010 at 9:41 p.m.
That series is like a bookworm's wet dream.
robokungfuon April 21, 2010 at 12:29 a.m.
I love me some Nancy (Ms. Deep).  
DK1105on April 21, 2010 at 7:39 a.m.
This was my introduction into anime.  I saw part of this OVA on adult swim and I liked it then I saw the tv show on techtv.  I went out and bought the OVA and the collectors box for the show that at the time I though was the boxset.  To this date I still haven't gotten all the disks but once and a while I do grab one.

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