Read or Die (R.O.D) is a 3 part OVA anime series based upon the novels and manga by Kurata Hideyuki. The first two OAVs were released in 2001 in Japan while third and final one was only recently released on February 6, 2002 and with each OAV around 30 minutes long the entire series runs for just over an hour and a half.

The story revolves around Yomiko Readman, whose codename is The Paper. She is an agent for the Royal British Library's Division of Special Operations and her obsession is books (Yomiko translates roughly to “child who reads”, so her name, Yomiko Readman, is a double pun on her obsession). She has the ability to manipulate paper in any way she choses, to make it into a weapon, a shield, or even at one point a giant paper airplane. In the first episode we see her called in to investigate the theft of the Kikou Books from the Library of Congress in America. Brought in to support her is Drake Anderson, a weapons specialist, and Nancy Makuhari, codenamed Miss Deep for her ability to sink into any object, to pass though walls and the like. The stolen books are only the beginning though and it all leads on from there.

Visually this series is stunning. At the present it is one of the most expensive OVA series ever released in terms of production values and it shows, the quality of the animation is fantastic. CG is used through the series as well as traditional animation and the action sequences and backgrounds in particular look incredibly slick and realistic. The music mixes nicely with the overall style of the show and adds to the terrific atmosphere of the series. The Japanese voice acting is top notch and the characters development (as little as there can be in such a short series) is done nicely. Overall this is one of the best OAV series I have ever seen, the originality alone makes it worth a look.

It is currently rumoured that Manga Entertainment has picked up the rights to release Read or Die to the western world. However that is unconfirmed and even if it is true they wont release it for some time yet. You can still get it on import from Japan of course, however if you can't speak Japanese then for the moment fansubs are the only way to enjoy this terrific series.

Update: 25/05/03
Attention everbody! The first DVD is out in the US now! Grab it as soon as you can becuase, as Quizro says, "it's freakin' amazing". Thanks to Quizro for giving me the heads up on the US release, for all those waiting on the Madman release down in Australia (like me) it will still be a little while before we get it.

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