Friday, July 4, 2008

R.O.D. Read or Die-- Anime Film-- Review

Read Or Die is an original short anime series. It consists of three episodes. The main character, Yomiko Readman is a bibliomaniac who loves to spend too much time in books. She is a supposedly a literature teacher. However, in the film she is Agent Paper, a superpowered secret agent for the British Library. In the movie, she forms a glider out of paper, makes a samurai sword out of paper, stops bullets with postcards, and many other neat tricks.

In this story, the British empire is still a superpower, their main spy agency is the "British Library" headed by "Joker" who is Agent Paper's handler. I happen to like the tongue in cheek literary references throughout this short series.

It is full of action. The evil I-Jin are trying to get books which will allow them to wipe out a large portion of the human race. It is up to Agent Paper to stop them. They are seeking a 19th century Beethoven symphony which causes people to committ suicide when they hear it.

Numerous fight scenes abound. Agent Paper fights giant mecha grasshoppers, electric powered samurai, ghost women, and a glider pilot. The opening is fantastic the white house in the United States is destroyed by Gennai Hiraga, a historical personage from ancient Japan who has been cloned brought into the future and given superpowers. Although, it is not in the scene, the Library of Congress is also destroyed. The I-Jin are stealing forbidden books.

I like the action in this film. It does a good job of combining far aways shots with close ups. One of my favorite scenes is where another agent, Miss Deep, who can turn into a ghost, falls through the Statue of Liberty. It is pure entertainment. I think it tries to bring tongue in cheek humor like Maxwell Smart, or James Bond.

This short series won the Anime Expo 2002 awards. There is also an original manga (Japanese comic book) which goes with the show. This goes with my interest as librarians as superheros.

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